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November 20, 1996

Jana Novotna


Q. Jana, you began to feel well a little bit later than expected today?

JANA NOVOTNA: No, actually I felt pretty good right from the beginning, but the only problem was that I thought Amanda started to play really well right from the beginning, because she plays really deep and very high topspin, it was difficult for me, and I needed to get used to it, so that was why I was losing the first three games. But from then I felt really comfortable on the court and even though I struggled a little bit until like 4-All I still felt like I have a pretty good chance. And from that point on I thought that I started to play really much better, and I felt much better on the court, much more confident and let me tell you, even the second set was 6-1, I thought Amanda played really well. And I had a very good workout. So full credit to her.

Q. It seems you can't do anything wrong right now.

JANA NOVOTNA: No, absolutely not. You saw in the beginning that I was not sharp enough, especially from my backhand side. But it's not -- that's not really important, what happens in the beginning. The beginning is always interesting because you need to get used to the player, and I haven't played Amanda for a long, long time. So that's what happened to me today. But then at the end, as I said, I just felt really comfortable and even though Amanda played some really good shots, I was able to produce even a better shot.

Q. You served really big today.

JANA NOVOTNA: You know, I wouldn't say that I served really dead big, maybe the mileage was one serve 110. But I think the percentage was pretty high and every time I needed a first serve I was able to make it and to come in afterwards. So I think the percentage is more important than hitting aces and all that.

Q. People say you are the hottest player right now on the Tour. Do you feel like you are the favorite for the tournament?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, you know, I don't like to talk about these things, but I can tell you one thing, I think that my results and the way I've been playing for the last couple of weeks really show that I have made some improvement and that I'm playing really good tennis right now. So I would just say that I'm really pleased the way I played today. I think it was a great opening match and I'm looking forward to the Friday quarterfinals. And we'll see what happens there. I have to face the No. 2 player in the world, which is very difficult. But I always say if you want to win a big tournament you have to beat the top players, no matter what.

Q. The players have been complaining this week that the season is too long, they're tired, but you are very strong at the end of the season, why do you think there's that difference?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I think the difference is that I have decided that I took more time off in the beginning of the year, I had the whole month of December and January off, and I had some really good time, I took a good rest. And I was working on my physical fitness. And I think it's all very individual. I have picked my tournaments and I had my schedule really done the way I really wanted to have it and in a way, yes, maybe it isn't as strong, it's individual. But I'll tell you one thing I'm looking forward to the ranking change next year, because I think it's very important for each player to choose and play as many tournaments as they want without any pressure, and I think it will bring much better level of women's tennis for next year. And I can tell you honestly that I'm really looking forward to that because this year and the system we had in the past was encouraging players not to play, because the less you played the better ranking you had. And I think that's not right. So I'm really looking forward to go and compete next year and I think that it should take more pressure off the top players and all the players and everybody just will feel free to play as much as they want.

Q. Once you had your break at the start of the season are you going to increase your schedule?

JANA NOVOTNA: No, I don't think this is like a matter of increasing the schedule. It's very individual and everybody likes to do different things. I like to play quite a lot of tournaments because that suits my game and I know many other players like to do the same thing, but of course what is important to have a quality break in between the tournaments. I think that's really important. And if you are able to find a good combination in between playing a lot and having a good rest, then I think that you can have a successful season.

Q. How do you feel about Steffi basically leaving early in Philadelphia and how did that strike you and how do you feel it's going to affect this tournament?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I will answer this way, Steffi wasn't fit enough coming into the tournament and I do believe that she gave her best shot. She wanted to finish the tournament, she wanted to finish finals against me, but she didn't want to take a chance that she wouldn't be able to play here. So it was absolutely her decision. And obviously Steffi is a very professional player and I think she would rather compete in the big tournaments. When I mean she didn't want to take a chance hurting herself even more in Philadelphia and then maybe putting out of here. So I think that -- the way she played yesterday, I think she's feeling much better, and I hope she will be able to stay that way and finish the tournament.

Q. What is it about playing indoors that --

JANA NOVOTNA: No wind, no sun, that's it. That's it. I don't know really. Of course it is harder to play. You've got really perfect conditions playing indoors, and of course playing on the Supreme it really suits me, it suits my game, because the ball stays really low, and it has a good speed when you can come in all the time and you can stay in the back. So I guess it's the service and really the fast indoor conditions, that's one of the reasons.

End of FastScripts....

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