September 2, 1998
FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK
Q. How come you lost a game, Steffi?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, I guess I wasn't so much tested today.
Q. When is the last time you dominated a match like that? How did it feel going 40 minutes?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, I haven't had that many matches like that in probably -- not for a while. Well, I don't feel great. It feels good if you play well, but I mean, if you don't really get challenged then it is not so satisfying.
Q. What would you have liked to have done differently?
STEFFI GRAF: Today, I mean, I don't think that I felt that -- I was obviously -- when I realized that it was going a lot easier, I was trying different things, coming in a little more to the net. I was focusing on trying different -- more shots, trying to serve, doing things with the serve, so I just tried a few things.
Q. How good a level of tennis did you think you played today?
STEFFI GRAF: I played okay.
Q. Where is "okay" on your --
STEFFI GRAF: Good. Okay, is pretty good already. No, I played good, but obviously I wasn't challenged so it is difficult to judge in how I would have played if I played somebody stronger. But I felt good out there.
Q. How sharp is your game right now? Are you happy with it? What sort of challenge would you expect Mirjana would give you if you play her in the next round?
STEFFI GRAF: There would be no question, much different match. She is really going for her shots. She takes the ball very early; especially off the return. You expect not long rallies, but definitely fast rallies. So definitely you have to be -- I have to be on my toes. I have to move well and probably make her play a lot of points.
Q. You were out practicing after the match. How often do you go for a practice after a game?
STEFFI GRAF: That don't happen so often.
Q. Why did you do it?
STEFFI GRAF: Why did I do it?
STEFFI GRAF: I felt I needed to. I wanted to - not needed to. I wanted to. I felt good, so I felt this morning when I was practicing I wasn't playing so well and during the match, okay it was better, so I felt I wanted to play, hit some more; just move a little more around.
Q. Can you give your thoughts on when you heard Lucic's problem, what crossed your own mind on that?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, I thought that I think she took a gutsy step and, you know, it is not an easy decision if you -- it is no difficult to judge the situation and, I mean, I only know what I read in the papers. So it is very difficult for me to really speak about it. But I think it is a right -- a great decision that she was able to step away from it if that is what happened.
Q. You are slated to face Novotna in the quarterfinals should you get there and she gets there. Yesterday she advanced to straight sets against Capriati, not much respect and less on the receiving end -- (Inaudible.)
STEFFI GRAF: Very difficult to judge for me, I think when I played her in New Haven I felt that she did get a lot of respect and she got -- she did have, you know, people on her side so, I don't really think that -- if she plays Jennifer, I think that is something to expect. I mean, after what Jennifer has been through, to get that help from the crowd I think it is the right thing. But I mean, it is difficult to judge because I haven't followed it very much. But judging from last week, I felt that she definitely did get the respect of the people.
Q. Jana said yesterday that her appraisal of your game is that you are back and you are dangerous. Do you feel now that you are as dangerous as you were two years ago?
STEFFI GRAF: Close to it.
Q. What is the thing that is missing?
STEFFI GRAF: I still need to feel better about my game - whatever that means. I don't want to get into it. But I just feel that I am still not consistent enough even though it is getting better.
Q. So the confidence isn't quite there yet?
STEFFI GRAF: Exactly.
Q. Do you think that is due to lack of match practice?
STEFFI GRAF: It has a lot to do with it. Definitely I am somebody that needs a lot of tournaments, and needs to play a lot of matches to feel well about my game.
Q. The other day, after the second set, you said a few words to yourself. What language would you be doing that in? Would it be your native tongue?
STEFFI GRAF: Yes.
Q. Did you feel at all sorry for her being as she was -- did you feel that it was so one-sided --
STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, it is -- I think it is not going to be a good feeling for her and you could see that she was really nervous and tentative; especially in the beginning. I think she loosened up little bit in the second set, but if you are on the other end and really don't know what to do or how to maybe loosen up little bit and don't really know how to win points, definitely not the feeling you want to have. It is not a lot of fun.
Q. There has been a lot of comments on how deep this field is. It does seem like there are more dangerous players out there than ever before. In your mind how many of those players really have a chance of winning?
STEFFI GRAF: Obviously will see a little bit more in a few days, but --
Q. Is it a smaller number than most people think or it is a pretty big number --
STEFFI GRAF: Younger players we are talking about, at least to my knowledge, about four or five, and Martina is definitely the one that is heading the whole field. Venus is -- no question that she is a threat. If she will be able to do it, I don't know. But I think these two are the threats and the others have a very outside chance.
Q. Anna Kournikova, Serena Williams, they can win a big match every now and then --
STEFFI GRAF: I don't think they are ready yet.
Q. How long did you practice after your match?
STEFFI GRAF: I don't have a stopwatch. Probably about 45 minutes or something. I don't know. Something around that.
Q. When you were at the peak of your game, so to speak, when you went out on the court there was a certain bounce in your step; a certain body language; a clear confidence that you were No. 1. Do you think that helped you in your matches and did you sense that at the time and was that a factor in your play?
STEFFI GRAF: Once you go out there and have a certain amount of confidence it helps a lot because you go more for your shots; you take much more risks; you feel much more better you are not as tentative in. In terms of the opponent's, I mean, some react to it and some don't. So it is difficult to judge that or if that is any different, but that is what I am saying, I think I haven't played enough yet to kind of have that feel.
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