2000 Italian Open – SF Interview

May 20, 2000
M. Seles defeats Morariu 6-3,6-1

Q. How does it feel to play in the final here after ten years?

MONICA SELES: It feels fantastic. Obviously, as I said before, I have such great memories from 1990 and to come back and play so well in 2000 it’s really a fantastic feeling.So I definitely will keep on playing if, you know, God allows my body and everything to be healthy.

Q. How do you feel about the end of this week, Monica?

MONICA SELES: I feel physically fine. I mean, I’ve got a slight bit of a cold today. I don’t feel my best, but otherwise I feel fine. I mean I had some tough matches both in my singles and doubles. Tomorrow’s going to be a very difficult match, but then I have a whole week to recover before the French Open, so I should be fine.

Q. Amelie Mauresmo is one of the few good players you have never met. So how do you see this match, and are you pleased to play her?

MONICA SELES: Well, I like – I really like Amelie’s style of play. Obviously, I’ve seen her play in Australia. That really was the only time. It’s always fun to play someone you have never played on the Tour, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s match.

Q. Do you think that you have to play your own game against her, or do you have to make some changes?

MONICA SELES: Well, I have to talk to my coach. I realize I haven’t seen her play in a whole year, a year and a half, and he got to see today’s match. So I really have to talk to him before I decide my game plan for tomorrow’s match.

Q. What about the match today? She made a lot of mistakes. It was not easy maybe to stay focused?

MONICA SELES: Well, I think it was so windy out there. I think Corina made so many more errors than she usually does in a match. I think both of us struggled because it was swirling everywhere, so there really wasn’t that many good points out there today because it’s just tough conditions. But I just tried to stay focused and just really stay on top of her and try to finish the match.

Q. Do you have particular goals in terms of ranking for this year?

MONICA SELES: No. I mean obviously I’ve missed six months, so the rankings for me right now are not quite the way that I’m playing up to it. But I really never put too much emphasis on the rankings. You don’t like to fall out of a position of being seeded, like when I played my second tournament back in Scottsdale this year, but besides that, it’s not something that I worry about.

Q. You talked a little bit this week about your 1990 final with Martina. What about the other two Finals when you lost?

MONICA SELES: Gabby, yeah. I just remember some really tough matches. Gabby really owned me on this court. I don’t think I’ve ever beaten her on this court here. Then we always had to play twice in the Semis of the French, and I owned her on that court. I just remember some tough battles, some of those battles that you really have to think very hard in the match. Because when Gabby was playing well – and I think this was one of her favorite tournaments – she was tough as anybody out there. And I liked her as a person, too, and, you know, back in those days she was really one of the very few people that was nice to me. So it was always harder to play a player that you got along well with.

Q. Many things have changed in life and in tennis in the last ten years. Are you still the same, or what has changed in you?

MONICA SELES: Well, I think I’m not the same. I mean in some ways, I probably am, the core of me. But I think certain circumstances have definitely changed me. Even if they wouldn’t have happened, ten years is a long time in a person’s life. I hope ten years from now I’ll be different than I am now. But it’s been a fantastic ten years for me, a lot of highs, a lot of lows, then a lot of things in the middle. But I think in terms of my career, I never lost the love that I have for the game of tennis and that’s what really means to me the most. So that’s why I look really fondly back, even through difficult times of my life.

Q. This is a question which might have been asked of you a thousand times, but you have had everything in tennis, satisfaction and victories, what still keeps you going?

MONICA SELES: I didn’t understand the first part. What was the first part?

Q. The first part, you had everything in tennis, and what keeps you going now?

MONICA SELES: I really – I mean not just now – but really from the first day I hit a tennis ball, it was the love of the game. I was very lucky to have a father who, you know, didn’t discourage me from it because in those days girls were not supposed to play sports. And even in my own family there were a lot of disagreements. He just encouraged me to dream. I worked hard, and a lot of things happened. But I can’t say that I ever dreamed about those things happening or really wanting them to happen, but it’s really been very simple for me. Just that I love to play the game of tennis. I would play it if there would be no professional Tour, if there wouldn’t be all this stuff coming with it. And I just hope that for young kids who are growing up today, because tennis has become such a big business, that they’ll start to play tennis because they enjoy the game, not for any other reasons.

Q. This means even when you will stop in 100 years you will still continue to play?

MONICA SELES: Oh, I don’t think I’ll live to 100. (Laughter) That’s great. I will, for sure. I mean, I just love to play. I mean, really, I think the toughest thing for me when I got stabbed was really not playing for those years. That was the only period that I didn’t really want to go back to the tennis court. Besides that, there were too many days in my life I enjoyed to be there. I enjoy really playing with friends back at home. I’m very lucky that I have my own court, that we can even hit quietly. They are not really as good a player as I am, it’s not the most beneficial, but it’s really fun. So I definitely will keep on playing if, you know, God allows my body and everything to be healthy.

Q. Just returning to the match today, you said after the match yesterday that you had some mental lapses and your mind would fly away. You seemed today like you weren’t going to let that happen. Did you give that some thought before the match?

MONICA SELES: Definitely. I tried not to have that happen because Corina is a player that can start playing very well and then she cannot play so well. So I just told myself once you win the first set or if you’re leading, just try to stay on top of her instead of letting her back into the match like the last couple of matches that I have played. And I think that definitely helped in today’s match. I really stayed on top of her.