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THE LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS


March 24, 1997


Mary Joe Fernandez


Key Biscayne, FL

Q. Mary Joe, your return was really on fire today. Was that the key?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: That helped a lot. I was reading her serve pretty well and guessing right, trying to hit it, trying to do something with it. Lindsay is very tough, because she always takes the initiative. When she's a server, she's a good server, hits the first one for a good offensive shot. When she returns, the first shot she hits a good shot. I felt my only chance to play better than last week was to go for it well. She was missing her first serve, so her second serve gave me an opportunity to attack it, which isn't as strong as her first serve.

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Q. Is this particularly the difference between last week and this week, her serve?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: That was a big difference. She served well last week, didn't miss a ball. Came out fiery and hit winners. I made a lot of mistakes, today was a little bit of a combination. I had to play solid but aggressively at the same time. I got off to a good start, which helped a lot. Against Lindsay, if you start off a little slow, she kind of gets momentum and goes on a roll. She gets very confident. I was very happy to be up two breaks at 3-Love. I really felt, "I'm in the match, I'm controlling a lot of the points." Against her, if you can control the points, you're in good shape.

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Q. It's hot out there. Was that a factor?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: It was pretty hot. I think we're both used to it. We both just came from California where it was very hot. It was a lot drier. I think both of us are in very good shape. I don't think that made a factor in the outcome.

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Q. Crowd was definitely on your side. Was that a factor, too?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: It always helps me to play at home. My friends and my family are all there supporting me. In the back of my mind, that helps. A 30-All point, big game, you hear those familiar voices. It helps a lot to encourage me.

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Q. Is it particularly satisfying to beat somebody that pretty much took you to task?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Definitely. It's always nice to win after you've lost to someone. Especially I lost to her really badly. It's nice that I'm able to learn from my matches, at least try to get out there and do the right things. You know, today before I went out there, I said, "I'm going to take the first ball and try to do something with it. If I don't execute, that's okay." That was my game plan. I stuck to it and was able to play well, move her. It's nice when you see the finishing results from all the hard work.

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Q. Is it tough because you all know each other's game so well?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I know some of her patterns sometimes, she knows some of my patterns. In general, you know everybody pretty well, you play them a lot. You just go out there and try to do your best. Like I said earlier, for me against her it's always tough because she hits the ball so hard and takes the initiative. I was able to take that away today.

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Q. Mary Joe, what's your relationship with Lindsay now personally since you all broke up as doubles partners?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: That's a good question. I don't know what the best definition for the answer is. I guess you could say we're trying to work some things out.

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Q. Is it strained, would you say?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: A little bit.

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Q. Did y'all talk at all after the match?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: She congratulated me. I said, "Bad luck."

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Q. But not after you walked off the court?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Oh, no.

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End of FastScripts....

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