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August 27, 2002

Marissa Irvin


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did she change something in the third set that took some of that away from you?

MARISSA IRVIN: She came up with some good shots in the third set. But, you know, overall, the entire match was quite close. It was really a couple of points, I think, in each set that determined who won each set. So I don't know if she necessarily changed anything. But she certainly, you know, when she needed to, played quite well. She played quite well in the last game, for example. In the second to last game, she came up with some pretty amazing shots as well. So, you know, that's to be expected with someone of her caliber, so...

Q. Even though it's right after the match, can you look at the whole experience? You've been on big stages before, but how did that feel out there?

MARISSA IRVIN: Oh, it was an unbelievable environment to play in. You know, it's something when you're a junior and you're, you know, playing in sectional tournaments and national tournaments, you dream of playing at the US Open in front of a huge crowd like that. And playing somebody like Martina Hingis who is, you know, just a great player and a champion and, you know, you also dream about being them (smiling). That didn't happen for me, but it was a great experience and something I'll certainly remember. I told her before, I mean, I'm proud of the way I played and disappointed with the result, so... That's about all.

Q. Did you feel how vulnerable she was when you got into that third set?

MARISSA IRVIN: Well, certainly at the conclusion of the second set I was certainly, you know -- I would have to say I was the one who had the momentum there. I didn't come out and serve a very good game to begin the third set. I didn't get enough first serves in. I didn't play poorly, but I didn't, you know, really assert myself, which was probably something I needed to do - although I made up for it and it did, you know, I did tie it up in the third set at 4-all. But starting out the third set maybe on a more aggressive note would have - I don't know - maybe would have changed things. I don't know.

Q. She's won the first set. She's now serving to go up 5-1 in the second. What changed?

MARISSA IRVIN: Well, really throughout the match I never felt that I was out of it at any time, even in the first set. I was serving at 3-2, 30-love and ended up losing that set 6-3. You know, it was certainly a big momentum shift there, and then getting down in the second set early. But I never felt that I was out of it. I felt that I was always -- it was just a few shots that I didn't make basically, and maybe a few shots that she made. I knew that at any point in time the tide could turn, and it did. I took advantage of it so... That was basically -- I mean, I never at any time felt "Oh." When I went out on the court, I felt that I had as good a chance to win as she did. The fact that I was down, you know, I've never given up in a match in my life and I never will. So I just kept plugging away, and it worked out for me - up to a certain point.

Q. Is that mindset more confidence in yourself or realizing that she's coming back from an injury and she hasn't really been what she has been?

MARISSA IRVIN: I didn't think about her injury. I certainly didn't think about it during the match. That was not an issue at all. If she didn't, you know, feel confident in her ability to play, I don't think she'd be out there. So she didn't look like she was struggling with her injury at all.

Q. As far as her being rusty.

MARISSA IRVIN: Oh, no, I didn't think about that either. Because, you know, she has so much experience and has won so many big matches that I don't think, you know, a couple-month layoff, she's going to forget how to win, so...

Q. Do you think she can get back up there?

MARISSA IRVIN: I certainly think she can get back up there, you know. She's been there before, and she knows how to win. That's important. She understands the mental part of the game, I think, as well as anybody. Maybe she's the best in the world at the mental side of the game. That's extremely important. So I'm certainly not here to judge who's going to -- if she's ever going to make No. 1 in the world again, but I'd certainly say she has the chance to, yes.

Q. Is the women's game changing that fast? Can you see differences from six months ago to a year ago, how good people are getting?

MARISSA IRVIN: Well, I've been on the tour for two years myself. In that period of time, certainly I think the girls are getting in better shape and the girls are stronger, and there are more -- it's just -- it's much deeper, I think, than it used to be. It's, you know, really the Top 100 girls are really -- everyone wants to be, you know, up at the top and everyone's fighting for it and everyone's working as hard as they can. I'd say it's very competitive. I mean, I wasn't playing ten years ago or even five years ago, so it's hard for me to judge maybe the girls that would have a better opinion on that. But I can definitely say that, you know, I think it's very deep now, whereas I know it wasn't in the past.

Q. What changes have you made in your game since you turned pro?

MARISSA IRVIN: Well, I've definitely worked a lot especially recently on my quickness, because that's certainly never been a strength of mine. I've been working a lot, running with a guy at home, Travis Hannah, who was a football player. That's, I think, helped me a lot, just being able to -- my endurance being better and my quick, explosive movements being better. I've also worked a lot on my serve and my backhand. Just pretty much everything. And also the mental side of it, I think I've improved the mental, my ability to know what I want to do and to execute it.

Q. What did you think of Serena's outfit? Question of the day here (laughing).

MARISSA IRVIN: You know, Serena has an amazing personality and I think it suits her (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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