1996 Wimbledon – 1st Round Interview

London, England

June 24, 1996

M. Seles defeats A. Grossman 6-1, 6-2

Q. Monica, how did it feel to be back on the Centre Court?
A. It felt great, I was really nervous at the beginning, pretty much throughout the whole match, but it was good, and coming from Eastbourne, just having a day in between was really good to refocus.

Q. How satisfied are you with your game?
A. Well, I think I played pretty well down in Eastbourne. I had some good match play, and obviously the grass courts, it’s a totally different thing here, so it was great to play on the stadium, because it’s just very different, but I think game-wise I’m playing pretty well, serving pretty good and I will take it a match at a time.

Q. What was the feeling like when you first walked out there today? Did you think back to four years ago?
A. No, no, I didn’t, no. Pretty much I just almost like walking out of there for the first time in some way for me, and the crowd was just so responsive that I felt this is a great welcome, but now you’ve just got to focus on the match too, because I just don’t want to take any chances out there.

Q. They gave you a nice – two nice rounds of applause at the end?
A. Yes, it’s really nice.

Q. When you are in London, Monica, do you plan to do some shopping as well?
A. I don’t do shopping at all. I know that’s been kind of the thing, maybe several years ago. I don’t think I’ll have the chance, because I don’t have the time. I’m playing doubles and I have to get all my energy, because I play almost immediately Fed Cup and the Olympics and in MontrĂ©al, so the schedule it’s too tight now, too tough.

Q. Did you – after Eastbourne, you said down there that you were coming straight up here and you were going to come to Wimbledon and have a look that night, Saturday night. Did you do that?
A. I didn’t do it that night, I did it the next day.

Q. In the morning or during the day?
A. I did it in the morning, I walked by myself here, no big deal, I just – they just ac- tually uncovered the stadium court at that moment, so it was a very – I had some very special moments to myself that morning. So it was really nice.

Q. Your match today, did you feel comfortable? You were obviously in control from the start?
A. I felt on the returns, like on the second game I didn’t return one ball on the court, I think obviously that was a little bit of nervousness there, and the racquet fell out of my hands. I don’t think that happened to me before. Otherwise I felt I was serving pretty good. I know Ann, it’s always a little bit tougher when you know somebody and she’s a nice person, so I wanted to go out there and play some good tennis, and I had some great shots, and it was a good game.

Q. You had to concentrate in a little bit of the second game of the second set. I think you made a couple of unforced errors there?
A. Definitely. I just felt when you’re really nervous, before you have to make a speech or something, this is the way I felt today. I couldn’t feel my hands were moving. Al- most, most part of the match. Then when I lost the game, I told myself to try to refocus and I couldn’t have that focus that I wanted, but I did the best I could.

Q. How is the shoulder?
A. The shoulder is okay, it’s the same thing, I’m getting every day the two hour treat- ment and I just have to play through it and try to put it aside, and move through it and then after the US Open make a decision.

Q. How did you feel walking around Wimbledon with the crowds around you?
A. I didn’t have too much chance to walk around yet, but just a little bit last night with dinner. Everybody has been really nice to me, they all say “it’s great to have you back”, and “tennis wasn’t the same”, and “good luck, you can do it”, just all positive things, everybody, which is great. I’ve been driving around the village, even, if they see me driving they’re waving to me, opening their windows, so it’s been really nice, for one day, of course.

Q. I was going to confirm, that’s people you are talking to when you’re walking through the village?
A. Yes.

Q. Playing so well on Saturday, was that exactly what you needed after the French Open, that sort of seemed like the old you?
A. Well, a lot of things happened at the French, and I have to move on from there on, and try to have a new start. I know I’m not going to have the consistency, because I haven’t put in the amount of hours, because after Australia I played some good matches and some bad ones. I think getting some matches at Eastbourne, having two matches in a day and then playing such a great final definitely helped. But this is totally different here. I think for me the key thing will be to go for my shots and not play some tennis that’s not me. If I lose, win, but play my game.

Q. Monica, how do you find it driving on what you would describe as the wrong side of the road?
A. For me it’s not that bad, because as a learner I used to do a lot of things just the opposite way, because in some way I was dyslexic, so I would do – it wasn’t bad. The first time I was at Eastbourne it’s a little bit different, because the car is a little bit bigger, so it’s much harder, but I feel very comfortable. We do have insurance, though, and we took the whole Fed Cup team home from dinner. I was driving, it was my first day that day, so I understood – we came to an intersection and all the girls look- ed out, like is anybody coming, and I said hopefully you have more faith, we’re playing the Fed Cup in Japan. They were all really nice. I would do the same, probably.

Q. On a Sunday, there is a day off and also there is a final of Euro ’96. Will you be watching, or will you go to Wembley?
A. I don’t know, I love soccer, so I might go, but we have two WTA meetings that I hope to attend, regarding our new rankings, and I have to practice. I might not be able to go this year, but I definitely would love to. If I’m out of the tournament, I’ll defini- tely go, but if I’m in, it might be 50/50. It depends who’s in the finals, of course, I think.

Q. Who would you like to see win the tournament?
A. I think, of course, England. I mean, that’s an easy one. We were coming down – driving down from Eastbourne there, in the penalty kicks, and we were all listening on the ra- dio, and just following it, it’s just – and especially, I think, the way – I was here early on in Eastbourne, and the way they started against Switzerland, and all the heats that they were taking, and then after in Scotland, they started playing better and bet- ter. It would definitely be really nice if they could pull it off.

Q. Are there any English soccer stars that you know about?
A. No. I do know from the papers, but I think there is so much pressure on them, and it’s really tough, and they’ve been playing unbelievably under that much pressure. I can’t even imagine that. I mean, it’s like the whole country is saying would they win or lose. That’s tough. Like in singles sports, you don’t have that type of a pressure as in team sports, but you have different pressures here.

Q. Monica, Pete Sampras is talking about how greasy the court was and how slippery it was. Do you really feel like you’re a better player as the tournament goes along and it dries out?
A. I don’t know why it was so slippery, that’s the one thing. I was very surprised. I watched a little bit of the Sampras match, I saw he slipped a few times, and I also felt very slippery, and that was – I couldn’t figure out why, but I think probably in the next few days the court is going to just keep on changing, and we do play all with grass court shoes, so we’ll definitely destroy the court.