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August 25, 1997

Lilia Osterloh

Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. Were you up? Were you down? Obviously you lost the second set.

LILIA OSTERLOH: I won the first set 6-3, and then got a little nervous. You know, thinking that I could win this. Then I lost it. Went down 5-Love in like 20 minutes or less than that. Then I lost the set 6-1. In the third, it was going back and forth. Then at 4-3, I mean, I just dug down really deep and broke her to go up 5-3. Then at 5-3, I held, 40-Love, ace, won the match.

Q. You won the match on an ace?


Q. How do you dig down? What do you tell yourself mentally?

LILIA OSTERLOH: Mentally, you know, just one point at a time; you know, really take my time in between the points. I just had to go for it, and difficult.

Q. How excited are you right now?

LILIA OSTERLOH: I'm pretty excited. Even though I won my first round last year as an amateur. It's different now that I'm playing as a professional. I'm really excited.

Q. When did you officially turn pro?

LILIA OSTERLOH: This is my first tournament.

Q. So you walked in here? Was there any decision, or you decided three months ago, hadn't you?

LILIA OSTERLOH: No, no, I didn't. It was a really tough decision. Right after the NCAAs. I thought about it, I thought it was time to move on after Stanford.

Q. You've now played in the two newest stadiums in America, one in Palo Alto and one here. There's a slight difference in size. Could you compare the two?

LILIA OSTERLOH: I mean, Stanford was a great experience. I mean, there's the team aspect. I got to mature a little bit, a little bit stronger, pull out a NCAA title for Stanford, then the following week to win the individual title. That was exactly what I wanted to do. I did it. I mean, you know, they embraced me there as family. Then, you know, playing here. I mean, you know, a lot of my friends and family came. I'm from Columbus, Ohio. They can come right over. I mean, it's a little bit different. Maybe a little bit noisier crowds. But that's okay, I don't mind it. It's great to be out here.

Q. Lilia, Ohio is not really a hot bed for tennis. I'm actually from Cleveland. Can you sort of describe how you got into playing tennis? I know in your bios you're a big Buckeye fan?

LILIA OSTERLOH: Both my parents play. My older sister played for De Paul University in Chicago. I started -- I actually did gymnastics when I was three years old. I started when I was six years old, just like at the high school courts, just hitting around. And then I started with my coach, Al Matthews, when I was eight. I've been working with him ever since.

Q. What went into making that decision to leave Stanford?

LILIA OSTERLOH: Just the fact that tennis-wise I accomplished everything that I wanted to. I felt that I needed to go to the next level. That was it. I mean, I had a great time there. I want to continue to study there in the future, maybe take some correspondence courses. But, I mean, I'll always remember my first year there.

Q. Did you have a major or were you undecided because you were a freshman?

LILIA OSTERLOH: Well, if I wanted to continue, I would major in international relations.

Q. With an eye towards doing what?

LILIA OSTERLOH: I don't know. Maybe an agent or something.

Q. If you could give the president's daughter some advice on how to get along at Stanford, what would you tell her?

LILIA OSTERLOH: Well, the thing about Stanford that's so great is even though you're some -- if you're a sports figure or famous figure, they treat you like as normal as anybody. So, I mean, I think she'll fit in great there. I don't know, maybe the secret service agents might get in the way. But no, I mean, I think she'll fit in great there.

Q. Did you ever think while you were there that you were famous?

LILIA OSTERLOH: No, not really, because everyone -- even though I'm a good athlete, I mean, I still -- everyone treated me just the same as any other regular student.

Q. You were out for a good portion of that year, you were hurt. Did that give you pause to think after this year, before you turned pro, "Oh, God, what happens if I get injured now?"

LILIA OSTERLOH: No, I really couldn't think about that, the injury. I just felt, you know, "I'll take this time out right now." But after I'm done with this injury, you know, recovered, you know, I mean, I've just got to train harder. I can't really worry about getting injured.

Q. You've had a lot of big matches in your way the past few months, the individuals, teams, here. Can you just describe, compare them? Were you more nervous for here or the teams or individual?

LILIA OSTERLOH: The most nervous feeling that I've ever had was during the team competition. I mean, there's so much pressure on you. Everyone's -- you know, if you lose, the other person loses. Everyone's counting on you to win. I mean, the Finals of the NCAA, that was the most nervous feeling I've ever felt. You know, it's easier when you're just playing for yourself.

Q. Is that when you were playing or while you were watching Julie?

LILIA OSTERLOH: No. Just when I was playing. But watching Julie, it's fine watching the other girls. Just me playing out there, everyone's counting on you.

Q. And how did you break the news that you're turning pro to your coach?

LILIA OSTERLOH: I called him. I think it was a -- it was like a month or two now, month and a half or something. I told him a long decision, had to think about it for a while. But, I mean, I told him I had a great year there. He was very understanding. He's had lots of other players who turn pro after a year. He said I'm always welcome to come back there. Had a really good time. He was very understanding.

Q. When you switched from gymnastics to tennis when you were six, did you envision being a professional?

LILIA OSTERLOH: Oh, yes. Right away. I remember seeing Chris Evert playing at Wimbledon. I think she was playing maybe Martina Navratilova. I was watching TV. I was like, "Mom, I want to play there someday."

Q. What did she say?

LILIA OSTERLOH: She's like, "Good, Lil. Someday you will."

Q. How old are you?

LILIA OSTERLOH: I'm 19 years old.

Q. You're 19?


Q. Don't you feel you're making kind of a late start?

LILIA OSTERLOH: No, not really. This is my timetable for me, you know. I want to play for a long time. My game is, you know, to play for a long time. I like to come in. I'm an aggressive baseliner. You know, I finished high school, got to go to the senior prom. I had a really normal teenage life. That's exactly what I wanted.

Q. I'm sorry to bring up a University of Florida player, but Lisa Raymond just said that she thought there was great value in most everyone, maybe not Martina Hingis and so forth, but most all players going to at least a year of college. Could you talk about that for a moment?

LILIA OSTERLOH: Sure. I mean, I don't know, I just felt like I didn't want to jump right into The Tour right away. I mean, I played a few tournaments here and there. But I mean, I was just getting my feet wet. I wasn't doing it full-time. I wanted to mature a little bit, get stronger, experience college life, take some courses, make some really good friends. That's exactly what I did.

Q. Do you think down the road that gives you perspective, unlike some of these other pros that started at 15 or 16? You've been in college, sort of had at least a normal year like most other 18, 19 year olds.

LILIA OSTERLOH: Yeah, definitely. I think that it really helped me a lot. I don't regret going there at all.

Q. So back to Chelsea. She obviously could have gone anywhere she wanted. After a year in Palo Alto, do you think she's making the right choice?

LILIA OSTERLOH: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I didn't think she was going to go there actually. I thought she was going to go somewhere on the east coast. I'm glad she chose Stanford. Yeah, I think everyone's going to like it that she's there.

Q. No palm trees in Columbus, huh?

LILIA OSTERLOH: No. Pine trees.

Q. A couple of USTA player development people, like Lynn and Ron Woods, were at your match right now. Do you feel that chapter of your life is over? You being a national team player and everything? How have the two coaching sectors balanced each other out?

LILIA OSTERLOH: Yeah, I mean, definitely working with the USTA helped me out tremendously, playing international events, you know, having the training center down there in Key Biscayne helped me a lot. I mean, it was great working with them. I think in the future we will definitely continue working together.

Q. Are you at all scared that this is now your life, that every match matters?

LILIA OSTERLOH: No, not really. Maybe it hasn't hit me yet. But I mean, you know, I'm just having fun. Just play one match at a time and we'll see how it goes.

Q. In the back of your mind, what are your goals? Are you trying to top this, top that, wanting to win a particular title? How are you approaching it long range?

LILIA OSTERLOH: I'm not putting any pressure on myself right now. I'm just having fun, working hard. You know, hopefully the hard work's going to pay off someday. I mean, I'd like to win some Grand Slam titles, but I think I'm just going to take one day at a time, one step at a time.

Q. You were at Stanford one year or two?


Q. How is your support system going to change, you worked with the USTA team, Stanford, you had support from the team in the school, kids on the team, things like that. How is that changing now? What is your support system that you have in place now as you start your career?

LILIA OSTERLOH: Right. It's basically the same. I have my friends and family, and the USTA, and my coach. They're all supporting me. So it's pretty much the same.

Q. Do you have an agent?

LILIA OSTERLOH: Yes. His name is Beau Delafield, he's with IMG.

Q. So if you get to study a great deal more, would you also want to be an agent, would you become your own agent years from now?

LILIA OSTERLOH: I'm not really thinking about years from now. I just want to play for a long time.

End of FastScripts…

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