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March 14, 2004

Marissa Irvin


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Marissa.

Q. When is the last time you won five matches in a row?

MARISSA IRVIN: That's a good question. Five matches in a row? Probably the last time I won a challenger, but I don't even know when that was (smiling).

Q. But at this level, at the Tour level, is this maybe one of your best runs?

MARISSA IRVIN: Well, certainly it's one of my best results on tour, yeah. The fact that I had to qualify was the additional two matches. I've been to the fourth round of the Nasdaq or Ericsson, whatever it was two years ago. It was the same round, but I didn't have to qualify when I was there.

Q. Has the thought begun to occur with you that with all the players having withdrawn from this event, maybe you could win it?

MARISSA IRVIN: The players withdrawing I think is not relevant in the sense that, you know, players are getting injured all the time. Unfortunately, it's affecting some of the top players and the more well-known players that the fans have really gotten to love and know. But, you know, girls are pulling out all the time and getting injured. You know, I just really take it one match at a time. I'm not looking towards winning the tournament. I'm looking towards winning my next match.

Q. I would say it is relevant. It's relevant if you're going to play one of them.

MARISSA IRVIN: Well, to be honest, it really doesn't cross my mind. Like I didn't look in the paper to see, "Oh, gee, who pulled out? Are they in my quarter of the draw?" It really isn't of any importance to me. All that's important is who my next-round opponent is.

Q. Where is all this good tennis coming from?

MARISSA IRVIN: It's just a lot of hard work and, you know, it's paying off. My coach, Chuck Adams. I've been working off court with Travis Hannah, former professional football player. I've been working hard. It's been paying off.

Q. So the confidence being stronger physically is transferring on?

MARISSA IRVIN: Yeah, definitely. I haven't really felt tired playing, and I've played, you know, five matches. I still feel fresh. So certainly the fitness factor is huge. Also just, you know, winning kind of breeds winning. When you start winning a string of matches, it's easier to win, I think. I think you learn how to win. Just like losing breeds losing, winning breeds winning, I think.

Q. Is Travis Hannah any relation to John Hannah the former guard to the Patriots?

MARISSA IRVIN: No, he's not. Travis played at SC and was on the Houston Oilers, the Titans, the Bears and the 49ers.

Q. Has he got you doing any exercises that are associated with football?

MARISSA IRVIN: I don't know if they're directly associated with football. The footwork is somewhat similar, a lot of quick steps. Travis was a receiver. I don't know. I don't think, no, they don't specifically have to do with football. Just quick footwork in general.

Q. So you're not hitting the blocking sleds?

MARISSA IRVIN: No. I'm not out there with the guys trying to get my 40 perfected for the combines.

Q. Do you attribute any of your success this week to these drills you're doing with Travis?

MARISSA IRVIN: Oh, certainly. I mean, definitely. I mean, Travis and Chuck have been a huge help. Chuck was a former Top 30 player. He's a great coach. I've been biking a little with a guy named Paul Pisani. The whole combination of things is paying off.

Q. Is Travis a professional in fitness or somebody you know?

MARISSA IRVIN: I know Travis because my brother is a football player. My brother is a quarterback at Tulane. Travis works with a lot of quarterbacks and receivers at an academy called Air7, a football academy here in Southern Cal. Casey Clausen, Chris Ricks, JP Losman, all these guys. My brother is also a football player. That's kind of where the connection was.

Q. You're like a huge football fan?

MARISSA IRVIN: I like football quite a bit. I have a vested interest in that my younger brother plays.

Q. Are you the only tennis player who goes to the school you were talking about?

MARISSA IRVIN: Yeah, I don't go to Air7. I'm not a part of Air7 at all. However, I know a lot of these boys who are a part of Air7. I think even Tom Brady was a part of Air7. A lot of well-known guys.

Q. Ben Rothlesberger.

MARISSA IRVIN: They've been getting ready for the combines. I see them, yeah.

Q. They have a big fitness training center there?

MARISSA IRVIN: They do their thing, and I just happen to know them because they're there. But I don't work out with them. I'm not catching passes or anything like that with these guys. It's very separate.

Q. Air7 deals solely with guys that throw forward passes. I'm just asking whether there's a facility there.

MARISSA IRVIN: Exactly where they work out all the time -- I mean, I train sometimes at Santa Monica college. There's a lot of activity at Santa Monica. A lot of Olympians, track people. Santa Monica Track Club is a breeding ground for the Olympics, as I'm sure a lot of you guys know. There's a fair amount of people there all at once.

Q. What is your time in the 50 or 100?

MARISSA IRVIN: I don't know. You'd have to ask Travis. I don't know.

Q. I figure you're the darling of the tournament and Karatancheva is the imp. Would you agree with that?

MARISSA IRVIN: I wouldn't even comment about it.

Q. Especially about the last part?

MARISSA IRVIN: Right. I don't know her. I have never met her. I couldn't even tell you what she looks like. Couldn't pick her out of a lineup. I really I have no right making comments.

Q. Is it a big deal that people are talking about?

MARISSA IRVIN: In fact, I haven't heard one person talk about it in the locker room. I think everyone is pretty focused on what they're doing; what everyone else is doing is pretty irrelevant - especially in the locker room where people are getting ready, worried about what court they're supposed to be on and who their opponent is. Not so much what was said in some press room.

Q. Have you ever played Dulko?

MARISSA IRVIN: I played Gisela twice. I won one and lost one. She and I are pretty good friends.

Q. She beat you in Memphis?

MARISSA IRVIN: No, she beat me in Midland.

Q. Was it straights?

MARISSA IRVIN: It was 6-4, I think.

Q. What happened there?

MARISSA IRVIN: She played a very good match. She was playing well. I didn't capitalize on some opportunities. You know, she ended up doing well in that tournament, doing well in Memphis the next week. Obviously, she's playing well right now. I mean, I've hit with her. I know her quite well. She and I are pretty good friends, like I said. We played twice. Whoever competes and plays better will win the match probably.

Q. Closing matches on the tour level has been one of your problems in the past, but it seems like here you've been doing that pretty well. How much of that is mental?

MARISSA IRVIN: I'd say, you know, probably 90% of it's mental. You don't become a better or worse player at breakpoint or match point or anything like that. A lot of it's who handles the situation before. Especially against top players, I've had a lot of, you know, losses 6-3 or 6-4 in the third to Hingis, Mauresmo, Coetzer. The list goes on. This match, I've been -- this tournament, I mean, I think my head's just in a better place. I'm a little calmer, handling the situation a little better.

Q. You trust your shots more at closing time?

MARISSA IRVIN: Yeah. You know, that's a good point, too. I probably believe in myself a little bit more.

Q. The way you're going, maybe you'll be taken in the NFL draft.

MARISSA IRVIN: No. I'll leave that up to those guys to do that.

End of FastScripts….

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