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November 21, 1996

Steffi Graf


Q. Steffi, it seems like you're always having to come from behind, were you giving her a chance to beat you?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, the first game I was quite a bit nervous, and so I didn't play the points very well, and that's why I was, right from the beginning, trying to get back, trying to get back, had a lot of chances to break her, and then finally in the third game I was able to do so. Maybe I just needed to be trailing to come back and then focus well. And it seemed I was playing a lot better at that moment.

Q. Steffi, it seems as if you and Lindsay are starting out a great rivalry. You played four times, she beat you once, the other matches were pretty close. Does that bring out the best in you to have someone play you that often and that close?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, she's a dangerous player, she plays like me, pretty aggressive, pretty flat, long; puts you right in the beginning into the defense. You don't have that many players that do that to you. So it's usually difficult to adjust to it a little bit in the beginning, and you know you've got to be a little more patient than usual. So the matches against her always have been pretty difficult this year.

Q. Is this the longest tiebreaker you've ever been in, 13-11?

STEFFI GRAF: Probably, I don't know. I can't recollect. Probably.

Q. Was that drop shop instinct or planned, that was a key point.

STEFFI GRAF: I don't know, it was pretty dangerous. Yes, that point it was pretty dangerous to play that point at that stage. But it worked well because she obviously didn't anticipate it and -- but it was a pretty risky shot to do it.

Q. Steffi, when you were down 5-2, did you do anything different or were you just trying to prolong the points?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, that moment I just tried to keep the ball in play to be able to start off the third set well. And so at this moment I was really trying to play points, trying to have a longer rallies, not to make too many mistakes, and actually that worked really well. And I felt that she didn't serve too well at that stage, and I could take advantage of it.

Q. How do you explain that you pulled out the first set and everybody expects you took the first game second set and then all of a sudden you find yourself behind 5-2, how do you explain that?

STEFFI GRAF: I served poorly. A lot of second serves. And she did a lot with my second serve, made most of the time no errors, kept me under pressure constantly, so it wasn't really much to it that moment. Maybe make a few more unforced errors in the first set, that's how I was 2-5 down.

Q. Steffi, you did a lot of running tonight, did you feel fast?

STEFFI GRAF: Excuse me?

Q. I said you did a lot of running tonight, did you feel fast? Because you looked very fast out there.

STEFFI GRAF: I felt actually pretty good. The last few weeks I didn't move too much and so today I had to move a lot. So maybe I'm a little tired now, but I feel good about the match, that I was able to do it. Lately I haven't been able to move well to the backhand or play a lot of long rallies, and today I could do it.

Q. The crowd was very excited during the tiebreaker, were you?


Q. Did you feel it at all?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, there were a lot of great points in the tiebreaker, and it was constantly going from one side to the other. So obviously when you're in a court and playing the points, you're a bit nervous, and you're trying to place the shots and -- but then again you don't want to make a mistake, either.

Q. A little upset with a couple of calls there?

STEFFI GRAF: The one serve was definitely out. It was a very bad call. The other one was close. I don't know, it was difficult for me to see, but the serve was definitely long. But that happens if you play so many shots close to the line.

Q. Steffi, in the tiebreaker she was trading forehands with you, were you somewhat surprised that she was playing to your strength?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, it's her normal shot to play cross court. She isn't really somebody to place a lot of down the lines. And so for her at this moment you don't want to try something where you don't feel as comfortable with it. And that's why I knew she was going to play cross court.

Q. On the match point, the let court, did you think for a second you had won?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah. I did. And, hey, it didn't go over. It did. Yeah, at that moment for a second I thought I had it.

Q. After so many years at the top, you seem as eager and motivated as ever. Can you try to rate from one to three the main reasons that keep you going?

STEFFI GRAF: To keep me going? It's still exciting to be out there and to have these kind of matches. And obviously with the problems that I seem to have physically, I'm still able to pull out some great matches and have some great wins. And that's why it makes it so special to be still out there. And obviously now I'm in a difficult situation the way I came into this tournament. And that's why I was trying to pump myself up and it wasn't very difficult, because the crowd got into it and we played some good points.

Q. Borg used to say he wanted to be the best player ever. Do you think of something like that? Do you think of a goal that you want to be remembered as?

STEFFI GRAF: No. I'm happy to be remembered as a good tennis player, I don't think I can talk about anything else.

Q. Steffi, when you were down 2-5, you said you were trying to keep the ball in play. At what point did you feel it was safe to get aggressive?

STEFFI GRAF: At 5-4, because at that moment I knew she was going to be probably a little bit nervous, knowing that she had to serve to finish off the second set and the way she played the other two games, a little tentatively, I knew at this point I had it in my hands to still try to get into the second set and that's when I felt I should play a bit more aggressive on the return.

Q. You volley very well when you come in. Do you think as you're getting a little bit older you'd like to cut the points short?

STEFFI GRAF: I wish I was, but I'm doing it usually the hard way. Even though sometimes I'm trying to come in, sometimes I don't pick the moments very well. I need to be physically in a good shape to be able to do it and I haven't lately been that. So I haven't really played a lot at the net, because I haven't really trained much.

End of FastScripts....

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