home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 29, 2005

Jana Novotna


BUD COLLINS: Ladies and gentlemen, I want to call your attention to the QQQ Pavilion right here. We want you to meet the latest to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. You know her, of course. She is Wimbledon Champion, Olympic medalist, and has won more titles than I can rattle off at this time. She is from the Czech Republic, Jana Novotna (applause). The International Tennis Hall of Fame was established in 1954 at the famed casino in Newport, Rhode Island, where the first United States Championships was played in 1881. Now, Jana will be disappointed to learn that the first US Championships did not include women; they had to wait a few years to start their own in Philadelphia. But on July - what day, Kat Anderson? What's the inauguration day?


BUD COLLINS: On July 9th, in coordination with the Jimmy Van Alen Cup men's pro tournament at Newport, four people will go into the International Tennis Hall of Fame: Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic; Butch Buchholz, the man who founded this NASDAQ championship 20 years ago; Yannick Noah of France; and another Floridian, James Spencer Courier, from Dade City (applause). So now you people are part of a press conference. We will welcome your questions, as well as those of the reporters.

Q. Jana, how often do you think of that Wimbledon championship?

JANA NOVOTNA: Quite often. Which one are you talking about (smiling)?

Q. The one you won first.

JANA NOVOTNA: The one in 1998, I think about it quite often, yeah. It all brings very good memories. I went to Wimbledon last year, which was really special, and for the first time I was able to participate in the 35-and-Over with my partner Mima Jausovec. We were able to win, so it was just another nice trip back to Wimbledon, and did so well. This is a great honor, really, to be part of such a fine group of players and to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. It is the ultimate honor for every tennis player, and I'm so glad my name will be there as well.

Q. I've got to ask you, obviously, the other final is a final that a lot of people certainly remember because of the way the presentation ceremony went. Did you realize that the photograph of you and the Dutchess was left out of the paper when it was delivered because Wimbledon didn't think it was appropriate?

BUD COLLINS: I didn't know that myself.

JANA NOVOTNA: I didn't know that. I didn't know that.

Q. What are your memories of that one?

JANA NOVOTNA: I have wonderful memories. I just saw the videotape again just recently. I have a friend of mine who did a beautiful DVD for me - through my childhood, when I started, when I was 8 years old until I was much older, and all my championships. Just recently I saw the DVD, and I have to say, just beautiful memories. Win or lose, when you're part of Wimbledon in some way, or the women's circuit, it's really special.

Q. Your reaction to being elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame?

JANA NOVOTNA: I spoke with my agent and a very good friend, Phil de Picciotto, from Octagon. I was spending the holidays this year in December with my family in Czech Republic. It was Saturday late evening when I got a call from him. That's very unusual. When I saw on my phone that Phil calls me on the weekend, and late hour, I knew that something special must have been going on. Sure enough, he had a really nice news to tell me. At that time I wasn't able to share that with anybody because this was quite confidential and he didn't want me to tell anyone until the official announcement would be out. But when he told me, I was very happy. Very, very excited.

Q. Did you tell your parents?

JANA NOVOTNA: At that time, I didn't even tell my parents. I just kept it to myself. It was just right around Christmas when I decided that I'm going to give them a nice Christmas present. That's when I sat the whole family together and decided to tell them. They were just really elated. They said it was such a beautiful Christmas present for them. We had a nice time. I was glad that I was with them at the time when I found out because, obviously, this is the biggest achievement and honor that you can get.

Q. Are you doing coaching with younger players?

JANA NOVOTNA: I did for a while last year. I was working with a very talented American girl, Carly Gullikson, for a while. But not right now, no. I'm still doing quite a few exhibitions, participating in a lot of charity events, so still pretty active myself.

BUD COLLINS: Jana, it's interesting that the Czech Republic, two of the women who are in the International Tennis Hall of Fame now, yourself and Martina Navratilova, are serve-and-volleyers. So unusual to come from a country with reasonably slow clay courts, and there you were, both serve-and-volleying. Was she a particular idol of yours? How did you develop that style?

JANA NOVOTNA: No, Bud, don't forget that when I was growing up, Martina, at that time, she defected. Growing up in a communistic regime, that time in Czechoslovakia, I really didn't have any news or footage or results about Martina because once she defected it's almost like she was a nonexistent person.


JANA NOVOTNA: I was growing up with Hana Mandlikova, Helena Sukova.

Q. Right, Hana.

JANA NOVOTNA: She's also in it. I think even though we grew up on the red clay, traveling around the world and playing on different surfaces, and because I was in the beginning a better doubles player than a singles player, I did a lot of the attacking style. I just felt I had a better chance winning matches being aggressive and coming to the net. It wasn't really because of Martina. I think it just happened to be that way.

BUD COLLINS: My first memory of you, clear memory, is the 1988 Olympic doubles final.


BUD COLLINS: You and Helena Sukova against Pam Shriver and Zina Garrison. It was a long, long match. I think you lost 13-11 in the third.

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes, we did.

BUD COLLINS: I was saying to myself, "Can that kid volley! She understands doubles. She knows what she's doing." I wasn't thinking that in 2005 I'd be sitting next to you as a Hall of Fame inductee. But, nevertheless, you made a tremendous impression on me that day.

JANA NOVOTNA: Thank you (smiling).

BUD COLLINS: And you continue to. I never know whether to call it the Virginia Slims Championships, the Chase Championships, or whatever it was, but it's the women's final playoffs at Madison Square Garden. You were so sensational that day. I just wish that we had more female volleyers.

JANA NOVOTNA: Yeah, I do, too.

BUD COLLINS: Why do you think that is?

JANA NOVOTNA: I don't know. I don't know. It's easier, it's the style of the new generation. I think little by little I think it will come back in time if we have more players like Justine Henin who are just all-around players and they have nice variety. But I have to tell you about myself, when I do watch TV, when I watch women's tennis, if I see somebody come to the net, I'm jumping in front of television. I say, "Yes! That's the way to go." It's really exciting when you see somebody come to the net and show some good volleys.

BUD COLLINS: The editor and publisher of Florida Tennis was walking over here, proud as a peacock, because he said, "Everybody is from Florida who's in the Hall of Fame Class of 2005." He says, "Jana lives here now, Butch lives here, Courier lives here, and Yannick Noah's son plays for the Florida basketball team."

JANA NOVOTNA: I think South Florida is the best place to be, the best place to live, especially for a tennis player. I really, really like it down here.

Q. Do you feel you will continue to live in the United States?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes. Yes, I do. I do consider Florida and the United States as my home. Of course in my heart I will always be Czech and I will always like to come back and go back to Czech Republic. You can't take that away from anybody.

BUD COLLINS: Do you think you'll become a citizen? Personal question, I know.

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes, yes, I'm thinking about it. Yes, I think this year by October I think I'll be eligible to become a citizen. It's something I will think about.

BUD COLLINS: We would love to have you on our side.

JANA NOVOTNA: Thank you. That would be very nice (smiling).

Q. Is there one match that sticks out in your mind as the highlight of your career? Is it the Wimbledon match? Is it another match? Is there a memory that told you you were going to be a great player?

JANA NOVOTNA: I think so. It goes a couple years earlier, prior to my first Wimbledon final. That was at the Australian Open in 1991 when I played Steffi Graf. That was the first time ever that I beat Steffi Graf in a quarterfinals of a...

BUD COLLINS: Major championship.

JANA NOVOTNA: For me, it was beating her for the first time. But getting to the finals, 1991, of the Australian Open was almost like a sign for me that, yes, I can do it. Beating Steffi at that time, that was huge.

Q. I guess the other question, how did you get started in tennis? What gave you your love for the game?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I just started. I was very athletic, and I used to do all different sports, all sorts of activities. I started as a gymnast because I was really skinny and tiny. Then I started to grow up and they told me I can't continue because I would just be too tall and too big to be a gymnast, so I decided to pick another sport. A local tennis club was just nearby. My parents said, Why don't you just get yourself a racquet and go hit against a wall. That's how it all started. Somebody noticed me and said I have some athletic ability, and they said why don't we just give it a try. I was never pushed by my parents in the beginning. Nobody from my family plays tennis, so it really just happened.

Q. How old were you at that time?

JANA NOVOTNA: I was 8 when I started for the first time.

BUD COLLINS: Well, gymnastics' loss was tennis' gain. We're so glad you fell off that bar (laughing). Anyone else who would like to ask a question to the new Hall of Famer, Jana Novotna?

Q. Congratulations, first of all, Jana.

JANA NOVOTNA: Thank you (smiling).

Q. One thing I also wanted to bring up, a little bit of closure, I wanted to know if it feels better to be in the Hall of Fame because of Hana Mandlikova. She was your coach, and I believe she's in the Hall of Fame as well. I want to know if it feels better because she was so involved in your career.

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I don't know. I mean, you know that tennis is a very individual sport. Certainly you are not able to accomplish so much without the help of others, whether it's your family, whether it's your coach or your friends. So, yes, I feel really honored that Hana is a fellow Hall of Famer and that she was part of my tennis career for almost nine years. But I have to say I don't know if it, you know -- I am not sure that I quite understand the question, how that would make me feel better. This is something that I'm very proud, myself, of accomplishing. Of course you always have to acknowledge the people who help you along the way, and it's nice that another Czech player will be in the Hall of Fame. That's what makes me really proud.

BUD COLLINS: We have a few Czechs - Jan Kodes as well.

JANA NOVOTNA: That's right.

BUD COLLINS: We're trying to get, pushing hard to get Kozeluh; he's dead, but he deserves to be in. His career was so early as a professional that very few people noticed it, the people around now. He was a player who beat Bill Tilden often. So we're hoping that he'll join the great Czech crowd of which you are the president (smiling).

JANA NOVOTNA: For now (smiling). For now.

DAVID TRATNER: Jana will be signing autographs at the Mercedes-Benz Lifestyle tent at noon. It's on your way to the Grandstand court. She'll sign some autographs, take some pictures.

BUD COLLINS: So we thank you for being here. We raise - I don't know how to raise a cheer in Czech. I can say nazdravi. Thank you very much, everyone (applause).

End of FastScripts….

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297