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August 30, 1997

Rachel McQuillan


Q. Obviously you had a plan when you went out there, and it worked pretty well.

RACHEL McQUILLAN: Yeah, it did. I just tried to get into the first couple games, just try and make some rallies and try and get comfortable by the court, feeling the nice atmosphere out there. The first two games seemed to take forever with me. It was a bit unlucky I didn't get the first game. Would have made me feel better. Held serve pretty well. Next game I felt relieved, got confidence for myself, started to play my game, which was to come to the net whenever I could. I was trying to play to her backhand, when she sliced, come in, try and serve and volley a lot. I think I served really well today by mixing it up a lot, by kicking some serves in first. You know, just generally playing my game, really.

Q. Rachel, where was the last time you played tennis like that on a Tour level event? Put aside the Bronx Tour.

RACHEL McQUILLAN: I don't know if you can count Fed Cup match as that, but I beat Amanda Coetzer playing similar. Again, at Sydney, I had a result against Brenda Schultz and I played the same, had a good tournament there. I've had some good wins this year, which has been good. I think it's probably been my best year so far. I had a pretty disappointing Fed Cup and I was upset about that. But, you know, I think in a way it's helped me, because that trip before Fed Cup was five months. I was playing every week for five months. I thought that was bad in kind of a way. But, in the end, it toughened me up. Made me a better player for it.

Q. Good players come back against a player like that. Down in the second set, did you think you were going to get away from her?

RACHEL McQUILLAN: I didn't think that at all. I thought her serve didn't seem that difficult to break for me. I thought if I could just break her, that serve, I wasn't thinking about 5-1 being down that low. I just thought of breaking that game. Then when it came to serving, just to serve a good game out and just keep coming in, keep coming in. Again, when I'm on my serve, it was just back to trying to break her again. There's one game where I felt really tired where I lost my serve, a really long game in the second set. I forget which one it was, 3-1 or something around there. I just hit the wall. At that stage is where I was really tired. It was a good thing I went for a shirt change when I was down 5-4 because I was still a bit fatigued. I went into this beautiful, cool room, just inside that area, through the tunnel. I changed my top, felt really refreshed when I came out back again. It was probably a really good idea to do that.

Q. How big a victory is this for you?

RACHEL McQUILLAN: It's huge. I'd say it's probably my best win in my career.

Q. To what extent are you a confident player, both positively and negatively?

RACHEL McQUILLAN: Well, you know, I think winning the Bronx Tournament before this has helped me really, for sure, because the whole year, I've been hitting the ball well. It's just that I haven't been getting the results I wanted. Same with Australian girls, Annabel, great in practice, she's beating me and everyone. In the match, she's missing out in the key points. Same with me, before the Bronx, and leading up to this tournament. You feel like you're hitting the ball great, get out to play points, it's not just there. I think by winning that tournament, it's given me the confidence to believe in myself and play the big points well. Today it helped me because there were a lot of big points out there today and I came through well, which is good.

Q. Friends, family, fans back in Australia following this?

RACHEL McQUILLAN: I hope so. I've been talking to mom and dad every night. Been getting faxes from friends. They've been keeping a tab on my results. This will make them very excited, yeah.

Q. Rachel, going back a fair way here, you showed a great deal of promise a couple of years ago, of course. Obviously, injuries have played a part, sort of following through with that. Can you briefly sort of give us an idea of the last, sort of, 12 months. You said you had a good year this year. What's been the development there? Has it been injury-free, confidence building?

RACHEL McQUILLAN: Pretty much, yeah. It's been a big year. Last year I played 12 tournaments, which wasn't much at all. I played a lot of tennis, but it wasn't much that I played - team tennis that I played a lot of. Trying to get a lot of matches, which I didn't get, with the Olympics in there, Fed Cup as well, didn't play many tournaments at all. This year I went the opposite way because of the ranking change as well. You can play as many tournaments as you like now. That five-month trip, my ranking at the start was about 196. Now, it's really improved. I started well at the Australian, so I took advantage of the wildcards that were given to me; had some good results there. Then I went overseas to get my ranking low enough to get in the Grand Slams. I was on the border of getting in and going out. I thought if I played a fair bit leading up for the French, if I do well, I might get in. I did that. I got into the Grand Slams. Wimbledon, I played pretty flat, terrible match against Monica. Obviously, she's a great player as well. She played very well. I went home and played Fed Cup and had another bad result. I didn't play badly, just mainly drained. I was trying too hard. I took some time off, went home for a week, just worked on my game. Since then it's been great.

Q. What are your thoughts about Arantxa in the next round?

RACHEL McQUILLAN: I really haven't given it much thought. I really would like to use it as a bit of a revenge match for Fed Cup. Felt like I played well against her the last time I played her. Best I've ever seen her play against me. Obviously, she plays like Conchita, doesn't slice the backhand as much. I think her forehand is a weakness. Conchita's forehand isn't a strength. But, I'm looking to pretty much attack whenever I can, pretty much play the similar way I did today.

Q. Have you been working with anyone, any coach that's helped pick you up, any sports psychologist?

RACHEL McQUILLAN: Not really. I think just persisting myself, really. I mean, my parents are great. They're always behind me all the way. I've got a massage and training therapist with me. He's really good. Donald Hunter is his name. I think it's been going really well. I've been hitting with the Australian girls. That should be good for them, too, my result, because that should give them a buzz, me winning. It's all been sort of falling in place pretty well.

Q. So percentage-wise, can you put an estimate on just how much you've improved since Hope Island and now?

RACHEL McQUILLAN: I think my blend of play is working together. I think I was hitting the ball pretty much just as well there. I think just the whole part of my game is combining them all together and finishing the points off well by coming in and picking the right points to come in, just planning my whole strategy out now is better than back then.

Q. If you look at the men's tennis in Australia, you have Rafter and Philippoussis, the Woodies. Obviously, we're going through some sort of transition period with the women. Is it difficult for you to be where you are now and the others are possibly not at that level?

RACHEL McQUILLAN: Like I said, Annabel, she's a great athlete. She's 19, 20. She's still got some improving to do. You know, she's very close to breaking through, I think. She's ranked 60, around there somewhere. She had a close first round result here. I think she just needs a couple wins to get the confidence in herself to believe she can do it. Other Australian players, other girls, I think that the result with me today, as I said, has helped them to believe we can do it. We need to get behind each other and get it going. The guys are doing great.

Q. Are we on the brink of a revival?

RACHEL McQUILLAN: Yeah. I'm going to try to do it.

Q. With a view to rankings, have you got something in sight of ranking, perhaps, that you would be aiming for?

RACHEL McQUILLAN: I did. I really wanted to break 100 because I was sort of on the border there all the time. I was 108 for a while since I got into the French. I think after the Bronx, winning that tournament, from 108, I went to 100. Moved up eight spots. I don't know now how far I'll move up. Set some new goals for myself, hope to break 50, that would be great. Still keep going. A lot of tournaments I'm going to play after this. 50 is looking pretty realistic.

End of FastScripts….

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