1999 Wimbledon – 3rd Round Interview

London, England

June 25, 1999

M. Lucic defeats M. Seles 7-6,7-6

Q. Monica, what went wrong today?
A. I just think she played both sides pretty well today, and she put me on the defensive, and if I could pinpoint one thing, definitely my returns.

Q. You had so many chances in the second set, so many break points?
A. Tons, I mean tons, but just really my return, I could not find it at all. She served very well also, so it wasn’t just my fault, but my return let me down and on grass you can’t let that happen.

Q. Monica, it’s a big disappointment for you to lose so early on in Wimbledon. Has your career hit the wall now?
A. I don’t know. I have to see.

Q. What do you think of Mirjana’s potential?
A. I always thought very highly of Mirjana, I know her very well. Obviously she had a tough year, it’s great to see her playing so much better, and so, if she can play as well and keep the errors down, she can do really well.

Q. How important was it for you to — I mean, if you had won the first set, it was straight first set, because on your six service games she got one point.
A. Yes, it was weird. I had a few chances, but I just think my returns were nowhere, and as the match went along, especially the first set tie-breaker, it kind of disappeared at a pretty important time. I just didn’t get too many chances today to just, in my mind, get into the match.

Q. Would you say this is a big cross-roads in your career at the moment?
A. No, no, no.

Q. You fluctuated a bit between the single-handed and two-fisted forehand. How much was that a factor in the course of the match, and why did you do it? Can you talk a bit about that element of the game?
A. She just hit the ball really hard and I had a harder time covering some of her shots, and I felt my two-hander ground strokes were not going that great, so why not try something a little bit different? So that’s why I tried to hit one-handed shots.

Q. Monica, it’s two or three years now into your return to the game, more than enough time to get yourself back into the condition you were in the early 1990s. Does it seem now like you’re really not going to get back to where you were in the early 1990s and that you need to find some other way to win?
A. I think it’s going to be very tough, obviously, to play consistently as well as like that but, you know, it’s a tough one to say, because so many things, for that to happen, have to come together. Suddenly, Steffi, it all came together for her. So I don’t know, I just think you have to see. Time will tell.

Q. Was fitness a factor today, do you think?
A. I don’t think so. I think both of us, it was more — she hit the ball harder at key times and made the least amount of mistakes, and obviously she returned doubly better than I did today.

Q. Are you still really kind of highly motivated for this tournament? This was one — you said it was a really important one for you?
A. It’s definitely a really important tournament, but I’m pretty realistic about it. It’s always been in my career — about the tournament, my game doesn’t suit as well as Australia or Paris or some other tournaments. But you’ve just got to keep trying, and, you know, be realistic, though.