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August 30, 1999

Mary Joe Fernandez

U.S. OPEN, Flushing Meadows, New York City

Q. Mary Joe, you're off to another good start here at the U.S. Open, the third set was your strongest. You really seemed to want to close that out. Of course I ran into Tony in the parking lot, and he said that's why she played so well.

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I think I got momentum going, I got some confidence after winning the second set. It helped me that I got off to a good lead in the third. I think I broke in the second or third game and I got a little bit more confidence.

Q. The health, it's always a question mark with you.


Q. How healthy are you these days?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Well, I've been struggling with my wrist for a little while. It's kind of been haunting me for the last couple weeks and I'm struggling a little bit, trying to get through it and work through soreness and stuff. It's getting better. It's just difficult. These courts are pretty fast so I'm having a tough time with the racquet, hitting the ball. But besides that, everything else is okay.

Q. You made another person happy other than Tony with your marriage to come next spring. Monica Seles is really enjoying doubles with you. What do you like playing with Monica about most?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: She's great. She's a lot of fun to play with. She's very funny on the court. Also you learn how intense she is, how focused she can be. No matter what the score is, she's always there, she always wants to win that next point. You definitely learn a lot from her and she's one of my good friends so it's fun to play with her.

Q. How hard is it to stay focused these days with another activity coming into your life?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I'm pretty focused on my tennis still even though the wedding stuff coming along. I got my mom and sister working on it. It's kind of in the background right now. Right now the U.S. Open is at hand, trying to get through each match at a time and see how far I can go.

Q. So, Monica's funny, huh?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: She's very funny.

Q. How about a couple funny stories?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Oh, I can't share any of the funny stories (laughter) .

Q. One.

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I can't remember. She's just very great. She's just so down to earth and, you know, you just say stuff out there. You don't expect Monica Seles to say what she's saying.

Q. So, for example, you're walking back to serve, she's walking back with you, wants to know where you're going, right, left. Does she ever say something like really off-the-wall as you go back to serve?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I'm sure she does. It's hard for me to just pinpoint one thing that she says. But, like I said, I mean I know her really well so it's fun to play with her.

Q. Is a date set for the wedding?


Q. What is it?


Q. And the location of this wedding?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: It's up in Miami Beach, Miami Beach.

Q. Is there a specific spot?


Q. Oh, St. Patrick's church. And how big is this wedding going to be?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I don't know yet. We're working on that right now.

Q. Are we going to be able to come in and photograph?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I doubt it (laughter.)

Q. April 8th, that's right after Ericsson, right?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Right after Ericsson.

Q. So you won't be going to Hilton Head?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: No. Actually, it's a week off. The next week.

Q. Does this signal possibly a bit of a wind-down in your career next year?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: It might be. I'm kind of taking it, you know, a month at a time and Billie Jean King a few years ago gave me great advice. She said, "Listen, you play each week and then you get through a season and you always evaluate where you are, how you are feeling health-wise, number one. It's silly to say, 'Oh, I'm going to play five more years or two more years when at the end of each season is really when you know how you feel.'" I'm going to play to the end of this year, see how it all goes, how my wrist is, and we'll take it from there. I'm not setting a date or saying I don't know.

Q. There have been a few players that went on playing considerably Ros Nideffer was one of them, Liz Smiley?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: There's been a few.

Q. Have you talked to any of the players, just a chitchat about how they handle their careers after?


Q. Is there anybody else out there now that's married?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Anybody else that's married? On the tour still? Christine Kunze. That's right, she's married. Corina's getting married in November. Arantxa is getting married next July. Lisa Horn's getting married next year, too.

Q. Marrying the journalist from Barcelona?


WTA: Love is in the air on the Tour.

Q. A lot of guys seem to be able to do well. Is there any reason why women can't continue playing? A lot of guys --

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: The obvious is women want to have kids eventually. You can't do that when you're 45, so I think that's what happens. You know. Female instincts kick in. The maternal instincts.

Q. Who's next on the draw sheet for you?


Q. I don't know either.

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I have no idea, I have to check it out.

Q. How are you feeling?


Q. The usuals, right?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: My wrist is sore. But getting through it.

End of FastScripts…

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