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August 2, 1996

Jana Novotna


Q. Can you talk about your feelings of having finally done it?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes. You can say finally because it was an endless match, and again coming into this match I knew that we both would be very physically and mentally tired because it is very unusual to play for the third spot and that doesn't happen at a regular tournament. But nevertheless, I knew that she would be tired as well. And I just wanted to go out there and give everything, because I knew it was the last singles match at this Olympics. And I just didn't want to end up being 4th. And that's basically what happened. In the first set I was down 3-5, again. I saved a couple of set points and it was a big turnaround because I knew that Mary Joe would be getting tired. So it was really important, even though at some stages we both were really tired. Probably we didn't play the best tennis, but it was a matter of being there and hanging in there until the end, and that's what I did.

Q. Do you have family, relatives here in Atlanta with you?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, no, I don't have my family, not even relatives here with me, but I have the most important people with me, that's my coach, Hana Mandlikova. She's been there basically for every single match and every single tournament with me. So I'm sure that she's even more happy than I am. Of course, everybody back at home were watching so they were with me.

Q. Many athletes don't come to the Olympics. What is the main reason so many didn't come to the Olympics?

JANA NOVOTNA: I know that many of the guys didn't come to the Olympics for whatever reason it was, but you could see the field was pretty strong, and it was like another Grand Slam, especially when you have to play for two weeks, it's a very long time. And you can see how all the women tennis players are dedicated to the tennis and what it means to them.

Q. In the past when there's been a third place playoff like this, it's been hard for anybody to be motivated, but presumably to you the prospect of the bronze was a huge incentive no matter how tired you were?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes, because I became the first Czech woman to earn a medal from any Olympics, so that's a huge success. I know that I will have a third medal, no matter what tomorrow. So it's great to have a medal from the '88 in Seoul and now to get two medals here, it's a fantastic success. And I'm sure it will stay with me forever.

Q. During the 12 days we've seen at least two distinct personalities of Novotna; one with Wiesner, very intense; one with Monica, you seemed to enjoy the moment. Today you seemed tired. When are you most comfortable? When are you playing your best?

JANA NOVOTNA: When I'm happy. Absolutely when I'm happy and when I'm enjoying my tennis. But sometimes it doesn't really matter if I'm laughing on the court or if I don't seem to be that happy or excited after every single point, I have a reason for it. Today why I didn't get so excited was because I was saving all my energy for every point. But definitely when I'm happy and when I enjoy it I play my best tennis, and it really showed during the match against Monica and also against Arantxa.

Q. Was Mary Joe injured? Did she say anything to you?

JANA NOVOTNA: You mean during the match?

Q. Yes.

JANA NOVOTNA: No, she didn't say anything. I just think that she went to change her dress, because she was completely soaked, so she just went to change. But I saw her in the locker room now and I think she's been getting some cramps, so hopefully she'll be okay.

End of FastScripts...

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