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September 5, 1997

Irina Sprilea

Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. Can you tell us about the collision at the changeover chair at 4-3 in the second set? What was that all about?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I'm not going to move. I mean, she's never trying to turn or whatever. She thinks she's the fucking Venus Williams. She not going to turn. She just went like this. I was like, "I want to see if she's turning." She didn't, so.

Q. So maybe we could kind of be led to believe you don't really care for her too much, personally?


Q. You don't care for her too much, personally, we can be led to believe that?

IRINA SPIRLEA: You know, it's not like we are enemies. Like when we leave, we cannot say hi, you just walk, you know, it's like (indicating). I'm not going to ask, you know, to say hi on the court. But at least turn at the changeover or something, because it can be the same time you cross the court. You just turn or something. I've done all the time, I turn. But she just walks. I wanted to see, you know, if she's going to turn. She didn't.

Q. So it's a matter of respect?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I think so. I mean, I think so.

Q. Irina, how disappointed are you with the loss?

IRINA SPIRLEA: What do you think? Very.

Q. Did you two exchange any words during the match? Did she say anything to you or gesture at you, talk to you in any way during the match?


Q. Your opponent today.

IRINA SPIRLEA: No. If she said something to me? No, I don't think so. No, I don't think so. Did you hear anything?

Q. It's hard to tell. Sometimes she's very emotional on the court. It's hard to tell whether she's talking to herself.

IRINA SPIRLEA: I think sometimes we just talk to ourselves. Even me, I mean, I'm talking with myself on the court. So, you know, I don't think you have time to talk with, you know, your opponent.

Q. When you hit a couple winners there, looked like you were talking pretty loudly about something. Was this one of your more emotional matches?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I don't think it was, you know, like emotional. I think it was the same level.

Q. Irina, can you talk a bit about how much pressure and tension there was late in this match and how you thought Venus Williams handled it?

IRINA SPIRLEA: With a little bit of luck. And the pressure, you said?

Q. How much pressure did you feel?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I just said before, you know, it was the same. I mean, normal. At the beginning it's normal if you have a little bit of pressure. It's a semifinal. You play out there, you know. You think to do well, you know. You have to try, you know, to get over it. I think I've done it pretty, you know, quick. How she ended, I just said.

Q. I know you like to hit the dropshot. It's a great shot for you obviously. You know, it seemed like there were a thousand of them today.

IRINA SPIRLEA: Was it? I don't think so.

Q. It just seemed like it. Seemed like you played it an inordinate amount of time.

IRINA SPIRLEA: If I feel like to go for dropshot, I'm going to do it. I like to make dropshots. I like, you know, to have fun on the court. You know, if I want to make a dropshot, I'm going to do it. I'm not going to think, "Oh, my God, she's running." If she gets there, she has to do it.

Q. Do you know that you made 124 points, she got 118. So if you would count that, you would have won the match.

IRINA SPIRLEA: Yeah. But tell me how many errors I have and how many errors she has.

Q. Irina, at one point, I don't know how to put this, you gave the finger to the crowd, as you were changing sides. Was there something that happened there?


Q. I think it was late in the first set. It was a break.

IRINA SPIRLEA: I don't know.

Q. You don't remember the changeover?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I don't know. I don't know what to the crowd.

Q. I was wondering if it was to the crowd.

IRINA SPIRLEA: No, I don't think so. No, I never said anything to the crowd. I don't think so. I cannot remember, you know, what you're saying. I don't think so.

Q. Irina, in the third game, the final set, I think you had four breakpoints on her serve. Do you kind of feel like that was a missed opportunity for you?

IRINA SPIRLEA: No. I mean, you know, trying to break her. It's tough to break her. She's serving kick sometimes. She just goes for it. I think I have a few chances down there, but I just missed.

Q. What was going through your mind when you had two match points?


Q. Nervous, excited?

IRINA SPIRLEA: Just play the same. Just try, you know, to make that point. But I couldn't do it.

Q. Was it intimidating or bothersome, the crowd screaming and yelling for her?

IRINA SPIRLEA: No. At one point, you know, I think I was like, in, you know, not hearing anything. You know, you are just focusing there. You cannot hear anything.

Q. You had a short ball to win the match. You stepped around it to hit a forehand. You hit it into the net. Do you think you rushed that shot?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I tried to hit it down the line or hit it back on her outside forehand. I think I was a little bit hesitating on that ball, thinking too much. I missed the time.

Q. Would you consider this a high quality match?


Q. Why?

IRINA SPIRLEA: Because at the first set, in the first set, you know, we were not making so many changes, you know, like play too much point. I was not feeling like I could get into it. You don't have a rhythm, you know, to continue. At the end, yeah. I mean, the end of, you know, the second set and the third set, I think, you know, it was much better. But, you know, I don't think was like some other matches I played.

Q. Irina, did you enjoy playing such a dramatic match or is the loss just clouding all your thoughts right now?

IRINA SPIRLEA: If I enjoy, yeah, I enjoy. But I think I enjoy if I was winning the match more.

Q. You brought up the concept of luck. Can you explain what was involved luck-wise?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I mean, the last -- the 6-4 match point was net and down the line, on the line. So, you know, if it has to happen, it's like this out (indicating), or it's not going to pass through the net.

Q. Besides her being lucky, what was most impressive to you about her game?

IRINA SPIRLEA: Do I have to answer? I'm not going to answer.

Q. So you never reflect on her game at all?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I don't have time. You know, I just have shower. I don't want to say something bad, you know. Everything that's coming out of me like against her. I cannot say she impress me this, this, or that, no. I have to think about it.

Q. You do have bad thoughts about her game?

IRINA SPIRLEA: Yeah. Why not?

Q. Would you like to share them with us?


Q. Do you think she has a chance against Hingis?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I don't know. I mean, I think Martina beat her every time. The last match she won, I don't know, three our four games. It's not going to be the same. Martina is playing pretty well now. I think Venus is having a lot of confidence arriving here. I don't know. It's going to be, I think, a tough match.

Q. Years from now when you reflect back on this year's US Open, what do you think the one thing you will most remember? What do you think that will be?

IRINA SPIRLEA: That I made the semifinal and I lost two match points me -- I mean, I lost two match points to go in the final.

Q. Were you surprised how fast she was, that she was able to run down a lot of the balls that she did?

IRINA SPIRLEA: Yeah. I mean, sometimes it seems that she's not going to be able to hit the ball, and she's right there. So, I mean, sometimes you have just the whole court open, and I don't know how, but she get it back, and she have an unbelievable angle from her backhand especially. So she's moving very well.

Q. You hit so many dropshots today. Have you ever been advised by your coach or friends, "Just play a more power game and less finesse shots"?

IRINA SPIRLEA: I mean, I cannot change my game, you know, from one day to the other. I mean, I'm playing dropshots, I'm playing slice, I'm playing backhand. You know, I'm going to play like this. I'm going to try to make her play bad with my game. I'm not going to try, you know, to play her game and not do what I like to do and what I know to do.

End of FastScripts….

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