March 20, 1998
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
Q. Other than Martina Hingis, who would you consider the toughest opponent on the Tour?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, that is a good question. There is so many girls that are so good, it is very tough to say. I mean, Steffi now came back. And obviously she has an injury now, but she came back tough. She played well there. And Lindsay, and all the younger players; William sisters, Kournikova. Yeah, there are a lot of good players. It is hard to say which one is the toughest, but they are all good.
Q. When did you play the last time with Kournikova?
MIRJANA LUCIC: We played only once, actually. That was like -- it wasn't a tournament. It was like exhibition in Czech. I won in three sets. But I am looking forward to tomorrow's match.
Q. Is there a rivalry or is it already there, the rivalry between the two?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, I guess you can say that between almost every player it is very tough now. Everybody want to be on the top. Everybody is fighting for the top. Everybody wants to get there fast. So I think it is going to be definitely very exciting, very good match.
Q. She is always kind of complaining about the age rule, how it limits her, that is why she doesn't get seeded, that is why she is not getting enough match experience. Do you kind of agree with that?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, the only thing I know is it is really not fair at all. Especially for me, I am the youngest and I have problems. I mean, only this year I can play only 14 tournaments, and that is just not enough for me. Because all the other players, they play at least 23 tournaments. Everybody plays a lot of tournaments. Some play 30, and I can play only 14. So, it is not fair at all.
Q. What do you do in those weeks when everybody is playing; what are you doing?
MIRJANA LUCIC: What else can you do? You can practice. You can do other things, but, I mean, it is just not fair. I think everybody should get a chance to play -- not everybody. I mean, not now that you are going to -- not that every 15-year-old, 16-year-old will come now and get a wildcard for a Grand Slam or something like that, but girls who have ranking, who are fighting, who can play tennis well, I think it is not fair to try to stop them.
Q. Do you know why they did it, of course?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah. But I don't really think -- I don't understand that. It happened to her. I don't go into that, what happened. I just know that I love tennis. I enjoy it very much. And I know that could never happen to me because I love it, because I don't do it because of something -- I don't know, if somebody is pushing me or somebody wants me to play or anything. I do it because I love it, and I think that could never happen to me.
Q. How is your confidence level now as far as winning a tournament like this?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, I don't really think about that, like when I go to a tournament, yeah, I want to win every single round I play. I don't just say okay, I am going to win this tournament. You put a lot of pressure on yourself. And especially me, I haven't played really many matches lately, and I just need to play a lot and try to win, of course, every match I play. But just to play as much as possible.
Q. It is well known that you have been a fan of Steffi Graf. Do you believe that she, Steffi Graf, is in the main draw and then pull out in the time of the tournament because it is unfair for many others?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, even Majoli pulled out as well. She was in the draw and she'd pulled out.
Q. But it is 1, 4 is not the same as 6, 8?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Well, Iva obviously had flu. Steffi wanted to play a tournament, and if she wasn't -- she can't play if she is 100%. If she is injured, she can't play, obviously. But I think if she could have played, she definitely would have come in. I guess she wanted to treat it. It is very difficult for me to say. I don't know. It is -- I don't know. I mean, I definitely like to see her in the tournaments. I like to see her playing. I think everybody likes to see her on the court. You know, it is exciting.
Q. Is there any particular weakness of Kournikova's that you are going to try to exploit tomorrow?
MIRJANA LUCIC: Yeah, well, everybody has their weaknesses and the things that are good. So, yeah, I will try to think about it a little bit to try to play well tomorrow. It is important that I do my stuff well.
Q. How did you do with her in juniors?
MIRJANA LUCIC: We have never played.
Q. Do you think it is unfair that Kournikova gets so much press attention? I mean, much more than a lot of people that are ranked higher than her.
MIRJANA LUCIC: No, I don't have a problem with that at all. It is not that it is not fair. Some people are like that. Some people get more press, some don't. It is just a matter of -- it is -- how would I explain that. I am trying to think now a little bit, you know, how somebody is for that, somebody is really good for that, good with press, and the press just like it. There are some players maybe at the top that press are not that much into that player, you know, so it is -- I don't have a problem with that at all.
End of FastScripts....