2000 Wimbledon – 4th Round Interview

July 03, 2000
M. Seles defeats A. Sanchez Vicario 6-3,6-4

Q. Going better and better?

MONICA SELES: Well, I played better today. It was a tough match, especially the last two games. They were just quite amazing points in there. Probably I wanted to win it very badly, and I think she didn’t want to lose it. We both fought so much in there.

Q. You have the hard, flat strokes, the pace on the ball to beat Lindsay Davenport, who is a good athlete, but not the fastest player on the tour, yet she’s dominated you over the past couple years. Why? What do you have to do to beat her?

MONICA SELES: Well, I think her serve obviously is a huge advantage I think in there. She’s improved the depth of her groundstrokes, and both sides are solid. You saw that today against Jennifer. She doesn’t give you really any free points. Every point you have to play some top tennis. I think that’s why she and Hingis throughout the year have just been much more consistent from the rest of us.

Q. But she’s beatable?

MONICA SELES: Oh, I think so. You have to believe that, otherwise might as well not go out there. I mean, every person I think is beatable.

Q. Have you learned anything new about the grass courts this year, playing on grass?

MONICA SELES: Well, just little bits and pieces. For advice, I’ve talked to Billie quite a few times. That has helped tremendously. Also to my coach Bobby, and Mary Joe. So little bits and pieces you take, try to absorb, try to apply that. Sometimes it’s working and sometimes it’s not. But it hopefully will make me a smarter player out there.

Q. Are you afraid to share those little bits and pieces?

MONICA SELES: I would just not because I think it’s confidential when I talk to them. I don’t need my opponents to know that, too.

Q. They don’t read us.

MONICA SELES: Oh, yeah, they do (laughter).

Q. Do you find when you toss in some dropshots or change pace with Lindsay, that it does have a good effect?

MONICA SELES: I think so, definitely. Because still I think Lindsay moves definitely better sideways than in the front. But I will have to be very consistent. The last time I played her was in Scottsdale, and my serve really let me down. I think on this surface, I’ll have to use my lefty serve a lot better and just really be aggressive on my returns.

Q. Do you ever get psychologically in a situation where you lose four or five matches, you think, “I can’t beat her”?

MONICA SELES: No. I think it becomes more of a challenge. That’s the thing that keeps you going on certain days when it’s tough out there, it’s a tough practise. It keeps you going. “Oh, boy, Lindsay and Martina are doing all these workouts.” Not at all. It’s a challenge. But up to now, reality-wise, she has just been better. She improved more in the last three years than I have.

Q. This has been a wonderful tournament for American women. Serena just explained she thought it was because of McDonald’s. Why do you think American women are doing so well here?

MONICA SELES: I think the main reason, most of the players grew up on hard courts, even myself. I really started by age 13 practising always on hard courts. We have hard groundstrokes. All the girls are hitting hard. The only other one is Lisa really who is a serve-and-volley player. I think we all like fast-paced balls and hard balls. That’s one of the reasons why maybe at the French this year, we didn’t have as many Americans.

Q. In today’s game, do you see yourself on the level with Venus and Serena, Lindsay, Martina, or do you see yourself a shade below them trying to catch up?

MONICA SELES: That’s hard to say. I mean, depending on what day it is. I’ve been trying to improve my consistency, but I think so have they. They haven’t been the most consistent. I definitely feel right now, today, I can’t say a shade below because I’m playing one of the players tomorrow. That would be a terrible way to go into it. But up to this moment, I mean probably. Martina and Lindsay have beaten me the last couple times I played them.

Q. A lot of the players you measured yourself against, especially Steffi, have moved on. Is it strange to compare yourself to a new set of players here?

MONICA SELES: No. Because, I mean, those questions have arised probably for the past three or four years of my career, so it’s nothing new.

Q. How much would getting to the final or winning Wimbledon mean to you after all this time?

MONICA SELES: I just try not to go there. I’m just really happy that I won my match today, just get ready for tomorrow’s match, come out really strong tomorrow. That’s really my main goal now.

Q. When you were working with Gavin Hopper, he was trying to develop more one-handed shots for you. Have you ever pursued that with any seriousness?

MONICA SELES: Not really. But really with Gavin, we never kind of practised a one-handed forehand or that stuff, no. But that’s one thing that I would like, to hit more one-handers. I did pretty well in practise. Everybody seems to believe if I can get there, get there with two hands.

Q. Is it a confidence thing where in the match you just don’t want to take the chance, you feel better with the two-hander , where you know in the long run it might be better to hit it one-handed?

MONICA SELES: Probably. But everyone around me seems to want me to hit two-handed shots, even if I’m out of the court. That’s one area that I did talk to my coach, Bobby, a couple of tournaments back at Rome, that I want to improve that shot. We’ll see.

Q. Who is it that you’re working with physically training?

MONICA SELES: Chris is his name.

Q. His last name?

MONICA SELES: Molesky (phonetic).

Q. Is he driving you fairly hard?

MONICA SELES: Huh-uh, no. It’s been just very consistent, nothing extraordinary I haven’t done before. He works for Bobby, so it’s been great to have Bobby back again.

Q. The Williams sisters have talked at their young age about retiring in a couple years. Do you see yourself playing into your 30s?

MONICA SELES: I have absolutely no idea. I really don’t. In this moment, I don’t even think about that.

Q. You’ll just play as long as you feel like you’re enjoying it?

MONICA SELES: I just play as long as I love to play. I know I’ll play the game of tennis hopefully forever, if everything goes well. I mean, you never know where your health and different things can arise. But professionally, I have no idea right now.

Q. You talked before about challenges. Do you create any challenges for yourself during the year?


Q. To achieve a certain level, ranking, wins, win a tournament you never won before, like Wimbledon?

MONICA SELES: It’s really winning tournaments. Every single tournament you enter, that’s the challenge. That’s why I think you keep improving, working hard. It would be in my case.

Q. Can you define why you love this game so much?

MONICA SELES: I don’t know. I just really enjoy going out there, playing tennis. I mean, I started playing tennis really in a parking lot and a tennis wall – used to being with myself a lot. I just like it. I don’t know.

Q. A parking lot?

MONICA SELES: Uh-huh. They had only four tennis courts where I grew up. They didn’t give them to little kids. Had to be good to earn court time.

Q. A lot is made of I guess the beauty of the players. Can you reflect on the time when you were doing photo shoots with wigs and sunglasses?

MONICA SELES: That was once. Not often.

Q. Can you reflect on that time?

MONICA SELES: In what sense?

Q. Was there a sense of you kind of playing up your star quality beyond your tennis? Was that fun? Were you angry that you were coaxed into doing that?

MONICA SELES: I really don’t have a feeling A or B on it at this point. I would just have to make up something. I don’t want to do that.

Q. Being in the quarterfinals now, years ago when you were in the quarterfinals, do you think your chances are better now than they were then?

MONICA SELES: Well, I had a fantastic chance two years ago against Zvereva, a few other ones the years before. Looking at the draw, it’s probably not the best chances compared to those chances. But that’s in the past. I just have to look to tomorrow’s match really.

Q. You know you’re in better shape today than you were a year ago. Can you actually come off the court now after four matches and tell that you’re in better shape physically?

MONICA SELES: Oh, yeah. I just haven’t gotten tired. I’ve been able to practise after matches. Even today when you have to do a lot of running, before I would be tired, sore, so I’m fine. In terms of that, yeah, a huge difference, I think recovery times. But I still feel I have a ways to go to be where I would like to be ideally.

Q. What kind of a psychological boost is that to you in terms of confidence as you go into the last three rounds?

MONICA SELES: I think it helps to know that you can stay out there if it goes to tough three-set matches. For sure it helped me at the French, I think for the first time in three, four years at the French Open, I didn’t really lose it physically. Last year I felt, and the year before, I lost to Arantxa at the end because I was physically exhausted. Same thing to Steffi. That i think has helped. That’s one area I’ve tried to improve upon.

Q. Do you have a feeling now that when you get into a tough match, “I don’t have to win this set, I’m going to be okay in the third”?

MONICA SELES: I know in the back of my mind I sure have that. I try to win every single set. When I get into that mindset, “You can relax, you won the first set,” I learned too many lessons that way.

Q. I don’t mean relaxed.

MONICA SELES: Oh, yeah, I definitely have that thought, it’s okay if it goes three sets, or even if someone runs me side-to-side, I’ll be fine because I’ve done it so often in practise.