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August 30, 1994

Steffi Graf


Q. Steffi, how are you feeling physically out there today?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, very well. I'm like -- my back hasn't bothered me at all. I feel very good.

Q. That's something that's coming and going and you don't have any influence on it or can it be treated medically?

STEFFI GRAF: I mean, it can be treated, obviously. It doesn't happen in play but there are ways of cutting it down, and so I'm enjoying everything, all kinds of treatments to just keep the inflammation down and it's been working very well for the last few days.

Q. That was a nice smile you showed when you stopped at the end of the first set, is that something you were playing for here at these matches, to get that kind of feeling?


Q. When you made the stop at the end of the first set, is that something you're playing these matches for?

STEFFI GRAF: I'm -- in a way, I'm playing for these kind of balls, but, I mean, there is things obviously I'm trying out during the matches, but you know, sometimes it takes me a while to think about them, so I enjoyed.

Q. Will you take treatment today?


Q. How long do you take it; hours?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I'm going to a chiropractor every day, almost. I'm getting ultrasound, mobilization, stretching, all kinds of treatment. It usually takes about, in a day, maybe one and a half hours, at least. I have to stretch very long before the matches and before practice, about an hour and a half, two hours.

Q. Steffi, you've probably gone over this in recent weeks, but when did you first noticed this back trouble start to come up and how frustrating has this summer been for you, including this?

STEFFI GRAF: It started in little in San Diego, not too much then, and in between the pain got a little stronger. San Diego, it was just bothering me a little bit, and it got really bad during Montreal. That pain was very strong there, and so, I decided -- I have seen a doctor in Montreal, I have seen a doctor here. I've been constantly talking to my doctor in Germany and I've been trying to find out what would be the right decision to do.

Q. How many days last week did you have without playing any tennis?

STEFFI GRAF: Four days.

Q. Is it muscle or is it a disc problem?

STEFFI GRAF: It's -- I probably had a stress fracture last year in the lower back and still the bone is kind of rebuilding, and so maybe there's an irritation there and inflammation now and then in that spot.

Q. Is there any consideration of surgery at all?

STEFFI GRAF: No, there's no need for that at all.

Q. Does that mean with time it could clear up all together?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, sure. With time it can be no problem at all. I just need time to rest.

Q. Steffi, do you have any idea how you hurt it originally; maybe last year?

STEFFI GRAF: No, tennis is something that really goes into the back a lot, and obviously, you serve a lot and you got a lot of -- extensions and you rotate it a lot, the lower back. So it could -- I had a lot of back problems last year and sometimes I took injections and it must have happened then, but nobody realized.

Q. Are you trying to change your strategy at all? Are you trying to get off the court as quickly as you can?

STEFFI GRAF: Obviously, I'm trying to do that, but not -- there's no obvious tactics or anything. No, not at all. I think for me it was necessary to be fit before the Open. I mean, I really wanted to feel that I'm not going into a tournament having pain and so I'm happy to be able to do that and it is not tactics at all.

Q. How close were you to not playing the tournament and when did you make the decision? Did you go back and forth ten times?

STEFFI GRAF: I will say that it kind of was difficult for me especially after Montreal because I really felt it doesn't look very good to play the Open, and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, I got a lot of treatment. I tried -- I got a lot of x-rays done and things just to be sure and I got the right treatment. I think I couldn't have done more. Sure, maybe in the middle of the week I wasn't sure if I could play, but now the last few days when I started practicing for Friday, they have been great. So I really don't look back on that.

Q. At the end of Montreal against Arantxa you were tearful, were you thinking about you might not play the Open or was that because of your back?

STEFFI GRAF: It was a lot of things. It was a long day and, you know, obviously -- I don't know, I really get that emotional when it was a difficult match. I got sick two days before I was out there and I just asked myself, why I went all the way to do that just before the Open. Maybe I shouldn't have played, but other things just went through.

Q. Can you talk about how frustrating the whole summer has been for you, not just the last two weeks?

STEFFI GRAF: Obviously, it hasn't been great, but I don't think it has been that bad. Obviously, it's -- I mean, it is not helping at all if you're not healthy and you've got an injury. It's probably what's disturbing me the most, probably asking about Wimbledon and Paris. I mean, I couldn't do much about it. That just happened and just put it behind very quickly.

Q. When you left Wimbledon, you seemed to feel that you needed time away or maybe a change of attitude; what did you do immediately after that and what thoughts did you have reflecting on just where you're at?

STEFFI GRAF: I just -- the thing I wanted to have just to have some time for myself, really, and I just went to the States for a week and I didn't play for about three weeks and just took some time that I enjoy doing and just get away from tennis. Basically, that's what I wanted to do. And then I started exercises again and started playing tennis, just normal. It helped me a lot to take some time.

Q. Are you happy with your status in the game, trying to defend the number one position or do you still feel the same desire to play?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes. No doubt about it. I think it shows if you play Montreal with a back like that and do everything, then it shows that you still like to be around.

Q. What kind of response do you have, Steffi, for the number of the other players that have come in here and said maybe this tournament is a little more wide open this year because of maybe your physical problems, maybe what happened to you at the French or Wimbledon; do you have anything -- any reaction, response to that kind of talk about your peers or your other players?

STEFFI GRAF: I would have lots, but what is the best political answer to that?

Q. We don't want the best political answer, we want your real feelings?

STEFFI GRAF: Real feelings.

Q. Do you get angry?

STEFFI GRAF: No, I don't get angry at all, no. Something like that doesn't make me angry.

Q. What does it make you do?

STEFFI GRAF: Makes me smile, obviously. But, no, I enjoy the competition, but I hope to be ready for it.

Q. What do you feel about how you're playing and your and chances here now and your playing; do you feel good about things?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, I do I have to say I really do. I practiced hard the last few days and I didn't think I would be able to do that at all, and so, I'm pretty happy the way I'm playing.

Q. Are you the favorite? Do you feel that you're the player they have to beat to win here?


Q. Steffi, are you going to try and reorganize your schedule for the rest of the year in any shape or form, to take a rest or not?

STEFFI GRAF: Listen, I've got to try to play this tournament now and play the best I can, and I'll have to see if I take some time off afterwards. I have to see right now. I can't say.

End of FastScripts...

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