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August 28, 1998

Jana Novotna


Q. How hard is it when you have never beaten somebody? I mean, she has played you now 12 sets, six matches and you have won every single one?

JANA NOVOTNA: Is that right?

Q. Yeah.

JANA NOVOTNA: Julie Halard?

Q. Yeah.

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, she must be very disappointed then. I know how it feels. I know how it feels because I used to have this against Steffi Graf, and it is just very frustrating that you go to play the same player over and over again and obviously Julie should be really pleased with her performances because obviously a year ago she was told that she may never play tennis again so I think the way she is playing right now, she must be very pleased about that. But, of course, it must be very frustrating because I really do have the game and I can adapt to many different situations on the court and I must say that she played really well. She started really well. Was up 3-Love right away and, you know, that is the difference between a top player and a lower-ranked players that, you know, sometimes they are ahead and they just don't know how to finish it off.

Q. Were you able to pretty much stick to your game plan?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I was going -- my game plan today was to come in much more, but unfortunately I couldn't do that because she was playing these very hard balls inside out forehands out and it was really difficult to come after that. So I was under a little pressure and she was coming in quite a lot, but we had some good rallies. I thought that I played smart intelligent tennis which I was really pleased about and it was a different few points here and there and that made a difference.

Q. Ever give yourself a little pep-talk, when it looked like they missed that call about?

JANA NOVOTNA: They sure missed that call. I supposed to be up 5-3 in that set and, you know, I mean, I always said it that one point cannot make a difference, but sometimes it really comes down to just one point. Then they made a horrible call right on the other side, pretty close call my approach shot, and, you know, I said it really takes a lot to be a good chair umpire. I mean, it is very understanding that anybody can make a mistake and the lines personnel is maybe not as experienced, but these -- this chair umpires travelling with us at most of the tournaments, they have got to make an overrule in a situation like this when the ball is so obviously out. It is very frustrating.

Q. Why don't they overrule?

JANA NOVOTNA: I don't know. That is a good question. I do ask it myself also. Sometimes it is so, you know, sometimes there are even closer calls and they go ahead with the overrule and sometimes there is an obvious ball out wide or long and they just don't do it. I think it takes a moment that if they are not really right on top of the situation they just decide not to do anything. We do need a replay cameras, geez, should already. Badly.

Q. How do you feel about your serve today?

JANA NOVOTNA: I am serving okay. I am not serving nothing special really.

Q. You had one ace.

JANA NOVOTNA: Yeah, one ace. That is so impressive. It is like my average serve is like really in the 90s. It is lower than I would usually serve, but that is something I want to work on before I start playing in New York and that has got to go up. I need to have more free points on my serve because then I have to work very hard and it is not necessary.

Q. Tomorrow do you have a preference for tomorrow?

JANA NOVOTNA: I hate both of them (laughter). (Laughs) No, I really don't have a preference at all. I think that is a very tough semifinal. I am going to watch because I haven't played Lindsay for a while. Haven't played Steffi for a long time. Obviously the last time I played Lindsay I had a hard time and didn't beat her in a long time so that would a good revenge just before the Open. But nevertheless, both of them are going to be fresh. They will go into the finals Sunday will try to win very badly, I am sure. I am just looking forward to that. I said that at the beginning of the tournament my goal was to get into the finals. Now I am there, so, I think I can just completely relax and just go for it and play my shots.

Q. Are you playing the best tennis of your career right now?

JANA NOVOTNA: You know what, at times, yes, I think that there is definitely room for improvement. As I said, I think that I am playing really well off the ground. I think I am playing well at the net. All I said in the beginning was I need to improve my serve in order to play against players like Davenport or Graf obviously players who are returning really well and then serving very well themselves. So that is something I really have to work on, but otherwise I think I am playing really smart tennis. And I think that is really important. You don't necessarily have to play your best tennis, but as long as I keep on winning and I am playing intelligent tennis, using all my experience, and using the court well, then I am really happy about that.

Q. What is intelligent tennis? You just --

JANA NOVOTNA: That means that you can create, that you do different kind of shots; that I was down 3-Love and I was able to come up with something new. I was able to come up with something different to come back into the match. It didn't take me a set or -- it just -- using the court well. Play dropshots, play approaches and stay back, play high balls, that means do anything you want.

Q. What did you change up at 3-All?

JANA NOVOTNA: I think I was making too many mistakes in the beginning and she started off really well, started to serve much better so I just -- at that time I just needed to be more consistent and, you know, move her around a little bit let had her work for her shots much more.

Q. How have you found this New Haven experience? What will you tell the other players that weren't here?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I have been here before so I knew basically coming into this tournament what to expect. I think that the tournament site is really nice and, you know, it is not the best place in the world, but I think the date of the tournament is really important and the Center Court is really nice, so I think that these are the most important things. All I can say that, yeah, I have been feeling pretty good here, been playing some good tennis; for me it worked and I am sure I will be back next year.

Q. Court conditions nice out there?

JANA NOVOTNA: It was little pleasant. I was little worried it was getting windy at the beginning of the match, but it settled down. It was nice.

End of FastScripts…

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