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March 15, 1994

Steffi Graf


STEFFI GRAF: Davenport is next. What can I say? I mean, I am also surprised the way things are going, I have to say. I am on the court really having the feeling that I can't miss anything, so I am a little stunned myself.

Q. Are you seeing the tennis ball a lot bigger than you have for a long time?

STEFFI GRAF: No, I wouldn't say. It is just usually you have some days where you play maybe not as good or you miss more than usual, but I haven't had it for quite sometime. It is a great feeling.

Q. Going into the match today did you think back two years ago when Date took you to three sets over here?

STEFFI GRAF: Like I usually say, I don't look back too much. But I do know she has really been playing well, especially the beginning of this year, every tournament she has played, except Tokyo, she played very well. That is why I knew I better watch out and I was prepared to play longer rallies and whenever I did, I think I was the one who was able to play a little bit longer and little bit more strength in the strokes, and still I expected it to be more difficult.

Q. Steffi, how would you compare the way you are playing now to 88 when you won the Grand Slam --

STEFFI GRAF: It is difficult to compare to playing six years ago. I think I have definitely grown in my game, overall. I think everything has gotten better and at that stage, I don't think I really knew all the possibilities that I would have, to what to do with the ball. I think I found out a little bit more about it the last couple of years.

Q. What is more fun than hitting the ball the way you did in that last game -- those last four games?

STEFFI GRAF: What is more fun?

Q. Yeah.

STEFFI GRAF: Oh, come on.

Q. I am not talking about that.

STEFFI GRAF: What do you know what I am thinking? She is guessing.

Q. It is the color of the face.

STEFFI GRAF: I guess there are a few things, but tenniswise, I don't think there is a feeling; it can't get any better than that.

Q. If you say that you have grown as a player now compared to back to 1988, if you had to pinpoint one specific thing that has changed everything for you, what would you say that is? Would it be the new racket? Would it be the training? What?

STEFFI GRAF: I would say that it started with Heinz. That is what I really have to say. He had a lot of ideas which I wasn't just -- at that moment, I needed a change, I needed a push. For a couple of years I wasn't working as hard. I didn't do anything different. I just was playing tennis as a routine and he changed that. He made it more difficult, but he just -- he just showed me things that I wasn't shown at that stage. So I would think that he was the biggest change, the best change that I have had.

Q. More difficult, but would you also say he has made it more fun again?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, if I am playing like that all day, yeah, he has made it more fun. Maybe the training sometimes is not as much fun. If you are doing things that maybe you are not as good and you have to do them, it is difficult for me, but I know the result will show and I just need some time for it. I have a lot of trust in him. That is why I am just doing these things.

Q. Do you think there is a chance that you could be an even better player if there was somebody out there who could push you on a consistent basis?

STEFFI GRAF: Maybe. I think it is difficult. I don't think, really, because I have been -- because there are matches that I would have with that one person; it would only be a couple of times a year and I don't think that I can work much harder than I do or can do more things that I haven't explored, so I don't think so.

Q. Do you feel that the other players reached a level of frustration knowing that you are pretty much unbeatable right now?

STEFFI GRAF: Ask them. Ask them. I mean, it is -- I think it must be frustrating, especially for example for Kimiko today, she had no chance of doing anything. Whatever I did, I just didn't miss. I think that is a frustrating thing to be playing somewhere out there like that.

Q. What is the feeling in that zone whatever you hit is a winner, you don't miss?

STEFFI GRAF: Like I said, the ball is getting close to the line; it is impossible; it got in again, it is just incredible because you can do so much things on the court. You can play down the line. You can play shots that you know and even if you are in trouble, you know you get back in that point, I mean, it is a very good feeling.

Q. Do you know who King Midas is?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, I have heard of him.

Q. You know what the significance is?

STEFFI GRAF: What is significance?

Q. Who he is; what do you know about him?

STEFFI GRAF: Not much. I know he existed sometime. I don't know. I don't know.

Q. That everything he touched turn to gold?

STEFFI GRAF: Oh, that is him.

Q. Do you feel a little like that?

STEFFI GRAF: On the court right now, yeah, I'd say so.

Q. What is your preparation going to be like for the French Open this year?

STEFFI GRAF: I think it will be very similar to the years that -- to the other years that I have prepared for the clay court season. I will be starting whenever the tournament finish rightaway. I will play Hilton Head which is only one week after this, which is very little to transfer from the hard court to clay courts. I will stay for a little while in Boca, train there, go home, play Hamburg and play Berlin, just the same schedule.

Q. Who are some of the toughest players to meet for you on the clay?

STEFFI GRAF: Top of the list is Arantxa. She is probably the best clay court player there is around, but also it is a surface that Gabriela is more comfortable with and Mary Joe. On clay court you have more specialists, I think. At this time it is a lot harder to play on that, especially for me.

Q. What is it about Arantxa's game in particular that makes it tough?

STEFFI GRAF: She is very steady and the court is very slow, which makes it more difficult to play winners, so you have to work out the points better. Obviously, my game suits me better on a faster surface because of my serve and she could more easily return it. Doesn't make as many mistakes as on hard court.

Q. Is it tough to make that transition from hard court to --

STEFFI GRAF: It is. Usually takes me a while.

Q. Trying to be more patient?


Q. The way you are dominating right now on the tour, is that good for women's tennis, would you think?

STEFFI GRAF: Is that good? I think what is good about it is that I am playing such great tennis and I think that is good for the women's tennis. I think it shows that I am trying hard.

Q. What did you think of Arantxa's result today?

STEFFI GRAF: I was surprised, very surprised. I haven't seen a lot of the game. All I saw was the last game, so I can't really comment on it, but I was surprised. She is usually very steady. She always play 'till the end of the tournament and she rarely loses before she gets to the semis or something, but apparently Brenda must have played very well, served very well, come in, you don't have that many players anymore, so maybe she wasn't that used to it.

Q. Surprised about the fact that she had five matchpoints in the second set, Arantxa?

STEFFI GRAF: Did she have 6-1? Somebody told me.

Q. Yes.

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, that makes it even crazier. I mean, leading 6-1, you should close out. I don't know what happened during that point, I don't know.

Q. I guess she can't beat you this week. Steffi, you are surprised by that, would you allow yourself at all to think that when Arantxa loses, Gaby loses, Jana loses all on the same day, would you allow yourself to think that maybe I am not so invulnerable?

STEFFI GRAF: I haven't thought about it. I don't think I would think about it, really. Not at all. Because it is tennis, it happens. I will have my bad days too. It is not what I have been having for a while, but I know it is going to come, so I don't see about it, really.

Q. You really think that one day you will have a bad day?

STEFFI GRAF: I am human. Am I?

End of FastScripts....

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