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September 5, 1994

Steffi Graf


Q. Steffi, Zina said that she thought you were really primed for her and ready for her today because you respected her as a dangerous player and she thought she sensed great motivation on your part in this tournament, could you comment on that?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah. She is obviously right about that. I knew this was not going to be an easy match. I really had to concentrate on every point and not maybe like in the other matches; that I could just, you know, play a few loose points and escape. I think she is not the kind of player who you can allow yourself to do that and I think that is why from beginning on, I think I played every point; I didn't make a lot of unforced errors, and just -- I mean, whatever I tried I think I choose the right decisions.

Q. Steffi, not much of a challenge as you might have expected. Would you have wanted it to be more of a challenge?

STEFFI GRAF: I felt happy to be able to play like that, really. It is not the easiest conditions out there with the wind and to be able to adjust perfectly to it, I think that is all I wanted.

Q. Steffi, do you notice any difference in the courts this year?

STEFFI GRAF: Speedwise, you think?

Q. Yes.

STEFFI GRAF: I mean, some of them are a little bit different. Some are faster; some are a little bit slower. I don't think there have been any differences from years before, not at all.

Q. On this court, have you noticed a dip in the court anyplace in the singles area where maybe the surface has settled causing the ball to --

STEFFI GRAF: On the Center Court?

Q. On the Stadium Court.

STEFFI GRAF: No, which one is that? Tell me. No, I haven't. I haven't found the spot yet.

Q. In other words, as far as you know, the court seems level and even?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, I didn't realize that.

Q. You get a lot of questions -- we ask you questions a lot of times if you'd like a tougher match. Do you think we don't give you enough credit playing matches like this so easy and it is because you are playing so well?

STEFFI GRAF: No, I haven't actually looked at it this way, not at all, but I am in the position where I mean, what can I answer to that? I mean, I think right now with everything I feel happy playing easier matches and if I play like today, I just take it. I don't think about it.

Q. Are you feeling extra motivated here at the U.S. Open given the last French Open and Wimbledon?

STEFFI GRAF: No. I think I have answered that question quite a few times. I think my desire has nothing to do with losing the other two Grand Slams earlier or something like that; not at all. I think you know, right now I am playing this tournament and I am not really looking too much back at all and it doesn't --

Q. This isn't an easy question, but the readers of our tennis magazine will say, well, Steffi is a great athlete and fabulous champion, but she doesn't seem to be having that much fun out there; not that many smiles. How would you respond to that comment; to that perception?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I have heard that one as well pretty often.

Q. I am sure you have.

STEFFI GRAF: But this is the way I am on the court, and, you know, I am always very focused and I think all the players are, you know, I think some are more outgoing than others and I am not that kind of person. I like to stay concentrated, but I think over the years, I have quite a bit loosened up, I think, that is the way I am on the court and I am not fake on the court. That is the way I am there. It doesn't mean that outside tennis, I don't laugh. That isn't really the case.

Q. Before the match, CBS did an interview with you and you said how much you admired Michael Jordan's guts for the way he retired and that you'd like to do it yourself that way some day, I presume. Could you comment further upon that? I am sure you would have had a higher than 200 average from Birmingham.

STEFFI GRAF: That is not the way I would end my career, but you know, what I really meant is that he left -- he left the game at the best, at his best, and so you can always remember him as the best basketball player, and I think that is -- that is great. You take the chance and leave something; that is really difficult to leave because you know you could have maybe so much more, I mean, things ahead of you, a lot of great games or whatever, titles ahead of you, and he just leaves it. I think that is a difficult step to do.

Q. Have you ever been offered an American television commercial?


Q. Did you turn it down? I don't remember ever seeing one.

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, I did turn it down.

Q. What was it and why did you turn it down?

STEFFI GRAF: Why did I turn it down? Because it wasn't the right thing. I mean, I have a contract with Rexona which is worldwide, so there is also an advertisement here in the states for it. It is Rexona -- it is -- but I have not done it.

Q. The commercial they were offering, what was it for?

STEFFI GRAF: Something similar.

Q. You say right now, you are in a position right; now, you feel happy playing, you know, the easy matches. Are you still worried that that back could -- tomorrow you could wake up and the back could be bad again?

STEFFI GRAF: Let us put it this way, even I feel great on the court and usually if I have an injury it makes me stay more focused on the court. I still have days where maybe it is not 100%, but it has been really good, so I just keep hoping it is going to stay the same just take it like that.

Q. When the Heat was up for sale recently, did you have any interest in becoming a part-time owner?

STEFFI GRAF: I would love it, actually. I mean, I go down to the Heat a lot, but I am a Knicks' fan, so...

Q. That wasn't something you were interested in?

STEFFI GRAF: No. It is something that interests me, but I think I am not at the right time to think about something like that.

Q. Why are you a Knicks' fan?

STEFFI GRAF: Because I have seen my first basketball match at the -- Madison Square Garden and I am in love with it. I think for me my favorite player is Patrick Ewing and that is why I am a Knicks' fan.

Q. Back to Michael Jordan again, although he retired at the pinnacle of his career, he also achieved three championships in a row - something he wanted to do and something that was fairly unusual for basketball. Do you have a specific goal that way, where you could achieve so many Grand Slam singles titles and then say, okay, this is the point where I wanted to get to and now it is time for me to say good-bye?

STEFFI GRAF: No. Not at all. I think the biggest thing you can achieve in tennis is getting a Grand Slam and I have achieved that and beyond that, I don't think there is anymore left. I mean, I have won all the big tournaments a few times; what more can I want?

Q. Not even Martina or Margaret Court singles?

STEFFI GRAF: No. No way.

Q. When you are here with us you always seem so unemotional and stoic; when you go down to Heat games, do you jump out of your seat and yell and scream and get excited?


Q. Or are you the same way you are here with us?


Are you the same as you have been on the court just a couple of days ago playing next to us?

Q. No, but do you get excited --

STEFFI GRAF: I do get excited, yeah.

Q. How does he play, Steffi? What is it about Patrick Ewing and have you spoken to him; anything like that?

STEFFI GRAF: No, I have never spoken to him, but actually, there was an incident I saw the Knicks play at San Antonio and I was sitting courtside and he was like getting a ball close to me and like, how do you say, "twinkles" the eye to me.

Q. Winks.

STEFFI GRAF: So I am like, "yeah." But that is all. No, but what I like about him is, you know, he is very quiet. I think he is not the kind of guy that has a lot of hype around him. He is very calm and I think I like that about a person.

End of FastScripts....

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