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March 30, 1996

Steffi Graf


Q. Can you discuss your chair strategy?

STEFFI GRAF: I didn't want to sit in the sun and I didn't want to use the umbrella, so I guess that was the closest I could get. She took the chair, it was closer to the shade, so I just changed my chair around.

Q. And they have to look into the faces of those photographers?

STEFFI GRAF: That did bother me quite a bit, I have to say. I was like, "well, just take it. Just take it. It's better than the sun."

Q. The first tournament you've one in a dress?

STEFFI GRAF: Thanks for telling me. I did not realize that one. Actually, yeah, maybe I should keep doing that. It's been working well.

Q. Considering the long lay layoff, are you surprised how well you've been playing?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, very. Especially this tournament, I think I've played stronger than I played in Indian Wells I can't ask for a better start, absolutely not. I've been playing some top players and always came out playing the right shots, the right time, even the close matches that I played, so I think it's a perfect start.

Q. Has the most pleasant surprise this week been lack of pain from the back?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, I think that's been very helpful, very helpful, you know, it didn't bother me at all, the last few matches have been perfect and that hasn't happened for a while, so I hope it will continue.

Q. Steffi, she had 12 unforced errors in the first set, a double fault on game point, did you sense that she may have been a little nervous in this final?

STEFFI GRAF: I thought maybe she had been a bit. Nervous, she hasn't been in such a big tournament into the finals and also she hasn't, I mean, we haven't played very often, but still the few times that we played, she didn't really like playing me very much. I could sense that she was a bit tentative right from the beginning on and I took advantage right on, served extremely well and put her under pressure constantly. I think she felt she needed to produce some great shots and I think that's why she started making errors.

Q. Do you think she particularly doesn't like your slice from the backhand side?

STEFFI GRAF: I think that's been a big weapon against her and against Lindsay. I think they both didn't really particularly like my slice.

Q. Was it all going too easily and too quickly for you, do you think you had a little bit lapse of concentration in the second set, she did step up her game as well?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, I was just going to say that. She really went for her serve. I think she hit the three aces in a row, 97 miles an hour second serve, I think she was really going for it at that stage. I started to really go for more and finally some were going in. I think I was rushing through those points. I think it really had something to do with her stepping up her game.

Q. Can you give us a short health report on your various anomalies and ailments?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, how did I look to you today?

Q. You looked pretty good. How do you feel?

STEFFI GRAF: I feel pretty good.

Q. The foot?

STEFFI GRAF: The foot is great. The back was nothing, so that's major step forwards.

Q. Then can you tell us what your schedule will be between now and the French Open?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I am not going to play for a couple of days now. I will probably work on my conditioning. I think that's something that I probably have to work on a little bit. My game seems fine. I haven't really had the time and the chance to do that, so I will take that opportunity now, not play very much, but just try to work on my physique. Next thing that I am going to play is the Federation Cup and then I am going to take the next tournament in Rome.

Q. Rome?

STEFFI GRAF: Rome, yes.

Q. And then the French Open?

STEFFI GRAF: Then the French Open.

Q. How many tournaments then would you expect to play this year?

STEFFI GRAF: I have no idea. I didn't look at the schedule. I mean, I play whenever I'm ready to play and, I mean, I do believe that I put some more tournaments in and maybe I'll play another clay court. Just for the moment, that's where I put my mind on.

Q. So you are not playing Berlin?

STEFFI GRAF: That's definitely a possibility.

Q. Steffi, you said you're eager to get back to Germany, will you head to Heidelberg after a few days?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, possibly.

Q. Spend a few days in Boca?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes. I do spend a few days here then get back.

Q. You seem to like it here in the States. Would you consider moving here entirely, just picking up and leaving Germany and making home here?

STEFFI GRAF: I have not really considered that yet. I mean, I've -- I've been pretty happy the way it's been going. I spend a lot of time in America and I spend a lot of time back in Europe, so I think I'm pretty fine with that.

Q. Do you split the time evenly in Germany and in the States?

STEFFI GRAF: I am more in America, but that's because there are more tournaments here.

Q. You have been cut up by a lot of surgeons, (Laughter) and perhaps newspaper people in Germany, too, what kind of apprehension is there before you go into an operation like this one on your foot, that you won't be the same again, is there a fear?

STEFFI GRAF: Not really, no. I've never had really -- I mean, with the operations that I've had, they've been very normal and easy surgeries, so nothing that I was in fear of.

Q. No, not fearing physical pain, or anything like that, but that you might not be the same tennis player after this operation?

STEFFI GRAF: Because of the layoffs?

Q. No, because -- were you convinced this would cure you and make you better or that it might not. Because we've had a lot of experience, baseball players and so forth, they haven't been the same afterwards?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, that's good you are telling me now (Laughter).

Q. I didn't want to tell you beforehand.

STEFFI GRAF: You know, I've had one operation on the one foot and that worked extremely well. I didn't have any problems since I've had that operation and I was back after four weeks on the circuit, so I wasn't afraid the second time around. I've been pretty confident with the doctors that I've had, so you gotta face it some time.

Q. Steffi, several foreign players that have come to live in the United States that became United States citizen. Has it ever crossed your mind you'd like to become an American citizen?

STEFFI GRAF: You guys hitting it, Huh? It has crossed my mind, it has crossed my mind. I feel so comfortable here, but it's nothing that I even thought about, actually, I mean something like, you know, I feel comfortable here, but I am pretty happy the way things are.

Q. Steffi, do you think the extra rest helps your game?


Q. Or your new schedule might help your game, you play awfully well having come back now?

STEFFI GRAF: True, I think it does help me in the sense that I pace myself better and I am always fresher when I get into the tournaments because I haven't played that many tournaments, I haven't traveled as much as maybe some of the other players, and so probably in a sense, it helps me be mentally more ready for playing, but on the other hand, I think it is a little more difficult because, you know, you always have long breaks and you never really know where you're at when you get into the tournaments, so you get the positive and the negative.

Q. Steffi, yesterday Agassi said, you know, he's won this tournament a couple of times, Pete has, basically he was saying it doesn't even mean that much as much as beating each other or having a great rivalry. Do you find that you still take a lot of joy of winning a certain tournament as many times, is that, alone, enough for you to be happy?

STEFFI GRAF: I think that's a pretty unique feeling winning a tournament. I mean, I kind of understand what he is trying to say, you know, playing the best player and beating them sometimes, probably, you know -- it probably gives you a better high afterwards, but then again winning certain tournaments do mean a lot to me. I think this was a pretty big tournament. Sure, I think it would have had probably a better feeling if I won it in a tougher match, but I'm pretty happy that I was playing that well, so, sometimes you get more out of having a tough match.

Q. Steffi, Monica is going to be out a while longer now, do you have any sort of real -- are you really anxious about getting with her, it could have been here, could be anywhere, do you think, "Let's get it going again?"

STEFFI GRAF: In a way, yes. For both of us it's been pretty difficult injury-wise, so at least I am a little bit on track, and hopefully she'll have the right people to help her and so we'll soon be able to play each other again, I mean, it is nothing you can force.

Q. Steffi, Pete said a couple of days ago with all the injuries and all the traveling he couldn't see himself playing past 30.

STEFFI GRAF: I said that a long time ago.

Q. Do you still feel that way, you won't play past 30?

STEFFI GRAF: I still feel that way. I'll always be around tennis courts. I'll always love tennis, but competitive, it is draining at times.

Q. Steffi, I have an Indian Wells question for you.

STEFFI GRAF: Oh, okay.

Q. Not too far back. Are you satisfied with the conditions under which the women were asked to perform at Indian Wells alongside the men?

STEFFI GRAF: That's a good one. The way television is handled, there is really nothing we can do about it. I wish there would have been a better compromise and I think women's tennis deserved to be shown and have at least a similar schedule. I think it has been shown here a few times on Thursday. Chanda had again to play a second night match, there have been a few things that maybe could have been done better and hopefully with enough players not being happy, hopefully, it will be better the next time around.

Q. Steffi, with the temperature 120 degrees on the court surface, I am just curious why you wouldn't want an umbrella?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I've been answering that one a few times now. I don't feel comfortable with somebody standing next to me holding an umbrella for some reason.

Q. What's the fear?

STEFFI GRAF: There is no fear. It's just uncomfortable. If I hold it myself, I'm okay with it, but (Laughter) not when somebody else is holding it.

Q. Lindsay said -- I forget the point in the match where she had an opening against you, but she said the problem is that if you get close to you or challenge you, it makes you mad and wakes you up. Do you feel like players playing you are in a can't win situation where if they step it up, you just step it up that much more?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, yeah, sometimes I can sense it. That's what I have been mentioning before, which is I've been pretty happy in these two tournaments. When it got too close, I knew what to do at those moments and stepping it up or just taking -- choosing the right shot, you know, I've -- I came out with a couple of good serves, especially with Lindsay when it was important, so I have been choosing the right things and that's what I have been really happy with, too.

Q. Steffi, in the last year your only two losses were against non-top 10 players. Can you determine if this was because they were just hot that day or you were not into the match, each of those matches?

STEFFI GRAF: They were -- I mean, first of all, I think it had to be a combination of both, you know, sometimes it works well when you have some time off and sometimes it doesn't. That's what I mean, what I meant before. Sometimes your confidence is not at the highest level, if you feel you haven't played for a long time, that's what happened in Toronto, I didn't play, I think the tournament last was women, so that was my first tournament. I didn't really play a lot beforehand and I had to play Amanda, who is a difficult player to play against, especially for me, so I think she was playing well, maybe I wasn't 100 percent with my game, but that was probably -- depending on confidence level and the other match against Marianne de-Swardt, she played a great match. There wasn't very much I could do.

Q. Way, way back, do you think about the win streak when you go into a French Open, you seem to always be going into this win streaks as you are now, unbeaten?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I tend not to think too much about that really. I think it's something, you know, I start a tournament over again, for me that's a new tournament, that's what's good about tennis, it keeps ongoing and even sometimes things are not going the right way, you have another chance the next week.

Q. Assuming you leave the game in the next four years, before you're 30, would you assume most tennis fans will consider you the best player ever, women's player to play?

STEFFI GRAF: That's up to them to decide. It's something that you can't name.

Q. Is there anything you haven't done that you think would keep you from being considered -- I mean considering everything you've won and everything you overcame to win, is there anything you haven't done that would keep you from being considered the best player in the game?

STEFFI GRAF: I cannot answer it because -- I mean, I can't answer that one. I really can't. I feel uncomfortable answering that question.

AMY CONLEY: Okay, can we switch to German questions, please.

Q. One more. Steffi --

STEFFI GRAF: No, no, no. (laughter).

Q. One more?


Q. One more?

STEFFI GRAF: No. No. You are starting the way I don't want a question to be started.

Q. There are reports about fed cup?

STEFFI GRAF: No. Thank you.

Q. No, no. Regarding Monica and the U.S. team?

STEFFI GRAF: Okay. About what?

Q. That if the U.S. meets Germany, Germany will host that tie and the U.S. team is against taking their team to Germany if Monica is on there, for obvious reasons.


Q. What are your thoughts on that, would you support the U.S. on that?

STEFFI GRAF: I knew I didn't want that question. (Laughter). I mean, I've answered that before and I can only answer it the same way again. First of all, we have to win, first of all, they have to win, and then somebody has to decide on what's going to be happening. I said before I don't think it's right to play the match in Hamburg. I don't think that's right, so I just think there has to be some sort of compromise. I think it should be.

Q. What do you think a fair compromise would be?

STEFFI GRAF: I don't know. I mean, you have asked me that question twice, I never put any thought in it before. It is up for them to decide that. I mean, I can't say.

AMY CONLEY: German questions, please.

End of FastScripts....

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