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March 9, 1999

Steffi Graf


Q. I suppose you cannot complain too much about your match today.

STEFFI GRAF: No. Nothing to complain about. I had some longer. I felt I was moving very well, anticipating her shots very well. Definitely felt that I was going for it, yeah. I felt very good.

Q. Do you feel you're still going up in terms of the form?

STEFFI GRAF: Oh, yeah, no question about it. If I compare when I started last summer playing my tournaments, I felt that now I know much better what to do. I feel more comfortable playing matches. And the season is early on, but I feel, like today, I mean, I showed the tennis that I can play. I really haven't done that very often in the last few months. So I hope to be able to continue that.

Q. What is the margin of progression?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, you're talking about percentage?

Q. However way you want.

STEFFI GRAF: However way I want (laughter). I mean, it's difficult to explain. But I felt in a lot of matches there were certain things that I didn't feel comfortable and I made mistakes. I didn't feel confident on my backhand or sometimes my forehand or my serve. It was always something different. Like today, I've been able to put it together, and that's what's important, to have a clear game plan and really do what you want to do. And sometimes I've just been worrying about certain shots and things like that. I felt that I haven't been doing that, you know, the past week or so since I've been playing here.

Q. It was at this tournament last year that you were injured. Does that give you a sense of trepidation coming here again?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I wouldn't be playing any tournaments anymore (laughter).

Q. Returning to the scene, in effect.

STEFFI GRAF: No, no, no. I don't look back very much at all. I mean, in a way I actually look more positive than anything else because it was only the second tournament I played after my layover. Until the match against Lindsay, I thought I was really playing well for that early on during that period. So I have actually more positive thoughts than looking back in a bad way.

Q. When you played like you did today, does that give you ideas of --?

STEFFI GRAF: -- what I can do?

Q. Yes.

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah. Wish I could put it somewhere and keep showing it. Yeah, I mean, it's great to see that I've been able to show what I can play during matches, and Heinz now we've been working on certain things. I feel much more confident around the net. You could see that quite a few times there were important points at the net. You know, I'm going out there and trying things and having fun doing it.

Q. What do you make of all the glamour around women's tennis these days with photo shoots and movie producers involved in the Tour, all that?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I mean, I don't know if it's that much of a difference. I mean, I think the positive thing that I feel is what's going to be good for women's tennis is you introduce the young players early on. I think that's important, you know, that people do recognize their faces over and over again and get them into the sport. You know, if it sometimes doesn't always have to do with the tennis, like you said, maybe you're having fashion spreads in fashion magazines, you know, to get people that maybe are not so familiar with the sport getting into it.

Q. Does your confidence level depend on who you're playing?

STEFFI GRAF: Not really, huh-uh, no. It really depends a lot on the way I've been practicing and the preparations. That has a lot to do with it.

Q. So if you do happen to play Martina, do you feel like you're playing at a good enough level to beat her if she's playing well?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah. But I think I have another match tomorrow. I think it's Novotna or somebody (laughter).

Q. Given Hingis' size, do you think it's possible she could win, say, 15 Grand Slam titles over a career and be a dominant No. 1, or do you think it's nearly impossible in today's game?

STEFFI GRAF: You're talking about her height?

Q. I'm talking about her height, yeah.

STEFFI GRAF: Well, it's getting gradually more important to be taller. But you can take Serena or Venus, for example, but there aren't that many out there. I think there's still -- I don't know. I definitely see that possible, yeah. I wouldn't see why not. I mean, it is an advantage to be a good physique and be tall, without a doubt, if you can move well. But it doesn't necessarily have to be.

Q. Could you elaborate on your feelings in case you have to face Novotna?

STEFFI GRAF: My feelings?

Q. About Novotna.

STEFFI GRAF: Thoughts, whatever?

Q. If you have to play her.

STEFFI GRAF: We've played, I don't know, an incredible amount of times against each other. The last time we played, I think it was at The Championships in November, which we had a very close match. But she's been playing well. She's definitely somebody that has a very similar game to mine. You don't see that many slice backhands around. So she has a different game. It will be a different approach. But I'm looking forward to playing her.

Q. Don't you know quite a bit about dietary matters, nutrition?

STEFFI GRAF: A little bit.

Q. Do you think it's good for a young woman to drink a great deal of orange juice?

STEFFI GRAF: You know what? Actually I've done something similar for about three weeks, but it was a period I was injured. I have to say I felt extremely well. It's the best I've felt probably ever when I did the similar diet. The only problem was when I started playing tennis, I didn't have a lot of energy anymore because there was just something missing. You know, it's difficult. I don't exactly know how her diet - because you're talking about Patty - how she goes about her diet or whatever she's eating. But I've done it once when I wasn't playing that. But when I started practicing, I didn't have enough energy. It depends.

Q. How much orange juice were you consuming during that period?

STEFFI GRAF: You know, it was a lot of juice. It was a lot of fruits, a lot of vegetable. But, I mean, I didn't necessarily only drink orange juice, because my stomach would be very upset.

Q. When did you do that? Did you eat any meat? When did you try that diet?

STEFFI GRAF: I did it about one and a half, two years ago.

Q. And you didn't eat any meat or anything like that either?

STEFFI GRAF: Very, very little. It was like something that 70 percent that you take is supposed to be very watery. So a lot of vegetable, a lot of salad, a lot of fruits.

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