1992 U.S. Open – 2nd Round Interview

New York, New York

September 02, 1992

Monica Seles defeats L. Raymond 7-5, 6-0

Q. You said you had seen her play; she was a tough player. In that first set, did she play better than what you expected of her?

MONICA SELES: Definitely. I think it was the same type of match as yesterday when I watched Martina and Stafford. I just went out there without any pressure and just played some great tennis. I mean, whatever she touched just went in, fast, and I mean she hit about four, five shots, just really great shots. Even when you play Steffi, they are not expecting them.

Q. What was the difference in the second set?

MONICA SELES: I don’t know. I didn’t expect her to go down. I think the key was I probably got a little bit more used to her serves. She was serving a little differently and her game– and the key game was probably at 1-Love, when she was serving 40-15, and I broke her that game. I think that helped me, myself a lot, and the holding against my serve at 2-Love, those two games were very important.

Q. Do you think she can be successful out on the tour if and when she turns pro?

MONICA SELES: I don’t know. Everybody just has to try it and see it.

Q. When you see someone turn pro at her age in this situation, do you ever wish you went to college or did it differently?

MONICA SELES: No. I am very happy I did it. I didn’t drop out of school, so that part, I am — I definitely miss probably day-to-day basis, yeah, that is true, but I mean, I learned so much on the pro tour and I had fun with it. As long as I am doing something that I like, and what I told myself later on, if I would like to definitely go back to college, I will have that chance.

Q. At the 12th game in the first set, when it was 7-5, she was serving, it got to 30-All, were you thinking that you have the experience– what were you thinking at that time?

MONICA SELES: Nothing. Just concentrating at that point because she was serving some great serves on that side to me. I knew that — just go for it at that point. I had to, because I knew that I wasn’t sure because the first time I played her, she is going to choke at that point, or just do the same thing that she was doing before, and I just told myself, go for it, you know, get the tiebreaker.

Q. Would you say she choked?

MONICA SELES: I don’t remember the two plays — but I think it was a pretty good point, there, but I don’t remember.

Q. Is that maybe the difference between your– you are used to that situation, playing out on the circuit all the time and she might not be used to the pressure yet?

MONICA SELES: I don’t know. There are different things in a match, and I just try to take each point at a time, and not think too much. Maybe it is, but I am sure she will play a lot of matches, and you know, how good she is, you know, after a lot of matches, she will maybe learn the experience also.

Q. What was good about– what about her serve gave you trouble?

MONICA SELES: She was serving a lot faster than my first round opponent. She had a very high kick second serve and, in the beginning, I was a little bit surprised because her second serves were around 80s, which is pretty strong for a second serve.

Q. How do you think you are playing right now?

MONICA SELES: I think I am playing fine. Good first set. It was getting a little tougher. I am sure next rounds are going to be harder and harder as it goes along. I am just looking forward to my next match.

Q. Do you have– to change the subject a little bit, any comment on Jimmy Connors’ turning 40 and can you, as you sit here, envision yourself playing then?

MONICA SELES: I think it is incredible. I mean, I am still 18, but to think at age 40 you might play, that is unbelievable. But then, again, when I don’t play, when I am hurt, I miss it so much; it is definitely going to be hard to put the racket down. I will have to find something like Chris having the baby helped a lot, stopping tennis. I am sure Martina will play well into her 40s also. We will have a few other players doing that. It is just incredible. In men’s tennis, playing three out of five, I mean, that is unbelievable, so it is supposed to be a neat evening tonight, so I will watch it.

Q. Monica, how is your conditioning, have you been doing any kind of strength training, or how is your weight?

MONICA SELES: I think my ankle is back to normal, that is the key thing. I am still probably not moving as well as I would like to since the ankle, but you know, I can’t change that. It happened and I just got it taped; make the best of it.

Q. Edberg said this morning that he wouldn’t want every champion to be like him. He thinks it is good to have a defending champion like you that can take all the attention. He says if there is talk about grunting or Jim Connors’ age, it is great for him. Do you ever wish to be in his position?

MONICA SELES: I would love it.

Q. Why?

MONICA SELES: I think just, you know, some things sort of about me that are just not focusing on my game. I mean, if you look at the grunting issue to make front pages in the States, in Europe, is, to me, it just doesn’t make sense. But you know, I guess, that is — it is just, you know, I don’t know what reason, but it is funny because Edberg was number one and he is number two and he is a great player; you don’t read so much about him, but then again you look at Courier and you look at Martina and Steffi and there were always written some things about them also. But I just think one or two issues, in my case that were just blown out– very much out of proportion. I wish they weren’t. I still think I am a tennis player. That is what I do out there and they should be a little bit more concerned about my game.

Q. Did you enjoy going out and playing somebody like Lisa who probably had little experience? Was it a fun challenge or a little bit unnerving because she was pretty good out in the first set?

MONICA SELES: Always when you play somebody that you never played, you are nervous because you don’t know what to expect. You are going to test what side is going to be better; what she likes, and doesn’t like. The first two games I was trying to do that. After one or two games, I knew I am going to have a tough match; if she is going to continue playing like this, because she was just — especially on her service game, she was zooming the ball on both sides. And mixing it well up. And then again you know that there are two things all players– when you play a top player like me, they are going to come out and be totally scared and just play the worse match of her life or come out and play the best match of her life, or set, or part of the match. So at that point, you don’t know what to expect and if she is playing great, then you just try to hang in there and see maybe the match is going to turn a little bit, you know, a different way.

Q. Did you watch her practice?


Q. Do you always do that, if it is a new person?

MONICA SELES: I try mostly. Especially because I don’t think too many — when I ask a few players on the — any of the tennis players if they knew her game, she is a college player, but on the professional tour, she didn’t play too many tournaments yet. It is just always good to see what your opponent is doing even if you play them many times and you know, still a new week they might be doing better this week something this week than the other week. It depends on the situation, but I guess in a Grand Slam, I better do that.

Q. Were you surprised she played as well as she did, especially the first set?

MONICA SELES: I was. But then again, I knew it is going to be one way or the other. Unfortunately, it was the other way. She played great, and there were a few shots that she just really zoomed in. I mean, I was really surprised at them. But I think it was important that I was just sticking in there; not getting frustrated or trying to take each point at a time, hoping those balls are not going to always go in.

Q. Did your experience two years ago when you lost to Linda Ferrando, did that give you a little bit more motivation to go and maybe see somebody practice or hit?

MONICA SELES: Actually, maybe it does a little bit. But it still — the loss comes back to me as being focused in the early rounds. Since that match, I try not to lose too many early rounds. But that match, she just played great, and it is hard when you play somebody who has no pressure on you; get back to 6-All in the tiebreak, one or two points decides the match, of course, the pressure is always on the top player. You can get a little nervous, but you know, I hoped that it is not going to get to the tiebreaker, this match. I was lucky to get out of it.

Q. I am not going crazy with this, just are you keeping your hair color? I am not going to make–


Q. It looks great.

MONICA SELES: Thank you very much.

Q. Thank you.