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March 17, 1994

Steffi Graf


Q. Got a little hairy there for a while.

STEFFI GRAF: You mean losing a set?

Q. Just the whole -- just the whole way the match was going in the second set.

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, first set was just so quick. She made a lot of mistakes. And, suddenly, the second set she started playing much better, more solid, and then I started to make the mistakes. But when it counted, I was able to get back on.

Q. Were you surprised about that drop shot? She certainly was. Were you?

STEFFI GRAF: That I did it?

Q. Yes.

STEFFI GRAF: Well, it was the right time to do it, but it was a little bit risky, I would have to say. But it was perfect shot at the moment.

Q. Steff, I know you don't want to lose a set or lose a game at all at any time, but was it a big deal not to have this streak of sets broken? When it was set point, were you thinking --

STEFFI GRAF: I was just kidding, I mean, I'm not worried about that at all.

Q. Really?

STEFFI GRAF: No, I'm just trying to do my best out there. I mean I'm not worried about losing a set.

Q. Did it cross your mind at all the 6-1 lead was the same one that Aranxta blew in her tiebreaker?

STEFFI GRAF: No, actually, no. I was -- even though it was close, like 6-1 got to 6-All, I had a good feeling, actually, about it, and --

Q. I meant the 6-1 in the tiebreaker.

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, I know, I didn't think about it.

Q. Steffi, did you enjoy the match? Did it challenge you?

STEFFI GRAF: I didn't enjoy it that much because I didn't play very well, the way I wanted to play. I didn't step into the ball, I think my slice backhand was very weak today, so I wasn't that happy all around. It's good to be pushed and to know I played well when it counted.

Q. Lots of players can hit as hard as she can, but maybe not as consistently as she can. Who else besides perhaps Martina can hit so consistently, so hard in the course --

STEFFI GRAF: Martina? She's not somebody that's playing that much baseline. She hits that hard, so one definitely comes to mind is, Werdel which I played in Delray Beach; I think she is hardest hitter around. Jennifer used to be able to, Monica; they've been the ones that always played very tough baseline, but there aren't that many around.

Q. Steffi, obviously you're one of the most popular players out there today. The crowd was clearly pulling for the underdog. Does that-- do you get a little irritated sometimes, because I remember I saw at the end of the match the ball that was clearly out and the crowd was groaning and you made little motion, I think it was out by this far or something, right near the end. Does the audience sometimes bother you sometimes?

STEFFI GRAF: No, I just responded on that because it was quite clearly out and just sort of responded that way, but it doesn't really bother me during the match. Not at all, actually.

Q. Sometimes --

STEFFI GRAF: You kind of get used to it.

Q. Sometimes you get used to people cheering for you then when they cheer for the other player --

STEFFI GRAF: I think once you are at high ranking and everybody knows you've been there for so long, sometimes it's -- people more go for the underdog. I mean, I'm more used to probably cheering for the other one than for me, so.

Q. Really?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, I think so.

Q. How do you see Lindsay as a future prospect, Top 5, possibly, as a real threat?

STEFFI GRAF: I definitely think she has all for it. First thing, she has the height, which is going to be very important in the future. She's got the aggressive game that she needs. And she's only 17. I think she still has a lot of room for development, and I think she knows what she has to do to get better. I think she's got all of it to do it.

Q. How important has the Lipton become in the big picture for players on the Tour?

STEFFI GRAF: You see how many play here, so it is very important to all of us.

Q. How do you feel for Paris; do you feel you're peaking early or do you feel good?

STEFFI GRAF: Hopefully, I mean, hopefully I'm not peaking too early. So far I think I couldn't have asked for a better start of the year, but to get ready to Paris, that means to get ready on clay courts, which I will start right after this tournament. Like the years before, I'm trying to play three tournaments on clay before the Paris, so I think I will be prepared.

Q. Steff, at what point will the monotony of winning get to you?

STEFFI GRAF: The what?

Q. The monotony. When will you get tired winning match after match, weeks from now, years from now?

STEFFI GRAF: When I will get tired? When will you get tired?

Q. Tired of you winning match after match?

STEFFI GRAF: Right now I'm not getting tired.

Q. Steffi, does she have the type of game that can really hurt you? Do you expect maybe in three months, the next time you play her, to come out there and maybe push you deep into the third set; do you expect that type of improvement from her?

STEFFI GRAF: I think she has -- she's the kind of player who can get, in a couple of months, better. She hasn't been around that long, and, I mean, you never know what's going to happen in couple of months, but I think she has the game and she continues to work on it, that could give me trouble, that's for sure, the way she plays; she place aggressive, yeah.

Q. Were you fighting to keep your concentration in the second set, even though she was playing better, but after that first set, it went so fast?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, I think I played the first two games really bad. I didn't play them very well, and from then on, she got back into the match, gave her a kind of confidence, and then I just played too defensively. I just didn't go in, probably that's a reason why I won the first set a little too easy. I didn't want to lay back, but I just didn't concentrate as well.

Q. Does it disappoint you when you see Sabatini and Sanchez Vicario go down in the same day, kind of takes away for the challenge in the semifinal or final?

STEFFI GRAF: You mean Gabriela, she lost that day to much better play, and so it is probably the name that's missing now, but I think Lindsay just played better this tournament. That's why she deserved to be here. And Aranxta, I think she didn't have the best day, so, I mean, it's kind of sad. But there is nothing to do about it; it happens.

Q. Were you thinking at all third set; was it crossing your mind?

STEFFI GRAF: Maybe little bit, but not -- maybe for once or so, but not really too much because still in there, I just didn't return very well. I just knew I had to put a couple of balls inside and give myself a chance to be able to do something during a point. So I didn't call myself out even if it was 5-4.

Q. Heinz told us at Delray Beach that one of his jobs is to emulate your next opponent. Do you think he can hit hard enough to emulate Brenda Schultz?

STEFFI GRAF: His serve, yeah, that's for sure. That's -- I mean, whenever I practice with him he can play wherever he wants. I'm not afraid of that. I think he will do very well.

Q. Have you ever beaten Heinz?

STEFFI GRAF: In a real match?

Q. Yes.

STEFFI GRAF: We never play real match.

Q. Just playing points?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, just playing games.

Q. How do you think you'd do in a real match?

STEFFI GRAF: Forget it. You can never say how it would be, it's impossible.

Q. What do you think about tonight semi- final with Zvereva and Brenda?

STEFFI GRAF: That's a difficult one to say, really. It really depends on how both of them are playing, if Brenda is serving well and been playing the way she's been playing the tournament, I think she has a good chance because she is the more aggressive player; on the other hand, Zvereva knows how to mix it up, she knows what to do, she is a very clever player. It really depends how Brenda can serve.

Q. Do you think it will be more interesting final you against Brenda?

STEFFI GRAF: Probably.

Q. Steffi, how important is it for the popularity of the women's Tour to see, within the next four or five new players break into the top ten? Is it important or not, not including yourself?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, it is important.

Q. Why?

STEFFI GRAF: Why? I mean, just to seeing new faces on the Tour is good, it makes it more interesting.

End of FastScripts....

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