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August 31, 1995

Erika De Lone


Q. Was it a little bit overwhelming out there?

ERIKA DE LONE: A little bit, my first time playing a match on stadium court besides the qualifying couple of years ago when no one was out there. You know I was -- it was pretty exiting out there having all the fans out there and being in the U.S.. And I was happy that I started out so well in the beginning. You know, the first game, I just went for it, and I didn't hold back; wasn't tentative, so I was happy with the way I started out the match.

Q. What would you tell people in the rounds up to come? Any weaknesss or anything that might work against her?

ERIKA DE LONE: Well, she didn't serve particularly well today compared to the matches I saw her play, Dragomir in the first round. Second serve is pretty vulnerable. Tried to take advantage of it, but sometimes, I miss -- went for too much and missed the returns. And, you know, just moving around and getting a lot of balls back, and, you know, if you just hang in the points, you never know what can happen.

Q. The first couple of games were very intense. I think from what I have seen some of the best rallies that Monica has had so far in her comeback. Was there any point where you just felt a kind of break and the momentum completely switched over?

ERIKA DE LONE: I really didn't, I mean, the first few games were extremely close. I was a bit disappointed that I went down 2-Love because I had chances to win those first two games and I was playing great. And so, you know, out of the first three games, I was down 2-3. 2-1, so that was a bit disappointing. I really didn't feel like she took complete and total charge until I had guess -- 4 -- I mean, unless she was ahead, by a lot, she didn't take complete charge. I'd say until 4-1 in the second, then she just started hitting her first serves a lot harder; hitting aces; hitting winners off the second shot. But before that, you know, she wasn't going for it as much as I normally see her go for it. She was, you know, staying in the point and giving me more chances than I thought I would have, and I should have taken advantage of them a few more times, I think.

Q. When you were a student at Harvard and thinking about whether you would leave school to play tennis, ever cross your mind about playing Monica Seles on stadium court at the U.S. Open?

ERIKA DE LONE: No, it didn't actually. Obviously, as a goal of mine when I went into school I was in the top 100; played at the U.S. Open in the main draw and reached the second round, so I had been here before -- it was obviously a goal of mine to get my game back up into shape after I left Harvard. My ranking dropped to about 250; took me a couple of years to get my ranking up to be able to get straight into the main draws of these Grand Slams, so it is really rewarding -- I put in a lot of hard work with my coach Greg Russell and on fitness and developing my game since then; I am glad it has finally paid off and been given this opportunity because it was a lot of fun.

Q. Did you have any reaction that you saw you could possibly meet Monica the second round when you first saw the draw?

ERIKA DE LONE: I hadn't seen the draw, actually. I guess it came out Thursday. I hadn't seen the draw. Someone came up to me and said if you win, you play Monica. I was like, no, who do I play first round, so, you know, that was a bit distracting, actually. When it came down to first round, I just had to focus on that -- Ritter had played the first round, very, tough, tough opponent and I wanted to try and put it out of the back of my mind, although, all my friends kept saying, can we come see you play Monica if you get there, so...

Q. How many fans did you have out there?

ERIKA DE LONE: I'd say about 30. I live about four hours from here. A lot of my friends just graduated from Harvard this past spring and have taken jobs in New York, so I had a lot of people around. They all wanted to come.

Q. You said her serve was a little bit weak today. She showed a little bit of vulnerability there. Anybody in your section of the draw might be able to upset her along the way?

ERIKA DE LONE: I haven't seen the other --

Q. Witmeyer is in there.

ERIKA DE LONE: Yeah, I definitely think that Witmeyer has a chance. She has had a lot of big wins this year. She will be very tough for Monica, I imagine, because she hits the ball so hard and she won't mind Monica's pace. She will make her run a lot and, you know, I think that it will be tough. I don't know who else is in her part of the draw.

Q. McNeil.

ERIKA DE LONE: Yeah, I mean, I really think that actually watching her in Toronto on TV and seeing her destroy all our opponents fairly quickly, you know, I thought that she was going to breeze into maybe the quarterfinals or semifinals and after today, I feel a bit differently. I think that I think some of the players might be overwhelmed because of the hype; it might be difficult and I think that, you know, if another top player is playing well --

Q. How come you weren't nervous? It sounds like you were not --.

ERIKA DE LONE: I was a bit. It is hard to say. I don't know why I wasn't. You know, I mean, I was a little bit taken -- I mean, I was a little bit overwhelmed before the match getting ready for it; last couple of days it has been a zoo. Once I got out there, for some reason, I was pretty relaxed.

Q. Walking over from the lockerroom when she has got all the security guards, were you phased by that?

ERIKA DE LONE: No, not really. I actually expected, you know, sometimes -- if it is a night match, you walk out; people know exactly what time you are walking out and they are waiting for Monica or whatever. They actually walked out. People hadn't really realized that we were coming out at that time so we sort of got through the crowds pretty easily. There were a lot of security guards around us, but the fans were unbelievable.

Q. After playing her you feel she is more vulnerable?

ERIKA DE LONE: A little bit more vulnerable. I have heard so much about how unbelievable she is playing and she is playing very well, especially after taking 2 1/2 years off, I think it has been great that she has been able to come out this quickly. I still think there are a few weaknesss in her game. There are a lot of top players. Steffi is playing well and Arantxa and Conchita, so I think she will be have a little bit more difficult time than I originally thought.

Q. What was missing that you expected?

ERIKA DE LONE: I expected her serve to be just -- I mean, I know that she can serve better than that. I have seen her serve. I expected her serve to be a lot more difficult; for her to get more first serves in. It was a bit windy out there so it was a bit difficult, but, you know, I was able to get into the points because I got so many second serves.

Q. Any other specific things that you be point to that led you to have a different conclusion after playing her than you thought before the match about her vulnerability other than her serve?

ERIKA DE LONE: Well, I expected her to go for winners -- expected the points to be shorter one way or the other, either her to go for a winner earlier or for me to go for a winner, but the rallies were longer, as you saw in the first couple of games. We had a lot of long rallies, and, you know, she was hitting them deep and hard, but she wasn't going for those angle winners and down the line. She wasn't going for the lines as early as I expected, so you are given a bit more opportunity to go for your own shots.

Q. Did that change when you said like 4-1 in the second set?

ERIKA DE LONE: Yeah, 4-1.

Q. That was more of what you expected?


Q. If she started the next match like the way she played from 4-1?

ERIKA DE LONE: Exactly. She might, I don't know -- definitely has that capability.

End of FastScripts...

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