November 23, 1996
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. Steffi, how difficult is it to get into a good rhythm when your opponent is serving as well as she did in the first set?
STEFFI GRAF: That was pretty difficult, I didn't really find my rhythm on the return, even at the end I was still struggling a little bit. I kept more balls in play, but in the beginning it was pretty difficult. She had I very high first serve percentage compared to me.
Q. She said that perhaps she should be more disappointed in having lost, but it was such a spectacular match, and she was having so much fun that she was just happy at the end, can you --
STEFFI GRAF: I think it was a good match, I don't think it was like a great match. It's difficult to comment. Obviously she had her chances and at the end whenever it got important, again I was playing maybe a little bit better points.
Q. In the final point of the match, could you decide to take off something on the serve, surprise her a little bit, you sent in a much slower serve?
STEFFI GRAF: I tried quite a few times, because I missed so many first serves most of the time I was just trying to get it in play, because I gave her so many times the possibility to be aggressive on it. And so -- pretty much the last game I tried to keep the serves in the game without trying to go for too much and it worked out well.
Q. Steffi, if it had been a great match, can you ever take enjoyment just from the match if you lose?
STEFFI GRAF: Absolutely, but maybe I need a bit more distance to look at the game. But like I said, I didn't feel it was a great game, that I could be satisfied with losing. Like Paris, for example, I was just thinking I didn't really care, winning or losing, because it was just an amazing atmosphere and a great match. You have these moments, absolutely, I just didn't think it was today's match.
Q. Do you remember the first time you and she played, somewhere in France and you were 14 years old. She was 14. It was her first trip out of Czechoslovakia.
STEFFI GRAF: European Championships, yeah.
Q. Where was it?
STEFFI GRAF: Bolis.
Q. What do you remember about that?
STEFFI GRAF: Nothing, actually. (Laughter.) I didn't remember playing her.
Q. She remembers it quite well, you beat her in three sets.
STEFFI GRAF: I did?
Q. Steffi, according to court testimony by your father and his partner, they say they accept appearance fees of more than two million dollars for you? Are you aware of acceptance of such fees, whether it could subject you to suspension from the Tour.
STEFFI GRAF: If I would have known about it, yes. But I did not know about it. And that's all I want to say to that.
Q. As far as I understand the Tour rules actually it doesn't matter whether or not you were aware of the deals that were made, that it could, in fact, subject you to suspension, is that something you're concerned with?
STEFFI GRAF: No, I'm not concerned with that.
Q. Not at all, even though the rules clearly state --
STEFFI GRAF: You talk to the officials about it, not talk to me about it.
Q. Appearance fees of more than two million dollars, it's hard to --
STEFFI GRAF: You can keep on trying for another hour, but I will not give you anymore answers.
Q. Steffi, can you talk a little bit about Jana thought she played a terrific match and that you came on better as it got harder, you got better. So could you talk a little bit about winning and going into the championship tomorrow having perhaps won without playing your best game?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, I was happy to be able to pull that match out. Obviously I don't think I'm at the height of my game, especially serve and return, which is both pretty important. I'm struggling a little bit on it. But to be not at a hundred percent and to still get at the final, I think that's pretty good right now. And obviously I'm looking forward to it and I won't have much time to take time off, but I hope to be ready for tomorrow.
Q. Assuming that you play Martina, she's up a set, 1-1 in the second. Can you sense how much fun that is for everybody else, she being so young, and pardon me, you being a little bit older?
STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, she's been playing some really, really good tennis the last few months. And she's obviously one of the up and coming players. And she's got a fresh attitude, she goes out there and enjoys herself and hits -- just hits out and plays pretty technically pretty well out there for her age, so it's obviously going to be exciting.
Q. Considering all the injuries you've had in the past few years, yet you still remain the major force. How amazed are you that you're able to do that and like how are you able to overcome all those injuries to keep winning? Jana told us to ask you that. She wants to know.
STEFFI GRAF: I don't really have an answer to that one. I just keep on doing it, keep on doing it. And obviously it is the focus that I've got out there. And still even if I'm not a hundred percent prepared for the tournaments, I still got the belief in me that I still can do it. And I just basically don't give up. And other than that I really don't know what else it is.
Q. Does it surprise you that knowing that your injured the other girls haven't even been able to get past that?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, it is a bit surprising to me. And I know how unprepared sometimes I am coming into the tournaments. Again, this tournament, I've had a few matches last week, but I started practicing last week on Monday night for a few minutes the first time. I got to Philadelphia and to the finals, I get here, I'm again in the finals, I don't know. Obviously I'm happy with what I achieved, but I think it's disappointing from the opponent's side.
Q. Do you expect the explanation is purely mentality. If you were watching it in some other sports, an athlete you admired would you think it was the mentality?
STEFFI GRAF: Probably.
Q. Can you just address, your whole demeanor seemed to change as you won in the second set, you seemed pumped up, getting aggressive. What was happening mentally?
STEFFI GRAF: I needed to push myself a little bit at that moment because I knew I still had my chances in the match, even though maybe I felt that I wasn't serving as well as I should, and to win the match. But I felt I always will get another chance and I just have to watch out and take it. And that's exactly what happened, then, because I knew I needed to be on my feet every point.
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