1996 Wimbledon – 2nd Round Interview

London, England

June 26, 1996

K. Studenikova defeats M. Seles 7-5,5-7,6-4

Q. Monica, was it a case of her playing too well? Did you feel like you were just off to- day?

A. Well, I mean I felt I had some chances definitely to win the match and I didn’t take them, and she was hitting awfully well her backhand slice, and I was having a lot of trouble with that today, I wasn’t attacking as much and she played better on the key points, that’s what it came down to, and I didn’t.

Q. How did she play differently at the Australian Open where you beat her 6-1 6-1?

A. I have no idea. I mean, you know, she definitely wasn’tmaking as many errors as she was there, but I didn’t play as well as probably I did in Australia. I probably wasn’t attacking as much. The match went out differently, it was pretty close, and when I lost, when I was serving 5-5 in the third set I was down, and the momentum changed a little bit.

Q. How did the rain delay affect you, Monica?

A. I don’t think it did much. I mean, it started when I was up 2-0. I have definitely chances to close out the third set zillions of times, but I think I didn’t think too much of it, I was up 3-2 serving so I felt pretty comfortable going into the locker room. I wished we didn’t have to take the rain delay, but that’s fine.

Q. Did you think it was necessary, Monica?

A. I really felt, even at 2-0, because the court was getting very slippery, but then again it’s for both players, but the Umpire said they have to continue until the other courts decide what to do.

Q. Were there any periods that made you think some of your play might have to be re- assessed when you lost? Were there any patches where you thought you were playing ten- tatively?

A. I think so, but, you know, I just felt I wasn’t going for my shots. I was waiting for her to make the errors and she wasn’t doing that, and even when I was 4-4 and every- thing, and she went for her shots, and she kept the ball low and I definitely had a lot of trouble with that and I wasn’t attacking. So it’s probably a pretty similar pattern to the French.

Q. How does it feel, because you wanted to do so well after being away for so long, how does it feel now that you’re out?

A. Definitely, the French, and this one, I mean, I’m not too happy with the way that I’ve been playing, but, you know, I just have to reassess where I made the mistakes and try to learn from them, from the two matches, and just go on. I mean, that’s all I can do, pretty much.

Q. Monica, was the shoulder causing any problems, and are you, in the light of this de- feat, going to reassess whether you will wait until after the US Open?

A. I really want to wait, because I want to play in the Olympics and that’s going to be next. I don’t think it affected my loss today, I mean she just clearly played better than I did and she wasn’t making so many unforced errors and she was going more for her shots and on grass you have to do that, even on clay, really.

Q. How did you prepare for the grass this year, maybe even as opposed to other years?

A. The only difference was that I played Eastbourne, and I had probably four extra days of practice, which before I did not, because I got to the finals of the French. That’s about it.

Q. Did you feel that you were prepared for the grass, or do you think you needed more time, or…

A. No, I don’t think it’s a case of preparing for grass. I mean, I don’t think it’s the grass, or the clay, or the hard courts. I just think that the consistency of my game wasn’t there, and that’s – you know, that’s my assessment. But, you know, I just finish- ed the game, and your emotions are still tied into the game. It’s always hard. But I’m sure tomorrow I’ll reassess a little bit more what I need to readjust in my game.

Q. Was this a little bit like last week, when you had trouble when the court was fresh and it was damp and you didn’t get too much reward for your shots, and did you think that affected maybe your ability to overpower her?

A. Well, probably, but I still felt I didn’t go for my shots, I just kept playing to her backhand and she was playing the backhand really well today. She wasn’t missing too much and she kept it low, and, you know, I wasn’t making her run too much, and I did once or twice. But that was it. And especially I didn’t take advantage of her second serves, which I should have.

Q. This is probably going to be an unfair question, but why didn’t you go for your shots, why did you always go to her backhand, why?

A. I’ve no idea. If I had the answer to that, obviously I would have gone, but when you’re in the heat of the match it’s very different, and I haven’t had too much time still to reassess what I’ve been doing, but I think I went way too much for her back- hand, but why? Gosh, I wish I knew the answer to that one, I surely should have changed it.

Q. Are you going to stay around, Monica, or are you going to go home?

A. I’m going to play doubles tomorrow, so I think it’s going to depend a lot on that, but I’ll definitely go to Japan next Sunday, so really it’s going to depend how we do in doubles tomorrow.

Q. Was lack of match practice a factor?

A. I don’t think so. I mean, because I played in Eastbourne, I didn’t feel that it was affecting me so much. I just think it was a case that she played smarter today than I did, and she, you know, had a better tactic than I did today.

Q. At times she was playing like Steffi out there, running around the backhand?

A. Yes, pretty similar, pretty much, but she doesn’t have the serve that Steffi has and I don’t think she has the movement. Everything else, she was pretty much playing a very similar style of game.

Q. How does this loss rate in your career, Monica, would you say?

A. Oh, well, definitely not a good one, that’s for sure, but you know, I mean you have good and bad ones, and I just think it’s important to try to adjust from your loss, and try not to let that happen the next time. That’s pretty much all.

Q. Monica, you played the wrong tactic against Novotna and against her today. Do you think it’s maybe mentally you’re not adjusted well enough?

A. I think usually I would have – I don’t know, I mean usually I think in the middle of the match, if I feel that I’m not winning with that play, usually I used to change it. I don’t think I had the reassessment, let’s say at the French or here to change that. But that might be just from playing more and realising it during the points that I’m not thinking, maybe, as sharp as I used to, but that’s the fact.

Q. You said last week in Eastbourne that you had some problems of concentration?

A. Yes.

Q. Was it the same case today?

A. I don’t know. I just felt, I mean, I should have closed out the first set tons of times, then at 4-2 I had a break point to go up 5-2. There were tons of times where I just didn’t take chances, and that’s – and she did, and for her all the time when she took chances, most of the times they went in. And I had plenty, but, you know, I didn’t, and that’s, for me, the hardest, that I didn’t take those opportunities.

Q. How will this affect your ranking at the end of the year?

A. I have no idea, absolutely. I mean I’m definitely affected because it’s a quarter- final and a second round. But I never thought of that. That would be the first thing on my mind at that point.

Q. Monica, you smiled when you missed a point in the second to last game. Normally you wouldn’t do that, were you trying to relax yourself a little more, or what was that about?

A. I felt frustrated. I think there were a lot of times I was so frustrated out there, I had just been broken and tons of times I felt I had chances to close the match and here I’m again 4-4. I think I was down 0-40 at that point, I just thought well, whatever, really, and I just smiled, I think, to my own self.

Q. When you first came back, you said you were going to go out and enjoy tennis, you don’t care if you win or lose. How does it feel now when you’re losing a couple of matches?

A. I think definitely the French was pretty tough in the quarter-finals to lose, this one also, but, you know, I mean, I think for me the key thing is just to learn from the loss. That’s all I can do. I’m definitely – if I’d have lost and gone out and played well, that would be different, but obviously I don’t think the consistency of my game is there, because I can play great some matches and play terribly some matches, or not take chances at key points. So that’s pretty much that. That’s mainly I think the bigger rea- son, if I’m unhappy, but I don’t think tennis is going to make my life miserable or that I’ll be unhappy because of tennis. I hope not.

Q. Does it make you mad at yourself, though, Monica, when you come off the court feeling like you haven’t been brave enough out there, you mentioned that at the French, that you felt you played more timidly than you’re used to playing?

A. Yes, I mean I just feel, you know, when you have a chance like at 5-3 or going 5-3, you have to go for your shots, because the other person obviously has nothing to lose so they’ll go in, and then there’s a chance of them missing or going in. That’s when I try to replay my mind, and try to learn from that, but obviously I didn’t do too well from the French until here. Maybe I can do better at the US Open. But, you know, it just comes down to close points, I have to go for them like I did before, really fiercely, and that’s not what I’m doing right now.

Q. We keep talking about shot selection and tactics, but isn’t that more a function of confidence, that you’re willing to go for those shots because you know you’ll make them, and now you may not have that?

A. I think that’s probably it, but I think, like today’s case, I mean, all I was doing was hitting to her backhand I think the whole three sets, and obviously I can’t expect to win a match like that, and not taking some chances. But even though I sometimes rea- lised it in a match, but I still don’t change, that might be lack of confidence, of may- be still not feeling so comfortable with going for my shots at key points when it’s 30-30, I feel more confident when I go 40-love up, but that will be just plain.

Q. Are you allowed any advice during the rain break?

A. No, I usually don’t like to do that, because that’s been my practice the whole time and I didn’t feel like I wanted to change that.

Q. At the US Open you made the final, the Australian you won, and it’s been a bit of a struggle since then with some injuries and that problem, how frustrating has the first six months of this year been, apart from the Australian or since the Australian?

A. I think what’s been frustrating since Australia is not being able to practice as much as I want and having a long lay-off and I can feel that in the consistency of my game, that I can play well, but then I can play not so well, but then really after the US Open, last year, until Australia, I didn’t do also too much and I played pretty well in Australia. I don’t think I played great, but I was pretty good, so that’s pretty much there, and that’s my answer.