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September 7, 1994

Jana Novotna


Q. Jana, are you pretty pleased?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes, very much so, even coming into the match, I -- even I thought that everybody would expect Mary to win, today, because, I don't know, of all the circumstances and all of that, but I was coming into the match very confident and I knew I have the game to beat her, that I can mix it up, the game, and I can slow it down, speed it up, and that's what I did perfectly. And you could see in the second set that, as soon as she started losing, that she never really found her way back.

Q. Was it easier than you thought it would be?

JANA NOVOTNA: You know, every time I come here, after each match-- that was a good warm-up-- that was an easy match-- no, it was not easy at all. First set 5-2 again, up, there was a point there and she came back tremendously and I had a tough time to finish it off, the first set, but after that, I just, you know, felt more and more confident and I was putting more pressure on her and she was missing more and more.

Q. Well now -- you haven't lost a set yet and you're facing Steffi; how do you approach that; what do you foresee in that?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, Steffi is still number one player in the world and it's going to be very, very hard to beat her. She's moving well, she has the variety in her game, she's serving quite well, so it is going to be different compared to the opponents I've had until now because I played only baseliners. Steffi -- I'm not saying Steffi is coming in or saying she's playing hard, I have to be very quick and at least as I was today, but if I can be as consistent as I was during the whole tournament, I think I have a good chance.

Q. What happened in Wimbledon last year when you were leading and had her beaten --

JANA NOVOTNA: I don't even remember. I only remember what happened after that match. You know, every match against Steffi is different. If she's playing extremely well, it's very hard to play against her. If she is not playing as well and if she's making some errors and if I can stay with her, then, I think I have a very good chance. If she starts like she started today against Amanda Coetzer, then it's going to be very hard. I think I'm good enough player and we've played many, many times and I think I have the game to beat her. So let's think about me in this doubles now and then I can worry about Steffi.

Q. Before we get -- There were a lot of people for Mary there, but you had supporters, did you hear the guy say, "Five more points, Jana," did you hear that?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes, even right behind the court there was a little girl about five years old and she was like saying, "Come on, Jana." So I said, even this little girl was saying it. So I said, you have to do it. So it was really nice, so, I think for the first time here at the Open I was able to -- I was able to concentrate the way I wanted and even to take the crowd, and everything, what is happening around, it helped me finally. Every time I played here, it felt like everything -- I was distracted by that, and that, and that, and today I felt like everything is going my way.

Q. How do you do that?

JANA NOVOTNA: I don't know, you have to keep coming back here all the time until you get used to it.

Q. Do you like it now?

JANA NOVOTNA: Oh, I loved it, but at one stage in the first set when I was serving for the set, I even thought that the crowd was very quiet. You know, I was like, "Oh my God, this is almost like Wimbledon." Not even close-- but really, it was for the first time I have noticed these things, I was always upset and moving and windy and planes and everything today for the first time I was able to enjoy the whole atmosphere and that's what Hana always told me she said when she played -- it's very hard, but once when you get the people and everybody excited about your game and when you show them that you can play, then the whole atmosphere just helps you and lifts you up.

Q. Do you think that's because of Wimbledon that you endeared yourself to people because of what happened there?

JANA NOVOTNA: No. You keep coming back to Wimbledon. You know, each tournament is different. On each tournament, something else happens and what happened in Wimbledon was very special to me and maybe to everybody, but that's past. You know, that's almost a year ago and every tournament is just different. You cannot just say, what happened there can help you here or you will remember or you will learn from that, of course, you can, but --

Q. I mean the fans, I mean, the fans loving you now because of what they saw there?

JANA NOVOTNA: It's hard. It's hard. I think that New York fans are very demanding. They want to see very close matches, they want to see excitement, they want -- they want to see angry, they want to see good rallies, they're not just happy with an ace. I'm happy with the ace. Everybody says, "Well, okay, another ace," you really have to show them something or you really have to give them something and that's sometimes hard to do.

Q. Today in the first set, is there -- why you showed a little more emotion after winning good points?

JANA NOVOTNA: I'm showing my emotions all the time, you just didn't notice. You just don't want to see it. I have to be like, "Everybody, look, I'm smiling, like, I'm excited, I am like that," and as I said, today was special because I wanted to get to the semis very badly and I was playing very well, and that's why I got excited after each point and that's what I wanted to do.

Q. I wanted to know if today there was that little extra because you knew the crowd was expecting Mary to win and you wanted to show them, Jana Novotna is a very good player too?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes, that I'm not -- that maybe. I'm not seeking that much publicity off the court, but when I'm on the court, I can be exciting and that I can play well. I think that is important.

Q. Before the match you won the toss, you then elected to receive and broke her serve very quickly the first two times; do you think that might have had much to do with you wining the match that easily?

JANA NOVOTNA: No, I do that all the time. Every time I win the toss, I choose to receive because I feel that I need the first game to warm up a little bit or I don't want to lose my serve right in the beginning and it's working very well for me. I even do that in the doubles.

Q. Jana, not talking about Wimbledon, but this will be your third semifinal this time this year, and it's Steffi again for the third time --

JANA NOVOTNA: Why? Who is in the draw?

Q. But why should this one be different? Why do you think this will be different from the other two?

JANA NOVOTNA: I think this one should be different in a way that I have been playing very well during the whole tournament, and I have beaten some good players and tough players and I think right now I'm feeling confident and I'm feeling, you know, fast and happy about myself. As I said, if I can stay with Steffi right from the beginning, and I -- if I will be able to keep up with her pace, which I think I should be able to after Mary, because she's hitting quite hard.

Q. Is that the hardest you've played her?

JANA NOVOTNA: Some shots. So I think I have a good chance.

Q. Will you come in more to the net? You were very solid from the baseline?

JANA NOVOTNA: That's a secret. You mean for Steffi's match?

Q. Yeah.

JANA NOVOTNA: I can't tell you that. She's going to read it tomorrow in the paper what I am going to do the next day.

Q. You generally play -- Do you think you will have to?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes, I will have to for sure.

Q. Do you generally play as far behind the baseline as you were today?

JANA NOVOTNA: Not generally, only when I'm playing against Mary Pierce.

Q. Was that a plan you had in mind before the match began, that was part of your game plan?

JANA NOVOTNA: To stay as far as in the back?

Q. Yes.

JANA NOVOTNA: No, I just have to adjust to it. She was hitting quite hard and quite deep so I had to stay a little further back, so I can get to the balls.

Q. Do you think also you can outsteady her from there?


Q. That you could be more steady, outsteady her from there?


Q. Against Pierce, when you play back or --

JANA NOVOTNA: You know, it is just -- I didn't really think about it. It is just the way it is. And you know, if she starts hitting hard, I have to step back, but I always have to be aware that it's going to be longer to get to the net and you have to adjust.

Q. The speed of this court and your present frame of mind, does it allow you to be as aggressive against Steffi as you were at Wimbledon last year?

JANA NOVOTNA: Well, no, I don't think you can say that because at Wimbledon most of the time I was serving and volleying all -- most of the time, but here I think I will have to -- I wouldn't be able to serve and volley all the time. First of all, I haven't done it during the whole tournament, and second, the court is not that fast that I can do that. So I will have to mix up my game a little bit and here I'm talking about Steffi again.

Q. Speaking about Steffi again, you said you really wanted to get to the semifinal and it was a pretty good idea that Steffi would be in the semifinal --

JANA NOVOTNA: I didn't know that, actually. I didn't know that. I never look at the draw, so I didn't really know who am I facing in the next round or all that.

Q. But now that you're there?

JANA NOVOTNA: Now I'm there and she's there, yeah.

Q. Is this good? Do you look at this like this is a great measuring stick and here she is again and this is another big chance for me?

JANA NOVOTNA: Sure, I look at it and every time I play against her I go into the match with these thoughts. But just imagine how many good matches you really have to play to win a Grand Slam, like this one is. So, I had a hard one the day before, yesterday, and now I had a very hard match against Mary. Now I have to be the number one play in the world, which is what it's about if you want to win the Grand Slam, you have to be number one or number one in the world to do it, and that's very hard. It takes a lot out of you. But I think that I am physically and mentally prepared to do that.

Q. In the last two days we've had extremely memorable men's matches, Chang and Agassi and yesterday Yzaga and Sampras; can you recall a match on the women's side this year that has been nearly as exciting as those two matches?

JANA NOVOTNA: Yes, many matches. Many matches, first round Wimbledon--

Q. At this tournament.

JANA NOVOTNA: You mean at this tournament? Today's match. I beat the number four seed in the tournament. That was exciting, for me. And I think it was a very good tennis. I thought it was a very good tennis, at least the first set for sure. A lot of rallies, two different styles. It was exciting for me. So...

Q. And me too, Jana.

JANA NOVOTNA: Thank you, Barbara.

Q. Did you feel there was a mistake made in having the courtside interview go not to the winner but to the loser?

JANA NOVOTNA: That what?

Q. Courtside television interview going to the loser?

JANA NOVOTNA: Don't worry about it. I went right into the studio. I went right in there. I was there.

Q. The emotions generated by playing a major final, you've been through that, have you thought about being on the victorious side?

JANA NOVOTNA: First I would have to get there again, then I can -- then I can go back and remember how I got there, you know, twice and in the Australian Open and Wimbledon, but, oh, don't look even that far. I'm looking forward to play against Steffi, but it's going to be very hard and, you know, what happens after that. Who cares. First I have to beat her if I want to be there.

End of FastScripts....

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