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November 15, 1994

Jana Novotna


Q. What happened in that second set?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, in the second set when I lost the first when she broke me once, then she started to play much better, she was going for it, much more than in the first set. I think sort of in the first set she was still getting used to the atmosphere and the arena and everything, and in this second set she starting to play real well. And I couldn't cope with that, so I needed to slow my game down a little bit, but then, once when I broke her in the third set, I was back in control and I felt like, you know, that shouldn't be a problem anymore. But once when she started to hit the balls very hard and so well, it was hard to deal with it. Because this surface isn't that fast. It is a little bit slower because it's brand new and, so, it was hard to finish the ball off.

Q. Jana, can you tell us what Martina has meant to you as a tennis player?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, she didn't mean anything in the beginning because I really don't remember her while I was growing up back in Czechoslovakia. She defected at that time and there was no news about her, I didn't even know that she's existing, so, first time I met her that was, when I was like 18, 19 years old. So, she didn't really mean that much. I think she meant so much more for women's tennis for sports overall than to me.

Q. In what way, what has she meant to women's sports?

JANA NOVOTNA: I think that she brought women's tennis to another level. She -- she was one of the players ever to be the fittest on the court, and she played different kind of game than anybody else and because she was so good and in such a good shape, that broke the women's tennis to another level and all the other players had to become also better, and I think that's the way this -- there's a tremendous improvement 15, 20 years ago.

Q. Is there one thing that stands out in her career more than another?


Q. Yes.

After this tournament, what are you going to remember most about her?

JANA NOVOTNA: I don't know, it's hard to tell. I think the record, the records she broke and all the number of tournaments she won and Wimbledon. Of course, and in every way, everything we will miss everything about her, her presence.

Q. Do you remember as a kid, was there talking about her and --

JANA NOVOTNA: No, no, I don't remember that, no. It was very unfortunate because really at that time, the communistic system we had in our country was very bad, you know, for sports overall and for people who defected and she was one of them, so that's why I didn't have any news about her. We didn't have anything about her, we didn't know any.

Q. So even talking amongst friends other tennis friends --


Q. Was --

JANA NOVOTNA: She wasn't existing for us. No, it was not so bad, but there were other players. There were other players. You know, we talk about them, we could see and they were part of it, you know, but Martina once she was gone, she was gone until, really, 1989.

Q. How is it with Lendl; I mean, he never defected for that whole period, but he wasn't there, is it similar, or was he talked about?

JANA NOVOTNA: I think with Ivan it was different, I mean, Ivan, as you said, he never really defected, even he was his own boss in a way. You know, but he was still there and he always played Davis Cup which appeared public, so he never did anything dead bad. He just wanted to become number one player in the world and that's what was sticking out a little it bit, but otherwise he did everything what he was asked to do, and that was the difference.

Q. Did Martina bring more aestheticism in a more aggressive style?

JANA NOVOTNA: That-- of course, that's what I said in the first place, as I said that's when she brought women's tennis to another level because of her physical fitness because of the way she played.

Q. Will you miss her?

JANA NOVOTNA: Oh, I said it many times, we all will miss her. Not only the players, but, you know, people involved in women's tennis, the media and everybody, because she was different. She was something special and we will all miss her, but hopefully we will not live in the past, we will not think about Martina, how good she was and everything she has done. I think we should also look for the future and try to find among us another star, another player to look up.

Q. Do you see somebody out there?

JANA NOVOTNA: Oh yeah. Of course, of course. That's exactly what I mean. You shouldn't be looking at it just -- Martina is gone, there is nobody else. That's how I felt the question is a little bit, is there somebody there? Of course there are very good players have very good personalities. I think we need to bring them up a little bit and it is not as much up to us, but it's up to you guys, up to the media, not to think about, oh, tennis is never going to be the way it was, it is not like it was 20 years ago. We have new players, they are interesting in other ways and I think it's up to all of us to bring women's tennis forward a little bit, not to look back all the time.

Q. Did you feel tonight the crowd was kind of-- expectations waiting for the Martina match?

JANA NOVOTNA: I felt -- that's what I said to Martina before the match, I said, Martina, I'm going to warm-up the court for you properly so you can roll in and do well. But, of course, it was difficult, because we started to play at quarter to six and since then, for almost two hours people were coming in and -- I won't say that they won't really expect anything from our match, everyone has been waiting for Martina, but, you know, look at us this way, this is a huge occasion, and we can call it, this is Martina's tournament and why not? She was the greatest. I think she deserves it and it's up to all of us to deal with that.

Q. Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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