2002 Pacific Life Open – SF Interview

Indian Wells, California
March 14, 2002
Martina Hingis defeats Monica Seles 6-3,6-2

MODERATOR: Questions for Monica.
Q. It had been a tournament in which you had been pretty dominant up until this last game. What kind of changed today?

MONICA SELES:Well, I struggled yesterday, and today again I couldn’t find my rhythm.That was really it. I just made error after error, and Martina just played too good. I guess she made me hit those errors.

Q.You could find no way into the match at all at any point?

MONICA SELES:I had a very difficult time I think with my serve, and that really put a lot of pressure on me, that I couldn’t hold my service games.She was up immediately in the first set with a break.And the second set, when the two breaks happened, I knew my chances were not too good.

Q.Have you been having problems with your toss?

MONICA SELES:Yeah, I was surprised.I don’t know why. It really wasn’t too windy out there. I have no idea why I struggled with that.

Q.We talked earlier about you had played a lot of weeks in a row.Did it finally all catch up with you, maybe?

MONICA SELES:No, I don’t think so.It’s one of those days.Unfortunately, came out today, things were not going your way.Against a player like Martina, didn’t really get a chance to get into the match.I pressed a little bit maybe more trying to go for more shots, and I was really missing them. After that, just kind of lose a little bit of confidence.

Q.Was Martina doing anything different today than in your past matches?

MONICA SELES:Not that I’m– no, not really. Pretty much the same.She’s very steady, very good off both sides and aggressive.

Q.How much confidence do you have going on the court against her?

MONICA SELES:I really have good confidence going in.Every player that I play at that point when I walk into a match, I really don’t look in the past or the future.So no different yesterday, no different today.

Q.But during the match, you’ve lost to her a number of times, when you get down, you have to think, “Oh, no.”

MONICA SELES:When you’re down 3-Love with two breaks, “Wow.”Not a happy camper out there.Like today, that’s for sure.When I got down, she’s too good.I was really not living up to the game that I need to play if I want to have success against her.

Q.You’ve obviously had a fabulous Hall of Fame career.At any point have you had any regrets about your strokes, particularly the two hands off of both wings?

MONICA SELES:I haven’t really thought about that at all.No, probably no.

Q.We talked about this yesterday, about strategy against Martina.Do you feel there’s no other way to play her than the way you play her right now?

MONICA SELES:Well, I just think– I don’t know how many errors I had today, but to me it just felt a lot.Even when I was up at 40-Love, I would still struggle to hold those service games.She puts that pressure on you.

But today I just couldn’t come up, I guess, with the shots. Yeah, it’s one of those days.I don’t know myself, so…

Q.You guys both kind of play like you’re racing to catch an airplane.Have you ever thought of trying to slow things down a little when you’re running behind?

MONICA SELES:Well, it never has been my game.I hate to do that, kind of to change that around.I personally like to play when it’s a fast-paced game.I tried to slow down a little bit because points were going so fast at some point.But it really didn’t change the momentum at all.

Q.Do you think Hantuchova can withstand Hingis?

MONICA SELES:They’ve never played.Going to be an interesting match-up.First time they’re playing against each other.I haven’t seen any of Daniela’s matches this week, but she has to be playing really well.It’s going to be an interesting final.

Q.What do you think of Martina’s level of play this week?

MONICA SELES:She played really well today.She didn’t give me too many errors.It’s so hard for me just to say anything now because I’m so stuck in my own head with my own game. But obviously she has been playing good tennis.I mean, she hasn’t lost too many games this week.

Q.Do you remember the first time you played in a final?

MONICA SELES:All my life, my career?

Q.Your very first final on the tour.

MONICA SELES:Yeah, I think it was Virginia Slims of Houston.I think so.Somewhere there.

Q.Against Chris?

MONICA SELES:Chris, I think, somewhere there.

Q.What kind of advice would you give from that experience for Daniela?

MONICA SELES:I think Daniela is a couple years older.She’s been on the tour.She played one mixed doubles Grand Slam.I think she has the experience going in.

She’s a very composed person.I mean, she’s very mature for her age.I think she’s going to enjoy the spotlight that’s going to be on that match on Saturday.

Q.How composed were you before your first final against Chrissy?

MONICA SELES:Actually, pretty composed.I think the younger you are, the better it is.

Q.Do you take some heart in what a great fan favorite you continue to be no matter where you go?

MONICA SELES:Yeah, definitely.I mean, that’s why when you have a match like today, it’s really difficult because it really wasn’t a spectacular match to watch.It’s frustrating.But definitely they helped me so much yesterday.Today I kind of couldn’t get it going.But it’s a great feeling.

Q.A question about Martina.Despite her size disadvantage, what do you think the possibilities of her reemerging, becoming No.1 for an extended period?

MONICA SELES:Well, I mean, it’s so hard to say because right now it seems there are four or five girls that just keep changing the No.1 position.Obviously, when you play someone like she played two weeks ago, Serena, you know, sometimes she finesses out Serena, sometimes Serena overpowers her.It just depends.

I think she’s been playing much better this year than last year.I think her results have shown that.As anyone really, I’d be interested to see who is going to finish the year No.1.

Q.Do you consider Martina one of your biggest adversaries in your career?

MONICA SELES:Yeah, I mean, she’s one of the players definitely that I played a lot.I don’t have the greatest record against her. So for sure, yeah.

Q.Are you going to play Fed Cup?Do you want to play all year?

MONICA SELES:I really haven’t decided at all my schedule.I mean, I feel I’m going to take a break at some point.I just haven’t made up my mind which weeks those are.

Q.Do you think maybe it’s time for some of the younger players to step in?

MONICA SELES:I think it would be great to see that.I mean, I do hope a couple of the girls do play this year who haven’t in the past. I’ve played continuously, since ’96, literally every tie that was.I made the mistake in my schedule at the beginning of the year.I just want to make sure that I stay fresh and healthy going into the clay court season.