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April 2, 2006

Liezel Huber

Martina Navratilova


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. They have a really good record this year. They've won four events in a row. What do they do that makes them so tough?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, I haven't seen them play until today, really.
Q. Today.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I mean, what they did today, they served very well. We only had the one breakpoint the whole match, and they only had three breakpoints on our serve. It was a real tight, tightly played. The difference was two breakpoints, that was it.
But they served very well. They have their confidence because they've been winning. This was our first final, and we've played three tournaments, lost first round the other two.
But, you know, I hadn't played for six months almost and Liezel is still getting used to playing without her knee brace. So we've got two left knee operations on the court at the same time.
So I think, you know, we can only get better. I think they played, you know -- they got their confidence. That's the biggest difference right now.
Q. They said they felt your serve is better now than it was a year and a half ago?
Q. More heat.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: More everything. I mean, I think I lost my serve twice the whole tournament, maybe three times in six matches, five matches.
So, yeah, I've been serving very well. Yeah, no, I've been doing a lot of stretching and some exercises that I got into when I was rehabbing my knee. I started -- I realized my shoulder was really sort of impinged, and I started doing some. I think I have more pop on it.
Yeah, so, it's definitely better.
Q. Liezel, could I ask you about the Katrina Foundation that you started. What prompted you to do that?
LIEZEL HUBER: Well, I had knee reconstructive surgery and I was home and laid up on bed and just had rehab.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: She had the time.
LIEZEL HUBER: Yeah, I had the time. Right place, right time. I mean, wrong situation. But here I needed to help. I couldn't sleep. I knew I had to help.
So I called Martina and I said, "I need help." She said, like, you know -- I sent an e-mail to everybody. I said, "I need your help."
"Well, what do you need?" I said, "Well, I think I'm gonna try and help families." In the end, we helped a bit more than 20 families - and we're still going, of course.
Q. What did you do for the families?
LIEZEL HUBER: We put them in houses.
LIEZEL HUBER: Everything. Anything you would need: Clothing, food, school supplies, medical, transportation. You name it.
Q. And you found the families how?
LIEZEL HUBER: Through different shelters. I would actually drive from shelter to shelter and go talk to them, whether it was Red Cross, or we opened a shelter in my church and we had 200 people, so some families from there. And then word of mouth. And some of the families would tell other families. Just word of mouth.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Liezel stretched the dollar a long way. She really did. It was amazing. It's amazing what can be done when people try. It's so scary when how much money was supposedly given for these people, and the money's not getting to them.
LIEZEL HUBER: No, they're not.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: They never got it. If you pay -- each family should get a hundred thousand dollars and they haven't seen it. Where is the money? I mean, this administration is ridiculous, the way they make promises and they do not follow through at all.
LIEZEL HUBER: That's something that I feel very helpless. Although we have made the situation for these families so much better, I feel like I can -- want to go to Washington DC and knock on the door and say, "Where is this money for the families? Where is this money?"
Because this is all they're asking, is "When are we going to get our house back?" Or, "When are we going to have money to buy a car?" They don't have anything. They rely solely on us, and "us" meaning me and my husband.
Q. Were these families in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi?
LIEZEL HUBER: No, they were in Louisiana, in New Orleans, yes. They're from the worst areas. And they were the families that got out last, and that's why they ended up in the Astrodome in Houston.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Liezelscause.com.
Q. Just money or other gifts as well?
LIEZEL HUBER: Oh, furniture, clothing.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Anything, anything.
LIEZEL HUBER: Pots, pans, curtains, school supplies, shoes.
Q. How much help did you get from players?
LIEZEL HUBER: Martina really was out and out, you know, out and out, you know, the most generous. Then of course I got help from Lisa Raymond, Jennifer Capriati, and Nathalie Dechy gave us quite a bit also.
Q. You appealed to all the players to help out?
Q. Have there been any particular gifts that overwhelmed you more than others?
LIEZEL HUBER: I think more, you know, Martina giving us so much money and, like, trusting me that I will use this directly with the families. You know, that was very overwhelming because, here, I had the money, yet the first family, I was helping them out of my own money. Here, we had money, but I needed to go find the families.
And, I mean, there were certain criteria we were trying to get because I didn't want to pull them out of the system, help them for a couple months, and then they have to -- you know.
So we had to make sure that we could get them transportation, jobs, and, you know, so something that I've never done before. So we tried to do it, you know, in a smart way.
But I think that, you know, just the time that my husband has really -- whether he -- I mean, he wanted to help, but he had no choice, you know.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Liezel is on a mission (smiling).
LIEZEL HUBER: I couldn't drive. I couldn't drive. I was on crutches.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: She couldn't drive. She was on crutches, yeah.
LIEZEL HUBER: Some days we had to move in three families at a time. So he had to drive and he had to up load, unload.
Q. We should give him some credit. What's his name?
Q. Must make you feel like you did something very productive during your time off, that you weren't just sitting around moping?
LIEZEL HUBER: No, not necessarily that. I think, you know, you don't feel -- you don't have that time to feel sorry for yourself, which in essence makes rehab a lot easier because you realize you are very fortunate.
So just grateful. You know, just being grateful to play. And here both of us, you know, didn't know we would be able to play again, and here we are in the finals of this tournament.
Q. Has this charity kind of opened your eyes in a sense that maybe you think it's something you would want to do when you're done playing?
LIEZEL HUBER: Yes, for sure. Because we are not -- it started with Liezel's Cause being for Hurricane Katrina and Rita families, but now we have other causes already started.
So most definitely. If tennis means that I'm able to help these people, then, you know, that's awesome.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Liezel is very efficient, very smart, so she'll, you know -- I knew that was the best money I could spend. Forget sending it to the Red Cross. I knew this was like, Okay.
LIEZEL HUBER: There's a lot of families --
Q. It goes directly to the families.
LIEZEL HUBER: There's a lot of people that I've stayed with at tournaments, host families, that are somehow involved through tennis that said, "We normally give to this foundation but we're going to give it to you because we know it's going straight to them."
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Hundred percent. Yeah, 100% goes straight to the families.
LIEZEL HUBER: And my husband, at times I would rather go and fill up the U-Haul truck with my money, and he'd be like, "No, no, use the money."
I'm like, "No, that money goes to the families. We need to get this furniture with the U-Haul truck."
I would go maybe a bit more to the other extreme. But in essence, we still have money left because these families only have assistance for another six months with the housing and stuff. So we're going to be there for them as long as they need us.

End of FastScripts...

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