2001 Australian Open – 3rd Round Interview

Melbourne, Australia
January 19, 2001
Monica Seles defeats Loit 6-3,7-5

MONICA SELES: Actually played against Emilie at doubles two years ago at the Open so I kind of knew her serve game – even gave me trouble in doubles, but I didn’t expect it to give me as much trouble as it did today. It is always tough playing another left-hander because the ball comes so differently. I was struggling a lot. She also played really well.

Q. What are her weaknesses and her strengths?

MONICA SELES: I don’t know because as a player I really don’t look at that. I try to just worry about my own stuff. So really today, I mean, obviously her forehand was better, I think, but just really worried more about raising my level of game than so much what she could do.

Q. Did today tell you more or show you more about your form than you didn’t already know?

MONICA SELES: (Laughs) That I have a long way to go for my next match.
(Laughs) It is a good match, tough — especially really both sets, there was one service game each, and obviously Justine is a totally different player than Loit and she is probably one of the hottest players coming against Martina in this tournament. Last time I played her it was a very tough and close match. So we will just see how I play.

Q. Why do you think you are struggling a bit at the moment? Is it because it’s the first big event since the Christmas holiday?

MONICA SELES: I really don’t think so. I played well in Hopman Cup. I think when I got sick in Sydney I haven’t had a chance to hit for about four, five days. I am a player that likes to hit and really be in a groove. Probably trying now maybe little bit too hard and I am too tough on myself. Maybe and I am getting more frustrated and it is not helping. I just got to do the best that I can out there and not expect so much because the more I expect the worst I am getting.

Q. Is the virus pretty much gone? Still taking antibiotics?

MONICA SELES: I still take the antibiotics but I feel much better.

Q. Is Harold Solomon out here with you?

MONICA SELES: Yes, because my coach Bobby couldn’t come. His dad was really ill so Harold is helping me out these couple of weeks.

Q. How is it going?

MONICA SELES: It’s going great. I worked with Harold actually here two years ago here in Australia. And I talk to Harold a few times and I worked with him at his house couple years back. I really like him. He is great. Coming into tough situation because I have been playing singles and doubles so he really hasn’t had a chance to work on anything with me because it has been tennis non-stop, but…

Q. How do you think you will approach the match against Justine?

MONICA SELES: Well, right now, just have to play probably the highest level of tennis that I can pretty much because otherwise I am going to be out of the tournament. So serve well, return well, and play my game pretty much.

Q. Still one of the top players on the Tour. Does it bother you when you see stories that you are going to retire and stuff like that?
MONICA SELES: I just had a feeling that for such a long time my career — people were always wanting me to retire. Probably the toughest press conference I did was after the Ericsson last year when I lost to Martina. I just thought it was not fair because I really fell I am fair to the press. But what I just said the other day, I am going to play as long as I enjoy to play and if I wake up one day and I feel like I don’t feel like playing, and you think a couple of weeks, then I will stop. That is all I said. But right now I really wouldn’t want to be anywhere else or doing anything else. In my mind I am not even thinking of retirement right now.

Q. Why do you think there was such a preoccupation trying to not force the issue, but bring up the issue because Arantxa made a similar comment and people were always trying to –?
MONICA SELES: I don’t know what it is. I really don’t know. When Navratilova used to played she used to tell me, gosh, they keep asking me when I am retiring; why don’t they leave me alone. I think she was probably 33 when it started. Now it’s starting earlier. Maybe because we have been around for so long and maybe they just want, you know, I don’t know women retire and move on. I don’t know, it’s very strange why they are doing that because it is for sure done more to the women tennis players compared to the men.

Q. Have you ever talked to — I know it is a different sport, Jackie Joyner about that because she came out of retirement and came back and tried to come back and do the long jump?
MONICA SELES: Definitely, I mean, and in even this year really– well, last year coming back for the Sydney Olympics, but just I think in her sport it is the same thing and you look at — Hikey Drexler (phonetic) who I think is 36 and she is still doing well. It’s an individual thing and that is why I just hate it when people put that this person should retire here or there. My main goal really all my career was that I just love to play tennis and I really — that is the only reason why I started; only reason why I came back; only reason why I want to play. As long as I am enjoying it, gosh, I mean, it is a wonderful life, it has given me so many opportunities. So I mean, I think I am doing something that I love to do. I couldn’t imagine anything better than that.

Q. Do you think it is a little bit of a sexist thing, people think women should just have babies?
MONICA SELES: Yeah, definitely – I am going to get in trouble – in society, in general, for some players that is great. You see Domonique doing that. You see Sabine Appelmans, they felt it was there time to move on. Same thing with Steffi, you see how wonderful, they move on in their life, it is great to see. But I think let everyone do it on their own terms when they want to do it.

Q. Justine says that after three weeks of playing competition, winning matches, the most difficult is to keep focus because she is a little bit tight. You are known with some long winning streak. Can you comment about what she says?
MONICA SELES: Definitely. It is a tough one for sure because she probably hasn’t had too many days off. I don’t know if she is playing doubles here or not. And I think her game, it takes — has to take a lot out of her. I know last year she had a lot of injuries so she is probably not used to playing as much. But at the same time she is also coming into this probably most confident. It is no greater feeling than when you are on such a winning streak because you feel so good about your game and about everything when you walk on-court.