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November 14, 1995

Steffi Graf


Q. Steffi, how can she give you so much trouble the last two times you play her and not so much trouble tonight?

STEFFI GRAF: I think it starts with the surface. I think that surface just suits me a little better. And keeps the ball lower. And I think my serve was more effective. And that's why I think it's more difficult for her.

Q. Steffi, what pleased you most about your performance tonight?

STEFFI GRAF: I won. I think that I served well and I changed my serve. I changed the pace of it and it worked really well. And then I was just more patient at the end.

Q. That 6th game of the first set, that was the big breakpoint, she went for a lot of shots, kind of recklessly. Did you feel that you had the match at that point?

STEFFI GRAF: Not really. Because she's somebody that moves so well. And surely she took quite a few times maybe more the risk than she maybe should have. But she made a lot of points with it, too. And even if the first set is gone, I think it was a little bit closer in the beginning of the second set. And I didn't really feel that the match was over really, at that point yet.

Q. Want to talk about the dress. Is it the first time -- everybody is talking about the dress. Is it the first time in your career that you've worn a dress?

STEFFI GRAF: No, actually a couple years ago I had a dress. And I was about to walk on to the court at Wimbledon and I changed it. And I have wanted to wear it a few times since, but never had the guts to. But I never felt comfortable, really, so we finally got a dress together I felt totally comfortable in.

Q. Have you played a match before up to then?


Q. You've had it, but never played in it?


Q. In the juniors --

STEFFI GRAF: I hated skirts. I played a lot with shorts. And it was really difficult to change to skirts.

Q. Are you disappointed by Seles not playing?

STEFFI GRAF: I think she's a big loss for the tournament. I mentioned it before, not only to us, the players, but also to the fans, and also to the tour in general.

Q. Last night, all the gals that received awards were dressed in either beige or black, was that on instruction or was that just coincidental everybody wore the same colors?

STEFFI GRAF: I think black is pretty much an evening color. So I think nobody asked us to wear these colors, but I guess we all feel comfortable in them.

Q. So, off of tonight's performance, does the dress stay, then, for the rest of this tournament?

STEFFI GRAF: On and off. I have to think about it. I did feel comfortable, though. And it didn't bother me at any times. So I definitely see it on the court again.

Q. Was this Adidas' idea or your idea?

STEFFI GRAF: I had the idea for a long time. It's just that it was very difficult to find the right material and to find the right cut and obviously, it's real difficult because you've got to be able to move around well. And you don't want to have the skirt of the dress coming up all the time. And so it wasn't that easy.

Q. Very big deal tonight?

STEFFI GRAF: Oh, I guess.

Q. Steffi, about the dress, did you -- are you saying you felt a little shy about wearing it. Did you wear it a lot in practice to get used to it?

STEFFI GRAF: No, actually not. I tried it twice and I always felt comfortable. So I didn't feel -- it's been a couple of weeks since I tried it. But I didn't really think too much about it.

Q. Forgive me for going back to the tennis --

STEFFI GRAF: Please, I feel more comfortable.

Q. Did Philadelphia make a big difference? You struggled against Amy for the first round, but to have those rounds under your belt, which you didn't have, was it important?

STEFFI GRAF: It was important to me to have a couple of matches to gain the confidence, to come up to this tournament, and I was struggling in the first match because obviously, I didn't feel as relaxed as I am at this point. And I gained the confidence that I needed.

Q. Steffi, you were quoted as saying, that this year is a better year for you, overall, than even in 1988.

STEFFI GRAF: Absolutely.

Q. Can you elaborate on that a little bit? And regardless of what happens here, will you feel that way?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes. No doubt about it because I think it's been -- it's seven years difference. And I think when I was a little younger and I was on the court and not really thinking too much, and so things were a lot easier then than they are now, because obviously, a lot more is going on in my life than at that point in time. I think the competition has gotten a lot stronger than then. And obviously, I've had a lot of injuries this year, which made it even more difficult. So just in -- in looking at all the circumstances, I think that it was really difficult to pull it off and I didn't expect to, so I think it's a better year.

Q. Do you consider it's the best year of your season?

STEFFI GRAF: Of my career, yes.

Q. Steffi, in a way is it a bit disappointing that you weren't able to play the Australian Open, when you see what you achieved in the other three Grand Slams?

STEFFI GRAF: No, because I've done all I could. I mean, you cannot always look at it maybe if I would have played that. No, obviously I would have loved to play, no doubt about it. But the way everything went, I mean, I can't ask for anything else, I think.

Q. At the end of '88, you were asked a lot about what can you do to top this. Everybody looked for you to sort of fall. We have to ask now, will you look at next year and say what do I do now?

STEFFI GRAF: No. I've achieved so much that everything else that I achieve is just top -- just gets on top of it. And I think a lot of things that happened this year, incredible matches and different situations that made me realize how much I like the game and how much still there is to gain for me. And that's why just continue with playing for me right now.

Q. The U.S. Open final, where does that rank in your matches? I mean obviously all of us that saw it thought it was a spectacular match.

STEFFI GRAF: Which tournaments?

Q. In your career.

STEFFI GRAF: I think not talking about the quality of match, talking just in general, probably it's the most amazing tournament. And even in the Wimbledons that I played, which always meant the most, I think this one topped it off. But I'm not really talking about quality of tennis. There have been other tournaments.

Q. Your back injury at the beginning of the injury, has that changed your way to approach tennis? Is it difficult to live with that daily?

STEFFI GRAF: I mean in a lot of ways --

Q. Was it a new problem for you to face?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, but I've had a lot of injuries before. It's just something that stuck around a little longer than usual. And obviously, it was more difficult, because I didn't really find a way to treat it. There were other -- the other things I could do more weight training or do more physical therapy or things like that. And it was the first time something that I was looking at which I didn't really have a way to treat until recently. And that's why it was really difficult. And it kept me off the court for a lot of periods. And that's why it was difficult for me to find a consistent training.

Q. So now it's over?

STEFFI GRAF: It's a lot better, let's put it this way. It's been a lot better the last few weeks. And I got different treatment now. I'm doing chiropractic and it works really well for me.

Q. So next year will you play less tournaments or you don't know what you're going to do?

STEFFI GRAF: No, I have my plan for the year. But I think I will always adjust it how I'm feeling. And probably -- I mean it's difficult to say right now. I'm hoping to play more. But who knows.

Q. Steffi, are you glad this year is just about over, as far as tennis goes?

STEFFI GRAF: I'm really looking forward to a holiday, if you want to say that. But if you have such an incredible year, you just want to keep on going.

Q. Steffi, I think a lot of us are amazed you've been able to play at this level, with all the things going on around you. Does playing actually act as a therapy in the sense that you're able to block out the other things?

STEFFI GRAF: No, but it gets you away from a lot of things. And you've got something -- I've got something that I love doing. And so to be able to do it is just a pleasure. So that's how I look at it.

End of FastScripts....

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