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November 21, 1999

Jana Novotna


Q. I want to make a statement. I want to thank you for all of the pleasurable hours I've watched you, as a coach and as a writer. I think you're the best all-around player in the last ten years, singles and doubles.

JANA NOVOTNA: Thank you.

Q. Do you have any plans for the future? Do you see yourself coaching like your coach did?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, not really, no. I don't, because I don't have the desire to travel any more or to do, you know, doing more of the physical work. I would like to stay involved in tennis one way or another. I have not made any immediate plans, but I don't think I want to coach. I don't think I want to travel. I think I would like to work in women's tennis but maybe from a different angle. This still was so early, my last tournament, finishing everything up early here. I just need to time to rest and adjust to the normal life a little bit, and then see where I want to go with my future.

Q. You've been an underrated, great player.

JANA NOVOTNA: But that's your fault, guys. (Laughter).

Q. How does it feel to be here, not playing, and basically for the last time? How does it feel to be here at this tournament for the last time?

JANA NOVOTNA: Let's be honest, I don't think this is my last time here. I'm sure that this is, and always will be, the biggest tournament of the WTA Tour calendar. And I'm sure that I will be back, and, you know, whether it's going to be as a spectator or as a commentator or in any other way, I am sure that I will be back. But, you know, being back at the finishing of the year as a professional tennis player is very different and it's very special. And it was quite emotional today, but, again I feel good about it, and I know that I have made the right decision, and as I said, looking forward to what's waiting for me next.

Q. Who influenced you in your tennis career teaching you, etc., Coaching you the most?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, you have to start right from the beginning. Of course, my parents in the beginning. Without them and without the first eight years when you're growing up and you are as a junior, there's no way, if it wouldn't be for them, I would never do it. But again, I said, Hana had the biggest impact for me in the professional career. It's a combination of people. You cannot point out one person, it's everybody. As I said, you have a team working for you, and if the team is good and wants the same goal, then it's very easy.

Q. Was the junior program very influential in developing you?

JANA NOVOTNA: Definitely.

Q. When you say you don't want to travel, for the next few months are you going to stay in Europe or the U.S.?

JANA NOVOTNA: What I said, by not traveling, I'm not going to leave the country for a moment, but I will divide my time between spending time in Europe and Florida. What I meant, I don't want to travel on a weekly basis going from one tournament to another and do that. But, of course, I will be doing some traveling in some future jobs. But as I said, I don't want this to become a full-time job; what I will be doing next.

Q. If you had not been injured, would you have played out the season?

JANA NOVOTNA: It's hard to tell. Maybe not. Maybe yes. I don't know. But, of course, as I said at the Open, I think the injury has helped to speed up the process, but I know that little by little, I was getting to the point where I knew that the time for me is right to retire.

Q. Why are you one of the only players who has hired a woman to be a coach?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I don't think because there is not too many women's coaches around. It's not that. It's just that we see so few women's coaches around, and I think it's a great change. And I think the women's coaches can give -- can give the players something more, something different than a man's coach, because for myself, I know how much experience I was able to get from Hana, because she was a past player, because she was through those situations before, and she could have prepared me and helped me to get ready for the matches and for the big situations.

Q. Martina Navratilova said she hasn't coached because nobody asked her. Do you think that the other players for some reason don't want a woman coach?

JANA NOVOTNA: I don't know. As I said, there is not too many women's coaches around, but I think you will see more and more in the future; that the women will get more women's coaches or female coaches and they will find out why.

Q. When you said that you didn't want to coach, was it more of a case of you didn't want to travel or more a case of you don't know if you have the patience to coach?

JANA NOVOTNA: Oh, I have the patience. I really don't worry about it. It's not a matter of being afraid of putting my name on the line. Of course, when you start to coach after your tennis career, it doesn't mean that a good tennis player will ultimately become a good coach. But I definitely think that I would have the potential to be a good coach, because I have the patience and I think I know about women's tennis a lot, and I could help a player to do that. But the fact is that I really don't want to do that. I would like to simply say, use my brains for a while. I don't want to do the physical activity. I would like to do something where I can do something different.

Q. With so many people have retired the last couple of years, do you find that there's a big difference between 23 and 25 physically?

JANA NOVOTNA: I think you have to look at it this way. I think that Steffi, myself, Nathalie Tauziat and Arantxa Sanchez, we are finishing all the generation when the players were peaking at maybe 19, 20, 21, and they could last much longer. I think that players now, the young, upcoming players are starting to play tennis when they are 3 or 4 years old. So that naturally means that they will have their best results at the age of 15, 16, 17, 18, but, of course, because they started so early, you won't see them playing until they are 30. So I think with the few remain remaining players, the older generation, will step down and the new generation will be peaking or having the best results at a much earlier age, but they won't be playing such a long time. That's my guess.

Q. Do you think that the industry should be worried about that?

JANA NOVOTNA: You don't have to be worried about it because you will still see the young players playing very good 10 or 12 years on the Women's Tour, but because they will start earlier, they will finish earlier. I don't think that the industry or the women's game or tennis, in general, should be worried about it at all, because as I said, the young, upcoming players are more than ready to take over. And they are great champions already, and I am sure that they will provide us with better tennis than maybe we have seen in a decade.

Q. I understand you're going to be playing next year in some exhibitions; do you know where?

JANA NOVOTNA: That hasn't quite been decided because everything is just starting to take off and it's happening. I don't know, I will talk to my manager, Phil, and he will, of course, tell me and inform me about it. I can't tell you when and where exactly we will be playing, but I know if some of these events I will participate, and I would love to because it's a great way of playing against Steffi for the first time when she's relaxed, and maybe what I have a good chance.

Q. You won this tournament in a final that was the best-of-five sets; this year they have fallen back to best-of-three sets, what do you think about that?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I was thinking about it and talking about it, actually, this morning. You know, the Championship has always been known for playing best-of-five, and now we will have winners winning the Chase Championship, but it will be best-of-three only. I'm a little disappointed because of that, but, you know, there's nothing you can do. They, for sure had a good reason to do it this way, to play best-of-three, and, you know, it's unfortunate because it's a great challenge, not only for the spectators, but also for yourself to really feel how it is to play best-of-five, at the end of the tournament when everybody is tired, and just playing at one of the biggest tournaments in the world.

End of FastScripts…

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