home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 25, 1998

Steffi Graf


Q. How did you feel you played this evening?

STEFFI GRAF: I felt good. I felt well the first set. I had played extremely well, and the second set, when she started to settle down a little bit, and we had some good rallies. I thought I was playing well.

Q. How about in terms of your comeback? How difficult has it been coming back?

STEFFI GRAF: That is a long story. I have -- to make it short, it has been difficult. Naturally, if you don't play as many tournaments, as I have done, and been basically out of the sport for so long, it is really difficult to find the patience to really go out and just settle down and do matches and get one tournament after the other.

Q. Are there things that you used to be able to do that you are having trouble because of the knee or is it just taking time to get your game back?

STEFFI GRAF: Physically, I am absolutely fine. I have no troubles, so I don't have to watch out during the match or during the practices. I really don't have to watch it at all. I take good care of it before and afterwards. Once I am on the court, I don't think about it. There is nothing I need to worry about.

Q. Is there one aspect of your match tonight -- I noticed that you had a few unforced errors into the net; you could see the frustration. Is there any part of your game tonight that you were dissatisfied with?

STEFFI GRAF: Not really, no. I mean, I found that I served reasonably well. Maybe could have had a couple more first serves, but I didn't make a lot of mistakes on the return. Just, in general, I don't think I really made too many unforced errors, so kind of was pleased with the first match.

Q. What does a big win -- or a real dominating win like this do as far as the confidence level that you were speaking about on Sunday?

STEFFI GRAF: You know, every tournament I played, I had a great first round match and I played terrible the next match. So I am not going to say anything. But, you know, every match that I play like that I am very satisfied about and it does take me a step forward, and so I just need to continue doing what I am doing right now.

Q. Have you made as much progress as you would have expected or wanted to?

STEFFI GRAF: Since when?

Q. Since you started coming back.

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I think when I started I really started in -- I started playing two weeks before I played the tournaments in England, just trying to play; at that point I wasn't sure if everything was holding up. I mean, I have come a long way, and I am very pleased where I am right now.

Q. Have you set goals for yourself as your comeback progresses to get to a tournament: I want to get to the Final 4, I want to do anything like that --

STEFFI GRAF: No, I am concerned about the level of play, and that is my goal to stabilize that, but not really in terms of results, no.

Q. What has been the most difficult part?

STEFFI GRAF: It seems that during practice I have been doing the right things I have been really working hard and feeling that I am doing the right thing and getting stronger, and I just haven't been able to show that during the matches.

Q. On the point of the level of your play, can you gauge much by playing someone like Nagyova or is it better for you to gauge your level against a Davenport or Hingis or Seles and company?

STEFFI GRAF: First of all, you have to start somewhere, and obviously, I want to play that kind of tennis against the top players, no question. Right now, I am taking match by match and hopefully it gets me to the point where I am going to play the top players.

Q. You go into a match like this with certain things that you try to work on?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I mean, no, I am just trying to tell myself before the match play every point, don't really think too much, which I have been doing maybe. I have been worrying too much about certain strokes, how to play them. I just wanted to go out and play freely which I really did today. That was my main goal to relax out there as much as I can.

Q. Do you still have a goal of catching up with a passing Margaret Court. Is that a major goal, three Grand Slams, what she did?

STEFFI GRAF: It has never been my goal and never will be. Honestly, I don't care about those things too much.

Q. You played very well in the first set. Then it was a very close match in the beginning of the second. Halfway through that you basically brought everything together. What led to that? What came together for you?

STEFFI GRAF: I think I played really couple of good -- I mean, there were a couple of games where she had chances in the second set in the beginning she had chance to go up 2-Love. She had another time she was leading 40-Love, and at the important points, I think I just -- I really played the points. I didn't really make the mistakes, I felt that she needed to win the point, if she really wanted to make the game. I think I just played the right shots when I needed to and seemed to, you know, just use the right tactics, seemed that she didn't like my slice so much, so was trying to work on that.

Q. Will you watch the Coetzer/Kournikova match tomorrow and who would you rather play?

STEFFI GRAF: They are very different styles. Amanda is somebody that, you know, I have always had difficulties playing her because of her style of play. She is a very consistent player. She makes you play every point, and Anna, she takes more risks. So different styles, but definitely two equal players -- don't really make too much of a difference.

Q. Since you have come back and some of the recent losses you have been quoted as saying I didn't feel comfortable, I was a little nervous or tight. Is that something that you never really dealt with much before until your comeback and how have you pride to deal with that part of it?

STEFFI GRAF: I haven't really had it very much because I was accustomed to playing matches and tournaments and realizing that I am kind of starting off really after basically one and a half, two years of basically not playing. It was really difficult because I do realize that, you know, I get tentative out there because I haven't really played enough and I feel maybe I just haven't given myself enough time. So I mean, that is the things that go through your mind instead of just going out there and playing. So it is just that I have put a lot of effort in coming back, and obviously, I want to do well too.

Q. You rarely showed much emotion when you were in your prime.

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, now I do or what? Yeah, right.

Q. Today in the third game, you hit a beautiful backhand down-the-line that put you up 3-0. You went to the chair and you slapped your hand against your side. Is there anything to that or --

STEFFI GRAF: No, I was just pleased. No, but -- you know, you always get some kind of image. Now, I always had the one that I was one with not a lot of emotions, but I don't see that, you know. I have always handled certain shots or something -- but people want to see it once and sometimes they don't want to see it. But I guess today because, I guess I was, you know, probably on a couple shots I did feel really happy and maybe because it has been a little difficult the last few weeks, I enjoy playing well. And, obviously enjoy being out there on the court more than any other time.

Q. I was wondering if it had something to do with the fact that now you are really appreciating being out there again?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, I mean, I think it has a little bit to do with that, but I think I have never really been the no-emotion player either.

Q. It is a situation in women's tennis, three different winners, three Grand Slam events -- as you are getting ready to go toward the US Open now, an overall view - if you step back a little bit - is women's tennis wide open right now, you can get back with this tournament and leading up to possibly a final match there, is it something that you even think about having a chance to win with it being in this condition, which seems like you have different people --

STEFFI GRAF: It is one thing that I don't worry about right now. I am right here playing this tournament and that is all I care about now. Like you said, it is a very open field. I think the Open, there are a lot of players right now playing really well. It is going to be an exciting event because, you know, you have Lindsay playing really good tennis; Martina may be struggling a little bit, you know, Monica really playing well. I mean, it is such a wide field that, yeah, it is going to be exciting.

Q. The crowd here yesterday gave you a terrific welcome.

STEFFI GRAF: Yes, it was very nice. (smiles).

Q. There was a mad rush to get your autograph after the match. What does that mean to you, to come to a place that you have never been to before and get this kind of reception?

STEFFI GRAF: I have to say, you know, I am still not used to it. I still like -- even yesterday, you know, to get a standing ovation when I got on the court, it was really, really nice, I have to say. Yeah, difficult for me to just stand there and be -- I was trying to not get emotional about it. But it has been great the respect that I have received and the appreciation and, you know, it feels me good -- it feels great.

Q. Talking about your level of play at the moment, how much do you think you have got to lift it to do well at the Open?

STEFFI GRAF: I don't know how much I need to lift it as how consistent I need to be. I think that is really the main focus for me right now, to gain -- I think I have got the shots, I have got the strengths. I just need the confidence and the consistency.

Q. Are you still trying to get back into a rhythm of learning and appreciating how to win matches or are you back of that, do you feel that you can win matches quite -- the fact that you have been away for so long, players have said in the past that they would lose the idea in how to actually win a match or finish a match.

STEFFI GRAF: I don't know, I haven't -- no, I think it is just playing the match itself. It is not really concluding it. Is that what you are talking about?

Q. Yes.

STEFFI GRAF: No, I think that has not been the problem. I mean, when I started playing the first few tournaments, I definitely had a lack of fitness. It was very obvious for me. I seem to be getting stronger and stronger. I am sure I have still something left I think I can improve on. Otherwise it is just the playing the match, to have the concentration all the time and that has been a little bit the problem.

Q. Is the game fun for you? Is playing tennis fun for you?

STEFFI GRAF: Actually not really, no. (kiddingly).

Q. What motivates you to play?

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I mean, you believe what I have been going through to enjoy being out there? I do - believe me. So it has been taking a lot to come back and I do enjoy being out there a lot.

Q. Getting the 8th seed at the open, kind of expect that from them or --

STEFFI GRAF: Nothing I care about. If you want to do well you have to play anybody, don't really make a difference.

End of FastScripts….

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297