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July 31, 1996

Jana Novotna


Q. Jana, after such an emotional match with Seles, did things seem a little flat to you, the tennis, the crowd?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I think it took all of us some time to get into the match, and really the match for me started and I think for everybody else, only in the second set. I don't know, but somehow the first set, it wasn't really good tennis. We made many mistakes, and it was basically nothing to cheer for. But the most important is just to be able to get out of it and I did. And I started to play much better in the second set and I was much more aggressive, and it started to be finally a little more exciting, and that's when I started to play much better.

Q. What was going on, each time you broke her in the first set, she broke you quite easily, were you trying too much?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I think the only place I wasn't able to win the first game in the third set, I think that was really crucial, because I was up 40-15 on her serve and I had a couple more break points. And I believe if I had won the game, that I would be on the roll, because at that stage she was really cracking down, and she was making many mistakes, and I finally started the play the way I did against Monica. But it felt like every single time she was serving until the third set it was such a difficult and emotional game, that I had no power in my own serve. So perhaps sometimes I got a little bit too excited, and then just didn't have enough energy to win my serve.

Q. Does she have a special kind of mental toughness to cope with those situations very well?

JANA NOVOTNA: No, I don't think so, I think she only knows that she can run down all the balls. And as I said before, her game is really simple, very simple. She just brings the ball back, and it's up to the other player, if you don't, you're going to lose it. She just brings the ball back, and even when I served a couple good serves, she was always able to give me a high ball back, and I ended up two meters behind the baseline. Then you have to start again from the back. So it's much more tiring to play a game like I do, because I'm running back and forth, I'm approaching all the time, I'm doing something, create, compared to someone who is just bringing the ball back.

Q. Is there something you wish you would have done differently?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I just wish that I would be a little bit physically stronger at the end, because I was getting some cramps in the middle of the third set and in my left calf. So from there on I wasn't really able to push off from my serve, and my serve is really physical, and I have a pretty deep knee bend, so that I wish that somebody would give me a laugh the last three games.

Q. Do you think it's difficult to play with somebody that's your doubles partner, because you know her game very well?


Q. To find the key?

JANA NOVOTNA: No, no, I don't think, that's not difficult. If you -- that's very simple, basically, because -- and it happens with many other players. If players like Arantxa or Steffi or other players or Gaby are on the tour for so many years, or Mary Joe Fernandez for 15 years, it's easy to know their game. She doesn't have to be my doubles partner to know her game. What is really sad, though, what is upsetting is that you are playing against your doubles partner, and she's been questioning every single call there is, even when there is no reason for it. So that's really upsetting, because you wouldn't expect that from a player of her caliber, you would expect a little bit more of a fair play. But it's nothing personal. She doesn't do it only to me, she does it with everybody. But for the moment I'm her doubles partner, so sometimes it's really upsetting.

Q. How friendly are you with her, as a result of playing doubles together?

JANA NOVOTNA: We are playing doubles together, we are friends, but we are not like going out together or anything. So we are just friends, but on a very normal basis.

Q. When you play her there is no added emotion?

JANA NOVOTNA: No, it's not like the Mary Joe and Lindsay. We are friends in a professional way, I would say.

Q. Nevertheless, when she starts to question calls, do you take that a bit more personally, because you have a partnership, as well?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, no, I don't think I take it personally, because we play doubles together or anything, I think I would feel the same way against anybody. But I'm saying if a player who would be ranked, I don't know, 100th in the world would do this I would have no respect for this player whatsoever. It wouldn't surprise me and I would go out and do my job. When you see something like this going on in every single tournament, every single match. You start to think is this really a professional way of doing things.

Q. Why do you think she does it?

JANA NOVOTNA: I don't know. You ask her and then you tell me.

Q. Jana, will you speak to her about this or will you just drop the matter?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes, when I'm done here, I'm going to talk to her and I'm going to tell her, "You should not do this, you are a bad girl". No, of course not. That's the way she is, and you know, it's her problem. I know when I step on the court that I am a more popular player than she is. And I feel much better about myself when I am on the court than when I am off the court. Whatever she is doing or whenever she is like that, she has to live with it. And for me the most important is that I know who I am and that I am more popular than she is, no matter what. That's very important to me.

Q. Speaking of controversial things, it was said after Wimbledon, after the match with Steffi, that Arantxa has a habit of taking breaks at the inappropriate time. She had one today when you were up 4-1 the second set. Do you think that's fair criticism of her?

JANA NOVOTNA: Let's not get any deeper. No, I am just kidding, really. No, I don't know, I don't care really. Anybody can do this, and I really have no idea if she's doing it to take her time or if she's doing it for another reason. These things happen and you just have to avoid it, you just have to focus on yourself. You can't constantly concentrate on your opponent and you just forget to play your game. That really doesn't bother me at all, because anybody can do that. And I wouldn't be surprised in humidity like that that you change your shirt, because that's what I did. It gets uncomfortable. Since you can't do it like the guys on the court we have to leave.

Q. You're going to be facing Sanchez again soon in a doubles match?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes, isn't that exciting? Yes, we can make the score even. No, I was a little bit surprised with the scheduling that we still have to play our doubles today, because it seems a little bit odd since we only have to play the doubles final on Saturday. But I will try to go over that and I hope that she will do all the running. And we'll try and go and do the best in the doubles. But it is tough. It's tough to play singles and doubles at the tournaments or at the Grand Slams, that's for sure.

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