March 14, 1996
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
Q. How difficult was it?
STEFFI GRAF: I do not think it could have been anymore difficult.
Q. Obviously you weren't at the top of your game tonight.
How did you get through this one?
STEFFI GRAF: I have no idea right now. I mean, I am just smiling
and enjoying it. That is all I can do. Wonder why or how I did
it, obviously I have had some problems, but again, I was able
to get through them and keep on playing and made it. I don't
know. I mean, I have no idea what gets me there always.
Q. Was there a sort of a nightmare or did you enjoy it despite
STEFFI GRAF: Nightmare, is, I think, not really the right word,
but obviously in the first set, not feeling the greatest with
my back, you know, it was kind of difficult out there and I was
wondering, you know, whether it is going to end. Now that it
is ended, I am extremely happy and I think it is more like a nice
dream than a nightmare.
Q. Was that the first time you had back problems in this
STEFFI GRAF: Not really. Few days ago I had some problems with
my muscles really tight and strong and I did get to loosen them
up, but I didn't expect it today because I had a good practice
and it felt good and even the start of the match for the first
two, three games, it felt fine; then suddenly it just kept on
Q. It is possibly the fact that you play night matches that
brings you --
STEFFI GRAF: I think I made the wrong move because as my SI
joint went out and I got it adjusted in at the end, but I think
that is what really bothered me and it just got inflamed a little
bit. Once the anti-inflammatory started getting into my body
a little bit, it started getting better in the second set.
Q. When you say that you felt it a couple of days ago, was
that before the Amanda Coetzer match?
STEFFI GRAF: Yeah.
Q. Was it painful enough that you thought you might pull
out in the first set?
STEFFI GRAF: Today?
STEFFI GRAF: For the first time I was pretty close, yeah. At
5-4 and then she played the next two games, I couldn't really
run to my backhand and next two games she just played to my forehand
and I was like, okay, let us try and so I kept on trying, and
like you said before, the trainer was able to adjust it and I
was hoping that would start to make it feel better and it did
and the anti-inflammatory helped me, so it started getting better
in the second set.
Q. The back problems aside, how good does it feel just to
be back competing again for you?
STEFFI GRAF: In general, I am enjoying myself. I mean, it is
difficult because right now, you know, it is right after the match
so I am enjoying my match, but in general, yes, I do enjoying
Q. What are your thoughts knowing that you are going to have
this chronic back problem the rest of your career?
STEFFI GRAF: I am here. I am here. I am still trying and,
you know, it has been getting better, I mean, it has been, you
know, I have been feeling pretty good and actually I have been
able to train a lot more in the last few weeks and I have been
most of last year, so I am hoping that just getting better.
Q. A year ago when you came back in the indoor Paris you
said that you didn't want to go through having an operation on
it. Are you still of that opinion?
STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, I mean, if you have that kind of operation,
and I spoke enough doctors, the chances of it being perfect is
very slim and I mean, it is a high risk that something maybe is
not going to be right, and that kind of operation probably would
take me out of tennis for so long that it doesn't make sense.
They usually don't operate on something like that.
Q. Last year, Steffi, you had this tremendous string of emotionally
satisfying wins. If you had to pick two or three of your sweetest
triumphs in your career, what would those be?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, I tell you, it is really very difficult to
pick them out. I think there have been so many, way too many
to really put one ahead of the other. I could say maybe the first
Wimbledon win probably was the sweetest. But they kept on coming,
so, they are not really any that I would want to put ahead of
the other one.
Q. How concerning is this for you, the back?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, it is not very concerning because I know
what it is and I know how to deal with it and I know it is nothing
serious. It is just that my SI joints just keep on moving and
I just have to keep it stable and, you know, just need to constant
adjustments and usually I am fine.
Q. How would you rate Lindsay's level of play tonight?
STEFFI GRAF: I think she really went for it. I haven't really
played her for a while; haven't really seen her, but she got a
lot more steady. She is not making as many mistakes anymore,
no erratic plays. I really do think she has really developed
and I know she has had good results this year.
Q. Four five years ago you would always say that you wouldn't
have a long career like Chris or Martina; that come 26, 27 or
something, you would want to retire and do other things. Having
had periods away from the game, has that changed your attitude
now that you know how much you'd miss it?
STEFFI GRAF: Age has changed it when I look at it. And when
you are younger, obviously, you see numbers and you see somebody
30, oh, God, she is old; why is she still playing tennis sort
of attitude. Once you get closer to it, it changes a little bit,
and numbers don't get as important anymore as maybe at different
ages, so you realize that you got to know how you feel inside
and then you can decide on what you want to do, but, you know,
you got to know for yourself what you want to lead up to.
Q. Steffi, the other day in our office we came up with --
found this quote from you as a teenager, "Golly, I have a
great life for 17, don't I, everyone would choose my life, wouldn't
they." If you could magically go back now that you are mid
20s or whatever and go back and give one piece of advice to Steffi
Graf at age 17, what would you say to her?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, only thing I would wanted to do is take a
little bit better care of my body because I didn't know that I
mean, I did know, but I was a little lazy at that time. I didn't
do any stretching after the matches. I didn't -- I just wanted
to be on the court basically, that kind of thing and, you know,
I didn't take as many massages or I just didn't worry that much
about my body. And I think knowing that now, I think I would
have changed that.
Q. Would there be anything aside from the physical, aside
from that, anything --
STEFFI GRAF: Well, I think I am having a pretty good time and
the past few years have shown it, so I don't think I would really
change anything from that, no.
Q. How well is this tournament accommodating the men and
the women playing together, practice facilities?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, I think maybe that is the only thing to maybe
criticize a little bit is that maybe lacking a few courts here,
and otherwise, the spectators and you see the crowds, they are
really enjoy themselves; having a good time, maybe, a little bigger
court, like the courthouse you could see it today, people were
trying to get on it, and they had some great matches on it and
maybe they don't have enough seats on it, but otherwise, I think,
it has been fun for the players and for the spectators. I think
there is not really a lot that you can do different.
Q. What is your schedule like leading up to the French?
STEFFI GRAF: That is a tough one. I am going to play Key Biscayne.
Whatever I do afterwards, I have no clue.
Q. Last year you made great huge success out after a very
limited playing season. Do you think that will be a good idea
again to go in and plunder a few Grand Slams and have a rest between?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, you know, I just take my time right now.
I play a tournament after tournament whenever, you know, however
I feel and I just, you know, obviously I would like to play more,
but it worked out pretty well last year, still, you know, I just
have to see how it goes, how I physically feel and so I am not
really putting myself on a schedule.
Q. Following up from what David was asking you about how
long you would play, can you see yourself playing past 30?
STEFFI GRAF: Still can't.
Q. There have been reports that said that Monica and Fed
Cup people might not be -- might not want to play Fed Cup if it
were held in Germany. What are your thoughts about that?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, did they win the first round already? No.
Did Germany win their first round already? No. So let us talk
when we get closer to that. It is something that, you know, it
is difficult to -- it wouldn't be a difficult situation, let us
put it this way, and I don't think it is up to me to decide on
that issue. But obviously it wouldn't be appropriate to play
in Hamburg. I don't think it would be appropriate, so we will
see, we will see what happens.
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