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November 21, 1997

Mary Joe Fernandez


Q. Mary Joe, you had two really tough matches, it could have gone either way. If you had won that one what shape do you think you would have been in tomorrow?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I would have been in great shape. Whenever you win, you recuperate much faster. So, physically, I really didn't feel tired. It was, unfortunately, one of those matches that one point makes a difference.

Q. You said the other day you didn't match up well with her and you weren't real confident coming in?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: No, even though I lost, the positive thing for me to take from it is I could play with her and I was in the position to win the match. I know I can beat her now. I think before today, I never won more than four games in a match. So everything negative you take something positive out, and that's what was positive about tonight.

Q. It looked like you got to that point by playing really aggressively and you took more risk, but then at the end you tried to be more aggressive, it just didn't work out?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: You know, it was bad luck. I served at 5-4, 30-Love, and I made a good point. She hit a really good shot, I wasn't able to control with the volley, that might have given me 40-Love. And then on the match points I think all except one she played a really good point. I could have got my first serve in a couple more times, maybe that would have made a difference. But she played well, she played aggressively. And it was unfortunate, I tried to mix it up on the serve, go to her forehand, go to her backhand, but she came out with the big shots at the end.

Q. How emotionally draining was that when you get to that point?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: It's hard, because you're almost there and you see the finish line and you're so close and you're back even and you start again. And I think she got more confident, and it's tough to break her. She's got a good first serve and she fought very hard. I think it took a little out of me that game, it was a long game. And it definitely had me drained a little bit.

Q. Mary, everybody seems to be afraid of her forehand, how would you say it compares with Lindsay's and Mary Pierce?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: She has a huge forehand. When she sets up and has time she hits it as well and as hard as any of the girls. She really leans into the ball. So it reminds me a lot of Steffi's forehand. She hits it sort of in the same way.

Q. What about Jana tomorrow?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Jana and my game is different. She's going to be attacking and volleying, and every short ball she's going to come in. I think that's going to be effective against Irina. I don't have the chip and charge and serve and volley all the time. It's a totally different match-up. I guess on this court you think Jana might be the favorite, but it should be a good match.

Q. Just about the loss, Mary Joe, you must still have something to build on?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Definitely. This gives me confidence, like I said. It's very disappointing whenever the match is right there, it's upsetting, but like I said earlier, I know I can beat her now. This is one of the toughest players that I ever played against. Now I know that I'm almost there to take it next time.

Q. Even though you lost tonight it looked like at the end you were going for it and playing aggressively. You did it against Lindsay, also. What is it when you get to the tight matches?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: You have to against the top players, play aggressively and go for it because that's the way they play. If you watch Lindsay or Mary or Spirlea, they all take the first ball and do something with it, Monica, Steffi, even Martina, she's not as powerful, but she's looking to do something with the first ball and take it early. If you don't do that you're on the defensive right away. And you find out quickly that, hey, I better start matching up to that or taking it away from them.

End of FastScripts....

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