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March 28, 1996

Steffi Graf


Q. Was it at all windy out there, Steffi, today?


Q. I mean was it difficult?

STEFFI GRAF: On the one side when you were playing against the wind, it definitely was quite difficult because the ball just kept coming through. The balls were striking on that side, so, it was a matter of who could win her serve against the wind, so...

Q. Steffi, besides the score and the time, what was the major difference in this match against the semifinal at Indian Wells with her?

STEFFI GRAF: I think I was moving better around the court. Yeah, I think I was, during that match, I had back problems and I think I didn't really step into my backhand as well as I did at times today and, you know, it was just a totally different match. It was very difficult to compare the other match. It was a night match so it was perfect conditions. No wind. I think even a little slower court, so, we had longer rallies, so just, in general, it was really different.

Q. What about her playing?

STEFFI GRAF: I think she was making more mistakes today than she did in Indian Wells, also probably because I kept the ball a little bit lower to her backhand and she seemed to struggle with that quite a bit. Other than that -- I just think she just made a few more unforced errors.

Q. Keeping the ball low, is that something you've tried before and it worked so well you just thought --

STEFFI GRAF: That's my game.

Q. Right, but I mean with her specifically -- it seems the slice was lower with her than it has been in the past couple of days.

STEFFI GRAF: Sure, but that's not really -- that's, you know, when -- when I slice better, I mean, usually that's the way it should be with my slice, but most of the times I didn't really step and follow through with it. I did have one game at the end that I went back to my mistakes, but it is just putting my mind and trying to step in, just trying to be aggressive with it. That's the key point.

AMY CONLEY: Any others questions?

Q. Steffi, how much emphasis will you put on the Olympics this year?

STEFFI GRAF: There is a long way till then.

Q. Is that an important part of your schedule?

STEFFI GRAF: Absolutely. I do feel probably the Grand Slams maybe a little bit more to me. That is going to be my main focus, but I think the Olympics will be right after that.

Q. You will you go solely to compete to the exclusion of other things or will you go in part because it is the Olympics, participate in the ceremonies beforehand, for example, that sort of thing, go see some other events?

STEFFI GRAF: That is the main reason I'm going there, for me at least. That's what I've done the previous three times that I've been there, try to see other sports, the little bit difficult part is always to get tickets for the sports I want to go, but I do try to get to some of the sports that I am interested in.

Q. What are you interested in?

STEFFI GRAF: I love track and field. I mean, I spent a lot of time on the track and field, also I like to see them train, which is one of my favorite places when I was in Seoul. Barcelona I did see some of the basketball. I did see a lot of boxing. I went to a lot of track and fields, so, these are probably the main sports I am interested.

Q. You had problems getting tickets for some of these?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, that's why I always ended up in boxing because nobody wants to go to boxing. Yeah, but you do get some on the black market.

Q. The athletes don't get any kind of --

STEFFI GRAF: No, it is really difficult. With the passes that we have, some of the sports, you know, people are not really that interested in, it really is --

Q. Do you get patriotic and cheer for the Germans or do you just like to watch the sport?

STEFFI GRAF: Actually, sure. Sometimes you get patriotic, if you know the people and -- but still in track and field, we are not that strong, so, I usually tend to go for the ones that I like best.

Q. Steffi, if you hadn't been a world class tennis player, would you have had any ambitions to be a world class athlete in another discipline?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, sports gave a lot to me. So, you know, I've been thinking about it quite a few times. Honestly I'm really happy that I ended up in tennis, you know, just looking at some of the track and field athletes, you always have to run around in one circle, I don't know, I think I'm really better off with tennis, even though I do admire them for what they do, but it is a lot of hard work for them, always it is the same work, so -- I love playing better.

Q. Didn't you actually train once with --


Q. Do you remember your numbers?

STEFFI GRAF: No, no. I mean, I screwed myself up when I was in Seoul, I just came from the U.S. Open winning the Grand Slam and definitely wasn't really into tennis and, you know, I got some -- I met some people on the plane from track and field flying there, runners and 800 meter runners, I kind of said, "Okay, if you are going to train in the morning, I'll come with you," and I started running with them, stupid enough. I couldn't walk for two days after that. I got such extreme muscle soreness that I ended up not playing for two, three days because I was gone, but I enjoyed it. It was nice, actually. I think I would do it any day again.

Q. Which track and field events do you enjoy the most?

STEFFI GRAF: I do -- I love all the running, 100 meters, 200, 400, 800, I do follow that. Everything that's a little longer, not as much, but I do like a lot of fast running.

Q. Do you have a favorite athlete or favorite event that you pay attention to that you think you will be paying attention to?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I think the 100 meters is always the one that is most exciting and I've met Carl Lewis before, so actually somebody I respect very much for what he's done. I don't think he's gotten enough respect for what he's done and other than that, I mean, Michael Johnson has some great runners out there that I do follow.

Q. Any thoughts about facing Chanda Rubin if that's the way it happens to go?

STEFFI GRAF: I think the last time we played was at the U.S. Open --

AMY CONLEY: German questions?

STEFFI GRAF: Okay. Thanks.

AMY CONLEY: You are thinking too long.

STEFFI GRAF: Thank you. I really haven't had too many long matches against her. She always for some reason didn't play the best against me. I don't know if she doesn't like to play me or for whatever reason, I never really had too much problems with her, but she has been playing a lot better the past few months, so I think it will be a different match.

Q. Steffi, you probably have gone over this before, what are your European plans this year?

STEFFI GRAF: I think I am kind of undecided in the next few weeks about it what I'm going to do. I've been having troubles, the scheduling is so difficult this year. I have to figure out what is best for me and how I feel at times and how to work around that. I need some time after that and so...

AMY CONLEY: Are you done? German now.

End of FastScripts....

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