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August 28, 1998

Steffi Graf


Q. Steffi, if you had to write the headlines for tomorrow's paper, what would you put for that match?

STEFFI GRAF: Don't ask me. (Laughs) I think you do a much better job than me putting a sentence together. I just did my job out there. You ask the questions. I am not giving you anything. (Laughs)

Q. At the end, more joy or more relief?

STEFFI GRAF: More joy. I mean, I was definitely not happy that I let it slip away from me the way it did. But there wasn't really anything I can do. I played well 'til 5-2. I think the second set was really some close games, good points, and then I just got nervous and tight and I didn't really go for my shots and I couldn't put them in and I was like trying to relax and it didn't really work. And then she just started to serve better and play better and then the tiebreaker when I couldn't play at all 'til 5-Love then suddenly I played some great points again. So it was really like shifting from one momentum to the other. It seemed like at 5-Love I really like I kind of thought already about, you know, going back to the changing room and changing shirt for the third set. That maybe helped. I didn't start to worry about the match anymore at least not about that set.

Q. You talked about consistency in your game, importance of doing I guess what you did tonight. I would think that emotionally this comeback from that setback was really important for you in terms of the overall picture.

STEFFI GRAF: Very much. I mean, it is definitely a step forward for me and, no question. To beat her and to have been playing pretty well that tournament all through, yeah, definitely very happy the way it is going right now. It will definitely give me again -- give me the confidence that I really need to start next week.

Q. Isn't it fair to say then looking at everything that has happened tonight you beat No. 2, you are back?

STEFFI GRAF: (Laughs) Oh, no. I mean, that is for you to write. I am not talking about those things. I am just happy that the work is paying off that I put in the last few weeks.

Q. There were two passing shots in particular, one off the forehand that went crosscourt that you started smiling about and Lindsay couldn't believe and there was another backhand passing shot down the line that you hit from quite wide. What were you feeling when you hit those shots, just exhilaration?

STEFFI GRAF: Oh, yeah, very -- big joy at that moment. Couple really difficult shots, I felt I was moving well out there. Maybe I felt sometimes I wasn't very consistent with my game, but I definitely moved well, made her play a lot of points that maybe she wouldn't have had to and you could see a couple of times she already kind of -- after her shots, she pretty much -- the point is over and she kind of stopped playing. I guess I surprised her a few times. That is something you really need to do against her.

Q. All that you have won in your career, what motivates you at this point in your career?

STEFFI GRAF: Oh, God, this question again. (laughter) Sorry, but I have just heard that question too many times. Just like watch tonight and then you will figure it out. It is still the game.

Q. When you were down 5-Love in the tiebreak, Steffi, did you tell yourself anything at that point, try to inspire yourself?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, at that point the good thing was that really for me at 2-Love in the tiebreak I was still worrying and thinking about every point, but at 5-Love I didn't. I really just played the points and that is what happens. Once I don't think about what I am going to do anymore, I do okay. But once I start thinking, you know, about the point too much then I get a little scared to play the shots. At that point I just went for my shots and did the right things instinctively.

Q. Up to 6-3, 5-2 when is the last time that you remember playing as solidly, sprightly as you did today?

STEFFI GRAF: Do you really think I played that well to that point?

Q. Yes. Do you not think that?

STEFFI GRAF: No, I thought I was playing well, but, you know, still played tentatively; especially in the first set, first serving a couple of games and I felt she made more mistakes than she usually does. So I think I have played better for sure.

Q. Better this year, do you think?

STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, I think so.

Q. It is good for you to get in a situation where you are a little nervous as far as --

STEFFI GRAF: I don't want to.

Q. But --

STEFFI GRAF: It was a good nervousness to lead 6-3, 5-2, then get nervous, I guess that is a good point to get nervous. Maybe calmed down at some point which I eventually did. You are right even though I lost a couple can of games suddenly I was down 6-5, but I was able to turn it around again; especially in the tiebreak, and played the good points again.

Q. How concerned are you when that set so nearly got away?

STEFFI GRAF: I wasn't -- yeah, sure, I wasn't happy the way it was turning around. But I still felt once I would loosen up again in the beginning of the third set I would be fine. I made her run a lot. I felt that I was usually more in control of the points and I wasn't too concerned at that moment. I wasn't really happy about it. But I didn't worry too much.

Q. You just saw it as sort of a temporary lapse?

STEFFI GRAF: Oh, yeah.

Q. Some thoughts on tomorrow's final.

STEFFI GRAF: Well, I think we have played so many times against each other. We haven't certainly played for a while, but, very similar styles. She is probably attacking a bit more which she will probably do tomorrow. Got a very good serve, so it is basically a similar things I have to worry about, you know, what I will be doing.

Q. Talking about Jana's serve and she came in earlier this evening and said that was the one part of her game she was not happy with at all.

STEFFI GRAF: I haven't really watched her play. I haven't seen very much, so it is difficult for me to judge, but usually she is got a good serve, the type of game she has coming to the net she usually serves pretty strongly. I can't judge how she has been playing lately, but got a good first serve, moves very well around the court. Yeah, mixes it up pretty cleverly. She obviously knows a lot on how to play and to put variety into her shots.

Q. What is your impression of this tournament overall, the place, the environment, the facility?

STEFFI GRAF: Excellent facility. I mean, that kind of stadium you don't see that very often around. It is a beautiful stadium. The turnout of spectators has been good. The people really got into the match. Sometimes a little bit too much today- at least the one guy, (laughter) in the middle of the set I was like close to say: Gee, just calm down for a couple of games I will give you a beer afterwards, (laughter), be quiet for a little while. But, in general, I think people really -- I think, you know, for the first time being in the women's tournament I think, you know, we have adapted well and I think the people too.

Q. What are your thoughts on being back in the final? It has been awhile.

STEFFI GRAF: It has been awhile. Yeah, I am really -- I mean, I am very much looking forward to tomorrow. I am thrilled to be in the finals. At first I wasn't supposed to be here. It was a late decision in Montreal, actually my coach did and not me. I was thinking of vacation in Florida and he was like, nope you are going to New Haven, so, I guess he made the right choice. Me too, though. I did what he said.

Q. I saw your mom here. Anybody else travelling with you?

STEFFI GRAF: Joanie (ph) my physical therapist and Heinz.

End of FastScripts….

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