April 02, 1997
M. Seles defeats M. Gersi 6-2,7-6(4)
QUESTION: Did you get frustrated at all in the second set?
SELES: Definitely. My serve went nowhere, and my ground strokes also, but they weren’t as bad as my serve just let me down a lot.
QUESTION: Would you answer that question again?
SELES: Yes. I think mostly my serve let me down in today’s match, especially in the second set. All the double faults they came at pretty key times, and a couple of unforced errors that didn’t come at the right time.
QUESTION: It seemed like she was able to get to everything you hit.
SELES: Yes. She’s a fast player. She’s the type that she’s going to try to run down everything and hope you miss. That’s her style of game.
QUESTION: You took advantage of her quickness a little bit late in the match when you hit behind her a couple times.
SELES: Yeah. I had to mix it up a little bit because I started missing some balls that I’m not used to missing, and I became frustrated, and I realized I better not get frustrated. I better do something because I might lose the second set.
QUESTION: How hard is it to tell yourself that; slow down; don’t get frustrated?
SELES: It’s pretty hard. Before it used to be automatic. That’s what I’m trying to get back, not to get so frustrated like tonight, but it’s tough. It was cold out there, and we started much later. And I played well in the first set, and she broke me early on in the second set, and I kind of lost momentum of the match.
QUESTION: Is it frustrating sometimes to play players like her who use your power to have the disadvantage against you?
SELES: Yes. I mean definitely. She’s quick, and you got to be patient that you don’t over hit, but at the same time that you’re hitting hard, too. See, that’s the line that you gotta feel in the match. Learn that day how comfortable you are and how safe you feel with your ground strokes.
QUESTION: You boomed a couple big serves there, three aces on key points.
SELES: A couple of key points my serve was there, but a couple of key points it sure let me down, too. I mean the one serve at 6-4 the second serve when it was a let and the other one it was not a serve. I was very lucky that she missed it.
QUESTION: Some people have made the comment that during the time you were off the Tour, that the level of the game has gone up to the point that people handle your power better. Would you agree with that?
SELES: I really don’t think so because when I look at the numbers that I was serving before and playing, I was playing a different level. I think my game is just not there, and that’s normal after not picking the racket up for two and a half years. Now the last year and a half is three months injured, one month playing, so for me the key thing this year is just consistency and hope I can get back to that level.
QUESTION: You talked about her moving back. She also kept you moving a lot of the second set. Do you feel like she was trying to wear you down?
SELES: Definitely. That was the only tactic she could use because she didn’t have one big shot that she could use, so she tried to just run me corner to corner, a lot of short angles, pull me out wide, and that’s her game. She’s a typical clay court player.
QUESTION: This was a good match for you, though, because it was a lot of competitive points?
SELES: Yeah, there was a lot, and I think definitely the second set being so close, it’s good to play that, because obviously I need that when it gets tough how I react to it.
QUESTION: Monica, do you feel comfortable about playing here now? This is your first time you’ve been here. We’re glad you’re here.
SELES: I loved the stadium from my first day that I played my first match, really just from the first day that I practiced a little bit on it, and as I said yesterday, the crowd is just so supportive, and that helps, because it’s a tough week, and as long as I take a match at a time, I can just stay focused on the court would be really good for me.
QUESTION: How is clay conducive to your game?
SELES: I haven’t played much on the clay in the last five years, so I’m relearning a lot of things, especially how to move on clay and to be a little more patient, because in the hard courts I can finish the points off much faster, and it’s I think not just for me, but that’s for a lot of the players who got to the end part of Lipton, it’s really hard to change in a matter of two days.
QUESTION: Monica, it was a little cool out there tonight. How did that affect your game?
SELES: Well, for me it’s the most effective because I’m used to warming up, and I warmed up for a 7:00 match and we started at 7:25 and that changed me a lot because it stiffened my back up, and it was so cold out there, I just was like — but once the match started, there were a couple of long points, I think my blood started flowing and I felt comfortable out there.
QUESTION: Do you like playing at night or dislike playing at night?
SELES: It does not matter to me, but I do believe if you play at night, it should be a little bit warmer and we should start at 7 or tell us to start at 7:20. It does not matter to me. I play some of my best matches probably at night. Sometimes it’s a lot better. On a night like tonight it really does not matter.
QUESTION: Do you have to find ways to occupy yourself during the day or is it just a workout thing?
SELES: I practiced a little bit in the morning, and then I was on the phone mostly regarding some things with my dad, and then I got here and prepared, and that was it. So the day went pretty fast.
QUESTION: I noticed that when you were walking into the stadium court, there was a crowd that kind of lined up to watch you walk in. When you saw them, your face really seemed to light up, and you kind of appreciated it. Have you always been that way or do you think that’s something you’re appreciating more since you came back?
SELES: I think I appreciate it a little bit more because when I was young, you never realize quite a lot of things; you just go. And after I didn’t have that for a couple of years I definitely appreciate it more, and it kind of changed my mood because I was so frustrated we didn’t start at 7. It was like I walked by and saw the faces and they’re saying really nice things. That kind of changed my mood quite a lot.
QUESTION: Monica, the green couch, is that something you want to take with you when you leave here, add to your home?
SELES: It must be in my home, but I don’t know what the idea is behind it. So I don’t know.
QUESTION: Do you think you’re as quick now as you were four or five years ago?
SELES: No. Definitely not. I think I am not, but I do try to improve on it. Obviously at age 16 I’m much better than age 23, but I do think I can improve on that aspect quite a lot.
QUESTION: You look like you wouldn’t have come to the net much at all tonight unless she forced you to.
SELES: I never will in my career. I’m fine with that. That’s not my style of game.
QUESTION: Monica, did she do anything different in that second set when you started having a little more trouble?
SELES: I really don’t think so. I just think she got up to a 2-0 lead and I had a few chances to go to 2-1, and I got it back, and I played a terrible service game. And after that my service game went I don’t know where, and luckily I got it back a couple of key points in the tiebreaker. That pulled, in my opinion, the second set out for me.
QUESTION: Monica, what about the Nike spot? How much fun did you have doing that spot?
SELES: I had a blast. A lot of people asked me if I got to drive the car, but I did not. That was the only bad thing, but everything else was really fun. The one thing at Nike they make it fun, which nobody else does, so I had a great time.
QUESTION: How does it feel having a day off tomorrow and everybody else has to play?
SELES: Well, I’m playing doubles, so really I’m going to be here at the site all day, so it doesn’t make a difference. Some players had a day off today, so I think at this time day off or not really doesn’t matter.