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March 26, 1996

Steffi Graf


Q. That was a little bit different today, Steffi, from last night.

STEFFI GRAF: Very different, extremely different. Still made it somehow. Obviously I brought the game a little bit different than I did last night. I was more hesitant, was letting her kind of play more than I. I wasn't really stepping into it.

Q. Any explanation why?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, she likes my game. She likes somebody that hits it hard. She uses that power very well. We've played a few times before. I don't like the counter- puncher. I'm trying not to take care of my game, I'm trying to play so it gives more trouble to her, and I kind of mess it up usually. I try to play slower. I try different things. It's just not really my game.

Q. How do you think you managed to get through this one?

STEFFI GRAF: I think it was important in the first set, especially at the end, I was starting to step in a little bit, especially being down 6-5. As I noticed being up 5-4 and 40-Love, these points I was so defensive, I mean I was playing so defensively instead of just going for it at the time. I was learning a little bit two games later from it. I think that helped me to get into a tiebreak, played a good tiebreak. Again trouble at the beginning of the second set. I finally started hitting it a little bit more.

Q. Does she have the kind of game that frustrates you?

STEFFI GRAF: I certainly don't like it too much.

Q. Are you getting to be a tiebreak expert?

STEFFI GRAF: I've been playing quite a few. I've been playing quite a few. I mean, I'm winning more than I'm losing, so that's something good to look at.

Q. Steffi, what went through your mind at 3-All in the second set? How did you get that final to push the match over the edge?

STEFFI GRAF: The momentum was changing so many times. She was leading 2-Love, chances for 3-Love. Played a few good points, run her around a lot. I won two easy games. I was thinking, it's getting there. Then I lose my serve again at 3-All. The momentum was constantly changing. You couldn't really figure out. Once you were playing a good game, then you were playing a terrible game. It was difficult because I couldn't find my rhythm. I was up 4-3, she was again up 40-15, I had some good serves, some good points. From then I felt a little stronger.

Q. Steffi, do you feel that Date keeps you running from side to side a little bit more than most of the other players or about the same?

STEFFI GRAF: She uses the court very well, great angles. Sometimes you don't really see where they're going to come to. She uses your power, she can really force you to go. She did quite a few times.

Q. If you had gotten through quickly today, would you go into the next match more confident than you feel right now, considering that Lindsay had such a good day?

STEFFI GRAF: Not at all. I know which kind of players I have more trouble with and which I don't. I know what I'm capable of. I'm really happy to have a day off. I haven't really played three matches in a row, four matches in five days, so it definitely was a very good test for me. I don't think it will change my confidence.

Q. Were you surprised at the comprehensive way that Lindsay won?

STEFFI GRAF: Never really explain Lindsay. She has always had troubles playing her. I didn't see much of the match. I couple points, a couple miss-hits by Anke. Lindsay has been starting to play a bit more solid, doesn't make too much mistakes, keeps you right on the toes from the beginning on. She's taking controlling. That's what Anke usually likes to do. She just needs a few more points to get to that. And Lindsay can do that from the beginning on. Definitely a surprise as to how easy it was. The way they played the last few times, I think it's been pretty similar.

Q. You had a match with Lindsay at Indian Wells. What are you looking for in the semis?

STEFFI GRAF: We played for two hours and 45 minutes, we probably know each other's game pretty well. I think it's -- I've got to find the way to dictate the points. I think that will depend a lot on my serve, and obviously her serve. That's going to be a key factor. We both are going to try to play our games, so we'll see how good everybody plays on that day.

Q. Did you look perhaps to this low start being an adjustment between last night and today?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, like I said, three matches in a row. I had a longer evening, because when you get back you do treatment, an early morning. It's something that I don't think it really did do anything different. I think it was great, I was playing the kind of tennis last night. Maybe I was a little bit worried that maybe I'm not going to do it again today. I was maybe not as relaxed as I was last night.

Q. Considering how many obstacles and frustrations you've faced as a mature player now, do you appreciate winning a match like this more than you did six years ago, seven years ago, where struggling like this would maybe have gotten you mad or something?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, I do appreciate these wins more, absolutely true. I think, you know, all these years puts things a bit more in perspective. I know that still sometimes I get upset. For example, I played the in the finals against Conchita, we both didn't play well. I was a little disappointed afterwards. You do feel a little disappointed, but I think you appreciate it because you know what you've gotten through.

Q. Does that help you when you get into a really tough match against a really tough player?

STEFFI GRAF: Probably. Probably because I've been there so many times. I know whatever the outcome will be, you know, life goes on. Usually it's something the next tournament is going to come up. I think that kind of attitude helps me a lot, especially the last year, year and a half. I've been I think more relaxed in these situations. That's why I've been playing better at that time because I'm not worried.

Q. Steffi, beyond this particular match, can you explain why you think you've been able to feel relaxed, considering all let's say off-the-court distractions that you had with physical problems and being separated with your father?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, if you -- you have to deal with these things, you realize what a great life you have on the Tour. You know or you realize how great it is just to focus on tennis. To do something that you really love, and being able to, you know, really just focus on that. I think that's something that I've not -- I don't know if that's the right word, treasured it as much as I do now. You know, I know how I felt after a couple months not being able to play tennis, having to deal with other things, what a great pleasure it was to play. I still --

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about what it feels like to have to play with physical pain?

STEFFI GRAF: You get used to it. What can I say? Every player has their problems with their injuries. You just have to kind of deal with it. You have to learn about them, how you can treat them, what you have to do for it, hopefully get the right advice and the right people to help you. Like I said, at some point you know what to do and you just don't pay too much attention to it.

Q. What about on court when you're in the middle of a match and part of you is hurting, do you have to try to block it out? Do you think about it? Is it a distraction you have to overcome?

STEFFI GRAF: Not really, no. I often realize the more I hurt, the better I play because I know I've got to concentrate a little bit harder, try not to play around as much. It has been good at some times.

Q. In the media center your name was pronounced as Stephanie. Someone said you prefer that? Should we take note of that?

STEFFI GRAF: Not really. I like the name Stephanie a lot more than Steffi, but that's about it for that story. I don't take it that serious.

Q. When are you going to write the medical guide?

STEFFI GRAF: You need some help? That's just a thought that was occurring to me last year, just a fun thing.

Q. It's quite ready in your head?

STEFFI GRAF: It's getting there.

End of FastScripts....

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