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August 31, 1998

Mirjana Lucic

U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. Please explain what happened with you?

MIRJANA LUCIC: Can you give me a specific question?

Q. Why didn't you play the Federation Cup against Holland, for example?

MIRJANA LUCIC: After Wimbledon -- before Wimbledon, I had chickenpox, so didn't play for about a month and ten days, something like that or month, I don't know. And before Wimbledon I played only seven days and I started too early after Wimbledon I started getting fever again. I didn't feel good and I had some personal problems, so, most of all was just the problem that I wasn't healthy so, that was the problem.

Q. With everything else that is going on, it is easy or was it difficult to concentrate on the match today? Was it nice to play?

MIRJANA LUCIC: I think I am the best when it is tough. I think I am very good at that, and I like to fight hard. When it is hard, I like to give my best and to just to get out of every tough situation, I think I am doing that well, so, this time I also -- when I went into the court I tried just to forget everything that was going on and all the bad things and just focus on my tennis, that is what I did well today.

Q. Could you please explain to us why you decided to break with your father and what brought you the situation here?

MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, there were a lot of things going on. I mean, for all these years, I guess all of you probably know reading the paper, so, it was just very tough time. Mentally and physically I couldn't handle that anymore. So --

Q. Majoli told the Dutch reporters you had to withdraw from the Federation Cup because your father was beating and you were mentally and physically not able to play anymore?

MIRJANA LUCIC: I already answered the question why I didn't play Fed Cup. A lot of it was going on all these years, so.

Q. And now are you feeling better now?

MIRJANA LUCIC: Definitely. I feel great I am here with my family, my mom, sisters, and two brothers, and I just feel the happiest in the world. It is the first time in my life that I really enjoy tennis and I am having such a great time. I practiced at Nick Bollettieri's Academy for two weeks. I had a great practices there and I am just having fun. I am feeling great.

Q. How long did you consider making this break, and what finally put you over the top where you said: That is it, I have got to go?

MIRJANA LUCIC: What break? What do you mean?

Q. With your dad.

MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, everything kind of happened in Wimbledon. So, as I said, it was going on for a long time and I just -- there was a time when I couldn't handle it anymore and I just had to quit.

Q. Do you feel safe now?

MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah. I mean, I did everything to protect myself and my family, and I feel very safe. I feel very good.

Q. What do you expect from the WTA, protect you or --

MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, I mean, I have protection. I feel great. As I said, I took all the steps and, you know, I am on the tennis court. That is what I always wanted to do. That is what I do the best. That is what I love to do. So --

Q. How are you when you not on the tennis court.

MIRJANA LUCIC: I am fine. I am fine. On and off the court I am fine.

Q. Just one more thing, first chance for a television audience to, and I know it must be difficult for you to recap some very difficult things in your life, But if you could possibly share what the experiences were briefly with your father that caused you to take these actions and if there are any lessons that might be drawn for other people who are dealing with similar problems.

MIRJANA LUCIC: I don't know what you want -- I don't know what -- do you want me to explain how it was? I don't think it is very exciting. I don't think people want to know about it. So -- I am here to play my tennis and to concentrate and I don't like to remember all those bad moments. I don't feel really -- a lot of journalists, I have got a lot of attackings in the papers so I feel like I don't deserve that anymore. I just want to play my tennis and enjoy myself.

Q. Do you know if you and your family will seek US citizenship?

MIRJANA LUCIC: No, we haven't thought about that at all.

Q. How is your mother and brothers and sisters coping with the situation?

MIRJANA LUCIC: Great. Very good.

Q. Do you feel you can be an example because this happened in the last few years, do you think you can be an example, telling that to the press?

MIRJANA LUCIC: I don't think it is a good example, but I mean, parents are obviously -- I mean, it is not just my case. It is not the other cases, a lot of them that I saw, and I know it is still going on, a lot have to a lot of players and I saw that, I realize that. It is just not right. A lot of them say even -- I was telling before that I enjoy myself, that I am feeling great. Obviously it wasn't like that. A lot of players are saying the same things, but I mean, parents have to be there to support you. I mean, my family was there with me today and I almost -- every point I look at then and all I get was this (indicating making fist) Come on, that is great. That is the only thing the players should get from their parents. They should have a coach, or sparring partners, whoever they have, but from their parents, their family, they have to only get the best support.

Q. How did you prepare for tonight's match?

MIRJANA LUCIC: As I said before, I was two and a half weeks at Bollettieri's and I was just having such a great time there, practiced a lot, and just enjoyed myself. And tonight I really tried to concentrate to play my game, not to make many mistakes because I haven't played any matches since Wimbledon. I did one match in San Diego, so that was it. So I mean, I was maybe a little bit nervous, maybe not really nervous, but I haven't played in a long time. But when I went on the court and really -- because I was hitting the ball very good all this time these two 1/2 weeks. I felt very good before I concentrated and went to play.

Q. Is your move to Bollettieri's permanent or just for the moment?

MIRJANA LUCIC: We went there and I liked it very much, so think we are planning to stay there. I got a lot of support there, so, hopefully it will stay like that.

Q. You looked very much up and down in your game, two very good points; some unforced errors because you didn't play that much?

MIRJANA LUCIC: It happens. As I said, if you don't play many matches, that is what happens. But, I am satisfied. I am happy the way I played today. I know -- I mean I was very relaxed and I know that it will come, just when I start playing tournaments, a little bit more matches, I know it will be there.

Q. Is it more important now to have fun with your tennis?

MIRJANA LUCIC: Definitely. I am very competitive. I love to play matches and play tournaments. But as I said, first time in a long time that I am having fun and enjoying myself and at the same time trying to stay positive and focus on tennis and try to win, of course.

Q. Do you feel support by other players lately, Hingis, for example, who you played with?

MIRJANA LUCIC: I had support from a lot of players, yeah.

Q. What difference do you see between your two years ago when you were a junior champ and this year as a senior?

MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, there is a lot of difference. I mean, a lot -- more matches, more matches on Tour of course what makes a lot of difference, but still I haven't had a chance to play many tournaments and last year wasn't as great. So then when I started playing very good, then I got chicken pox I got sick, so, this was last year, my new beginning, it was my first Grand Slam, so hopefully this year it is the same thing again, new beginning.

Q. How is your confidence right now?

MIRJANA LUCIC: Very good. I think it is very high. I feel great going on. I don't think about losing. I don't think about anything. I just go there and trying to give my best and of course to try to win the match and enjoy myself. That is the only thing I see. I don't think about anything negative, just everything positive go forward and try to win.

Q. What kind of result do you think is possible for you here? Do you have a goal, quarters or semis or anything like that?

MIRJANA LUCIC: No, I never think about it like that. I just -- I am just going to go to every match and try to win it and try to play my best like I did today. So, no, I don't -- I don't think it is time to set any goals for me. I haven't played in a long time. So just enjoy myself and try to give my best.

Q. Is this the most loose and free you have felt on a tennis court considering everything?

MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, I think so.

End of FastScripts…

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