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March 7, 1999

Jana Novotna


Q. It was quite windy up in the stands. Was that a factor on the court for you?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yeah, it was quite windy actually. I think this is the only time of the day when you get some breeze. Unfortunately, we had to play in it. It's never easy. I could not really even figure out which way the wind was blowing. But anyway, I think in a way it played an advantage for me because I have this kind of funny game, you know. So I guess I knew how to handle it better. But, yes, pretty decent performance for me for the first match outdoors, and especially here in nine years.

Q. Has it been that long since you played?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yeah. I heard it yesterday when they made the announcement that the last time I was here was 1990. I don't even know really why I never came back. I guess I was always busy playing the indoor tournaments back in Europe and never really wanted to go all the way here before Lipton. But anyway, I changed my schedule around a little bit this year, as I told you in the beginning of the year that I would play tournaments that I didn't play for a while. Yeah, I'm glad to be here.

Q. Was that a factor then? The first game lasted quite awhile, several deuces, but then you seemed to take momentum from that.

JANA NOVOTNA: It was a very important game. The following game right after that when I was down 15-40 on my serve was really important, too. Yeah, I must say that I thought, from then on, I was able to pick up my game, and it was a big advantage, yeah, to win these two games.

Q. Was there something, an adjustment you made during those two games that got the momentum for you?

JANA NOVOTNA: I don't know. Not really. I guess I was just a little bit more aggressive at the important moments, and I happened to win all the important points, you see. That made a huge difference. But otherwise, not bad at all. I mean, I definitely think that there's plenty of room for improvement. But anyway, you know, I'm glad to have this one behind me, no question about it.

Q. How does it feel to play a good friend and doubles partner?

JANA NOVOTNA: It's hard, especially Mary Joe. I'm not saying this because she's sitting here.

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: what did she say (laughter)?

JANA NOVOTNA: Don't believe anything they say or they will write tomorrow (laughter). No, she's a very nice girl, and it's never easy. You know what, we have been used to it so much because she's a great doubles player. She's been playing against her opponents all the time. I did the same thing over the years. It's never easy from the point that you know their strengths and weaknesses of the player. You know how they feel, what they going to do. That sometimes make you think too much. Sometimes you start to focus more on the other person than on yourself, and that's never easy. You always have to remind yourself, "Just stay focused and do whatever you have to do."

Q. Will she hold this against you the rest of the week now?

JANA NOVOTNA: I hope not.

Q. Did the double-fault bother you a little bit, I mean the foot faults?

JANA NOVOTNA: Let's not even get into it. It was a lot of mistakes, a lot of mistakes. I never heard anyone calling Mary Joe foot faults. You know, it was plenty of bad calls. You have to just deal with it and take it as it comes. Just not get too uptight about it.

Q. At the beginning of this you said, "I have this funny little game." What do you mean by that?

JANA NOVOTNA: I'm not going to tell you, just come and watch (laughter). You know, I have this funny game where I can do pretty much everything. I can mix up the game really well. Players never know what to expect from me. Am I going to hit slice cross-court, slice backhand? I can mix it up. I don't give them much pace. I know it is hard for players to handle that. Today, women's tennis is all about power, huge serves, a lot of pace from the baseline. I don't have that. I guess maybe I'm among the few players, they don't really hit it with so much pace. I go more for the placement. I'm trying to play an intelligent, smart game. That's what I call my funny little game.

Q. Earlier on, Steffi was talking about the way the girls are playing now, it's mainly from the back court, you're not really seeing the serve and volleyers. You're probably the last classic serve and volleyer on the Tour. What do you think about that?

JANA NOVOTNA: But you see, the funny thing is, I don't really use it all that much. I mean, how many times did I serve and volley today? Not once. It's not really about serve and volleying. I would just say that I'm an all-around player, and I do come in most of the time from the baseline. But I don't really serve and volley unless I'm playing indoors or if I'm playing on faster surfaces. But this surface is impossible to serve and volley all the time. It is impossible because it's slow enough for other players to make a decent passing shot. The fact is that nowadays, you really don't see many players coming in anymore. You know, as I said, it's all about power and hard hitting from the baseline. Why is that? I don't know. Is this the future of women's tennis? Yes, I think so. But I don't really have an explanation for that.

Q. Disappointing to see that?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes, for me it is. I know how much people do enjoy my all-around game, how much they enjoy seeing players at the net, even watching women's doubles. That tells you that they do miss a little bit of that variety in women's tennis, in the game. Otherwise, there's nothing you can do. But I'm sure you will see it more and more. Venus and Serena, Martina, they do come in quite a bit sometimes. I'm sure you will see that. Predominantly it's going to be baseline tennis.

Q. Do you think if a serve and volleyer was to come up now, she would have an advantage?

JANA NOVOTNA: It depends really how well she can use it, but I think in a way, yes, she would, definitely. I must say that what I've noticed when I was playing against Venus in Hannover, I saw her coming in a lot. I think she is trying to use her big serve, she's trying to use her height and everything to come in more. She was pretty good at that, very impressive. She came in and was very aggressive. Is she going to continue to do that even outdoors? Maybe. But if she does, then she has a great chance.

Q. Just on the subject of World No. 1, in New Haven you said you would go down to Australia if you thought you had a chance to get the World No. 1 ranking, but it didn't happen.


Q. Is being World No. 1 still something in your mind?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes, it is.

Q. Do you think it's not quite possible or what?

JANA NOVOTNA: No, I think it is very possible, especially nowadays. I think it is very possible. I remember talking to you about that. I had the best chance to become No. 1 back at the US Open last year. That didn't happen. Nevertheless, I decided to go to Australia not only to get more points and just take advantage of not playing last year, but I just felt like playing. I just felt if I going to stay at the top, if I want to stay with the girls, I do need to go and play tournaments because it would be a long time off. I felt like it would take me a couple of tournaments to get back into the tournament schedule. But becoming No. 1, I said that always comes with performance. If you play well, you become No. 1. If you don't, you don't. But definitely it is a goal for me, definitely. I mean, playing well at the biggest tournaments like here, Lipton, the Grand Slams, and possibly becoming No. 1, that's a super goal. If it's going to happen, I don't know. If it doesn't, no big deal. But definitely.

Q. You just also said you decided to play at tournaments you haven't played for a long time. Boris Becker was saying that, and he also went on to say that he was going to be cutting down his schedule, putting up his racquets. Have you set yourself a time frame now?

JANA NOVOTNA: No, not really. But it's funny that you say that because I came to Australia and players saw my tournament schedule. They saw me coming to Australia, they knew I'm going to go to Tokyo, that I'm going to go to Indian Wells. Suddenly the rumor was, "This is Jana's farewell tour, she's going to places she didn't play for a while, she's just going to say good-bye." I'm like, "No, that's not the case." No, I don't have any time frame at all. I will go strictly by how I feel. If I continue to play well, I still enjoy it, I play continue playing for another two years or so. If that doesn't happen, you never know.

Q. Does it seem a little silly to you to have people kind of pushing in the direction towards retirement?

JANA NOVOTNA: No. I'm sure they sick of me (laughter). I'm sure they are. That's okay, I'm sick of them, too (laughter).

Q. Are you sick of feeling old on the Tour?

JANA NOVOTNA: No, I don't feel old, I really don't. I don't. Maybe on the paper, yes, I'm 30 years old. But when I'm on the court and when I see myself playing or moving on the court, I'm saying, "Jesus, you may be old, but still fast and still going strong." No, I don't feel that at all.

Q. How old do you feel?

JANA NOVOTNA: I'm not going to tell you that. 18 (laughter).

End of FastScripts....

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