March 24, 2003
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. That was the most solid match you've had this tournament from start to finish. Do you feel like you're in that second-week groove?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, well, I think whatever rust or anything that was off in my game, today there was none of that. I got rid of that. I think the first few matches probably helped, having the tougher matches. And I realized what I needed to work on and what I needed to do to play better. So I got a better start, for sure, today, and came out right away playing well and just didn't wait for myself to -- I didn't let her play at all. I just really, I think, played aggressively throughout and kept my concentration well.
Q. Do you like playing here better in the day or at night?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: It's hard to say because, I mean, the lights are good here. I mean, usually I don't like playing under lights anyways, but I prefer the day, if it's not so windy and, you know, the sun's like not right there when you're serving sometimes on one side. But the night matches here never seem to bother me too much.
Q. To get into a match where you control it, do you feel, mentally, before it happens, this is the day it's going to happen? How do you do that?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Well, generally, I can feel it pretty much when I wake up in the morning, how I feel. Or at least when I do the first warm-up, when I get out there and start hitting balls, just I know how I feel physically. And if, you know, I'm on my toes and just moving well and hitting the ball clean.
Q. Did you remember -- you told us yesterday, you think you played her at the Open, but I think it was in Montreal. Did you realize that afterwards?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: When I saw her, yeah.
Q. Did she play as you remembered? How is she now compared to then?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: You know, I really don't, like, remember the match from before.
Q. How did she do today?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Well, I think I just played so well today that I really didn't give her an opportunity to get into the match. You know, she tried mixing it up. I mean, at the end, she tried to maybe out-hit me a little bit. That wasn't working. I felt like I was just playing well all around. So I think she had a little bit of a tough time out there but...
Q. Now it seems, I know you don't like to look ahead, now I guess your next match, it could be Venus. Help me here. Was the last time you played her here? Was it in the finals?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: No, I played her like a few times after that.
Q. You did?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I remember I played her once in Pilot Pen, semifinals there.
Q. But here, at this tournament?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Oh, at here? Yeah, it was.
Q. Can you talk about, looking back at that match, what was it like that day?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Crazy. The crowd was really going nuts. I had nine matchpoints. Yeah, I mean, it was sort of a big ordeal out there. It was just a very tight match, very close match.
Q. Do you feel like you've changed a lot since then as a tennis player?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Not really. I mean, maybe in those clutch situations, maybe I would handle it a little bit different and have more experience now because a lot has happened since then. So maybe in that regard. But overall, I mean, for the most part, not really.
Q. Do you feel like she has at all, her game? Or is she pretty much the same?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I think, I mean, it's hard to say unless you've played -- actually played them for, you know, recently. That's really -- I mean, I haven't played her for a really long time. I can tell by watching a little bit, but not as much as actually being on the court with her.
Q. Is it fun to finally get into the rounds where you're playing the top players? Do you not care who you play?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I try to treat every match the same. Of course it gets a little more exciting. But as you go on, I mean, then there's a little more stress involved, a little more pressure involved. But for the most part, I mean, yeah, that's what we thrive for, those moments.
Q. You've played so long with the bullseye on your back. I was wondering if now, playing against Venus and Serena, do you feel a sort of almost liberation that, in a way, you'll be the underdog, now a lot of the pressure is on them and off of you?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: In a way. But I still feel like it's on my back. I don't think that will ever change. You know, I think that's why a lot of girls, like, come out and just play really well against me. You know, there will still be some pressure out there, mostly what I put on myself that, you know, if I expect to win or expect to do better. You know, that's one of the things that I, you know, I shouldn't do and try to, you know, not really think about the pressure.
Q. So, in other words, you don't give yourself a break ever? Is that just the expectation?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: No, my standards are pretty high. Every match that I go into, I expect to win. And I expect that I can do well. I should come out the winner. So, I mean, if I didn't think like that, then what would even be the point of going out there.
Q. You would probably like having a bullseye on your back, right? It's a compliment?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, in a way, if no one really cared about beating me, that must mean I sucked or whatever, so... (Laughing).
Q. So in terms of replicating your perfect preparation, so you woke up and thought, "Wow, I'm ready to go..."
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Sorry? I missed the first part.
Q. In terms of doing exactly what you did yesterday to make yourself bounce out of bed and say, "Hey, this is it, I'm in the zone," do you have any magic ritual you're going to repeat tonight?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I try to do everything pretty much the same, but some things I can't control. I mean, I can't control if I'm absolutely going to get the perfect night's sleep, you know? Those sort of things have a lot to do with it. But, you know, everything's the same when I try to go to bed, the amount of activity that I do, the warm-up time, schedule time. I mean, a lot of it has to do with when I'm playing. I still want to do things that are fun off the court and, you know, nothing that's going to make me too tired. But I'm not fanatic about it.
Q. Is there any kind of particular meal that you like to have before you play, maybe a day match versus a night match?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Usually, I'll have a decent breakfast and then I'll just have like pasta, an hour before.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.