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March 25, 1995

Steffi Graf


Q. Someone said on television you issued a plea for a good wish to Monica. Could you elaborate on that?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, Pam asked me probably Monica is watching. And if she were would I say something and I said that I miss her and hope that she is going to come back soon.

Q. This was in response to what Pam asked?


Q. Steffi, the fact that not only Monica is not here, but Conchita and Mary Pierce and even Jennifer. Is that a disappointment to you, do you regret that?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I think that she choose a different schedule. For them it is more to play the clay court. I respect that. Everybody has to choose what is right for them and I choose that hard court season is more important to me right now. It is very difficult with the schedule. Everybody has commitments and, you know, so everybody is trying to do the right thing. Already next week there is a clay court for many people. It is, in fact, for myself, it is really difficult to change from hard court to clay court in one day. I don't know how to do that. I think some people just choose different ways to for there schedule.

Q. Will you be playing Fed Cup at all this year?

STEFFI GRAF: Right now, I am just going to see what I am going to do next few weeks. Right now, I am thinking about playing, but everything is going to depend how I am going to do the next few weeks.

Q. Do you require a certain fee to play Fed Cup for Germany?

STEFFI GRAF: No, that has been said in the papers. I have not even, you know, I have been happy that I am playing so far, I never even talked to anybody nor did my father, so we haven't really -- I mean, I think I am kind of trying to make my schedule now. I wanted to get this tournament over seeing what I am going to do next few weeks. Because I do need a couple of weeks off and I want to work on my game a little bit harder and so I have to choose what I am going to do right now and I do that next few days. Before that, I have not made any decisions so far.

Q. Will you require a fee to play Fed Cup?

STEFFI GRAF: No, I don't because that is something I don't care about. I mean, I am playing to play, you know, for my country and I don't care about money. I think that it has been such a big issue in Germany with Stich and Becker. I think it is terrible the way it has been going so far and I have no intentions about something like that.

Q. Does not being No. 1 make you not feel psychologically any different, trying harder?

STEFFI GRAF: No. Not really. I don't think at all. I think it does really make a difference for me even when I get on the court because I don't think about it. It -- I can't even say it takes pressure off me because whenever I go out on the court, I am trying to do my best; not thinking if I am one, 2, whatever, so it is not a factor at all right now.

Q. Have you talked to Monica Seles at all in the last --

STEFFI GRAF: No, I haven't.

Q. Not since she went out?

STEFFI GRAF: I haven't talked to her for about a year now, that I haven't talked to her.

Q. Do you have any intention of talking to her?

STEFFI GRAF: If I could reach her or can reach her, I would love to, but right now I don't know how to do that.

Q. You would try?

STEFFI GRAF: We have been trying, yes.

Q. You have tried?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, I have tried.

Q. What was the problem?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, if you can't get through to a number, then you just don't get through to a number. It has been difficult for a lot of people to get through.

Q. Any chance of your playing Eastbourne this year on the grass?

STEFFI GRAF: Probably not because it is very close between Paris and Wimbledon and I think it is -- I mean, right now I am trying to lower a little bit the tournaments that I play, so I have no intentions because it is just too close for me to get rid of the grass court. I prefer to have enough time in between so I can get a couple of days off and get ready for the grass.

Q. Were you pleased with the way your back has been feeling throughout the tournament and particularly the day after your matches?

STEFFI GRAF: Oh, yes, I have been very happy because there were six matches in eight days and sometimes it is not easy one, longer ones, than I have had this year, so I have been responding to it well. I am extremely happy with the way my back is feeling.

Q. As you think about your schedule, is it probable that you won't play again now until Europe and clay then.

STEFFI GRAF: That really depends how I am going to be the next few weeks. I mean, I am scheduled, next four days I am having a commercial to do. Then I am trying to work a little bit more on my conditioning and see how I am going to be playing on clay courts. In December I have felt some problems playing on clay courts; hopefully that is going to be all right this year.

Q. It seems curious that most people would say hard courts are harder on the body than clay courts. What is the difference for you?

STEFFI GRAF: It is the sliding. That is really a lot tougher on my sacroiliac joint. When I tried it was, you know, just didn't work, so for some reason the hard court has been a lot easier because probably after the way my back is getting into position on the clay courts.

Q. Have you come to a diagnosis of the back as far as -- you had talked at the Virginia Slims, I think, or somewhere about how much of it was congenital. Have you come to a realization that you are always going to have it no matter what you do, what percentage is congenital and what percentage is tennis?

STEFFI GRAF: No, I am going to have that no matter what I do. It is the way it is going to go. Even if I am going to stop playing today, I will have some problems eventually, but that is just a fact.

Q. The pain will come and go randomly; it is not your participation on the Tour?

STEFFI GRAF: I don't think it really has much to do. Depends. Obviously, sometimes it has to do how much I work out, that is absolute. So that is why I have been cutting that down.

Q. Were you concerned at all in the second set that it might get away from you?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, it was difficult because there were so many different moments, like in the beginning of the second set I mean, it was 2-All and 3-2 it was really close. There were some long points and she started to play very well, very deep and started to go more for her shots and I let a little down and I knew that it is going to be difficult. Then again, I won two quick games to 5-2 and I was thinking, all right, so here we go and then again, you know, for the first time I started to serve well during that game and she just played some incredible returns and then next game I had the chance at matchpoint to go for the forehand and I missed it, maybe trying for too much at 5-4 I was -- I wasn't getting nervous at all, but I was saying, okay, let us start it all over again, but she just played very well in these two games.

Q. You said you were a little surprised that it did end up being Kimiko in the finals instead of Gaby. What were you expecting from Kimiko? I am sorry to backtrack a little bit, in general, how did you feel Kimiko played? This is your fifth time playing her?

STEFFI GRAF: I think she was -- the good thing was that I had a very good start in the beginning, breaking her at 2, 3-Love then I think she was trying for it a little bit too much making quite a few errors. Then in the second set she just started to play better points; didn't try for too much and started to play much better tennis, running around very well and playing very deep and so it got a lot more difficult. I think she deserves where she is at because the way she has been playing the last few months.

Q. Do you feel she is a player that you can read well on the court?

STEFFI GRAF: Not really, because she has strokes that maybe are a little bit for -- her forehand is a little bit unusual, and she has got a good backhand down the line, so sometimes it is not that easy to read.

Q. Are you surprised at her power given her size?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, but I think that comes from her speed and I think she is one of the fastest players around the court and she has very good stamina and I think that is why she has the ability to use the power of your pace because she is there very early and takes the ball invest early.

Q. When people talk about Monica's situation, a lot of us have assumed that a big part of the problems is emotional because she is playing tennis, supposedly. Have you found anything about the episodes be scarring for you? Do you ever find yourself dwelling on it or thinking about it for you, having been I don't know, peripherally involved with it, I mean, the whole episode with Monica a lot of us have assumed there is an emotional, something to hang on emotionally because she is playing, so do you ever find that it is scaring for you or a night mare for you to look back on it or have you been able to totally block it out?

STEFFI GRAF: It is not totally to block it out. Last ten days I have been confronted every interview every time again, so that doesn't make it easier. It doesn't make it possible to block it out - not at all. Even the months before, you still -- you still times think about it, so it is not very possible to block it out. You try as good as you can, and, you know, you hope you don't have to think about it too much. That is all.

Q. Is there something in your makeup that you suspect you would just go out and play do you think if it were you would be playing in your makeup -- you seem to be somebody who uses the court to block out problems, or get back to tennis quickly when you have had problems. Have you ever thought about if you would---?

STEFFI GRAF: No, it is not possible because you are not in the situation, so it is impossible to really think what you would do. From the outside you can say, I think the best way would have been to come back, but, you know, you have no idea probably what kind of thoughts you have of coming back, if you see the people; if you get questions about it, it is not possible to foresee how you would react to it. And maybe you think the right thing would be to come back. You don't know because you are not in that person's mind.

Q. How much do you think it would mean to women's tennis to have her back?

STEFFI GRAF: Obviously, it would make a great deal. I think that would be very, very helpful right now and we have had a lot of big names dropping out, you know, not being there and it would help the tennis extraordinarily. It would be a big, big help.

Q. You mentioned a commercial earlier. What is it all about?

STEFFI GRAF: It is deodorant.

Q. For United States or German television?

STEFFI GRAF: It is all over. It is worldwide.

Q. What is the deal?

STEFFI GRAF: Rexoona, it is called.

Q. Can you tell us what you will be doing in the commercial?

STEFFI GRAF: Showering.

Q. For four days?

STEFFI GRAF: Something like that - no, lots of things. That is a little part only.

Q. The public service was what, was that special Olympics?


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