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September 6, 1993

Martina Navratilova


Q. Martina, were you a little bit off today, do you think?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, balls just weren't falling. I felt like I was playing golf because. They were just not going in by inches. I hit some shots that if I had to hit them over again, I would hit them the same way. They felt good and they were not going in. I didn't make one lob. I think maybe I tried that shot too many times. But I didn't miss them in practice, they were falling like four inches inside the baseline. I didn't make one in the match. But the result was off. I mean, I felt good. But I really only played one great game on her serve. That is the one I broke. But I guess I was off. She played well. I give her credit.

Q. Is this the best she has played against you?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, it is best she has played for a while. She has a tendency to do that against me. Bad luck.

Q. She said she remembered back to playing you in Australia first time she ever beat you when she was serving for the match. Did you ever think back on either wins or losses against her?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, what is my record against her? What is it?

Q. 25 and five now.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, yeah, I had a flashback to the Australian, too, in the first set when she was serving for it. But when she served for the match at the Australia Open she had like 4 match points before she finally won. I made her play. This time she served for the set. I didn't get one ball back. That was pretty meek effort in that game. Then I gave it my best shot in the second set. Just didn't happen. Made some winners; that didn't fall. She made some great volleys; played big plays, everything.

Q. Martina, you said she has a tendency to play well against you. Why is that?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, she rushes me. She is a big player, so she -- she is hard to pass. I am not used to having to pass that much. Most people are baseliners. I think I played better against her when there were more serve and volleyers because you are used to it more. I have to play well. If I play well, I win easily, or, you know, it's a comfortable win; but if I am a little bit off, which is what I was today, it is always a struggle. And if you are a little bit off against a baseliner, you can still sort of work your way into the point. With her there are no rallies and no way to really get groove. She like played me so many times, she knows how to play me. And there was one other thing, what she is -- well, she plays well. Likes to play me, feels no pressure. She doesn't have to run that much because she either hits a winner, with some at the net. She has a target and I think she likes that also.

Q. Martina, your first serve accuracy was pretty good at 67 percent. But she put a lot of pressure on you on her returns. Did you think that there is something ineffective about your serve that she would do that?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, my second serve wasn't so hot but she returned well. I think I served a lot to her backhand. It was working okay. When I served to the forehand, the ball really came back fast, she returned really well off the forehand, so I felt more limited in my location, and also, against most players, the body works so well; she loves that because the stroke production when you serve into the body, she still swings the way she hits the ball. It doesn't really bother her that. When you stretch her she is big, so it is hard to stretch her. So I have a harder time serving against her because of that. She returned very well. She made me play a lot of balls and I didn't volley well. I was not sharp. There were a bunch of instances where normally I would just put the ball away and I missed, or, you know, just hit the ball right to her and then she passed me on the next one. Couple of times she guessed. I got burned on my serve but she just made -- there wasn't any luck for me today, let us put it that way. She made some shots that she normally wouldn't make, or made some great shots that I didn't. She made the shots she should make. I make most of the shots I should have made, and then she made some extra ones and she didn't get any of the extra ones. That is bottom line, I guess, with the top players. When you get down to the end of the tournament, the people that hit the great shots win and she hit some great shots. I did not.

Q. Martina, what point of the match did you know that you were in trouble?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I think at 3-All in the first set when I had breakpoints in every game and didn't break once. I had plenty of opportunities. She didn't serve so well at the beginning and I just wasn't really focused. I was focused much better in the second set when I was really just thinking about the match, but my mind was all over the place in the first set and I didn't take advantage of the opportunities, I mean, I had, I think, two breakpoints in the first game, two or three, then I had 15-40 in the second set when she was serving, second game. Then I had another breakpoint at 3-2 and didn't make her play the ball at all. And, you know, at 3-All I should have been up at 4-2 at worst; maybe 5-1. She had like three breakpoints and broke me once. I had about six and didn't break. There is the first set. You can't give away sets against players as good as she is.

Q. The major part of the year is pretty much completed now at this tournament. How do you analyze your year?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I don't want to think about it right now.

Q. Pretty upsetting on that first game of the second set on that last shot?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: That line call? I tell you the line calls have been so great and that -- I mean that ball was right on the line. When I was walking back to the baseline I couldn't believe he called it out. That is just bad luck. You can't get that ball back, you know, that is a breakpoint. You can't come back from that one. I broke right back, but that is just bad luck. I mean, the calls have been good. That one just was a rotten one for me.

Q. When you lost --

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Unfortunately, bad timing.

Q. When you lost to Jana at Wimbledon you seemed marginally relaxed afterwards. It seems like it hurts more here.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I was really out of it at Wimbledon. I didn't have chance. Today I had opportunities; there, I didn't. I blew it. I didn't make anything happen. I tried, I am very disappointed. But you know, I gave it my best shot?

Q. Martina, the last couple of years you have had great success at some of the smaller tournaments beating the real top players yet struggling at the Grand Slams. Is there more pressure for you at these?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah, I think maybe I need to play the Australian and French just to get used to playing in a Grand Slam. I think there is too much difference between a regular tournament and a Slam that I have not let myself go, you know, my game, if I just played half as good as I did in L.A. I would have won today. That has to be the event; nothing else. There is nothing wrong, physically, with me, so, you know, it's just caring too much and not being in that situation often enough. The whole year; all of a sudden, I play Wimbledon; next two months I play the Open and that is it. Maybe, I need to just go to the Australia and get ready for the Open, I don't know. Just not enough.

Q. Were you not playing those two events because you wanted to be fresh throughout the year or --

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, because I didn't really finish until middle of December with all my commitments and then to go to Australia, I have to go right after New Years, it is really too close together. Then I have a lawsuit pending next January, I don't know if I could even go if I want to. But come on, guys, I am just thinking, I am not crying, okay? It was just too close to the new year, I needed a little bit more of a break. If the Australia Open was like four weeks later I would go in a heartbeat; all these years I would not have missed it, it is too close, just enough of a break. This year I will end up with a little -- I still may go down there. I don't know. I don't know if I can because of the lawsuit.

Q. Did you feel sort of pressure at Wimbledon, is there more pressure for you here than at Wimbledon?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: It is pretty much the same. I still wanted to be out there. I still want that opportunity to get out there and have one more shot at the title and I just haven't given myself that chance. I think that is -- I am so disappointed because I had the chance. I have the game and I haven't been able to produce it. I think I care too much. The crowd is fantastic. This is what I always wanted, have the chance and have the crowd behind me and I just blow it. So -- but she played great.

Q. When you say you want it too much, you just feel as if you are pressing the whole time you are not relaxed?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah. I am not -- yeah, I don't let myself, just let go and play with careless abandon, just get all tied up in knots and I don't release - the racket actually doesn't release, that is why I don't make the shots that I do in practice or in lesser tournaments.

Q. Is it easier to play with that kind of abandon when you are playing somebody like Steffi or Arantxa?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Sure, then the pressure is not there, you are just playing the opponent, playing an event, you are not playing the U.S. Open or Wimbledon, you are playing them; that is when I am at my best tennis and I have a hard time letting myself going, against the other players, so that I don't play -- you know I play the U.S. Open, when I play Helena. I don't play Helena.

Q. Does a result like this make you want to work harder and go for the whole thing again or do other things enter your mind?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, both. It makes me want to say forget it; I don't want it anymore or say, next year definitely is my last year and it also wants me to harder and quit right now. All of those things go through my head. Unfortunately all of those things go through my head during the match. Which is a problem. I had a thought that I will not share with you guys that was ridiculous. I started laughing at 3-2 in the second set. I started laughing. I said how could you be thinking about that. You should be thinking about what you need to be doing. It is just ridiculous. That is what gets harder when you get older; have so many more things to distract you; much more difficult to focus. Sometimes I do that really well and other times I don't. In the past, if I don't focus, I was dominating so much I could still get away with it and win the matches most of the time. Now I can't do that.

Q. Which of the Grand Slams would you think you have the best chance of winning now at this stage?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I think all three except for the French. I mean, the French-- that is just too hard, there is too many good baseliners for me to win the French. That would be a miracle. I think on the surfaces at the Australian, Wimbledon and here suit me just fine. I can play from the baseline. I can serve and volley, but I just have to be able to execute and I have not done that.

Q. Are you still going to play in the Virginia Slims?


Q. Yes.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah, I am planning on it. That is two months from now. If I quit I would quit at the end of the year. I would -- I do not think I would quit in the middle, but I don't want to make any commitments about how much longer I will play, but last year at this time I said next year very well may be my last year and the next thing I read was that I was retiring and was reading all these letters from these people, don't quit, don't quit. I am not going to tell you that again because I don't know.

Q. Martina, why do you put so much pressure on yourself now after you have won all these Grand Slam titles; you have won more titles by far than anyone else; why now, you should almost be playing loose and happy and all that?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I can work that way or it can work the other. Have you talked to Kareem Abdul Jabar last championship year when they thought he had a good chance of winning the title. You talk to any athlete who has been there a long time, doesn't matter how much they have won. You want that one more chance. It is like a drug. You want to taste it one more time. Just piss me off that I can't take advantage of having the opportunity, because I had the chances and I just blew it.

Q. You were sure that if you did win the one more Grand Slam title whether it be here or in Wimbledon, that you taste the drug for one more time and that would be it?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I don't want to talk about drugs here. It was a bad word. I'd rather say NO. It would just be a nice way to go out; not that I need it, but it would just be, you know, really a wonderful feeling of doing it one more time because I know that my game is there. It is just that my heart, my mind won't let me perform at the level that I can. And I think that is what really aggravates me and that is why I keep coming back and beating my head against the wall.

Q. How conscious were you about being the only American left in the field and go here -- being at tournament here in New York; was that something that you were very conscious of?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: You guys told me that yesterday that I was the last one along with Lindsay Davenport. I wasn't really thinking about. Then I started thinking Jennifer is out; Mary Joe is out and I am the last American hope, but you know that would have -- that just adds to it, yeah. But you know that is not why I lost the match.

Q. Martina, making a decision, you are saying, about your future, it would come after the Virginia Slims Championship?


Q. That question was open at Wimbledon. You insisted in no uncertain terms; that I am not retiring. I will be back next year. You seem to be leaving that question open again?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No. No. No. Whether next year will be my last year or not. That is the choice. I will be playing next year. I just don't know whether that is my last year or not. I think I will make that decision in November or December. So you just misunderstood me.

Q. Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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