September 5, 1993
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. There were times when things got a little shaky. Did you feel sharp today?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Nothing wrong with my game. I was just you know, didn't let it flow out there. She played sort of different from everybody else. She is a good baseliner but she comes in on a lot of balls. A lot of spin on the ball and she mixes it up really well and I just you know, didn't get into any kind of a rhythm. It was 1-All in the third set, we have been playing for an hour 14 minutes, played 22 games in an hour and 14 minutes, including a change of shirts, so the points were really fast and I just didn't get my body going to get my feet going either until -- I just let it rip at the end, said you got to go down with your best stuff I am tired of putzing sing around. It happened at 3-2, I ripped the backhand back, return and after that I was fine, so it is like I just let one ball go and then I was fine. I should have done that a lot sooner. But she played well.
Q. Martina, with Monica not here you sense that the desperation in the fans to have you make it to the final?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: They have been desperate for a while, with or without Monica. But yeah, I guess, you know, I will help make it interesting. I think they are desperate for me because I am getting up there. They figure I don't have that many good chances at it. So this is maybe as good a shot as I will ever have. So given that I probably have two or three maybe years if I can handle it that long, so I think they like the way I play the game and you know, they don't want to see me go. But hey, I have played my share here.
Q. After you had this time, what keeps tennis fresh and alive for you?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well it is still a challenge. They me to get out there and see if I can do it. See if I cannot care too much so I can still play because it is such a treat to still be out there and sometimes I just get tied up, all tied up inside and I can't let my body flow. That is what happened today. Also not having played on the stadium yet, I really haven't had that much time out there practicing or not playing a match, but anyway it is just fun to be out there, hell, there is what, 10, 15,000 people out there and they are all pulling for me. It is fun to have them at my side.
Q. It is, I will say it for you, it is public service, you are still giving great pleasure to so many people?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I guess they get their money's worth. Yeah, people seem to enjoy watching me play and you know, that is nice when you get that kind of feedback. I mean, I hit some great shots in my lifetime; now I hit a decent shot and I get a standing ovation. So they are really easy to please.
Q. When Chris was retiring three, four years ago and no one would show up for these press conference, in the back of your mind did you say hey, maybe my day will come when I will be the center of focus and attention?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No, I didn't think that, but that is about time she retired so I could get it all. No, but by then I was three or four -- by then there was Steffi and Monica ahead of me. She didn't retire earlier enough for me to get all of the attention for myself. (Martina winks). I guess I got most of her fans, than sort of one on my side because they just like our rivalry and now that she is not playing anymore, they didn't -- I have been around long enough for them to feel sorry for me so they have to pull for me.
Q. Depending on what happens with Davenport this afternoon, you could be the only American woman left in the tournament?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Thank you for calling me that. I appreciate it. I mean that because just the other day someone said this is the latest American-- is the only American player in the draw. Hello. Hello.
Q. Does that put a little bit of pressure on you because this is the U.S. Open?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, just playing here and playing in my home country is a huge plus, and the fans have been fantastic to me the last three, four years, especially here. I mean, hell, I have had a great time. I have had great runs in Chicago and L.A. and all those fans have been great and New Yorkers get even more vocal. So-- and God knows, you know, there are tennis buffs, they are out there in the nose bleed session. I have been up there. You can't see a ball. Did you go up there? From the press section, it is like you got to bring binoculars to a tennis match, and for them to go through all that hassle to even get out here and still watch me play, it is a treat. Yes, I guess it is nice to be the alone Yankee out there.
Q. Do you sense you are carrying a flag in a way?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, I have done it before and I have handled it pretty well. So maybe if you put that kind of pressure on me I can handle it. It is not just for myself. It is for other reasons, yeah, it would be nice to win this one again.
Q. Martina, when you said before it is such a treat to still be out there, can you relate at all to what Mats Wilander said the other day about you know, when he was 26, 27 he wanted to just enjoy his life and he didn't want to play -- can you relate at all to that?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: That he didn't want to play anymore or that he is back and enjoying it? Which part do you want me to relate to?
Q. He says he is not really back; he is here for a visit, more or less, just his whole take on tennis and life. That he at 25, 26 realized he just didn't want --
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Maybe its a Swedish thing. From the countryside they have out there, I don't blame him for wanting to retire. My sister had been to Sweden just recently. She couldn't believe all the mushrooms in the woods, so maybe they went mushroom hunting, I don't know. I can't relate to that because at 25 I was just getting started, so it didn't occur to me to quit then. I didn't really get burned out until 1987, end of '86, 87. Then I started -- but I didn't know that is what it was because I never felt it before, so I didn't really recognize it. But now, I think he realizes how fun it is to be out there and have that opportunity. Not very many people get that chance and to just throw it away because you want to have a normal life - Well, a lot of people are having a lot of normal life out there. Not many of them get the shot of getting those feelings when you are out there.
Q. Over the years, a lot of the players and still are complaining that it is too crowded; too noise even pot holes in the court so on so forth?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: What, potholes on the court?
Q. Courier was complaining the other day that some of the practice courts have potholes?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Oh, yeah.
Q. Do you get a little impatient with that or can you identify with that?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: As long as they don't put any speed bumps on the court, I don't mind. There was one bounce today. She hit a serve long, and the ball went absolutely straight up in the air. I do not know what it hit. It was about 2, 3 inches long, and I swung and the ball was about this high over my racket. It just -- you know, you wonder about it. But this is a rough tournament. There is nothing really pleasant about it except when you are out playing the match. That is the great part. But it is really the only great part, because the rest is a struggle. It is a very demanding tournament physically and emotionally. You can't really enjoy yourself, but hell, we didn't get here we didn't come here to sit by the swimming pool and catch some sun. So we are professionals. We have to deal with it.
Q. Might be a little bit much complaining on that score by the highly paid professionals?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah, I think we are getting paid to suffer a little bit.
Q. Martina, do you get a different feeling winning matches at this stage in your career than maybe 10, 15 years ago?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Sure.
Q. What is that?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: A follow-up question. Well, I mean, I appreciate it a lot more. I had a pretty good time at it while I was happening. I enjoyed it then, but I definitely appreciate it more now. Just like you appreciate all the little things in life when you get older. It is call maturing. All of a sudden you look at the sun, you say, God, I am real lucky, and you don't think that when you are 10 or 20 years old, but mostly people get to that point when they are reaching the twilight of their life. I get that way because I am reaching the twilight-- I am in the twilight of my career. I get nostalgic about tennis; not the rest of my life, but about tennis; then hopefully, I will have another 20, 30 years and then when I am 70 years old I will get nostalgic about my life. We just sort of look at it at a different time than normal people. Yeah, I just I have that much more appreciation for being out there.
Q. Double nostalgia?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah.
Q. Is there anything that after all these years that you are sick of as far as tennis career?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I am not really sick of anything other than packing. That is a total pain in the ass, yeah. But it is like to quote Catherine Hepburn: The one good thing about death is there are no more interviews. But I do enjoying talking to you guys, I must say.
Q. How far do could Cowboys go this year?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: All the way. First they have got to beat Washington tomorrow.
Q. Thank you.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Thanks, guys.
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