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July 29, 1996

Mary Joe Fernandez


Q. Now you're in the semis against your friend, Lindsay. How is that going to feel?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I think it's good. Unfortunately this is a team event, and we do have to play against each other. But on the positive side of each other, we're guaranteed a medal. That's the good part of it.

Q. How do you feel about how Conchita did today?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I thought she had her ups and downs. At moments she was pretty consistent. I think she was having a little trouble. She had a lot of mishits and a lot of mistakes off the side. But I think I played aggressively throughout the match. In the beginning I wasn't executing, I was making mistakes, but I kept to the gameplan, and I think that she felt the pressure of me attacking.

Q. Is that how you think you got up to that 5-love lead in the third?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Definitely. I took chances, and I was really looking for the shot. She has a lot of spin, and if you don't take it early, and I was hitting it on the rise, it takes a lot out of you. I was feeling a little fatigued at the end.

Q. Conchita has a reputation of being a player -- you can demoralize her if you take a few games and get on a role. Did that enter your mind at all?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: She definitely got demoralized. She was fighting hard, and the last game was a big game. And if she breaks back, anything can happen. I played her a few weeks ago at Eastbourne, and it was 5-1 in the third, and she got back at 5-4. So I knew she had been working hard at fighting and just playing every point to the end. And I think she played well today.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with Lindsay and what it's going to be like playing her in such an important match.

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: It's always tough. We've become friends the last couple of years. And the good thing is that one of us is going to continue on. Basically we know each other really well. We know our games really well. And hopefully it will be a good match. We'll both play well, and whoever plays the best, wins.

Q. Theoretically, you're not even supposed to be here.


Q. How do you feel that you're a semifinalist?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I feel lucky. Sometimes things work out. Unfortunately Chanda had an injury, and wasn't able to play here. And I was able to do well and take her place.

Q. When you and Lindsay socialize together, is there anything you particularly like to do, off court?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: The usual, go see movies. We just hang out. We don't do too much. We don't party too much.

Q. Why do you think there is -- you do get along. Why did you hit it off?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I think we're different in a lot of ways, and we balance each other out. I'm five years older, so I think I'm the calmer one of the both of us. And she gets me to go out a little bit more and have a little bit more fun. On the other side, we make sure we don't stay out too late and things like that. I think our personalities blend well together. We became friends a few years ago at Fed Cup, and I think the team concept has been good. And because of that we've continued to support each other on the tour. It's nice to have a friend who roots you on when you're out there, and you finish playing, you can go cheer them on. And I don't think it's very common on the tour. It's nice for a change.

Q. Do you ever argue about what's better, Miami or Los Angeles?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: We do. I've been trying to get her to come down to the east coast, and she's been trying to get me to the west coast. But we're both pretty stubborn. I think she's been coming to the east coast a few more times, so I owe her a few.

Q. What did she say to you after the match today?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: She was very happy. I wasn't sure she had won, but she had a big smile on her face, so I presume that she had won. And that's just exciting. Unfortunately we do have to play each other, but like I said earlier, it guarantees us a medal.

Q. Do you like the idea that the two semifinal winners will be playing for a bronze or would you rather have it two bronze like the last time?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: It would be nicer if we had won a bronze already. That's what happened last time. In '92 I was guaranteed a bronze. That was easier. But I think it's better to play all four. I think there should be one bronze medalist, it makes it tougher, obviously. But it makes it more of a big deal if you do win that match.

Q. How would you like to see the Olympic team concept change? Would you like it exactly like Fed Cup or more like Fed Cup?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I'd like it to be more of a team event, where we wouldn't have to play against our own teammates. So whether it be the first week of it, like the old Fed Cup, where you played just three matches, two singles and one doubles, and maybe the second week do an individual draw or just do a team event. I think that would be fun for the players, and I think fun for the spectators, as well.

Q. Do you think the team concept is more important than an individual single's medal?

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I think in the Olympics, in the spirit of things it would be better, and it would be nice to have Billie Jean King on the court. She's great throughout the year. And at the Fed Cup she really pumps us up and motivates her. It's hard to sit in the stands and not be able to talk to us. You would think here at the Olympics where a lot of it is team competition, she would be able to help us out and rooting us on. So I'd definitely like to see that part of it change.

End of FastScripts...

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