November 17, 1998
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NEW YORK
Q. Are you surprised you are playing so well?
STEFFI GRAF: Very much so. I mean, I have been sounding pretty much the same for the past 2 1/2 weeks. I always seem surprised and I am still surprised that I keep on being on that kind of roll and beating the players that I am beating right now. Not having any physical problems helps a lot.
Q. How long is it since you felt as well with yourself and with your game because of all the problems you have had to try and tackle?
STEFFI GRAF: It has been a few years since I felt like that, that I would be able to keep up to everybody and maybe it helps that I don't need to do it. I mean, that I don't have that expectation right now and that is maybe why I am still a little looser than, you know, sometimes I can be.
Q. Do you think in a way that because of everything you have achieved so far, from here on it is going to be easier anyway because you know that you have got no more left to prove?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, that is what I have been saying, I don't have anything to prove anymore. I have done it all before and whatever I am doing, I am doing it because I enjoy it and I still feel that I like to do it. The pressure obviously is not there as much as it used to be and that is maybe, maybe why I can be a little more relaxed about everything.
Q. How happy are you about today's result?
STEFFI GRAF: I am happy that I got over this match today. But I think if you know me a little bit, you know I could be happier because I don't think I played up to my potential and -- but I think it is important to win the matches that you don't play so well and I think that is what I did today.
Q. There are some that say that when you are hurt, the worst opponent you want to face is Steffi Graf because she doesn't flinch. Would you say that too?
STEFFI GRAF: I don't know. It is usually me that is hurt, (Laughs), so, no.
Q. Ten years ago could you have ever imagined yourself still playing tennis now?
STEFFI GRAF: Not really, no. I think when you are younger you have a lot of different ideas, but you don't look too far into the future really.
Q. How far into the future are you looking now? It is just next match or next year or --
STEFFI GRAF: I don't look -- I have really learned it the past year with as many tries as I have had and as many injuries as they have come and at the moment where I didn't expect them and, I have really learned not to look very far ahead. And I haven't really been able to do it anyway because so many things have come about. So I really take it match after match and tournament after tournament.
Q. What could you have done better then?
STEFFI GRAF: Today?
Q. Looked like you were doing pretty good.
STEFFI GRAF: Well, I think I did play a little nervous in the first set. She played different from the girls that I have played, you know, even last week. I think she played a little slower slice, a little shorter, and I didn't really attack it very well, I think. And I was used to playing players that were playing a little faster, so, today I felt that maybe I was just a little flat and didn't really attack the balls as good enough as I could.
Q. Is it kind of frustrating to be in your position playing well and to know that next week the season is over?
STEFFI GRAF: (Laughs) Hey, I take it any time, you know. I think if I look back, a few weeks ago I was hoping to play one tournament before this season is over. Now I am at the position where I am playing three tournaments and the season is over. You know, a couple of weeks 'til January only, I think I am very happy that I have been able to play these tournaments now.
Q. What are you going to do in December?
STEFFI GRAF: Practice.
Q. Final point of the first set, the net cord skipped up and over your racket, remember that point? What were you thinking at that moment?
STEFFI GRAF: Bad luck. Basically something like that. But I have lost the tiebreaker earlier when I was leading 3-1. I didn't play the point very well at that stage. I knew obviously if I would be able to get to 6-All, then I think odds were better of winning maybe the tiebreaker because maybe she would get a little tentative again. But, you know, I was just disappointed the way I was playing a little bit the first set. That is what was going through a little bit in my mind.
Q. Do you feel you are fresh now? Do you feel that it is an advantage at this late in the season?
STEFFI GRAF: I don't know if I have the advantage or not, but it seems like I have been doing very well. I have been wearing down some players even though I haven't really played that much and I think that speaks for itself. And I know some of the players had a very long season, played a lot of tournaments and I guess, you know, maybe I have a little more excitement getting into these tournaments and playing. I think maybe that shows a little bit. That is possible.
Q. Did you expect such a comeback?
STEFFI GRAF: No, I didn't. Absolutely not.
Q. Having beaten top three players in the world in the last three matches, if you are injury-free next year, does it give you some sort of indication on what you might achieve next year?
STEFFI GRAF: I don't worry about it right now. I mean, it has been a joy the last few weeks. I will see what I can do next year. I don't worry right now about it.
Q. You said you will be practicing in December. Where are you playing in January?
STEFFI GRAF: I am intending to play Sydney and Melbourne.
Q. You tended to come into net a little bit more today than you did at Advanta this past week.
STEFFI GRAF: That is true.
Q. Yet sometimes you got caught sort of --
STEFFI GRAF: -- off guard.
Q. That is right. Are you looking to do more coming to net?
STEFFI GRAF: No, but this surface is a little bit different than last week's. The ball stays a little lower. It is a little slower and the way she plays, you need to take the chances and come in a little bit more. Like I said earlier, she didn't give me a lot of pace, so I needed to try to come in and we play similar styles and I know how you feel if you get attacked on the backhand, so I was trying to push her to react to that a little bit. She tried to slice crosscourt a little bit, you know, short, and that gave me some troubles because I am not so, you know, I haven't really, like you said, I haven't really come into the net very much the last few weeks. I mean, in general, I don't anyway, but I haven't been able to train on it as well.
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