Charleston, South Carolina
April 16, 2002
Monica Seles defeats Amy Frazier 4-6,6-3,6-0
Q. How do you feel about going to Fed Cup?
MONICA SELES: I’m very excited. You know, last year not being able to defend our title, we really want to bring it back, and we have a terrific team and I’m just really looking forward to it a lot.
Q. Monica, Billie Jean said recently that you were the person that she could really depend on whenever she needed someone. I just wonder why Fed Cup is important to you.
MONICA SELES: Well, I mean to represent your country is just really the greatest honor out there, and I always tell Billie I’m available. You know, it’s been tough sometimes, I think for all of us, with the scheduling, to fit it in, and at the same time I absolutely love Billie Jean and it’s just a fantastic week to spend with her. And it’s just something that, you know, it was a priority for me to play Fed Cup.
Q. She wondered if you being a naturalized citizen, that maybe you appreciate playing for your country more than somebody who maybe grew up in this country.
MONICA SELES: Yeah. Definitely this country has given me so much, and I’m very thankful for that, and just you know, and then it’s a great honor to represent it. I mean I’m very lucky to be at that level that I could at the Olympics and at Fed Cup, and I work hard for it, and I really want to do it.
Q. How does it differ from a regular tournament, the numbers of practices and whatever?
MONICA SELES: Yeah. Well, it’s just such a different feeling because you’re not playing for yourself. In tennis it’s such an individual sport, it’s so easy to get caught up into that, and here you’re playing for your country and your teammates. It’s fantastic having Billie Jean on the court. I wish I could do that in every match. And it’s just a great week to spend with the girls. Obviously, you know, during other weeks of the year we’re competing against each other and it’s great to see them in a different light.
Q. Monica, what’s the difference between now when you’re sixth in the world and when you were No. 1? Seems like you’ve made the transition well. You hear people like Courier talking how they just didn’t handle the idea of not being on top of everybody all the time.
MONICA SELES: Yeah. All my career I’ve really been in the Top 10 barring those lovely injuries, but each one is tough. I mean right now the women’s tour is really difficult. The players are really unbelievable, the depth of the game. At the same time it’s a very heavy schedule. I think at this stage in my career I don’t plan to play, and that always hurts me in the rankings that it is currently. But I think the most important thing is, you know, I’m still enjoying the game, and pretty much that sums it up.
Q. Are you traveling with a dog this week?
MONICA SELES: No. My dog is at home. I wish. I didn’t know they had a doggie care.
Q. John Worthein talked a lot in his book about how he thinks you are really such a nice person, and what came across to me reading it is how quick you are to sign autographs. I get the impression you don’t take celebrity for granted.
MONICA SELES: Yeah. It’s something that is really fickle. Gosh, you have it here and you don’t the next day. I learned that early on in my career, but it’s not something that I truly care about. It’s something that I do play tennis well. People know me for that, but I’ve never wanted to be famous, quote, unquote, but there’s a lot of accurate stuff in the book, but there’s a lot of not accurate stuff in the book, on my end, just on my chapter.
I do think that the fans are the most important part of the game, and I know I was in that group one day. That’s how I started playing tennis, watching someone like Bjorn Borg and Navratilova, and kind of went on from there, and I’m sure a lot of other girls and boys started that way.
So I think it’s really important to give back as much as you can to the game because the game for this generation, I think for future generations, is giving a lot. That’s for sure.
Q. I just got the impression that it’s important you feel approachable.
MONICA SELES: It’s just my personality. I mean, gosh, I know on the tennis court I play very aggressively. A lot of people in the beginning thought I was very different. But no, I mean my parents always installed some values that are very close to me, and I’ve kept them, and I think it just helps you stay a balanced person, I mean regardless of being a good tennis player or bad tennis player. It’s more important to be, I think, a quality person.
Q. What’s the most important thing to you about tennis?
MONICA SELES: Just that I really love it. I mean I get to do something that I love to do every day, and I’m very lucky to have found that early on in my life. You know, I’m at a stage here pretty soon I’m going to have to move on from it, find something else that I love as much as I love playing tennis, but luckily, in some ways tennis supports a lifetime. So I can still play as long as I find partners.
Q. How much longer do you think you’ll play pro?
MONICA SELES: I really don’t know. I mean, truly, could be a week?to?week basis or could be years. I don’t want to close or open a window there. As long as I’m enjoying it, and who knows how long that is.
Q. Was the doubles match fun for you?
MONICA SELES: Yeah, it was fun. I’ve known Maja since we were little kids. We grew up in the same country and play a lot of junior tournaments and doubles together, and she’s one of the few moms on the Tour, so her life is not really easy traveling with her daughter. And it was just great to play with her yesterday, share some fun stories and a win was just a plus really.
Q. When you first started, you were perceived as such a hard hitter. People were having a hard time staying with you. It seems like the women’s tour has become so much more. Mary Carillo talks about it. At what point do you think you’ll no longer be perceived as one of the bigger, stronger players?
MONICA SELES: Well, I’m definitely not one of the hardest hitting players now. I mean you have to give that power to Serena and Venus and Lindsay, I think, in that group, but I think the game is not just about power, and that’s why I think women’s tennis is more popular than men’s because men’s is so much about the serve. I mean you hardly see any points, and I hope the women’s game never gets to that, but you’re seeing the girls are a lot taller, stronger and just seems to be a natural progression.
Q. I gather at some point that’ll end up being worse for the game?
MONICA SELES: I don’t know. I think it’ll be interesting to see ?? really interesting to see where women’s tennis is going to go in the next 15 years.
Q. Tell us about the state of your game. Did you have to withdraw last week?
MONICA SELES: Yeah. I played literally every week since December 24th, and my foot just a little bit started to act up, and I wanted to play it safe and took a week off starting a week ago to date, and I’m really happy with it today. I mean I was a little bit hesitant in the beginning and couldn’t find my form, but I hung in there and I turned things around.
Q. What pleased you most about your game in the match today?
MONICA SELES: Just that I really stayed in there. I didn’t get down on myself. It was a tough one, not too many things in the beginning especially are going your way, and suddenly you’re down 5?0, not to give up and pack up, but I just hung in there, played a point at a time and turned things around.
Q. How is your movement compared to the way it was? I mean is there much difference?
MONICA SELES: Yeah. I think it’s pretty much the same. Today I was a little bit nervous about testing it out. But at the same time it’s always hard the first tournament back on clay. I haven’t played on clay in two years. I didn’t play at all last year. So that’s why I’m happy that I could make this tournament and get ready for the French Open.
Q. Is that why playing Fed Cup going to be easier for you?
MONICA SELES: Oh, for sure. Definitely in the week just practicing is great. But I wanted to take the week off. It’s not ideal, but I played so much that I felt I needed a break.
Q. Is gray your new color for this year?
MONICA SELES: No. I think I’m changing for the French Open. It’s not up to me at all. It’s what they send me.
Q. It looks very nice.
MONICA SELES: Thank you.