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March 21, 2003

Daniela Hantuchova


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Daniela, please.

Q. Did you suffer with the heat in the third set? What happened?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, I mean, you know, in the third set I felt I had nothing left. I mean, the first set and a half I felt really good on the court and I felt like I was in the control of the whole match. Then, you know, I didn't, you know, take my chances. I had two matchpoints. And it was very frustrating going to the third set knowing that I could have been already finished with the match. In the third set she got really confident, and I had no answer today.

Q. Do you have any particular superstitions or things that you do, lucky rituals, anything like that?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Not really. I mean, as soon as I step on the court, the only thing I'm trying to think about is, you know, next point and trying to be concentrated on my game. Sometimes I like to play with the same ball, if I win the point. But I guess that's the only thing.

Q. Do you think it's more difficult mentally, the situation you are in now, compared to last year when you were coming up?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I mean, you know, it's something that belongs to success, being in the Top 10. Everyone expects you to win and to get through the first few rounds easy. All opponents want to prove that they are tough to play. I mean, of course more people are expecting me to win and it's more pressure, but, I mean today, you know, I had my chances. I could have been through this one very easily, but I just didn't make it.

Q. You're going to go from here to the green clay at Charleston. Are you playing Charleston?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: We are thinking about it, but we haven't decided yet.

Q. I know Amelia is on your agenda. Can you talk a little bit about the difference between playing on green clay here in the United States, then the red clay you'll come to in Europe?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Actually, I have to say it's quite a big difference between the green clay and the red clay in Europe. It's, you know, I mean it's very different to the hard courts, too. But for me, I really don't care on which surface I play. I mean, I like to play on hard, clay, grass, whatever. So I really don't care about it. Of course on clay you have to change your game a little bit, be more patient. But otherwise, I mean, still you have to be aggressive and try to do the best thing you can to win the match.

Q. What do you think are the key differences between green clay and red clay?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Well, I mean, depends the red clay where. I mean, like, for example, Roma or Roland Garros, it's a very fast red clay. Green clay, I would say it's a bit tougher to play because it's very slow. When it's hot and dry, it's very difficult to play on. But, I mean, it's a shame that there are only two tournaments, so you don't really get used to it, then you have to go and switch to the red clay.

Q. Do you feel like your conditioning is where you want it to be? Do you feel you'd like to get stronger?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Today I felt really, really good on the court, first set and a half. I felt like physically I was the stronger one on the court. But then just, you know, mentally I wasn't there in the third set. Physically, I wouldn't change anything in the match. In the third set I felt like I had nothing left but it was more a mental side than a physical side.

Q. Do you feel like you need to get in the gym? Some of the girls look powerful out there: The Williams sisters, Clijsters, Jennifer.

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I don't think the tennis is about power, I think more than anything is the head important on the court. But, sure, I know that I have to work hard also physically. That's, I mean, what I'm working on with my coach. So hopefully it's going to get better.

Q. Did the heat get to you in the second set?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Well, I mean, sure, the conditions were difficult to play in. But as I said, I was feeling really great. I felt like Alicia was the one that sometimes was having problems. Then in the third set when she knew she had her chances, she was just a bit stronger and it got me mentally, not -- the heat I think didn't affect my tennis. It was just the mental side that affected my game.

Q. Forgive me for asking, but you seem thinner than I remember you from last year and years past. Are you on some kind of nutritional program?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: No, I mean, we have been working really hard with my coach and my physical side, you know, to -- on an aerobic work. So I have spent a lot of time running and cycling and all that before the season. Maybe that's why I got a bit thinner, because I was just working so hard. I just, you know, anything that I have eaten, it just disappeared because, I mean, I was working really hard. So this is one of the things we are working on now to get a bit stronger.

Q. My mother would say, "Eat, eat," because you need to get strong.


Q. I wonder if you heard the news that Monica Seles pulled out today.


Q. Yeah, unfortunately. As a fairly newcomer to the Top 10, you, I was wondering if you would mind answering a few questions. I'm doing a special feature on her life because she'll probably be retiring altogether in a year or two. When she was in her heyday, do you remember seeing her play?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Definitely, I watched so many matches of her. She was a big hero for me. I mean, what she have achieved in her career, I mean, it's incredible. She has been on the tour for a long time. So I wouldn't be surprised if she retires, but she's still playing great tennis so I wouldn't be surprised either if she keeps playing.

Q. Do you think she was a legend when you were small, was she?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Definitely. When I was starting she was already No. 1 in the world. You know, she has just won so many, so many tournaments and Grand Slams. I think if she would have stopped now, I mean, she can be so proud for what she have achieved in her career.

Q. Does it surprise you, your ranking, or is it something you expected to be at at this level? Do you think you deserve to be in the Top 10?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I mean, it's not surprising me at all. I have to say I'm a bit disappointed that I'm, you know, I was No. 5 last week and now I'm No. 8. I mean, the girls that are in front of me, they have been much longer on the tour than me and they've got more experience than me. But, I mean, I feel like I belong there. You know, at this level I just have to keep working hard, improve my game, and I want to get even higher.

End of FastScripts….

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