1995 U.S. Open – Final Interview

New York, New York

September 09, 1995

S. Graf defeats M. Seles 7-6 (5), 0-6, 6-3

Q. What has the whole experience been here? You have come within one point of being the champion again and you are not.

MONICA SELES: Yeah, well, the first set I think I thought about it too long a little bit although the second set was 6-Love, but I reminiscing so much about that one serve, but — oh boy, well, there is so many emotions out there today. All through the two weeks, I think both Steffi and I played so well. Running each other around and whenever she hit a winner, she had to hit it perfectly. I did the same thing over myself. It was so close. It is so hard when you lose a match that could have gone either way. It is so hard.

Q. Forehand let you down?

MONICA SELES: I think a little bit. I think a little — it is hard to say. I just think on the key points, I felt she was getting more of the breaks than I was, and been some close calls, that I think they bothered me a little bit more than they should have.

Q. Were you tired in the third, Monica?

MONICA SELES: Maybe a little bit, yeah. A little. I think I wasn’t moving as well, but that is expected. But I still told myself, “just go out there and run for every ball. “

Q. Monica, when you got back to 5-3 and the crowd reacted, you seemed to react to them.

MONICA SELES: Yes. Well, 5-3 I mean, it was hard because it is just one break and the break that I lost my serve which really shouldn’t have happened. I was thinking about the overrule — 15-Love for me, then I was serving. Then he overruled. I think it was, like, very hard for me to get back mentally after that. I was kind of like somebody poured cold ice over me. I was like, okay, not another one, and then I couldn’t get going again. That was my feeling.

Q. But when the crowd cheered, when you got back to 5-3, it acted like you kind of smiled, as if —

MONICA SELES: Definitely because — I think I mean, the electricity at that point, I think they want a longer match or they hope that I would get to 5-4 and break Steffi, but as I was returning today, I don’t think I had too big of a chance of doing that. But definitely, the crowd has been amazing throughout the whole two weeks from first Monday night on ’til today, I mean, wow – wish I could take them with me everywhere I play, make it a lot easier, I think.

Q. Where will you play next?

MONICA SELES: Well, I do know I am going to play the Championships, then I think something beforehand, but it is going to depend a lot on my knee also.

Q. Just one tournament, you think?

MONICA SELES: If I can play more, I will definitely play more. But right now, I think my main thing is just to rehabilitate the knee so it gets to the point that I have no pain. After that I am going to rally it.

Q. Do you feel that the lack of tournament play affected you on the biggest points?

MONICA SELES: I don’t know. I mean, biggest points were very close. All missing it by this much or not; I think it made — I think the match would have been very different, probably, if that serve would have been called in, whatever. So a lot of close calls all the way, but I don’t know. I mean, Steffi is a player that runs so many balls down that other players won’t even go for them. I knew I had to play some great tennis. I think I did play good tennis.

Q. No apprehension or nervousness?

MONICA SELES: I don’t think so. Not today.

Q. The gesture dramatically at the chair when the point didn’t go your way, did you say anything?

MONICA SELES: If the ball is wide, I know it. But this one, to me, was just so in. It was like clearly in. And I was like, I thought that I won the set pretty much. Then I guess she had a late call or whatever, and it was like, oh, okay, I have to serve a second serve. The emotion is one up. It is like when Steffi had the matchpoint against Gaby, she is already up, but then the umpire said, whatever, I don’t know what happened there, but that was my feeling, and it was a little bit bugging me too long, which shouldn’t have. But it is easier said that done.

Q. Did you say anything?

MONICA SELES: I don’t think he said anything to me. He probably said it was wide, or it was long.

Q. I am asking you what you might have said.

MONICA SELES: I just asked him are you sure. Because I felt that it (Seles giggling) I felt the call — she made the call, first of all, very late. I thought I was already by the umpire’s chair. But whatever, I mean, that is gone, it is gone, so …

Q. As well as you played here, do you expect that you can play considerably or somewhat better on a regular basis?

MONICA SELES: I think only time can tell that. I was very surprised by Toronto, and definitely here also. It has been very exciting to me playing again, and just being out there feeling everything once again what was such a routine before. As long as I keep having fun, that is what is going to matter to me the most.

Q. The first set was so close, second set wasn’t. Why do you think that was so?

MONICA SELES: I don’t know. I think the second set when we had that long first game was kind of a changing game. I didn’t feel that I won the second set as easily as the score suggested; not at all. But I just took it as it was. But maybe because I was a little bit mad about losing first, I just said, heck, with it, I am just going to play this one as it goes so…

Q. You seemed very happy with your tournament even though you lost today. Would you be happy with the same result at Australia, for example?

MONICA SELES: I don’t know. It is a long way off. I mean, I have a few more months to Australia. But — the two tournaments I played this year I came in with a different mentality; was just really happy to be playing out there, and not so much about expecting to win a tournament, but I surprised myself, I think, both times, and now I feel maybe okay, I can play pretty good, still, and just going out there playing it. That is about it all.

Q. What did you guys say to each other at the net and during the trophy presentation, you were also there chating. What were you saying?

MONICA SELES: I don’t know. First — I want to ask Steffi if that is okay to tell you guys, I don’t know, because I feel bad. I have this confidentiality thing maybe too much going, but it was just really — I mean, Steffi said very nice things. I said back to her; talked about — I shouldn’t say that.

Q. We won’t tell. Just between us. That was a joke.

MONICA SELES: Just really nice. I don’t know. I mean, Steffi is a very private person. We didn’t talk about anything big. Really about New York and how she loves spending time here and how I loved it also here and how both of us played a great match. She said she played great and I played great and I said the same thing – that type of conversation.

Q. Was this a Steffi Graf you can remember, is she better than she was?

MONICA SELES: I think Steffi played great. I mean, she was running balls down that very few people even go for them; not even hit them back and she wasn’t making too many unforced errors and I felt her serve was going very well today. Very hard time returning especially in the first set and then again in the third set. But not playing Steffi for such a long time, it is hard to remember what was going on then, but we always played close matches and she played better on the key points today.

Q. There is a new sponsorship announcement about the Tour. Would you comment on that?

MONICA SELES: I think it is very exciting. I think — I just heard a very little about it. But if that would happen, I think it would be wonderful. Wow, we have been trying to get a sponsor for quite sometime and if they would come — I don’t know if whatever — I mean, I think it is great for women’s tennis, wow.

Q. What about the fact that your return might have affected somebody’s interest?

MONICA SELES: I think hopefully women’s tennis is going up now with all the excitement with Steffi and myself playing these great matches; then Mary, Arantxa, and those guys, Conchita, I think now women’s tennis is going up. There are going to be some great matches and I think the future looks very bright.

Q. How about your — I am just going to keep asking.

MONICA SELES: You see, for me it is very hard to say, okay, my return contributed to it, because I don’t know– I think the excitement that it brought with the fans and everything probably helped a little bit. But I think women’s tennis is a Tour with or without Monica, but I do hope it brought some excitement with me coming back and playing tennis again. (Seles giggles).

Q. Can you just step back a little bit and do you think it helps women’s tennis credibility just a little bit that you didn’t win this tournament immediately after coming back?

MONICA SELES: Oh, I don’t think some. I mean, going in today’s match, I really didn’t think about that at all. I was just doing my best that I can.

Q. Now, that is over.

MONICA SELES: Today, okay. I think it was so close, that it could could have gone either way and I don’t think — no, I don’t think so. No.

Q. You don’t think it would have taken some of the shine off what they have done?

MONICA SELES: I don’t think so, no.

Q. Earlier in your comeback you were saying again and again, “wow, wow, wow.”

MONICA SELES: (Seles giggling) My favorite word the last three weeks. (Seles giggling).

Q. If there is one word or one phrase aside from, “wow,” to capture your U.S. Open and your feelings what would that word or phrase be?

MONICA SELES: I don’t know, I mean, ectatical, maybe. (Seles giggling) I can’t think of dictionary words here. – I have been reading this heavy dictionary with all neat words – It has been just been — really, the last three weeks have been amazing, absolutely from being on the tennis court and playing some great tennis and off the court also, going anywhere, the support that I felt through the fans, I just felt, “wow,” I made the right decision which helped me tremendously. And my parents supported me all the way too. The — just wherever I went, the people have been so nice. I never kind of had that before. Like in a restaurant or anywhere just walking down the street and of course, on the tennis court, so that has been the best part of it for me.

Q. Do you think in some way that through all this trauma all this difficulty that Monica Seles is somehow a better person now at this point than she was?

MONICA SELES: I don’t know. I mean, I still think I am probably the same one, some things probably changed, maybe a little bit more respected than beforehand, I think. But I like to think that — I have grown and I am sure next year, wow, how stupid I was this year and each year later on. But for me, what happened in Hamburg, it was an experience, but I try to put it back and then move on.

Q. Monica, there has been a lot of attention paid to Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras as rivalries. Do you think that Steffi and your rivalry will be approaching that same height?

MONICA SELES: I think so. I think it already has; in the past also. The great matches Steffi and I play, we are both players that hit the ball really hard, so there is going to be some very strong tennis out there. There is no question. That is a little different because it is two Americans, but this one, I am sure, in the states might not be as big as if it was in Seles/Capriati or Anke Huber against Steffi Graf, but I still think you — I mean, if Steffi and I are going to keep playing each other and all these tournaments, definitely, I think, definitely has the potential, if not, it is already there.

Q. Where was today’s in the eleven matches?

MONICA SELES: I am sorry?

Q. The quality of today, where does this stand in the rivalry, this match today?

MONICA SELES: Okay. Okay. I do not remember so much of the past, because last time I played Steffi was Australian Open. Almost three years ago though this day. And — but it did feel like playing Steffi, I mean, the way she was serving, giving balls back, so it is hard for me to compare it because of not playing her for such a long time.

Q. Did it mean more that you were playing Steffi in the final instead of say Gaby or somebody else?

MONICA SELES: No, because I just try to look at them as a tennis player; that is what we are all, and I just said, go out there, do the best whoever it was, from the beginning of the tournament. I tried to take each match at a time and ’til the end also.

Q: Thank you all very much.