August 29, 1998
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
Q. Jana says you are at the same level as you were before you were injured, would you
STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, I mean, I felt good out there today. I think my backhand is getting
better and better, just in general I think I know much better what to do right now. I feel
I am settling down much better during the matches.
Q. Will you agree with her though, Steffi, she said you are now on the top of your
game; pretty much back to where you were?
STEFFI GRAF: I have little more room.
Q. Earlier in the week you had said that physically you were back, the confidence was
the issue that you were getting that match by match. The confidence seemed to be there --
STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, I am getting it to win against No. 3, No. 2 ranked player in the
world this week and against Amanda I have played some tough players and I am definitely
feeling I am getting better and better right now.
Q. Going into the Open --
STEFFI GRAF: Going into the Open, obviously, yeah, if I don't get my confidence from
winning this tournament I don't know where else.
Q. Are you particularly motivated going into the Open to kind of teach the younger
girls that teenagers, kind of show them who you are and that you are not done with your
STEFFI GRAF: No. No, I am definitely not that kind of person that worries about
something like that. I am surprised by the views you guys have once in a while. I don't
worry about the younger, older, it is something I worry about my game and what I am doing
out there. I look forward to playing any top player whatever age or name they have because
Q. 15 months before since your last final any jitters last night, this morning?
STEFFI GRAF: I slept three hours and that was like yesterday I was, you know, I don't
know why I just couldn't settle down. I just was awake forever and then finally slept and
I was -- 4:30 on I was just awake. So I am probably going to crash real early tonight.
Q. What kind of things were running through your mind that wouldn't let you sleep?
STEFFI GRAF: All kinds. It really wasn't much about tennis just in general, just I
don't know, I had a really late dinner too, which I never have and so just in general
didn't feel so great.
Q. You get more tennis this week than you bargained for, right amount of matches, you
feel that it wasn't too much, it was --
STEFFI GRAF: I mean, one of the decisions Heinz made for me to play here was that I had
a lack of match practice that was one thing and another thing I was practicing a lot the
last few weeks and with playing matches you don't tend to practice very much. You usually
play a little -- play about an hour in the morning; then you have the match. Well, if I
don't have a tournament I play three to four hours a day which is a totally different
story. I definitely don't feel that I am overplayed or tired at all. I think the right
amount of tennis that I had this week.
Q. When did Heinz convince you that you should play here? You thought about going to
STEFFI GRAF: I didn't catch the flight that evening. I didn't catch the flight to
Florida and then I called him up. I said, okay, it is tomorrow morning to Florida or you
make the decision for me to play. And he said: I think you should play and I said: Okay,
you try to get a -- to get a wildcard and that is what he did. He said he got it and the
day later I came here.
Q. What day was that, do you recall?
STEFFI GRAF: It was Thursday night was when I didn't get to the flight and then Friday
afternoon the next day we flew her.
Q. He gets a bonus now, doesn't he?
STEFFI GRAF: (Laughs) Yeah, well, he is definitely going to get a lot of credit for it.
Q. Pretty significant history that shows that many players who win tournaments before
the Grand Slams, don't necessarily do well after the Grand Slams or not even a Grand Slam
necessarily, but another big tournament -- there seems to be an emotional let-down or
STEFFI GRAF: Okay. Well, I don't know. I think -- I don't think that is going to have
any kind of psychological problems because if this don't motivate me going into the Open,
I don't know what does. If that doesn't make me feel better, I think definitely would have
been much more difficult story if I wouldn't have played here and I wouldn't -- I would
have had Montreal as the last tournament in the back of my mind. I think then that I
wouldn't have gotten into the Open really too confident. But this definitely for me feels
good going into the open. I hope I am going to screw your statistics. (laughter).
Q. How happy were you when you won? It has been a long time.
STEFFI GRAF: Yeah, extremely. It was very, very satisfying, extremely.
Q. What were you thinking about when you won?
STEFFI GRAF: That is what I worked for. That is what I was thinking.
Q. What is it about Jana's game that you seem to dominate her by the record shows that
you have beaten her almost every time?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, like I said yesterday, we have a similar style with the way we
played our backhand. She obviously attacks a little more, but I feel that I have got a
stronger forehand than hers. As well as I have been playing the last few days with my
backhand slice, I felt that even there I had an edge that I was, you know, forcing her
just a lot more than she could. So usually I felt that I am more in control of the points.
That is why.
Q. Knee rehab an ongoing thing? A set of exercises that you have to concentrate on it
STEFFI GRAF: No, but I don't -- not at least during the tournaments. It is definitely
something that I do once after the Open when I cannot have a little break, definitely need
to strengthen the muscles around it a little more, but otherwise just normal therapy, but
nothing really too much. At least not during the last six, seven weeks I haven't done
anything. Just playing, that was enough for now.
Q. What did you think of the tournament being here for the first time this year and the
way the fans were and the way the tournament went?
STEFFI GRAF: I think it was great. The way I think we got accepted, you know, it is not
easy to have had a men's tournament beforehand where, you know, that the crowds have been
already here; that the whole week before, maybe not the same, but you have to have two
consecutive weeks, definitely for the second week it is hurting much more. But I didn't
feel -- I don't know, I can't judge because I didn't see how many spectators the men's
had, but I think we had a great turnout and the people got really into it even. When you
were like going out in the evenings for dinner or walking around the city, people come up
to you and said: That is great that the women's tournament is here. I really felt that
people appreciated it.
Q. Do you pretty much defend all of your titles?
STEFFI GRAF: I don't know. I am definitely not go with statistics.
Q. I don't mean to win again, but to come back?
STEFFI GRAF: Oh, come back. Yeah, I think I am somebody who usually tends to do it,
especially good memories.
Q. You prefer to play someone who gives you a target like a serve and volleyer rather
than someone who stays back?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, there are rarely any serve and volley players around anymore. So you
don't really get used to it, that -- looking back 6-7 years ago there were so many more
serve and volley players, then you were getting more used it to and you kind of knew what
to do. But basically other than Jana, nobody comes really to the net anymore so it is
usually a little more difficult actually, but this morning worked a little bit with Heinz
on it and serve and volleyed some and I felt I did a very good job today with passing her.
I was surprised actually because I haven't really been used to playing somebody like that.
Q. What part of your game do you think improved the most over the last week?
STEFFI GRAF: My backhand. I thought I was returning better too. I mean, just the way I
moved around the court and obviously if my backhand works the way it does, then I have so
many more options on the court. Makes life a little easier.
Q. Does today make the whole year-plus of the struggle worthwhile?
STEFFI GRAF: Well, there have been quite a few moments that made it worthwhile already,
but this obviously probably will be very high on the list of moments. But it is just in
general been really satisfying.
Q. What were the other things that made it worthwhile, receptions from the fans or good
performances against certain players?
STEFFI GRAF: I am actually looking much further back than my first steps to be -- to be
standing on the court again. Or being able to do certain things or when I look back even
in June when I started playing again, I didn't have any injury problems for a long, long
time, but sure the receptions too, that is another thing.
Q. Although you played well today, what do you walk off the court still wanting to
improve upon and want to work on?
STEFFI GRAF: It is something that I started doing much more today. I think I picked my
right moments to come to the net. I felt, especially in the first set on the important
points when she played a little shorter, I attacked and I made quite a few important
points on it. And that is one thing I definitely have to continue to work on because it
just puts a lot more pressure on the opponent. Probably concentrate a lot on my backhand
the last few weeks so maybe it is time to get back on my forehand again.
Q. Going to see some topspin forehands?
STEFFI GRAF: No, just the passing shot. If they go by that as well as they went today,
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