March 28, 2003
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Obviously, it got a little tough in the second set. It looked like Chanda was getting into the match. Did you have to pick up your level a bit in the second set?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, well, I knew she wasn't gonna just give it to me easily, just hand it over. She started trying to come in more and -- but I don't think I had to pick up my level. I think my level was pretty high through the whole match, from the beginning. It's just I was challenged more in the second and I was able to counteract that.
Q. You feel like this is the best you've played this week?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah. This week, yeah.
Q. You've come so close in the final here. What do you think it will take to break through finally in the NASDAQ this year?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I really don't know. I'm just going to go out there and try to play perfect tennis really.
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I mean, everything, just because it is like my hometown. More so, just because I've come so close. So it's like if you keep trying, you know, you just finally get rewarded. Either way, I'm just happy to be in the finals anyways.
Q. I guess Serena's beaten you six in a row. Every match has been a three-setter, 7-6, 7-5. What do you feel will be the difference? What will have you to do to change the outcome?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Just been a few points here and there, maybe not letting up on those few points and, you know, I mean, her serve is really good. So she's gotten herself out of a lot of jams that way, with her serve. So I think that's just been the big difference. I mean, she'll just be like -- ready to break or whatever, she'll just come out with a few aces, a few unreturnable serves. Hopefully, I can hold up on my own serve, just so that puts less pressure on me.
Q. You seemed more confident when you served this week.
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah. Well, hopefully, we'll see how it plays out in the finals when the stakes are high and it's the last match. Yeah, there's a lot of pressure on the match, so, you know, we'll see how it holds up.
Q. Because you've come so close several times, how much of a mental hurdle is there for you to overcome?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Well, I figure one of these times it's got to go my way. So, you know, I've been in so many of those matches with her that it's just, now, it's just I'm not going in there expecting it to happen, like to be so close and then, you know, I'll just get some unlucky breaks or just bad breaks. But, I mean, I just think I've gotten past that point already anyways.
Q. So are you looking forward to tomorrow?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, of course. Yeah.
Q. With it being your birthday, seems like all the stars may be aligned. Have you ever even played a final on your birthday?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: No, not a final. But I remember I've played the semis last year. It went into the birthday at night, so it was midnight. But, yeah... Never on the final, I don't think.
Q. So if you had one birthday wish this year, what would it be?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Well, I mean (smiling)... To try to win. If I didn't, that would be a pretty sick joke, right?
Q. You had the weather delay, hot and humid today. Any problem with recovery time coming back tomorrow?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I don't think so. I mean, I'm glad I got it over with pretty quickly. That's another reason why I wanted to come out and jump on top of her early and play well from the start, just so I wouldn't get into a long match like the other day, I think, because that would hurt me for tomorrow. So I feel like I have plenty of time to recover for tomorrow.
Q. How long did you hang around last night waiting to see if you would play?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Luckily, I'm staying right -- close by. So I wasn't here at all. I mean, by the time I was going to come over, it started raining already, so I just stayed in my hotel. They cancelled it pretty quickly, so that was good.
Q. The way Serena dominated Clijsters yesterday, there's a sense maybe she's separating herself from the pack. Obviously, we'll know more tomorrow. What are your thoughts about that?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: You know, Kim's had a long run and I'm sure she was tired. You know, one match, I mean, it doesn't mean anything like that. It's still early in the year. Serena hasn't played that many tournaments, so I could see she'd be fresher. Kim has an off day, and her day was, yeah, it was not her day yesterday, so...
Q. It didn't seem like Kim came out as aggressive as she usually does, especially with her ground strokes. Does that tell you something, that, obviously, you should do that or not?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Well, I think that's a style of my game anyways. So that's what I'm going to try to do, is just follow through. I mean, I'm not like a defense player like Kim. You know, I can't rely on that as much. So I'm just going to try to be aggressive and go for it more.
Q. How do you get yourself ready to be in the perfect frame, like you did a couple times this week?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Well, I'm just not going to spend too much time outside and not get drained by the heat. But, you know, just maybe go do a little shopping, whatever. Have a nice dinner, go to a movie or something like that.
Q. Plans for your birthday regardless of what happens in the match?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: My whole family is going to be here, so just go out and have a nice dinner afterwards and, yeah, there's not much to do (smiling).
Q. You seem very relaxed and laid back this tournament, more so than we see at other tournaments. Any particular reason, or just feeling that way?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I'm just feeling that way. I just see no point in just stressing myself out for no reason. So...
Q. Is that a maturity thing maybe, you just get to a point where you realize what happens, happens, you do the best you can and hope for the best?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: You could say that, but I know a lot of, like, 50-year-olds who don't do that so... You know. It's just a cycle and just where you are at the time.
Q. You seem very much in control of this match against a player who's had some very good wins here. When was the last time you felt like you were hitting the ball this well?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Well, actually, it started in Dubai really. I started feeling my game out there and my movement. I was just hitting the ball solid and I was pretty on. And in Indian Wells, too, I felt like I was hitting the ball well. I think today really was the best match.
Q. Best match since...?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I mean, a long time so... (Smiling). This year probably.
Q. Is there something you've done to become more relaxed? I mean, are you doing it -- are you doing anything different, seeing anybody different, hitting with your brother, is that helping making you be more relaxed?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: It's a combination of some things, making some changes on the outside and then also on the inside. So, yeah, it's just try to reflect on some things and, yeah, I mean, I'm getting older, so it's like, "How do I want to live my life? Do I want to be stressed out and take for granted everything that I'm doing," or, you know, "Do I just want to enjoy the time that I have now while I'm doing it? It's my sport." So I'll try to just make the best of it.
Q. How are your eyeballs?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: They're fine, yeah.
Q. Do you have to do anything so that that stuff doesn't come back?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Just try to protect myself from the sun a lot.
Q. That's easy to do here (laughing)?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I know.
Q. Was it bothering you when you played? Is it spots that you were seeing? How did that develop? Is it a long-time thing?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, it's over a long time that they've been growing. It started to affect my vision a little bit because it was just making the film on my eye not clear, so, like, when I would blink, and at night, things would be a little more blurry and they'd just get real irritated.
Q. Were you worried about getting an operation, that it might affect your game, longer term, or were you pretty confident?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Well, I was pretty worried that it might affect my life. Like, hope I can see after this operation... So, no, because, I mean, he's a great doctor and he's done it. Now it's a pretty good procedure where they know what they're doing. So they've perfected it.
Q. Did you know the recovery was as long? Because you came back, but then you were still having problems. Were you aware how long it was going to take?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: No. I mean, everyone recovers different, so that's the part he couldn't really tell me. And especially me, I need to, you know, in my sport, I need to recover as fast as possible. So most people, it really doesn't matter. But, you know, I only had like a few weeks anyways. That definitely wasn't enough time.
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