April 01, 1999
E. Likhovtseva defeats M. Seles 7-6(4),6-2
QUESTION: How big was the first set? I mean you got her last time you played her and I guess that was the big difference. Was it the opposite tonight?
SELES: She just played, I think, a lot better than I did really in the first set also. And you know, after she won the first set, I definitely got down on myself, but she still played some great tennis. She was a better player out there today than me.
QUESTION: Monica, did the conditions out there and the starting the match a couple hours late, did that have anything to do with it?
SELES: No. That’s for both players. It was definitely a slower court. You know, my shots weren’t as effective as usual, but that’s just the conditions you play on. I’ll have many more matches and conditions like today.
QUESTION: The second set when she finally broke you it seemed like that affected you a little bit. Was that hard to get over that?
SELES: I was just frustrated because I didn’t feel I took enough chances a little bit in the first set and so and so on, and nothing was going, and I got more down on myself probably than I should have, and then she played a couple great points at key times.
QUESTION: You seemed to lose concentration after the first foot fault.
SELES: Yeah. Well, I mean that’s something I have to improve upon. I can’t do that. I can’t get frustrated on a little thing like that.
QUESTION: Was the late start, did that affect you also? Was it hard to get up at that point?
SELES: For the match?
SELES: Oh, no. No. Not at all. I mean I had a full day and everything, so.
QUESTION: The ball got heavy in the second set? A lot heavier?
SELES: It got heavy, but it got pretty heavy in the first set, too, by the second or third game because the court was so wet, so everything was really slow. So definitely heavier balls.
QUESTION: Monica, you mentioned that you thought she was playing better. What did she do specifically this time that maybe she hadn’t done against you some other times?
SELES: Well, that’s tough to say. I mean it’s different to play someone on hardcourt or clay court. So it was harder for me to finish off points at a couple of key times. I didn’t finish them off or I missed them, and when she had the chance, she finished them off early and that’s why she won the match today.
QUESTION: What are you going to do about a coach?
SELES: No. I’m very happy with the situation I’m right now in. I don’t plan to change anything.
QUESTION: But you’re going to play World Team Tennis. What prompted you to make that decision?
SELES: Really, Billie Jean, obviously I got to know Billie a lot through Federation Cup, and she was very supportive. I talked to her while I was away from the tour. And she put so much of her heart into Team Tennis that if I can be part of it a little bit, like for Kansas City, I’m very happy and I really can’t wait to play for it, really actually excited about it.
QUESTION: And when it’s over, then it’s LA. Is that right? So you’re not really missing any tournaments in the U. S.
SELES: No. But after I start San Francisco I go the whole thing, so like five tournaments in a row there.
QUESTION: Monica, you mentioned yesterday about this kind of tough stretch that everybody has. Are you taking some time off now?
SELES: No. I have to play Amelia Island and then if I’m selected for Fed Cup, I have Fed Cup, so no. But that’s all the other players have to do the same thing.
QUESTION: But you are available for Fed Cup?
SELES: Yes. I talked to Billie. I am, yes.
QUESTION: Do you think tonight’s result was more you or more her or a mixture of both would you say?
SELES: I think mixture of both. But she just played better tennis solid than I did tonight.
QUESTION: Was there any kind of deal made between you and Billie Jean if you play World Team Tennis, she’ll select you for Fed Cup?
SELES: Oh, no. Nothing like that. That wouldn’t be legal. No way. No. Totally separate.
QUESTION: And when did you last talk to Billie Jean about Fed Cup?
SELES: At Lipton, probably a week ago.
QUESTION: Did she say when she was going to select?
SELES: No. She never says that to the players, no. I never ask her that. That’s her decision.
QUESTION: But you’d like to play?
SELES: I said I’m available, yeah. Definitely. Obviously. They moved it to this area.
QUESTION: Especially now that it’s in the U. S.
SELES: Yeah. For sure.
QUESTION: Where do you feel your game is right now? You went out a little earlier probably at Lipton than you would have liked and here as well. Can you kind of assess where your game is?
SELES: Well, the last few tournaments I don’t think I’ve been playing well consistently. I played some matches well and some matches I come out flat. That’s what I’ll have to improve, especially for the clay courts, because you have to hit so many balls to win the point, so I just have to keep practicing really hard, practicing hard. So maybe I’m more tired a little bit, sluggish, but I have to do that and I’m fine with that.