2001 Australian Open – 2nd Round Interview

Melbourne, Australia
January 17, 2001
Monica Seles defeats Vavrinec 6-2,6-3

Q. (Inaudible)?

MONICA SELES: No, on that one side around a lefty at that time, it’s always a struggle to see. It’s right — the sun was right where my toss was.

Q. You play next round a left-handed player. Does it make you change your way to play when you play a lefty?

MONICA SELES: I probably try to get a practice partner, a lefty. I usually actually practice with Magui when I play another lefty player, so I’ll probably do that on Friday I think so, yeah. Because it’s a different ball. Actually, I’ve never played her. So I’ve seen her play.

Q. Did you see her?

MONICA SELES: No, it was right before my match. I just kept looking at the score but I didn’t see single points.

Q. David MaGraw (phonetic). A few games in now. What’s your feeling towards the tournament? How do you think you’re going?

MONICA SELES: Well, I mean it was really kind of my first match. It was unfortunate in my first round my opponent had to default with her first game. I feel for me this was my first round. Just feeling okay, just early rounds, just want to get through them and then just take it a day at a time.

Q. Do you think the draw’s been kind to you?

MONICA SELES: This year it’s a very difficult draw obviously. The fourth round — third round between Sandrine Testud and Justine Henin is a good match. Obviously Henin has been playing really well. But right now I just want to concentrate on my next round.

Q. Alan Atwood from The Age in Melbourne. Did you ever wander past those photographs in the locker room? There are photographs of yourself going back to 1991. Does that seem like several lifetimes ago?

MONICA SELES: I don’t have time to look back, I’m trying to be in the practice. You’re here at a Grand Slam tournament. I don’t have too much time to look around between practice and matches and getting ready for them. As I’m sure when I come back here as a retired tennis player to enjoy the tournament or the city, I’m sure I’ll look at it and remember good memories without a doubt.

Q. After many years on the Tour, what did you especially practice during the winter? Did you work physically?

MONICA SELES: I really had only two weeks, you know, and I took — it was three and a half weeks between Federation Cup and Perth that I left, so not much time. I mean ten days I took off because I crammed in a 12-month season into nine months to get my ranking up there. Really after Fed Cup I kind of needed a break with the Olympics in there and everything. So, you know, and I’ve been playing here now for three, four weeks. It just feels really long time but now I have a couple weeks at home so I think this will be more my preparation in a weird way than the ones before coming to Australia.

Q. It means that the beginning of this season is the flowing of the last season? I mean, there’s no –?

MONICA SELES: Well, I think it’s been a very long season obviously. Leaving right after the Open for the Olympics, for me the Olympics took a lot out of me because I wanted to go to try to see every other event there and play at the same time. Then I played a lot in the Far East. Then obviously playing the championships in Fed Cup and you had really 21 days before leaving to Perth. So that’s really not much. But as I said, I’ll have some more time off. I did a little bit of a different scheduling this year so hopefully, you know, that will help.

Q. It was reported in Perth during the Hopman Cup that somebody approached you from behind and tapped you on the shoulder. Can you tell us about that and whether it was an alarm?

MONICA SELES: No, it was so blown out of proportion, I couldn’t imagine. Jan-Michael and I finished our mixed doubles match, and a gentleman asked for my autograph behind me. I said I’ll sign when I move away. Then the next day it was all in the papers as, you know, the headlines. So it was nothing like it. The gentleman apologized about 20 times regarding that, and, you know, I personally thought that was really it.

Q. Your record here is close to flawless. Does this make it an especially comfortable place to slot back into?

MONICA SELES: Yeah, definitely I always played well here really all through the years. I enjoyed playing here. I really like the court surface. But, you know, every year is a new year. This year I had a little bit of a tougher time coming into the tournament, but I’ve been pretty lucky with how things have worked out during the last few days and just, you know, enjoy it as much as I can as always when I play down here.

Q. On that question of enjoyment, I mean, you’ve been a professional since you were 15 years old. Is this something you still enjoy or did it long ago become just a job?

MONICA SELES: No, I think the day I stop really enjoying it, especially the practice and travelling side – because that will be probably the first thing that I will stop not liking, because that’s — all the travelling is probably the most difficult – I’ll stop. I mean, I really absolutely have no reasons. Financially I’m very lucky enough that I don’t have to do this. Emotionally, I’m fine leaving the sport. But as long as I love to play and can compete at a high level and I’m enjoying it, I’ll keep playing.

Q. Getting back to the Olympics, was that a special experience for you?

MONICA SELES: Definitely. Just finally winning a medal was really special because in Atlanta I missed out on that chance. And just going to other events, meeting other athletes, actually getting to see some of my friends compete, it was just really special.

Q. Was there a highlight for you from the Olympics?

MONICA SELES: Definitely. I mean, it’s every four years. Just walking and the Opening Day ceremonies. It really is the only time in your life that you can relate to so many people that you have so much in common really.

Q. I mean was there a particular standout event or highlight from that two weeks?

MONICA SELES: I really went to every single event. I mean probably being there when Freeman won her gold was very special. You could just feel it in the stadium, getting goosebumps. Also the swimming. Then I’d never been to gymnastics before, just seeing that was really interesting.

Q. Seems like every second male player is muttering about retirement or not having much time left. Do you think about that at all?

MONICA SELES: I don’t know. I mean, this could be my last tournament. I really have no idea. I mean if I wake up and I feel that this is it and I feel that way for a few days, then I’ll move on. I mean I have so many other interests that I want to do and I’m still so young, so, you know, in some ways I’m looking forward to that life because it will be definitely less stressful than this one is. But today, if you’d ask me, I really haven’t thought about that. But I’m sure it will come. Each player’s different. You look at Agassi, he says he’s going to play until 35. You look at Rafter, and he’s going to stop at whatever, 28, 29. Each player is different. Your body’s different. Mentally if you’re happy with the lifestyle, you know, if you have family. I think so many things come into play with that question.

Q. Have you worked anything out that you want to do when you retire? Is there something in particular?

MONICA SELES: Yeah, I do. But I mean that’s so personal, it’s not going to be in the public or in the limelight, and I just look forward to living my life as a private citizen.