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November 15, 1993

Martina Navratilova


Q. What's your impression after the first match of your game?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Good enough. It wasn't spectacular, but it was solid enough. I mean, I played pretty well. It's just your basic serve and volley match by both of us. I think the only thing I didn't do well is approach off her serve. But everything else I did pretty well. If I had better approach shots off the serve, the match could have been a lot easier, I kept missing them. And when I tried to hit them softer, she would pass me, so I probably would have been better off starting on the baseline than that way, but that's totally against my nature and it paid off. I should have broke because I kept doing the right thing and finally figured it out technically what I was doing wrong.

Q. Mary Joe had said before this tournament that the first round is very tough and she found out today. Do you do anything different because this is a tough tournament first round right off the bat --

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: You are going to get a player you're going to play in the finals in another tournament and there are no easy matches. I like to get it out of the way early. It's nice to play Monday or Tuesday, but it's always rough. For her it was worse because she hadn't played this much and-- which showed, I have had alot of tournaments the last few months and so I felt more comfortable than usual because I played a lot of tennis, but you don't do anything differently, no. The routine has to stay the same for all matches all tournaments, otherwise you work yourself up, you know, you have to pretty much do the same routine without getting ridiculous about it.

Q. Is this your 50th match-- is it your 50th match?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: That's what Bruce Beck told me.

Q. 50th match, not win?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Win or match, I don't know? I don't know, you could probably figure it out. I don't know how many times I've lost, so, somewhere between 50 and 60, I don't know. I don't know those numbers. You guys always bring it up, so.

Q. Are you satisfied now with the tennis you're playing, is it where you want it to be?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I'm just happy to be on the court and tonight was-- I was pretty intense, I'm not emotionally -- I'm not tired at all. I was wiped out earlier in October when I was in Europe, I had been going nonstop since May. I had three weeks off after the U.S. Open but I was doing a lot of things, playing exhibitions and charity events, doing press conferences and I really didn't have any time to myself and I was really tired when I went to Europe. Then I took a week off and went on vacation by myself and really rejuvenated myself totally, and, you know, that showed in Oakland when I played really tough, all four matches were close, but I pulled them out and now, I'm just really fresh, so-- what was the question? I sort of went off on a tangent there. What was the original question?

Q. Are you satisfied?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Oh, so, yes, I am I really fresh mentally and physically I'm okay. I'm not great but I'm okay, and, you know, everything is working pretty well. So, yeah, I'm satisfied. I mean, it's Monday.

Q. Nathalie said it would be good for the opposition if you stop next year but not good for tennis?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well I can't play forever, you know, some young buck has to come in and take over, I'm sure there will be some young faces that will capture the imagination of the public and the media.

Q. Martina, do you feel an appreciable difference with on-court experience now that you've announced that this will be your last year for singles?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No, I haven't yet because I'm not still playing the last year. I was relieved for myself knowing where the end of the road is, but it really doesn't affect me now, it will affect me next year knowing I don't have to try to save anything for the year after, no, so, it hasn't made a difference, really.

Q. That shot that you played at the net, that volley with the twist, have you been working extra special on that?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I haven't been working on anything except just getting my serve organized. Which shot are you talking about?

Q. The one that went to the net and volley and--

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Little drop shot?

Q. Yes.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yes, I had a good feel with it tonight so I kept using it. Had some nice ones, yeah, but I have not be working on it. I've hit a few of those over the years.

Q. Martina, can you describe the sensation of walking out there to that unbelievable amount of applause?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Nope. I mean they start clapping as soon as they announce me, that hasn't happened before. I was like, shut up and listen. They've heard it before and it's just wonderful. I mean, you know, if I were tired emotionally that would get me going in and of itself, but I'm not, so, it's-- it's wonderful, I've been waiting for 20 years for this. And I think I did an interview in Oakland and I had been talking about this, that for years I felt I was unappreciated and now I'm overappreciated. It's ridiculous. I hit an average shot and get a standing ovation and before I hit a great shot and they go, like, well, nice. I'm supposed to make them. So I think they went a little overboard, but I can take it, I can handle it. It's like-- I'm the home team everywhere I go, so, it's pretty nice when I was always the visitor before.

Q. Would you advise a 14 year old girl to go on the tour at that age?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No, I would not. I think it's too soon-- not just going on tour at 14, but getting them ready when they're five years old, they are doing wind sprints after practices, just so molded into being great tennis players at such an early age that they have nothing else to fall back on when they get older and, you know, it's-- they've been at a-- they've been going at a pace for ten years by the time they are 15 years old that I didn't hit until I was 25.

Q. You may be coaching some day; in your opinion, what is the best age to join the tour?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: That depends on the physical and emotional state of the player. You can't say this is the age. That sort of depends. But I would say 15, 16, that's plenty of time. There's no need to rush it at 14 or even 13. So if it was my kid I would hold back as long as possible, make them play juniors, make them go to school, do not fax your homework, go to school and do other sports, do other things, hang out with your friends so you have a different life and not just tennis. And these days it's like there's nothing else but tennis. Play tennis for six hours and go to school for three hours. It should be the other with around.

Q. Aside from training hard and eating well, the key to a long successful career in tennis is being playful on the court from time to time do you agree?


Q. Besides training hard and eating well the key to a long successful career in tennis is being playful on the court from time to time do you agree?


Q. You know, doing jokes from time to time with the public.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No, I mean that's just either you are that way or not, period. I don't say, well better make a joke now so I could last two more years, it doesn't work that way.

Q. It seems like Connors and yourself you sometimes --

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, Chris didn't actually joke with the crowd and she lasted pretty much 20 years as well. No, I don't think so, that's your personality-- you do it or you don't. That doesn't make for longevity, that's stretching it a bit too far.

Q. Did you break your racket when you bounced it tonight?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: If I hadn't reacted in that way she wouldn't have known, but I hit it just on the edge, because the onyx is a square head and I hit it on the square, normally a racket wouldn't break, but that one if you hit it just right and I unfortunately did, but you know, I was trying to just bounce it back into my hand. That wasn't anything major. I could really make a major swat with it or, threw it flat and of course it won't break and that would be okay, so-- but the umpire was instructed by Georgina Clark-- who I will speak to later-- to absolutely be firm with the racket abuse because there have been players that really smashed the racket to smitherines and they don't get a racket abuse and then players hit a ball and they get a ball abuse or whatever, so they want to be consistent and if you do break a racket you have to get the warning, but who's to say that the racket wasn't broken already and then-- I mean, you really have to judge the action rather than whether the racket broke or not. Just because it broke doesn't mean you should get it and just because it didn't doesn't mean you shouldn't. So she had to go by what Georgina said, but I thought it was a bit harsh, because I really haven't done anything up to that point, if-- and if I hadn't reacted that way she wouldn't have known it was broken or I could have played with it, it was just a hairline fracture. I could have put it in a cast and kept on playing with it.

Q. It was on top of the frame; was it?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yes, you can barely see it. Then of course I throw it in the crowd and the lady wants me to autograph it. That's not why I threw it away, so I would have the privilege of autographing it later, but people threw the balls back-- I hit the ball into the crowd after the match and they bring it back, would you please sign this, and I'm like, that's not why I hit it. Don't you feel lucky enough you got the racket, you want me to sign it as well?

Q. Have you thought about life after competition?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: You guys keep asking me about it all the time. Yes, I do think about it when I talk to you guys and I don't know, I'll just know-- I just know that I'm really excited about my life after tennis and I'm looking forward to not having a schedule, not knowing where I will be every day of the year and what I will be doing every day of year, and I know that I'll be pretty busy, so I'm looking forward to doing stuff that I don't have to have a goal for. Just take some courses in whatever I'm interested in, do some active stuff, spend time with my animals and most of all, spend some really quality time with my friends and family which I haven't had a chance to.

Q. Have you thought about playing part-time tennis?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No, I will not play part-time tennis. I may play doubles here and there and I don't know, this is 95. Somebody asked me if I was going to play Chicago in doubles in 1995. I was like, what are you nuts?

Q. Arthur Ashe said in his book one of the things it gave him is time to devote to his most beloved projects and he will come to learn and expect from you the same kind of projective life on and off the court; do you foresee playing the kind of statesman role like that?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I'm sure I will be involved, I just don't know what those beloved projects will be. I'll just sort of see what hits my heart the most. There's plenty of different charity work that I have done and that I'm interested in, but I don't want to just put my name on everything. I want to make a difference, so I'll probably do two or three major things and stick with it.

End of FastScripts....

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