September 6, 1995
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. How disappointed were you to lose the tiebreak?
JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I think the tiebreaker could go both ways, and I came in a few times. I made two volley mistakes, and I think that was about it. I think -- not that I am disappointed, but I was up 6-5 at 40-15 and that is where Monica really showed that, you know, she didn't worry about it at all what the score was and just went for her shots. That was the first time practically that she was at the net, and she made a good volley on the second set point; so very gutsy play from her.
Q. Is there any solace in knowing that you took her to the only tiebreaker and really stretched her?
JANA NOVOTNA: Not really. I think I played very good first set. I was up 4-2, maybe if I would, you know, be a little bit more consistent there and could break her again to 5-2, it would be much easier. But I really felt that I had a good chance today because Monica wasn't serving that well. She was always serving to my backhand which was an advantage because most of the second serve, I could take in and come in or get into the play. But pity. But she is playing very well.
Q. Were you still thinking about the first set as you were playing the second?
JANA NOVOTNA: No, not at all. Once the first set was over, it was over for me, as well. So didn't think about it at all. And but, of course, Monica became much more confident than in the first set. She went more for her shots, and it felt like I was always on the defense.
Q. Does it look like she has lost some good qualities of her game during the layoff?
JANA NOVOTNA: Well, of course, I thought that she was serving -- that she could serve much better, you know, few games in the second set she showed that she would be going more for her first serves; maybe she would have much easier games with me, but the serve wasn't really impressing today and she made few errors from the back. But, of course, when she needed it, she always made a good shot.
Q. Jana, the first set took almost an hour. You were moving her around pretty well. She hasn't played very much during the tournaments. Did you think that as the match went on, you had a better chance because of her fitness?
JANA NOVOTNA: Well, you see it is quite different with Monica because she basically running only from the baseline -- on the baseline. She is the one who is directing the game. So it is always like the opponents are always more on the run than she is. Even sometimes I stretch her to the limit, and she really got to the ball, so she impressed me with that. Don't forget, she is the one who is directing. So she is trying to wear down the opponent.
Q. The second set seemed to turn. You had a game point in the third game; you netted the smash. Was the sun a factor?
JANA NOVOTNA: I let the ball bounce to make it easier on myself and that right at the edge when I wanted to smash it, I had the sun there. It happens. The sun was right there. I missed that overhead. I don't think it was a key point of the second set or anything, but, of course, it would be nice if I would make that.
Q. Some people have said that the fact that a woman could leave the game for two and a half years and come back and win the way she has in straight sets that that says something bad about the women's game; that there is no depth. Can you talk about that.
JANA NOVOTNA: I wouldn't really say that. Monica has been the only one who has done it in the past, and I think the reason why she could do this or why she did it so well, is the way she is playing. If it would be Steffi, or me, or somebody who has an all-around game, it would be a different story. I think because of Monica's game that she is playing both handed, both shots, she is only playing from the baseline; doesn't really come there, so it is not really that difficult. So I think she can do it because of her game or she has the advantage because of the way she is playing. If it would be somebody like Steffi who has an all-around game and has to work harder on the shots,, I think it would be a different story.
Q. You don't think it has anything to do with her character and personality?
JANA NOVOTNA: Of course, it has. She is extremely professional player and very tough, and she is a great champion. So, of course, it has something to do with that, but I think the main reason is the way she is playing her style.
Q. If you would have played that match again, what would you do differently?
JANA NOVOTNA: I guess, I would wish that I would serve a little better or maybe if I would be able to serve harder the first serve and maybe to come in a little bit more. But really there is not much you can do different because Monica is very solid on both sides; so that makes it hard.
Q. What do you think it will take for you to breakthrough and win a tournament like this one?
JANA NOVOTNA: We will have to eliminate Graf and Seles out of the tournament somehow. I don't know how. I haven't figured it out yet.
Q. What does it say about her mental toughness or yours, when you are at the point where it is 40-15; you are serving for the set in the first set, and she drills back a return; she makes a shot that you think you have got, like the drop shot, I think -- just what does it mean -- is that a matter of mental toughness, mobility?
JANA NOVOTNA: Well, of course. This is what this is all about. Any other player who just put the ball over the net and put it back into play, and she was the one I served right into her body and she was still able to back up a little bit and still go for a winner down the line, which is absolutely amazing, but this is the Monica we know from the past, and she hasn't lost anything of this. That is why she is continuing playing so, so well.
Q. Talk about her directing the game. So how difficult is that mentally on her opponent to feel like she is in charge; she is deciding where you go througout the whole game and you have difficult mentally to overcome that?
JANA NOVOTNA: That is very difficult not only mentally, but also physically it is difficult to overcome that because she is playing both hands; that she can go for more angles than with one-handed backhand or with only slice backhand. So physically, it is very demanding, and that is why the first set took so long because we had so many rallies on most of the points. I couldn't truly come in as much as I would like to, only because I was always pushed too far in the back. So physically, it is very demanding and mentally in a way. Also, but physically I would say more.
Q. Was there a special reason for this match being scheduled at 11 in the morning?
JANA NOVOTNA: Gee, you tell me. I have no idea who is in charge of doing the scheduling for this tournament, so you know...
Q. Were you upset by the schedule?
JANA NOVOTNA: No, I used to get upset about many things, about the scheduling and the courts and, you know, different things, but not anymore because really it doesn't really help, so you have to take it as it comes and I don't know whose decision it is. Television decision, Nike decision, WTA, Seles, is maybe it is ATP decision, gee, I don't know.
Q. What was your feeling after you broke for 6-5?
JANA NOVOTNA: I was giving fists after each point in the first set most of the time, of course, it was very exciting tennis and I enjoyed it very much, so I knew that I will have to put most of the first serve in. That is what I did. 40-15 -- from then, I told you about it already.
Q. Jana, there was so much wonder among all the players when Monica came back about facing her and what it would be like. Did it live up to your expectation of what it would be like the first time you played her?
JANA NOVOTNA: Yes, probably. Yeah. Of course. If you don't play somebody for so long, it always takes time to get used to them and to figure out how they are playing, so I am sure it will take many more tournaments and we will have to meet a few more times before maybe I figure out a way to -- how to play her an beater. Of course, it will depend on which surface we play as well, but so far as I told you before already, she took long time to come back, but when she decided to come back she is ready.
Q. If you get her into a third set it is going to be an entirely different match; going to tie her?
JANA NOVOTNA: Well, I don't know. It would be really a speculation to go what would happen in the third set or what would happen if I would win the first set. It is always hard to tell because you don't know how the other player would react to that, but naturally, I told you that physically to play Monica Seles, it is very demanding and you have to be 100% fit, and, you know, which I thought I was, but in the second set, even when you don't think you are getting a little slower and you are one step behind, then she is putting more pressure on you.
Q. Does her conditioning surprise you after her layoff that she is has fit as she is?
JANA NOVOTNA: Well, you know, it is hard to tell for me is she is really fit or if she is not fit. Yes, obviously, she is playing well and she is handling the heat and everything very well, but I told you because of the way she plays, she is the one who is directing the game. We will see if maybe if she makes it to the finals, Steffi could put make her run around. For her, it is difficult because to -- with her, she is directinging all the time. You don't have that much time. You don't have the angle to stretch her? Little more to play different things because she is playing hard and deep; that makes it very difficult.
Q. You joked only way you are going to win this type of tournament is eliminate Graf and Seles. Seriously, are you getting a little frustrated by coming close, keep on coming close, but not being able to breakthrough?
JANA NOVOTNA: No, I do not think I -- I don't think I am frustrated or anything. I know that I have the game to beat them and I am sure everybody else knows that, but of course, it is matter of time when I will do it finally, but I look at it from the positive side, is, maybe I can't do it, you know, or I have been close and I played very exciting matches, but I always lost, but deep inside, I know I can do it - if it is going to come next year or in two years or tomorrow; then I still I know I can do it and I have done it in the past.
Q. 10 years ago your coach, Hana Mandlikova, won in here in dramatic form. Was there a moment in that first set where you were up there thinking it was possible? Were you thinking that maybe this was your year ten years later?
JANA NOVOTNA: No. I don't think we had really anything to do with it. Maybe if this would be the final, maybe I would say that would be nice if I can do it also, but this was only a quarterfinal and even if I would win this match, it -- really would have to still win two more matches and that would be still too far away. So I haven't thought about it at all.
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