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August 29, 1998

Jana Novotna


Q. Looked like you ran out of gas in that second set.

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I think not only in the second set, I think that already in the beginning of the match I was going into the match not feeling really 100%. Obviously I was very tired from playing night matches and a lot of tennis this week simply. That simply is impossible to play Steffi if I am at a stage like that. With her you have to be 100% sharp and extremely quick around the court because she will just keep on hitting hard and run you from one corner to another. So it has been awhile since I played her so it was good to play her just before the Open just in case we have to play each other again so I am prepared.

Q. Are you okay other than just being tired, are you otherwise all right?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes. Do I look so bad? (Laughs) (laughter).

Q. There was a streak there where you lost 16 of 18 points. I don't think I have ever seen you do that against anyone.

JANA NOVOTNA: I think I cannot give you any different answer than I did already the first one I think, as I said, Steffi was on top of her game. She was playing extremely well against Davenport last night. I could see she was running Lindsay from one side to the other. Obviously that gave her a lot of confidence going into the finals and and she is rested. She has been training very hard so, she is obviously prepared. That is about it.

Q. How far away is she from where she was before she was injured?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I think to me the way she played today, I think that she is just where she was when she stopped playing. Maybe a few points or a few things that she still has to improve and she is almost there. But now the point is if she can do it from one week to another or can she do it only -- how long she can keep it up that is another thing.

Q. You said playing doubles last night obviously took some stamina away from you.

JANA NOVOTNA: Not only me playing doubles, I have been playing a lot of singles match and I had some tough matches -- this is not an easy week, start so late 4 o'clock, five o'clock playing night matches all that. If you don't get the hours before midnight, that takes a lot of out of you.

Q. But given that, did you come into this match confident, though?

JANA NOVOTNA: Definitely. Of course. I was going into the final very confident. I was very pleased the way I was playing during the whole week in the previous matches and I was very confident. Only thing I knew that I may get a little tired. That is exactly what happened.

Q. Feel tired Jana when you went out on the court?

JANA NOVOTNA: I felt tired already when I woke up this morning. I was like: Oh, boy, do I have to play today. But it is good. It is only Saturday. That is the reason for a Saturday final, I think that is very reasonable decision to do things like that and gives me two days off just before the US Open starts. So I should recover pretty quickly and just be ready for my next match.

Q. What was your game plan going in? You seemed to want to play her at the net a lot.

JANA NOVOTNA: Yeah, definitely. I wanted to come in a lot even though it is very difficult. She kept me behind the baseline all the time, but nevertheless when I came in, she was passing me all the time. She didn't have a pattern which is surprised me. She was going with the backhand down the lines, crosscourt. She was mixing it up all the time; that makes it difficult for me to read the passing shots and to be successful at the net.

Q. What does it mean for tennis to have Steffi back the way she was and what does it mean to you personally?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I commented that on the court already. Well, it is really funny, she is back, I have to play her and I lost again. (laughter) How am I supposed to feel about that? Now, I know how Julie Halard feels when she has to play me. (Laughs) it is pretty devastating. You just ask me about it last night and I was like, that is her problem. She has got to deal with it. And now I am in the same situation, so I am like -- it feels really terrible. (Laughs).

Q. The timeout there, was that a strategy move?

JANA NOVOTNA: That was a very necessary timeout. (laughter). (Laughs) and if you wish to go into the details you can sure go ahead, but....

Q. Had nothing to do with trying to slow down her momentum are?

JANA NOVOTNA: It had something to do with not being embarrassed.

Q. This Tour grind you made reference -- players make reference to it all the time, tremendous grind of playing one tournament after another, one week after another and when you are a top player like you are, you play more matches because you are deeper into a tournament. How much does that mean going into the Open, I mean, you played a lot of tennis not only this week, but been on a run here. What does that mean in terms of being ready to play in the Open or in a Grand Slam? How much energy do you have? How difficult a problem is it for a tennis player?

JANA NOVOTNA: Let me check (makes muscle) Geez - a lot. Well, I think what is really important is that you have to know your serves right. I think that now over the years I think that I know myself very well. I know what I need before a Grand Slam or I know what I need in order to play really well. As I told you, I didn't play for four weeks so I was planning ahead to play these two tournaments just before the Open because I think that is what I need and I need to play as many matches as I can just before a Grand Slam. Because practice sessions are completely different from playing matches. That was my goal. I was very pleased the way I played in Montreal. Very happy to get to the finals here and even though I seem to be really tired now, don't forget, the beginning of the US Open is really very slow. I mean, you have one day in between, so, it takes me couple of days to recover. I know that I had the preparation that I needed to have just before the Open. I think what is important now to get a little bit of a practice, make some corrections and just get some rest and just look forward to play every other match.

Q. This tournament has been kind of shaky for the last few years. Do you think it is on pretty solid footing right now?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I think -- you know, I am pretty sure that it is. I talked about it yesterday already. I think that a tournament site is very nice. I think it is a little bit difficult to get the fans interested in coming during the week. That is why we have to start in such a late hour so that is more convenient for the public, less convenient for the players. But I think that this tournament is on a solid ground and I am sure that we will have this tournament for many, many more years.

Q. What time did your doubles match finish yesterday?

JANA NOVOTNA: I don't even know. Around 10:30 I think.

Q. The doubles matches are going to have a definite bearing on your ranking, doubles-ranking. How important is that to you?

JANA NOVOTNA: Absolutely. I am going for the No. 1 ranking this week, so, if I keep on winning hopefully I can be number one again so that was not really, really important, but always was to be good the best player in the world.

Q. What about the singles No. 1 ranking? You have been --

JANA NOVOTNA: Who cares about singles? Doubles! That is it. (makes fist).

Q. You have been close obviously?


Q. -- You achieved one of your goals which is the Wimbledon title, have a Slam. Is the No. 1 singles ranking is that a goal for you?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I think that the No. 1 ranking always comes with achieving other goals. I think if your goal is to play well next week or if your goal is to get to the semifinals or your goal is to win the US Open, that ranking will automatically follow your results. I don't think you have to necessarily focus on becoming No. 1 player in the world. I think all you have to do is focus on playing really well. Beating the top players and getting as far as you can in the tournament. If you do that and if you can little by little achieve that, then I am sure that the No. 1 ranking can come. But I always said that also there are so many factors involved that other players can play well and they can, you know, get more points than you do, so it is not only -- it is not only necessarily up to you how well you can do.

Q. If you were to get there, would it be --

JANA NOVOTNA: It would be.

Q. -- Satisfying?

JANA NOVOTNA: Absolutely. When I won a Grand Slam, yes, it would be absolutely very satisfying. I always said in order to become No. 1 player in the world you need to win a Grand Slam. I don't think it is fair like in the men's tennis Rios became No. 1 player in the world without winning a Grand Slam tournament. But things happen and now I would feel very, very satisfied if that would happen for me.

Q. You have quite a few points to defend after the Open this year. Winning the champ -- if you defend your points and you are close to the No. 1 ranking, would you consider playing the Australian Open?

JANA NOVOTNA: That is a good question. No. Too far. (Laughs) too far.

Q. You have no points, no point there -- February, March?

JANA NOVOTNA: I know. I have nothing. You know, what that is really interesting question. I really would have to think about it. I think that would be a great possibility that I would go and do that, yeah. Okay, I will come. (Laughs)

End of FastScripts…

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