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August 27, 1997

Amanda Coetzer

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

Q. Obviously exciting to be winning here in the early going. But is it possible to play with names like Hingis and Seles in your mind?

AMANDA COETZER: It is impossible.

Q. In other words, to go and face an opponent in the back of your mind are you thinking about Seles or Hingis?

AMANDA COETZER: I think I am doing pretty well. I am just kind of playing the match that I am in. I am not really looking too far ahead. It is tough every round. I just want to play each match at a time.

Q. What do you attribute to your success this year, based on year's past?

AMANDA COETZER: Well, I think, you know, everything is just coming together. We have been working and I feel very comfortable with my game, and, just coming together. I think, my serve has come a long way. My groundstrokes are feeling good, and my confidence is growing a lot. So, I just feel like I am a more complete player now than I was before.

Q. How would you describe what Martina has done and how fast she has gotten to where she is?

AMANDA COETZER: It is hard to describe. I think she has gone beyond a lot of peoples' expectations. Everybody knew she was exceptional, but I think she did it really soon. I probably would have given her a little bit longer to achieve what she has done already. I think she is just a very smart player and she is mature beyond her age.

Q. What are the biggest challenges when one plays her?

AMANDA COETZER: The times I have played her, I have only played her once this year. She really moves the ball around really well. I felt on the defense the whole time, even though we had pretty good rallies. It seemed like she was always winning the point and kind of in control of the point. I think she has improved her serve a lot. She pulls it off the court very quickly and just opens up the court really well.

Q. You faced Lucic at the Croatian Open. What impresses you about her game and how good do you think she could be in the future?

AMANDA COETZER: I was very impressed; especially -- I think, her serve, I just -- I just felt like I wasn't competitive for that. She served really well. She served aces on clay. And, you know, she is a big girl and very strong, and she is hitting the ball hard off both sides. I couldn't really find a lot -- not too many weaknesses.

Q. What did you think of her ability to set up points?

AMANDA COETZER: I guess she doesn't have to -- she hits the ball so well, she doesn't really have to put too much thought in the way she plays. She just keeps you back deep and she hits it hard so you really -- you are under a lot of pressure the whole time. And she starts off the point really well with her serve, and also when I played her she returned really well. So, I have been on the defense. I felt like that right early on in the point.

Q. Does she remind you of anybody now in the top 10, top 15?

AMANDA COETZER: If I have to guess probably somebody like Lindsay Davenport, just the way she hits, you know, really strong off both sides.

Q. Even though you have been consistently highest ranked player on the COREL Tour, does it bother you that you are not the household name? You mentioned a few Hingis, Seles.

AMANDA COETZER: Not at all. I am really enjoying myself at the moment. I am enjoying my game. So, I am really excited about it and I am really happy.

Q. Because, I believe, of the naming of the Ashe Stadium, President Mandela is going to be speaking with reporters later this week. He has been known to back the South African rugby team. Have you had any contacts with President Mandela and what are your thoughts about him?

AMANDA COETZER: Just an amazing person. You know, it is sad to see him getting older and I think it is going to be extremely hard to ever replace him because he is such a legend. I met him at the Olympics in 1992 and just recently spoke to him on the phone. He gave me a call after the French and I was really thrilled about it. It was something I will never forget.

Q. What did he say to you?

AMANDA COETZER: He just said, "Congratulations" and pretty much good luck and he was just really friendly. We just kind of chatted for a little while.

Q. Were you pleased that Bishop Tutu flew in all the way for the opening?

AMANDA COETZER: You know what, I didn't know about that, tell you the truth. It is interesting to hear.

End of FastScripts…

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