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September 3, 1999

Jana Novotna

U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. How good was she? How bad were you?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I think you have to look at it this way, I think that Anke played a very good match today. I think she has finally set her mind back on tennis and, naturally, she has made a great improvement over the last few months. She's playing much more consistent than she used to. About me, I would just say that I'm not the same player that I was at Wimbledon or after my injury. Somehow I cannot get my movement back, and obviously I was overpowered out there today. And, you know, she was just a better player today.

Q. Does it hurt when you play?

JANA NOVOTNA: I'm still hurting, actually, and it's quite uncomfortable. I'm actually thinking about having some more tests done, just to find out really what's going on. But, yeah, very naturally, as I said, I'm not the same player that I was before the injury, and it's difficult to get it back.

Q. With her being on today, did you feel a need to try and force things offensively?

JANA NOVOTNA: Of course. I was -- I had to try to get in as soon as I could, and of course sometimes I had to do it from shots which were not the right ones, and that's why I made so many mistakes. But, you know, as I said, I mean it's not a point here, it's not a point there. It's a lack of confidence and lack of matches that I had and a lack of movement that I'm missing in my game.

Q. After what happened at the Pilot Pen, did you come in here feeling like you had really any kind of a chance? Did you feel like you were prepared?

JANA NOVOTNA: Of course I came in here after two losses, so that doesn't give you a lot of confidence or anything. But, you know, what can you do? The US Open is here so you have to try to be ready as much as you can, and that's what I tried to do. I played two easy round matches when I didn't really have an opponent, and today, as I said, she was too good, too consistent, and too overpowering.

Q. Is she a better player now than she has been over the years?

JANA NOVOTNA: Absolutely. That's what I said, I think she is finally getting her mind back into the tennis, and she's still very young. She has a lot to achieve. And, you know, if she keeps on playing this well and if she keeps on gaining more confidence, I'm sure you will see a lot about her in the future.

Q. Is she good enough to win a Grand Slam tournament?

JANA NOVOTNA: I don't think right now she is, of course, because she's out of the tennis for a while. I know to win big Grand Slams you need to -- you just need to play better and be more consistent. And she is just about start right now. So she may be ready in the near future.

Q. Are you concerned that this injury is something very serious? I mean you said you were going to have some more testing.

JANA NOVOTNA: I am concerned about it. It was very serious. Of course you all know that I have made a great effort to come back very early, to play at Wimbledon, which was, of course, my goal. But now it seems like even after a very long time off that I had right after Wimbledon, the ankle is not getting better, and I am not feeling 100 percent. And, you know, for right now I really don't know what my future is, and I want to take some time to think about it and let you know later.

Q. It seems that injuries are plaguing a lot of players on both the men's and women's side. Do you think that the schedule is just too grueling, that it, A, causes injuries, or, B, you get an injury and you just don't have time to recover?

JANA NOVOTNA: Exactly. Yes, it is. I mean we don't have the off-season like all the other sports have, and I think that's a big mistake. I've always been very -- I thought to have at least two months after where you can rest, where you can start to prepare physically for the new season. And, yeah, the commitments are very hard here. You have to play a lot of tournaments. You play on different surfaces, which doesn't help either. And this tournament is a perfect example of it. We have players falling out of the draws with constant injuries like never before. So it tells you something that the players are playing a lot and they don't have enough time to recover and prepare for the next tournament.

Q. You said you're going to take some time off and think about what you might do. Is one of those things you're thinking about retiring?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, not right now. You know, I -- of course I thought about it when I got hurt because I didn't know how quickly I would be able to come back. I know if you don't come back very quickly, you miss a lot because nowadays the tennis is getting better and faster every day. If you don't play tournaments for a while, you feel like you have missed a lot. As I said, I don't have any immediate plans, but I will definitely think about everything and just see what's going to happen.

Q. The ankle, is it a constant pain, is it come-and-go?

JANA NOVOTNA: It's just -- it is just -- it's just swollen. You know, it's not getting any better. I don't want to blame this loss on my injury. I'm just telling you, I'm just telling you that, you know, I'm not the same player. My movement is not the same. No matter how much I'm trying, I still can't do it.

Q. You mean indirectly? You're out for a while because of the ankle, and now even if the ankle is feeling better though, you miss tournaments and so forth, and, therefore --

JANA NOVOTNA: Right. Well, yeah. That's what I said. I mean, you know, I don't know what else to say about it. I just don't want to talk about my ankle and my this and my that. I think it's a combination of things. I think it's very obvious. I mean to compare tennis nowadays, you can tell that everybody is hitting, moving much faster than we ever did before. You just have to stay out there. I said that earlier, I said if I will feel that I can no longer compete with these players or I cannot physically be out there and stay in the Top 10 and play on the level that I would like to play, then I will think about leaving. But for right now, as I said, I want to take time to think about everything and don't make any emotional statements.

Q. I know that you specifically wanted to come back to Wimbledon for obvious reasons. Do you think if you came back too soon maybe you would hurt the ankle more and that's why you're having problems?

JANA NOVOTNA: I think that was part of it. I think it was part of it. I have played quite a lot. And, yeah, maybe it was not the right decision, but now you can't take it back so it's no point of going back to it and say, "I should have done this differently."

Q. How frustrating is it to be on the court and know you could get to something but that, you know, physical injury is keeping you from it?

JANA NOVOTNA: It's very frustrating. I think it's the same for every single player. I think if you know that you have the game but because you are slowed down by an injury, that's -- as I said, if you're not 100 percent, it's better not to play because it's more frustrating to be there and not to be able to play the way you want to play than just to stay out of the tournament, take appropriate rest and then come back.

End of FastScripts....

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