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August 26, 1998

Amanda Coetzer


Q. What happened in the first set? You got down and lost so quickly and what was the difference in you turning it around and coming back of course to win the next two?

AMANDA COETZER: Yeah, I think I was playing all right the beginning of the first set. I had a few opportunities, a few games that I was up and just kind of played very tentative on those points, and before I knew, I lost the first set 6-1. But, I still felt that I wasn't, you know, I wasn't completely out of the match and that she wasn't playing that well that I should be losing 6-1. So I just thought I should try to hang in and just give myself a chance to get in the match.

Q. 3-Love, 5-3 in the third set - is that where it becomes a player's will to win more than anything physical at that point, because you could have -- there were a couple of times, obviously, at times it looked like she was pretty much on her way, where you just wouldn't let her?

AMANDA COETZER: I think, again, it is just the belief that maybe that you can do a little bit better and that is how I felt. I just had faith that I could hang in there, a little bit longer and that the match was not over yet.

Q. Did you feel you got stronger as the match went on?

AMANDA COETZER: Definitely. I felt like I was starting to play better and better as the match went on, started to feel better and better. So, you know, it was a good feeling.

Q. That has always been your strength, being able to keep your stamina?

AMANDA COETZER: Yeah, I mean, I have been looking for this kind of match to just set me up for the next matches and for the US Open. I have been -- I think yesterday I was saying that I am really lacking -- I felt I was lacking a little bit of that tenacity and self-encouragement to really pull out a tough situation. So hopefully I can build on that and move forward.

Q. For the first set and a half you really seemed to be hitting very shallow to her. She really was running you all over the place to capitalize on that. Did you change markedly after that, hitting deeper?

AMANDA COETZER: Well, I was -- that was the bit of the struggle for me, couldn't find my range. I was either hitting too short or hitting too long. So it was just a matter of trying to find something in-between, a little more spin, but hitting through the ball a little bit more.

Q. Looking ahead a little bit, you have got Steffi next. She talked about you last night. She was asked which one you rather play or would you like to play more, and you were the one she would least like to play. She said she has a tough time kind of getting her rhythm on you. What do you think about playing her?

AMANDA COETZER: From here on, all the matches are going to be tough - that's what I anticipate. I am looking forward to the match. Like I said, I feel like I am slowly setting myself up to start to play better and better. I have a lot of respect for her. I think she is a great player, and I think she is kind of on the verge of playing really well as well. So hopefully we can bring out the best in each other.

Q. Some of your traits are your resilience and grittiness. Can you explain how you have this mental toughness and if you always had this even from your youth tennis days?

AMANDA COETZER: That is hard to say. I guess it is just -- it is something that I found that it is a way for me to win since a young age, I have always been kind of small, even in the juniors when I was ten years old. I was smaller than most of the other players. So it is just kind of looking for a way to win when you don't have the strengths. And luckily, I feel like I have added a little bit of strength physically over the years, and I was able to build on that a little bit. That is still the base of my game.

Q. Take a lot of pride in your nickname: The Little Assassin?

AMANDA COETZER: Yeah, hopefully I can be called that more often. I think at the time that it kind of got stuck on me, it was a good time for me. It was in Australia, and I was really competing well at that time, so my associations are pretty good with it.

Q. Did it surprise you, despite the fact that Kournikova is so popular, it seemed like there were a lot more people calling out support for you during the match?

AMANDA COETZER: I think I have just been really impressed with the way the people are enjoying the tennis out here. They really seem to be into it, and I think that is one of the things that actually pulled me through this match. There was a good atmosphere and people really seem to be enjoying it and people picked out their player they wanted to win and they stood behind us. So it really was a fun match in a way.

Q. At any point in your past, did anyone say to you: Are too short; that you would never be as good as you are because of your height and everything, or did you always tell them they were wrong?

AMANDA COETZER: Yeah, I mean, I had all sorts of things I heard when I was younger, but I think that is something that kind of a player has to deal with. People will always find some kind of fault with anybody no matter what they have. So it is just a matter of dealing with it, I guess, and trying to overcome it. A lot of times it actually encourages people, I think, to really face the challenge and try and get over it.

Q. Do you play the way you do because of that? People were saying that you'd never be the player you are. Is that why you refuse to give up on any point or --

AMANDA COETZER: Yeah, I mean, I think it is probably a bit of a personal battle too. When you lose certain points that -- I still go through it a lot of times, I fall into that same trap where, you know, if somebody hits a big winner on me maybe I could easily just find an excuse, but it is something that I have to work on everyday and try and stand up against it and find a way around it.

Q. You play better against the faster players like that hit -- like Graf and Kournikova - hit the ball real hard? You seem to have your best matches against those type of players. Do you feed off the pace?

AMANDA COETZER: Yeah, I mean, I think in a way I like to play against people who go for their shots. But at the same time I know that if they are really on, I am going to be in trouble. But it is hard, I think even for people who do it that well to do it twelve games in a row, so I kind of try and just build on that and maybe always look for a chance to just stay in the match.

Q. How do you feel Anna has been playing, today or has been playing recently?

AMANDA COETZER: I haven't really -- I didn't see her play last week that much. Obviously she hasn't played that much because of her injury that she had. So I can't really answer that. I just felt even though in the first set even though she won it 6-1, I didn't feel like it was the true reflection of the score. I felt like she was making a few errors. I don't know. It is hard to answer.

Q. Once you -- you broke her at Love when she was trying to serve out the match at 5-3. Could you sense that she was -- she got frustrated after that?

AMANDA COETZER: I think -- yeah, I mean, towards the end of the second set I saw it and also saw it once in the third set once I started to get myself back into the match. But we have all been in that situation. I have been in that situation and it is tough if you feel like you have the match in your hands and, you know, the other players still kind of they are not letting go. It is not an easy feeling, so kind of just try to relate to because I have been in the same position. You are not feeling very good if you were up 4-1 and 5-3 and in the third set and now all of a sudden it is 5-All.

Q. Do you remember your specific thoughts and if you gave yourself a mini pep talk when you were down 3-5 and she was serving for the match, what you thought to yourself what you wanted to do?

AMANDA COETZER: No, I don't particularly remember. I think probably just, you know, go back to basics, just play the ball, it is there to be played and try and do whatever I do best and that is try and move and really stay focus.

Q. You said that you were getting stronger. Did you notice her becoming a little less strong? It seemed in the third set that her serve didn't have as much pace and her forehands weren't as quick. Did you notice that?

AMANDA COETZER: No, not particularly. I think from the past experiences against her she can really -- she can play a bad point, but she can really lift herself up when she needs to and she can really come up with a really good point or shot out of nowhere is so it is not really -- it is not something that I have noticed before and I certainly didn't expect it.

Q. You came back at -- from Love-40 at the 5-5 game to break her in the third set. How big a boost was that and how did you do it?

AMANDA COETZER: You know what, I wasn't aware of that. I guess I probably just -- that probably just shows I think probably when I concentrate my best I probably don't even remember and I don't play the score and I am not really have anything other than just playing the next ball.

Q. You were ranked No. 3 last year at the end of the year. Some of these other players like Kournikova and the Williams sisters I mean, they -- you could probably walk down the streets of New Haven and most people wouldn't recognize you. While you can't say that about the other players who don't have the ranking that you have, how do you feel about that? Do you resent that at all?

AMANDA COETZER: I am actually probably grateful for it. I mean, I have been in situations where, you know, people recognize me and it is fun for a while, but it is not always that much fun. So it is not something that bothers me.

Q. You went through a coaching change this year. Can you talk about your new coach and how is that is working out, what have you changed in your training due to that?

AMANDA COETZER: I feel really happy with it. I feel like my new coach is a very good coach. Obviously you have to adjust a little bit, but I am really excited, looking over the next periods of time working with him and working on my game. So it is -- it was a good change.

Q. Is it hard to think of the US Open with Steffi tomorrow or are you thinking of the US Open right now?

AMANDA COETZER: I mean, I have been thinking about the US Open for a long time. Obviously. But, you know, I know I really need these matches and I am excited to be here an excited to play, so that is the next step.

End of FastScripts…

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