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March 10, 1998

Steffi Graf


Q. Steffi, you seemed to be having more problem with your cough than you do with the opponents. What is it?

STEFFI GRAF: No, I mean, today was a little more difficult start. I think I was pretty nervous from the beginning on. I made a few more errors maybe than the last two matches. But once I felt more comfortable, I seemed to be hitting the ball well again. She didn't really put me under pressure either. I did have time enough to set up the points.

Q. I was asking, what's the problem with your cough?

STEFFI GRAF: With my cough?

Q. Yes.

STEFFI GRAF: I mean, I've been -- I've got the flu and the sinuses. I've been trying to get rid of it. It's just been taking a little longer than expected.

Q. Something that comes on in the desert is it, or what?

STEFFI GRAF: No, it's just been sick for the past two weeks. Hopefully this is now the last one or two days. Hopefully I get rid of it.

Q. Do you feel you're playing as well as ever, Steffi?

STEFFI GRAF: It's difficult to say. I mean, right now I feel that I'm playing better than I anticipated playing at that stage. But maybe I haven't had the opponents yet either that maybe push me or put me more under pressure so far. I've been able to play the game that I want to play. We'll see with the next matches coming up, probably going to be a different story. See how I'm going to respond to that. Right now I'm feeling that I'm doing what I'd like to do.

Q. Steffi, do you think in a way it's surprised you the way you have played here? Granted, Hannover was the first event and all that.

STEFFI GRAF: Yes. I mean, that's what I said after every game so far here, that I've been doing much better than I expected at that stage, no question. I mean, playing like that again today, after playing such a good match last night, yeah. I mean, you can't ask for anything else right now.

Q. When she was in here earlier, Lindsay Davenport made the point that you would have not entered this tournament unless you were absolutely certain you could win it. Did she have that right?

STEFFI GRAF: She doesn't know me very well, I guess. No, I mean, that's way off actually. That's very way off. No, I didn't come in here -- I never -- I never thought or never started thinking that I can get to that point, no, not even now.

Q. Steffi, what did you do while you were off? Did you go crazy?

STEFFI GRAF: No, no. I mean, I spent a lot of time in Austria, on rehab. I spent almost all the time in either Austria or Germany, then came over four months to Florida, trained there. I mean, it was basically all about getting back into walking movements and rehab.

Q. Did you ever think you wouldn't make it? Was there a time?

STEFFI GRAF: Oh, many times. I mean, once I knew I had to have that operation, they told me how severe it looked at that point, they could not tell me if I'd be able to play again or not. I mean, from that moment on, I knew there would be a long time of uncertainty if I can go on or not. Even after the operation for quite a few months, I wasn't sure.

Q. Three or so years ago when you also had a lengthy break because of the knee, and you didn't start playing until it was March or something, missed the Australian, how is this different, this comeback different to them?

STEFFI GRAF: That uncertainty. I mean, I wasn't always sure if I wanted to do it either. At that time, you know, it was just a matter of when the injury was healing. It was an injury. You know, I knew it just took some time and I'd be ready for it again. This time, you know, obviously I had arthroscopic surgery before. The injury started one year before I had the operation. It was a much more difficult thing for me. Obviously, you know, it's not only that six months that I took off after the operation, it started much earlier already. You know, I've had quite a few troubles with my back, other injuries, so I didn't know if I should really try again or not.

Q. How is your back these days? Nobody talks about that. It's the knee now, isn't it?

STEFFI GRAF: I know. For some reason, my back has been really good. I shouldn't say that right now probably (laughter). My back's been, since then, extremely good. Hopefully, you know, somehow that break even helped my back.

Q. Steffi, what has your record been against Hingis? Have you met her many times?

STEFFI GRAF: I don't know. I mean, I've played her a couple times, but I don't know the record.

WTA: 5-1.


WTA: Yes. '96 Championships was the last time. Next question?

Q. Steffi, if Lindsay wins tomorrow, that's a pretty decent assumption, that would be a good test for you to play her, huh?

STEFFI GRAF: Absolutely. As I mentioned earlier, it will be a different match because she hits a lot harder than the girls I have played against so far. She serves a lot better. Yeah, I mean, it will be interesting to see how I play against her.

Q. You played a very tough match against her here a few years ago, didn't you?

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, true, difficult one.

Q. Conditions over here, do you think they favor you a little bit more or the other way? Quite even?

STEFFI GRAF: I don't think -- I think we both like to play on hardcourts. Probably it's one of her best surfaces. I think doesn't really matter too much.

Q. Didn't winning a Love set say a lot of things to you today?

STEFFI GRAF: You know, after the shaky start in the first set action, I really wanted to get my act together and start playing point after point. I did it at the end of the first set, even better in the second set. I went for my shots, made fewer mistakes. That's all I was trying for. I wasn't trying to win 6-Love. I just wanted to play a steady set. That's what I did.

End of FastScripts....

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