1992 U.S. Open – SF Interview

New York, New York

September 11, 1992

Monica Seles defeats M. J. Fernandez 6-3, 6-2

Q. How are you feeling?

MONICA SELES: I am feeling a lot better since two days ago, but it’s still, you know, bothering me a little bit when I am — my nose is clogged up a little bit and my throat, but otherwise, I seem better than two days ago.

Q. What is the sickest you have ever been when you have played and won?

MONICA SELES: What is the best?

Q. The sickest, when you have played and won?

MONICA SELES: Well, I have played twice with a strained ankle. That surely is the worse pain. I promised myself I wouldn’t ever do that to myself again. Otherwise, not really. I didn’t have any bad colds. Usually, I just don’t play the tournament. Usually, I never got a cold during the tournament. This is probably the only time.

Q. Were you a little bit tired feeling a little bit in the later stages of the match today?

MONICA SELES: I was playing so well some points and then some points I would just be missing easy balls, basically, that I should have put away. And maybe getting a little bit more frustrating with that because I kept missing them. And you know, going up 3-Love, then having 40-Love on her serve, I let her back in the match. It could have been a much closer first set instead of just really being 4-Love, serving, so I let her back, I think, into the match a little bit too many times.

Q. Are you confident that you can win tomorrow with this, or do you feel you need to pick it up?

MONICA SELES: Oh, I don’t know. I mean, I lost to Arantxa the last time I played. It was a very close match. I will just go out there and play point by point.

Q. Arantxa said earlier today that you are playing the same way you always have. And we know what we have to beat her. Do you think this year you have added any new elements to your game?

MONICA SELES: I personally don’t think any of the players added anything new to the game. Arantxa has come in this year, I feel Mary Joe– sure they are trying to come in more. You are trying to do that mentally also, more to come in. Gamewise, I personally don’t feel that they are coming in more against me, at least up to now. That is just my opinion, this year. But I think the big thing on tennis with all the groundstroke players, it is come in and come into the net and volley. I definitely think all of us who want to improve will have to add that to our game because women’s tennis is going to be so complete. Pretty much you are going to have to serve well, play well from the backcourt and also come in. I think the next dominant player wants to be– will have to definitely do that. I think all the players are trying to do that.

Q. Were you pushed today as hard as you have been pushed all through the tournament?

MONICA SELES: It was a close match. But as I said, I always felt I was kind of in control of it at 3-Love; then also at 5-1 also, so she was definitely playing well. She was playing good tennis, I think, Mary Joe, the last few matches. I watched her with Gaby and I am going to be the toughest test this week.

Q. I know you don’t like to talk about it. But it seemed like you were making more noise today than you had any time in this tournament, recently.

MONICA SELES: I don’t know. As I said, I am not going to be bothered by it. But my main concern was focus on the ball and try to really move my feet and be in the match. I have too many things on my mind to worry about that, so I don’t know.

Q. How do you explain how lopsided the semi-finals are, especially compared to last year? Steffi had said that she thought there were really only five or six players who could really– conceivably could win the tournament and there were only two of them out there today in view of who she was talking about.


Q. Why do you think it is so lopsided?

MONICA SELES: What is lopsided?

Q. The semifinal?

MONICA SELES: Why were they so easy?

Q. Yes.

MONICA SELES: I think Arantxa’s match and Maleevas, I watched one or two games. I think Arantxa is playing great tennis. She was not playing any unforced errors; just running down a lot of balls; coming in; mixing it up very well. I felt Manuela was a little upset. You could see it was her first Grand Slam semifinal. She was a little bit nervous. I think she can play, I am still– Arantxa is a better player, but I still think she could have given Arantxa a little bit tougher match. Today’s match against Arantxa, I don’t think it was that much one-sided. The only thing was that I never let her in too much into the match, too close, except maybe at 3-2 in the first set, but in the second set, that first break helped, and then again, going, so —

Q. Do you agree with Steffi that there are really only six players, most realistically, who could have won this tournament?

MONICA SELES: Yeah, I would say six or seven in the Grand Slams, yeah.

Q. What impresses you most about the improvements Arantxa has made in her game?

MONICA SELES: Everything. I mean, you know, it is always very hard improving, especially when you play a lot of tournaments and everything, so she is a very good player. I mean, she always was; I think, maybe if she won a Grand Slam tournament, so she wasn’t never easy player to beat. She is a tough opponent. Runs down a lot of balls. Great from the backcourt. She is volleying really well. Very tough mentally. Great all around.

Q. Talk a little bit about when Arantxa beat you. What was she doing well?

MONICA SELES: It was very close match. I mean, I still think — it is hard. I don’t like to go back to those two weeks. I definitely wasn’t feeling too well, but she was just better than I was that day. She played some great points. I mean, the match was very close. It could have gone, you know, either way. It was 6-4 in the third set. She was just clearly better that day. She deserved to win.

Q. Do you learn something from that? Fernandez said that she felt it was a big advantage for Sanchez knowing now that she can beat you. Is there anything that you learned from that strategically or otherwise?

MONICA SELES: I don’t know. I didn’t think that much by the match. I certainly know why I lost it and what was wrong. I don’t think– it is not the time to tell that, I play her tomorrow, so you know, as I said, she is playing some great tennis. I mean, she beat Steffi pretty easily. She beat some very big players, and Maleeva, she must be playing some great tennis. She is in great form.

Q. Monica, how do you feel about this timetable, generally, playing the semis on Friday and final Saturday?

MONICA SELES: I personally don’t like it. I think it is a little bit unfair because it is, like, 6:30; by the time I get out of here, it’s going to be like 7:15. You go home and pretty much I have to be back here like 8:00 A.M. tomorrow to practice. It is just, you go home, eat and sleep. I think it is better when you have a day between the semis and the finals, because it is a big tournament. It is a Grand Slam. It is just not fair. Then having two days rest, it is just not a good feeling. I personally don’t like it.

Q. You have been an advocate of women’s tennis on equal prize money. Would you like to see more depth on the women’s tour and do you see that as a problem?

MONICA SELES: I think women’s last three years pretty much, I think, with Jennifer, myself, start coming a long, Steffi was just so good. I mean, everybody thought she is going to be unbeatable for ten years to come. Then Jennifer and myself, Gaby, Arantxa, started beating her. Now, it is funny, when you look at the men’s side, all the four seeds are in. Women’s, it is, I think, exceptionally different these two weeks. I don’t think anybody thought all the two, three and four seeds are going to lose. But that shows now that women’s tennis has so much more depth. Before, you could lose in the first, second, third round. It is not like when Chris, Martina and Steffi played, you know, it is basically the finals. Now, it is very iffy. But I still think, on the average, it is still going to be top players.

Q. You said you weren’t feeling well when you lost to Arantxa. Have you been generally unhealthy or is this something brand new?

MONICA SELES: I had a twisted ankle. So —

Q. Okay. I am sorry.

MONICA SELES: It is okay.

Q. You were talking about the schedule before and how you don’t really like the schedule here and the last two days. CBS did not televise this match locally here and probably not even nationally. Does that bother you at all since they were the ones who created the schedule in the first place?

MONICA SELES: It doesn’t. I mean CBS has been great to the tournament, so, they have been with them for many years; it is great. We get some women’s tennis on television in the states, at least, but I just think — but I mean, look at Edberg, he has probably the toughest thing. He played last night. He had to come back today. He comes back tomorrow, and if he wins, he has to come back Sunday. He has change — he has a lot of five sets, so he is the one that is hard. I can’t complain because I didn’t have that many long matches. I think it is just a little bit hard for the players. Especially men, three out of five, it is just–