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 26, 2002

Corina Morariu


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Corina, please.

Q. After all you've been through, is it still possible to be nervous before a tennis match in a Grand Slam?

CORINA MORARIU: You know, I don't know if I would say I was nervous. You know, there were definitely a lot of emotions. Obviously not having played for so long, you know, a little maybe uncertainty in what to expect. But, you know, I definitely have the perspective. And if I just feel the butterflies, I kind of look back to what I was doing at this time last year and things sort of pale in comparison to that. So it was just emotional, but, you know, I think I kept the nerves in check pretty well. But, yeah, I mean, I'm sure there are going to be times where I'm going to get nervous. That's part of playing again and all part of the game.

Q. Presumably tennis has played a big part in driving you through these difficult months. Something to aim for, isn't it? How much has tennis helped you in terms of aiming for something?

CORINA MORARIU: Yeah, it's obviously -- you know , I went through a pretty difficult time after I got out of the hospital the last time. You know, was so concentrated for eight or nine months on living and fighting the disease. Then I sort of got the news that my treatment was over and obviously was going to be an ongoing process, but I was in remission and it was sort of time to move on. I didn't really know what to do at that stage. So it's been a great feeling to have something to aim for and to have a purpose and something to do and something that I was passionate about. That's played a big part. Now I'm starting a whole new journey playing again. This is what I decided to do and I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Was there consideration at any time after you were out and getting better that you might not come back to professional tennis?

CORINA MORARIU: Yeah. You know, I wrestled with it for a little while. You know, about a month or six weeks, I just really didn't know what I wanted to do. When you have a hard time walking up the stairs in your house, it's tough to imagine that you're ever going to be able to play or compete with Serena Williams. So it just took me a little time to find the motivation and think that -- just decide for sure that that's what I wanted to do, because I really wanted to be excited about it and passionate about it. I felt that was the only way that I was going to be able to make the long road back.

Q. Can you talk about what it felt like with the crowd tonight, down love-2, you got that first point. It was like they were waiting to explode.

CORINA MORARIU: Yeah, the first game, that's kind of why they were just loud. It was a great feeling and really supportive. You know, the support I've gotten from everyone, from fans and from people that come up to me or the crowd or, yeah, just fans that come up to me and say, "You're an inspiration," or, "It's amazing what you've done," that makes everything worth it to me. That makes the past year and a half worth while.

Q. Serena say anything special?

CORINA MORARIU: She's been amazing the whole time I've been sick - phone calls, they sent things. We talked in LA when I saw her first a few weeks ago. Actually, you know, we're gonna live about five minutes from each other at the end of the year, we're moving. So, you know, she's been very supportive and she said a couple words, you know, after the match. Everybody, you know, has just been very welcoming back.

Q. Can you talk about the emotions, when you first step out on the court and you get that reaction, just knowing you're about to play in a Grand Slam. What's going through your mind at that point?

CORINA MORARIU: I think for the most part I'm just concentrating on the match. That was kind of my main focus. I really wanted to play well tonight. That was something that was important to me and I would have liked to have played better, obviously. But I got to cut myself some slack. This is my second match in a year and a half and these girls have been playing every week in the past year and a half and I spent the majority of that time in a hospital bed. It's going to take some time for me. But it was -- you know, it's a great experience. To play on Monday night after that beautiful ceremony, I think it was an emotional night all around.

Q. Serena hugged you at the end of the match. What did she say to you?

CORINA MORARIU: I don't know. It's a blur, you know. Something to the effect that she thought I played well or, you know... But, like I said, she's been very supportive and welcomed me and we've talked over the past few weeks. So, you know, that was just a brief exchange there.

Q. When you were here last year for the Open, could you have ever imagined being back here a year later playing?

CORINA MORARIU: No. At this time last year, you know, I think I was getting ready to leave. I get emotional just talking about it. So I didn't think that I'd ever be back here... I'm sorry (getting choked up). You know, I think there are days when you feel so bad and things get so difficult that you don't think that you're going to be able to do the things that you used to be able to do. So for me to be back here and to play tonight, it was obviously very emotional and a really special feeling. Like I said, you know, there were eight months where I never thought I'd be able to play tennis again and sometimes I doubted what I was ever going to be able to do physically.

Q. Where's your mom?

CORINA MORARIU: My mom's in Romania right now visiting her family and my dad's at home probably watching on TV and working. My brother is in /PAEURBG city with my sister-in-law and nephew. Everyone's spread out.

Q. Where were you getting ready to leave last year?

CORINA MORARIU: I was here. The USTA flew me up here for like three days. I was here Saturday, Sunday, Monday. I went Tuesday night because I had to start my chemo on Wednesday morning.

Q. How far were you into treatment at that point?

CORINA MORARIU: I was starting my third round of chemo. It was so special for me to be back here and to see everybody. And everybody, you know, was so supportive, to get to thank everybody in person. But it was also one of the most difficult things I had to do, coming up here, seeing the girls I used to compete against, seeing everybody healthy and fit and tan. I had no hair, I was pale and thin, I had to leave and know that I was going to feel really, really sick in a few days. It was a difficult time. To be back here playing this year, it obviously, you know, makes me feel good about myself.

Q. Serena couldn't believe how good you looked and how fit you looked. How long was the process of getting some muscle tone back?

CORINA MORARIU: You know, I don't think it was till a couple months ago that I felt like I was close to where I had been before my illness, just as far as physically and being able to recover from practices and things like that. It was a seven-month process that started with walking for ten minutes or five minutes or whatever I could do. I just slowly tried to do more and more and built myself up back from there.

Q. What did your weight get down to?

CORINA MORARIU: I think like 125, I lost -- maybe 120. Maybe I lost 15 pounds or so.

Q. Tonight was the right forum for you? You wouldn't have rather played on a smaller court with less fanfare?

CORINA MORARIU: That's a tough one. I think obviously -- obviously I think I probably would have liked a better draw in my first Grand Slam back (laughing). I'm not going to lie to you about that. You know, so if that meant playing on an outside court, meant that I could win a couple matches, then it would have been great (smiling). But there's nothing you can do. That's the way tennis is. Sometimes it's just the luck of the draw. You know, it was a great atmosphere and everybody's just, you know, like I said, been so supportive. So to play a night match here at the Open, it was a special welcome back. I think I probably would have liked to have won a match or two.

Q. When you broke Serena that first time, how big of a hurdle did that feel like?

CORINA MORARIU: You know, I mean, I felt pretty good going into the match. I was really trying to concentrate on playing well. I feel like I've been hitting the ball well. It's just more the uncertainty of not having played many matches. And, you know, what I got most excited about was the crowd was so loud after I won that game. I don't know if they were thinking I was going to lose 0-0, but they got really excited (laughing). So that pumped me up, you know. It was a great feeling.

Q. Last time you were here, I think you drew Lindsay in the first round.

CORINA MORARIU: Yeah, I drew Lindsay. The year before that I drew Steffi. So, pretty good run.

Q. Could you pay somebody off here to get a first-round opponent you can play?

CORINA MORARIU: I got a wildcard, so I was thinking I was doing pretty well with that. I don't know. It will turn around at some point, hopefully.

Q. Obviously you've had to rebuild every part of your body since you've been out. What has been the hardest thing since you've been back now for six weeks or so? What's been the hardest thing to work on? What do you need to work on? How has your game suffered?

CORINA MORARIU: You know, I think that I've put in a lot of work as far as hitting balls, playing. I feel really good about the way I'm hitting the ball. It's just matches, that's what I need, and that's what I'm lacking. The way my comeback is set up, I only have a special ranking for a few tournaments. It's only probably after the Open I'm playing a few more singles events and things like that. That's the main thing, is you lose -- you know, you lose that match play, that match toughness, how to play big points, how to concentrate for two sets. You know, I felt like my concentration has been up and down. You play four good games or a couple good games, then you kind of relax. So just to maintain that intensity. That's what I feel like I'm lacking the most.

Q. How long do you get the wildcard?

CORINA MORARIU: I have eight tournaments with a special ranking and three wildcards a year. I'm just trying to pace myself with that.

Q. In terms of ongoing side effects from the disease, is there anything that's still -- you still feel, that still slows you down? Are you still taking medicine?

CORINA MORARIU: I'm on oral chemotherapy. I take that every day. I have no side effects from that. I have to get a blood test every month, then a bone marrow every three months. The bone marrow is probably the most unpleasant thing I have to go through. I had one last week, which is probably not the best timing I would have liked. It was time to do it. I didn't have much of a choice. I got the results back before I went on the court. The cancer is still in remission, so that was the best reason to celebrate for today.

Q. How many minutes before you went on the court did you get that?

CORINA MORARIU: I got it probably -- well, like a couple hours. Probably around six, I think, my dad called me, 6:30.

Q. Who called you?


Q. He would not have called you, obviously if...

CORINA MORARIU: No, he called me to tell me he got the results back.

Q. Is the biggest victory just being here?

CORINA MORARIU: Yeah. It's obviously, you know, a huge thing to be back here. But that's not to say that I'm just satisfied with just being back. I've put in the work and I still want to win and I still want to do well. I don't think that's diminished at all. I think the perspective comes in the fact that if I know it doesn't work out, there are much worse things that can happen to you in life. But the determination and the drive and the will to win and the will to succeed is still very much there and I'm disappointed that I lost and disappointed a little bit that I didn't play better. But, like I said, you know, I know that there are worse things, much worse things that can happen to you.

Q. Can you describe how you felt when you discovered you would be playing Serena on center court?

CORINA MORARIU: I was kind of... I can't say I was jumping for joy (laughter). I was kind of thinking, "What are the odds of that happening?" You know, so I think the initial reaction was just sort of disappointed, just that I was going to have such a tough first match. Like I said, I haven't been playing a ton of singles. So it's kind of just getting thrust into the lion's den. But, you know, the closer I got and the more hype and the more everybody talked about it and, you know, playing a night match, then I got excited that, you know, I'm going to make the best of it and enjoy it. It's a great stage to come back on.

Q. Following the ceremony honoring heroes and survivors, anything lost on that?

CORINA MORARIU: Yeah, it was a very just emotional night I think all around. The memories from, you know, where I was, I was in the hospital on September 11th for two weeks. I watched every minute of television coverage on it. So, you know, then that was hard for me, obviously. It was just didn't seem like there was anything good in the world. So a year later, to reflect on how strong this country is and how strong we are as people and what we can overcome, just my personal experience then the experiences of so many that were affected by that tragedy. So I think, you know, we all have reason to celebrate.

Q. What did you think of Serena's outfit tonight?

CORINA MORARIU: I think she looks great. I mean, geez. You know, I couldn't pull that off! (Laughter).

Q. Are you moving to where Serena lives?

CORINA MORARIU: Yeah, we're moving to Palm Beach Gardens. We're probably going to live five minutes from each other.

Q. You and your husband?


Q. Is he here tonight?

CORINA MORARIU: No, he's not here. He's home with our dog.

Q. Considering that you've really played one singles match in a very long time, you got an awful lot of games from the No. 1 player in the world tonight. How do you feel like that?


Q. That's a lot.

CORINA MORARIU: I felt like I had more chances and I felt like I really didn't play as well as I would have liked. You know, like I said, that determination and that will to do well is not diminished at all. I'm a little disappointed, but I need matches and I need that experience. I mean, obviously, not having played for so long and playing the No. 1 player in the world, that combined, I'm obviously going to have some good points and bad points and some ups and downs. So overall I got to look at the big picture, and I am happy to be back. I'm healthy. I'm out there hitting balls and I'm not doing too poorly on the court. There's definitely room for improvement. But I got to be happy with where I am right now.

Q. What did you miss most about tennis?

CORINA MORARIU: What did I miss most? That's a tough question. I think I -- I think the biggest thing that I missed were my friends that I was used to seeing every week, you know, then didn't see anymore. It's tough . It was tough for me physically, being active all your life and being able to compete at a professional level, you know, for so many years, to not be able to walk up the stairs or to have to sit down after walking 20 yards, that gets extremely frustrating.

Q. Did your Team Tennis experience help you get back to emotionally being ready to get back here?

CORINA MORARIU: Team Tennis was great for me. First of all, I had the best time playing. I love the team atmosphere. I think it's such a fun format. That was great. I got a lot of matches. I got some of the rust out just being able to play those matches for Team Tennis. Emotionally it was great. I had the support of all my teammates. So coming back to playing tournaments, it was a little bit of an adjustment because everybody's out for themselves, and not that that's a bad thing, because that's the nature of the game, but it was definitely an adjustment after being away from that for a year and a half. I think Team Tennis was the perfect transition for me.

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