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September 4, 1996

Steffi Graf


Q. Another slow start, Steffi. Is that of any concern?

STEFFI GRAF: Now I am getting used to it. As long as I keep coming back the way I do, it is okay, but I also wish to start a little better.

Q. How wow rate your performance today?

STEFFI GRAF: First set wasn't good. Just a start with too many unforced errors, trying for too much. Didn't really find my range, so, I mean, after the first set was over it was better.

Q. Do you prefer to play someone like you or someone like the young upcoming players?

STEFFI GRAF: I mean, this was definitely a much tougher test. I mean, it was much more difficult match so you can't really compare it. But the one thing you have, if you play against Judy you know what to expect, but on the other hand, she doesn't make as many unforced errors. She plays a lot better strategically, so that probably gives me a bit more trouble.

Q. Steffi, did you have a chance to see Hingis play yesterday and how do you think she -- she seems to be coming on an awful lot again in recent weeks.

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, I saw her play a little bit against Arantxa and I saw a bit of the first set which wasn't much there, but the third set there were really great points and some long rallies. She seems to believe a lot more in herself and believes she can play and win against the top players and she is playing a little bit more aggressive which definitely helps her game.

Q. Who do you think will win, Jana or Martina?

STEFFI GRAF: Depends on Jana. If Jana plays form, normal, she is going to win, but then again, she can get a little nervous and then you never know what to expect, but usually she should win.

Q. Do you watch a lot of tennis and, if so, is it just a pleasure or are you --

STEFFI GRAF: No, I am not really watching a lot of tennis. I used to watch a lot more. Nowadays, not as much. Maybe a few games here or there, but not really, no.

Q. What did you mean when you said on the television you don't have that good of positive attitude or you are not going out there --

STEFFI GRAF: I don't seem positive out there on the court at the moment?

Q. I don't know. I was surprised--

STEFFI GRAF: I am a little disappointed about the way I am playing. I guess that is why maybe I am not as positive out there as I should be.

Q. You said in the past that you really don't think of yourself in terms of your place in history in the women's game. If you go on to win here, I mean, your record certainly matches up with some of the greats of the game. Will you ever reach a point in your career where you are comfortable considering yourself as one up there with Martina, Chris, and Margaret Court as the greatest ever?

STEFFI GRAF: Be comfortable? I think it will be a lot easier to talk about it once I finish with tennis and get it behind me. It is really difficult to look at this from that point while I am playing. It is something that I don't think too much about basically.

Q. Is there any achievement that you think qualifies somebody for that, like, to you, would it be "if I did win the most Wimbledons or the most" -- is there anything that you haven't done that you think would make you be eligible?

STEFFI GRAF: The thing is I don't care enough about it that I have to think about it. I mean, yeah, if I play a couple of more years and win everything, maybe, that makes me eligible, but it is something I have never had the drive to achieve and it is not in my mind.

Q. Does it worry you that that kind of talk sounds a little bit too much like an obituary?


Q. This kind of talk, whether you are the greatest or not, sounds too much like an obituary, like you are finished and gone?

STEFFI GRAF: Not really, no. I mean, in a way, it is -- how do you say it - I am proud of it that there is even a mention of it. I mean, I think that is something that, obviously, I am happy about it even people are thinking about it, but that is as far as I am concerned about it.

Q. When you say you don't really care about it, is part of that the fact that really when you boil it down, you can't fairly compare one generation with another and everything is so different?

STEFFI GRAF: I think everybody has usually their own view on it and like you just said, there are always different times, different generations and it is so difficult to compare it to. I mean, the only thing that really counts is if you are satisfied with what you have achieved and I think everything else is for the people to talk about.

Q. What is your definition of greatness then?

STEFFI GRAF: You are killing me on that (laughter). Oh, man. Greatness..... I'd rather not -- I am not ready to get into that one.

Q. Do you find yourself harder to satisfy than in previous years or not?

STEFFI GRAF: No. Actually, probably easier.

Q. You said you are disappointed with the way you have been playing. Are you very concerned about that in terms of winning this?

STEFFI GRAF: Not concerned, but just not really happy about it. It is -- I always thought the next match I play would be better and it is just -- it has been always a little struggle in the beginning and then I seem to find my game, but it just takes me a little longer than I want to and I am disappointed about it, maybe not as much concerned because I can't do anything better. I am trying my best out there. I am trying to focus and it just doesn't seem to always happen.

Q. Obviously, you can't win every match that you play, but do you expect to win every time that you step on the court and if you did not win, the U.S. Open, will that be a disappointment to you?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, first of all, I don't expect always to win. I mean, that is something that I have never done and that is why I take every match I play and I don't look very much forward to the next matches unless I am really there to do - and what was the second one?

Q. Would you be disappointed of you didn't win this championship?

STEFFI GRAF: Terribly disappointed (audience laughter) Hey, I am trying my best out here. Sometimes I win; sometimes I lose. And I can't ask anymore of myself. I don't need to prove anything. I am going to try out there and give it the best I have. I would be happy if I tried my hardest.

Q. Even though you said you didn't play very well today, the match was fairly -- there was a lot of strategy. Do you enjoy that part of it at least?

STEFFI GRAF: True, I mean, it definitely was a match and I knew that before, she will not give to me like maybe some of the other players will. She is going to try a lot of things. She will realize your weaknesses that day and she will try to go at them and that is exactly what she did. I have to also credit tennis for her that she played. There were some really good games and she knew what to do. She didn't make it easy either.

Q. What was she doing to give you problems in the first set? Was it the depth on some of the shots?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, she had a lot of depth and, you know, she served a lot to the forehand where I seemed to make a lot of errors on today and then again, you know, with the slice-back, she gave it a lot to my backhand and she is -- basically didn't make too many errors. She moved well around the court.

Q. This is the last year for the stadium, Steffi. What have you liked about playing here and what have you disliked about playing here?

STEFFI GRAF: Not really anything that I dislike. I have got a lot of good memories about that court, so that is probably what I treasure the most.

Q. Monica has been going through just a handful of games. Do you think that is going to count against her as we get into the final weekend?

STEFFI GRAF: I doubt it. I don't know. I mean, it is difficult to say. But I don't think so. I don't think -- sometimes it is good to have a couple of tough matches or tough situations. I mean, the positive thing about -- even if I am struggling with my game, every time I have been down, I seemed to have been able to concentrate and focus a little bit more and seem to win the more important points, so that gives me maybe a better feeling than getting in a tighter situation, but I don't think it will trouble her too much.

Q. Because you don't lose that often, when you do, does it give you anything extra that -- if you were to play Hingis, does that mean anything special to you that somebody beat you this year?

STEFFI GRAF: I have beat her since (laughter). No.

Q. Does it matter to you?

STEFFI GRAF: No, it doesn't. No.

Q. Novotna is a player you have had great success against over the last several years in particular. You haven't lost to her in about four years. Can you describe her game and the challenge it poses for you and why you have been so successful especially lately against her?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I mean, I always said that she has a lot of potential, I mean, the way she plays and she is showing quite a few times this year she's got the ability to play from the back, but then again, come in. She has got a lot of power in her strokes, but what seems to have been troubling her, she usually has difficulties doing it throughout the match, she is somebody that can be playing an incredible match and next day can have a little off-day and I seem to be able to play more aggressive when I needed to play against her.

Q. Can you shut out everything else in your life when you go out on the tennis court?


Q. How do you try to do that?

STEFFI GRAF: I try to focus on the next point.

Q. Is it that simple?

STEFFI GRAF: Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

Q. Was the timing of your father's trial anything to do with the U.S. Open?

STEFFI GRAF: I have no idea how that happened or how they do it. I don't know.

Q. Is that affecting your tennis at all?

STEFFI GRAF: I don't want to talk about it.

Q. If you took yourself out of, you know, so we don't ask you who is the greatest ever and you don't consider yourself, what are the things that, to you, when you say everybody has a different view, what are the things you value? Would it be Grand Slams? Would it be how their game looked? What would you --

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, probably Grand Slams. That is the most you look at. Yeah, definitely. The way, you know, they have played during their time at the Grand Slams and also looking at the competition they had during that period.

Q. So do you have an opinion about people - who is the greatest?

STEFFI GRAF: The problem is I am a little too young to know more about the players of history, so probably I am definitely going to be the wrong one to ask, but from the people that I have been playing with, I probably would say Martina Navratilova.

Q. Wiesner says it looks like that you enjoy playing tennis a lot. Do you enjoy it and what part -- is it the winning or is it, you know, the competition?

STEFFI GRAF: The challenge, yeah.

Q. What is the challenge?

STEFFI GRAF: The challenge to play well out there and every day, you know, it's a little different and there are times when things work a little easier and sometimes it is difficult. Both is a joy. It is a great joy, obviously, when you play your great tennis to realize what you do on the court. Then again, it is a challenge if you play bad to get out of it.

End of FastScripts....

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