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March 13, 1999

Steffi Graf


VERONIQUE MARCHAL: Questions for Steffi in English, please.

Q. Can you describe what happened after she took the time-out?

STEFFI GRAF: I mean, she still was going for her shots, but I felt I was serving all right, and I still felt I could hold onto my serve. Then I didn't play such a good game for her to get the break. But she was going more for her shots than I did. That was the difference, definitely, at the end.

Q. Was perhaps the difference between here and Sydney, she was that much more consistent than even she was then?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah. She didn't make that many mistakes. She was really forcing the shots, being aggressive most of the times. But much more consistent, yeah, for sure.

Q. Do you think you're playing at the level that you were playing when you were dominating the circuit and No. 1?

STEFFI GRAF: No, I'm not. Not really.

Q. What did she do that particularly bothered you?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, she served well. You know, she was going, definitely, for the second serve. She was going for her shots. She took risks. She did that very well, I think. She was just going more for the shots, trying to be more aggressive than I was.

Q. How heavy does she hit that forehand?

STEFFI GRAF: She's really solidly going for it.

Q. Compared with the others?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I thought that Chanda had an unbelievable forehand. But Serena has a good forehand or backhand. I mean, both shots are very consistent.

Q. Why do you think you were being more tentative than she was?

STEFFI GRAF: I don't know. It's something that I've been the last few weeks, you know, just not taking that little extra risk. There were some long rallies, some important points that didn't go my way. I should have maybe just tried to come in or do something different about it, and I didn't. That's just been happening a few times lately.

Q. As your career progresses, do you find you're taking fewer risks than you were five or six years ago?

STEFFI GRAF: No. I just don't think that I'm playing very well, the important points, right now. It's nothing that I say I do it all the time, but just the last few tournaments I've definitely realized that.

Q. Over the years, much has been written about your wonderful forehand. Do you think you have the best forehand in the game?


Q. You.

STEFFI GRAF: I don't know. I don't care really too much about it either. I mean, it's nothing that I think about. I don't know.

Q. Over the years you've been told that you should go more for your backhand, the flat one or topspin one, rather than the slice one. You seem very reluctant to do it. Why is that?

STEFFI GRAF: Why? Because I feel much more comfortable with my slice. I feel that even today a lot of slices, she had difficulty to do something off it. Definitely, I didn't play topspin enough when she came in. I only started doing that at the end of the second set. I should have definitely started earlier. But as a passing shot, I'm probably more used to it, and maybe I just didn't do it enough today.

Q. Is that why you threw up your hands after that one?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, because finally, I've been tell myself a few times, but I just never did it. Finally the one time I did it.

Q. Is this a result that you can put to one side reasonably easily, or will you think about it for a few days?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I've got Key Biscayne ahead of me. I think that's something I will focus on. Naturally, you know, I think about matches; what I could do differently about them; why things didn't work out the way. But I don't know. I'll definitely think a little bit about it, for sure.

Q. When she got to match point in the last game, she walked away from the service return area for a few moments, and you had to wait till you made your next serve. Do you think she was engaging in gamesmanship?

STEFFI GRAF: No, not at all. I mean, there were a few seconds. It was nothing at all. That's normal to take your time in between points.

Q. Do you think you have the motivation needed to attain the No. 1 position?

STEFFI GRAF: It hasn't been on my mind. I haven't been thinking about it. I don't care so much about it.

Q. You talked that maybe you should take more risk, but you didn't commit that many unforced errors. She committed much more than you did. You only lost the match by two games. Why is playing a steady match such a bad thing?

STEFFI GRAF: Because with taking the risks, you put pressure on the other opponent. You know, just putting the balls in play is not enough. There were a few key points, even match point, there's definitely chances I have to go more for my shots. I do it during practice often enough, and I need to show that during matches. I just haven't been doing that so much, at least not when it's been important. That's what I mean. You know, with a steady match, you don't win. I mean, you sometimes win, but not against the good players.

Q. Can you remember a person lifting their game in a six-week span so quickly, like Serena has done?

STEFFI GRAF: I guess a lot has to do with confidence. I mean, tennis is based very much on it. You can see the change. She won, I don't know, two weeks ago a tournament. That then can make a big change.

End of FastScripts....

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