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September 5, 2003

Jennifer Capriati


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Jennifer.

Q. How do you feel about the whole situation?


Q. I mean...

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I won, didn't I (laughter)? You know, it hurts. It's very disappointing. But, you know, what can I do? It's just the way it went.

Q. There were so many ebbs and flows in this match. The momentum changes were constantly back and forth. What was the catalyst? Were there moments out there where the concentration just left you? Was it physical breakdown? The exhaustion?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Well, really, I didn't like let up too many times, I don't think. I lost the momentum only a couple times where I was just, you know, in the position to win the match and at the finish line there. But really, you know, I think I played pretty consistently the whole time.

Q. Did you lose it, or did she win it?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: You know, it's hard to say. You have to give her credit for the way she was feeling, to just stay out there and try to win. But I feel I definitely had the match in my hands, and it was my match to win. I mean, for the -- yeah. I mean, I guess I just beat myself, so...

Q. Memories of the '91 match with Monica come into play at any time during the match today?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: No, not at all. I don't think this kind of situation was even close.

Q. Is this the most upsetting defeat of your career?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Uhm, you know, I could look at it. I mean, of course when I came off the court, you know, I just felt like the whole world was coming down on me. You know, just my heart was being ripped out. But, you know, it's just how I choose to look at it now and feel about it, that it was a great match and I gave it all I had. She did, too. For whatever reasons, you know, I didn't win. So, you know, I still think it's a positive thing for me and for the future. If I can learn from this and just keep going...

Q. Everything you've been through, can you look at this, as you've told us, as just a tennis match?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Well, I mean, it's -- right now, it just got over with. Probably the next few days it's gonna be hard to look at it as just a match. But I think, you know, down the road and how I feel about it is just, yeah, it is just a match and, you know, it helps also with, you know, my family around and the support I've gotten. You know, them still showing their love for me, telling me that it is just a match. You know, it's not the end of the world. Worse things can happen. I mean, before, maybe I would have been more devastated, and I wouldn't have handled it the right way. But now, I'm just, you know, instead of looking at myself like I failed, like I'm a failure for not winning, I think, you know, I look at myself as just giving it all I had and showing a lot of heart and what I'm made out of, and that I am only human, you know.

Q. You get up 5-3 in the second, up 5-2 in the third. You basically stopped hitting your shots. It seemed like you lost confidence. What were you telling yourself? Why weren't you able to pull off the same kind of shot-making?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I mean, I really can't explain it unless you've been in the situation. Every athlete, I think, would know what I'm talking about. You know, it was just getting pretty overwhelming out there. I guess it just, you know, I started looking at her and, you know, I felt like, you know, "Okay, now I got to close out this match for sure, you know. She's cramping," or whatever. Then the crowd was just, you know, was so into it. You know, was just the whole situation. I guess I just lost complete focus and, you know, just like everything kind of went off. I still tried, you know. It was just -- my shots weren't the same, so...

Q. There was a moment just before the tiebreak, 15-30, you were 6-5 up, you dropped your racquet, kicked it. You had the look of loss on your face. What was going through your mind at that point? Did you still believe you could win the tiebreak?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, no, I was just so pissed off that, you know... I mean, really. It wasn't that I thought I was loosing, I couldn't believe what was going on out there.

Q. Who do you think is gonna win tomorrow in the final?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Well, I mean, I hope Justine feels better. I mean, I don't know, you know? There's not much rest time. Kim has had a pretty easy time. You know, it's a matter of how Justine can come and bounce back to play, you know, after tonight basically.

Q. We sometimes ask athletes what it's like to lift the trophy at that moment of triumph. The harder question is what is that feeling of loss after over three hours, there's that finality, it's sweeping over you? Can you describe those feelings you must have?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: It's pretty hard to put it into words. I mean, it's definitely, you know, after that kind of defeat and then, you know, have to come here and kind of answer these questions... (Smiling). I mean, that's what it's all about, you know. That's the risk you're taking. I mean, that's what being an athlete is. You could get such joy in winning, but there's the other side of it. You know, a true champion, a true player, that's how they can handle it and come through that kind of defeat. You know, still almost -- I mean, I still, like, thrive on this kind of match. You know, I do want to come back and try it again, you know.

Q. How long do you think this night will linger with you? How long will the loss be there in your thoughts?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I don't really know. It's hard to say. There's some losses that could probably stay with you forever, you know. The same as the wins, too. It's just how you let it affect you. I mean, it's okay to not completely just put it behind. You want to keep these things, you know, kind of in your memory so you learn for the next time.

Q. I would imagine that you and Justine just gave a TV a match to run on rain-outs for the foreseeable future. I was wondering if when the match was in progress, can you enjoy just being in the moment and having the crowd behind you? It was great theater. I'm wondering how much of that you were able to soak up and really enjoy being a part of?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah. I mean, maybe I should have thought of that more at the end, you know. That would have helped me relax a little bit and kind of just laugh. But, yeah, I mean, the whole time it was just still very thrilling for me. You know, that's what I thrive for. It's definitely like an adrenaline rush being out there. It brings out the best tennis in me and -- the best and the worst, really, too.

Q. The crowd here has always been for you. Tonight it was extraordinary. What does that mean to you, just here in New York, when they come out for you?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Well, I mean, I wish I would have won, you know? At least not for me, but for them.

Q. You said walking off the court it felt like your heart was being ripped out. Then you come in here, you're composed. Who did you talk to? What happened between that time you left the court and the time you walked in here?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Everyone that was in the box there, in my support group. You know, my family, my brother, who's over there (smiling).

Q. Did you let yourself lose it and cry and have that moment?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: (Smiling). Yeah. But that's what the locker room's for.

Q. Had you pulled it off tonight, how do you think you would have done against Kim?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I really don't know. I think I would have done everything possible, everything I needed to do, you know, rest, massage. Just doing everything physically to take care of my body. I think I would have bounced back. You know, just being in the finals, too, probably would have -- I would have pushed myself.

Q. You talked poignantly about learning from this match. How can you learn more effectively to close matches now?

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I mean, you can learn. But to tell you the truth, just like when you get into the situation, you know, you really don't know what's gonna happen, and your emotions, I mean, you can't control. It's almost like a crisis situation, you know what I mean? So you just, mentally, you know, tell yourself over and over things that, you know, if you get in a situation, what you're gonna do or just, you know, how to not let yourself get in the situation. But really, I mean, you don't know what's gonna happen.

End of FastScripts….

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