2002 French Open – 2nd Round Interview

May 31, 2002

Seles d. Cervanova 6-2,6-2

Q. How do you feel this year in the French Open?
MONICA SELES: I’m very happy that the weather has gotten a lot nicer. It sure makes it easier for all the players, and I’m just happy to be through to the fourth round.

Q. You seem to have improved enormously after your first round. It was a bit difficult, the first round. How do you see the rest of the tournament?
MONICA SELES: I had just come off from Madrid and the conditions were night-and-day difference from the first day here. Obviously it’s a Grand Slam. I think all the players have been struggling with a little practice because of the weather. Just happy to be playing every match and, you know, so far, so good.

Q. After one year of being absent, are you happy to be back home? You won three times here? It’s always a pleasure winning here.
MONICA SELES: It was very difficult having to miss it last year. I came very close to having to do it this year. Just at this stage it would be really tough because you want to try to play each one if you can.

Q. Ten years after your last victory, it would be a beautiful story to win once again here.
MONICA SELES: Oh, yeah, definitely. I mean, any Grand Slam would be a beautiful story I think for any of the players in the draw. Obviously this is where my success started in terms of Grand Slams. It’s a very special place in my heart.

Q. You mentioned the weather’s getting nicer. It was kind of a rough first few days. Did this Grand Slam take a little slower to get started for a lot of the players?
MONICA SELES: I think so. Everybody were joking that it’s getting to be like Wimbledon. It was just really unfortunate the first couple days, and I think Sunday, too. But I guess the weather’s supposed to stay nice the next few days. Especially I think the first week when you have so many matches to play and everybody’s uneasy. Once you have a few matches, it’s a little bit easier, even if there’s a rain delay.

Q. Steffi Graf, do you miss her? You are 28. There are many young players like Hantuchova. How do you see the younger players?
MONICA SELES: Well, it’s great to see that. On the tour right now we have wide ranges from 15 to 33. I really haven’t given a thought to that at all. I’m just happy playing and that’s about it.

Q. Today we saw that you were one of the favorite of the crowd. Are you happy with the crowd?
MONICA SELES: The support I always got here was great. I mean, probably one time it was a little iffy when I played Mauresmo a couple years back. But besides that, it’s been really fantastic.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the match today.
MONICA SELES: Yeah. Well, it was a tough match. I mean, I’ve never seen her play. I never know kind of what to expect. I was surprised she beat Iva. I wanted to make sure I was ready. And I just didn’t feel that comfortable today on court. But hopefully, you know, for my next match, I’ll improve.

Q. You’ve got Hantuchova next. She was saying that she watched you a lot when she was younger, growing up. I know it’s a situation you’ve probably come across before, but is it a bit weird playing someone that watched you when they were little?
MONICA SELES: Yeah, I went through that, the same thing. I watched Chris Everett and Navratilova and so forth and on. That’s just evolution. It will happen. It happens to me, it’s gonna happen to her down the road. It happens to everyone. You know, just happy to be this long in the sport I guess, to see it happen to me (smiling).

Q. You played first time Cervanova and you won. Next one is…
MONICA SELES: Hantuchova.

Q. Next one is Hantuchova. They both are Slovakian. Did you play Hantuchova before?
MONICA SELES: No, I never played her. She’s obviously been — improved really a lot this year, winning in Indian Wells. She’s had some good results. So it’s going to be a very tough match for me.

Q. What do you think altogether about the progress in tennis in Slovakia right now, the girls?
MONICA SELES: They have good girl players, that’s for sure. You see in tennis really so many players from eastern bloc countries. We see that from Yugoslavia, Russia. But the Slovaks, Czechs, they always had a great program. I mean, gosh, some of the best players come from that area.