2002 U.S. Open – QF Interview

September 04, 2002

V. Williams d. Seles 6-2,6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Monica, please.

Q. Is Venus beatable by you or by anyone when she’s serving that well?
MONICA SELES: I don’t know. I mean, she was just really better than I was in every department tonight.

Q. Specifically talking about her serve. How tough was it?
MONICA SELES: Well, I just — I think the match tells it all. I think I had one breakpoint. She just served too well. I really couldn’t read it at all. Was too strong.

Q. You have won a lot of time 2 and 3. How does it feel to be on the other side of a big match?
MONICA SELES: I’ve lost to her many times 2 and 3. This is not the first time. She’s one of the toughest players for me to play. Each time I go into a match I know it’s tough because she has her weapons that make it difficult for me to play her.

Q. In a quarterfinal appearance, can you take a positive from that at this point? Is that a good tournament?
MONICA SELES: I really don’t look at it that way. You come into a tournament wanting to win it. Tonight I faced a player that was just better, you know. Really, whatever department, she just played better than I did tonight.

Q. When you saw Venus struggle against Rubin, did you think that might make her more dangerous tonight?
MONICA SELES: I really didn’t see the match. But, gosh, you can’t — maybe Chanda played better than I did. I don’t know. I can just speak about the match. She was just better than I was out there.

Q. How do you think you played tonight?
MONICA SELES: It’s hard to say because a lot of times I had little bit of a window and I kind of made more unforced errors than I would have liked to. But then a lot of times she didn’t give me any chances. The balls were coming back very fast.
When you lose, you definitely didn’t — you don’t feel you played well. At the same time, I got to give credit for her. Her serves were just too strong for me to return and that put a lot of pressure on my own serve.

Q. You might not want to answer this, but who do you think is a better player between the two of them?
MONICA SELES: I haven’t played Serena in more than a year’s time. I think she’s improved a lot since then. So, I mean, it’s hard. I haven’t seen the Wimbledon or the French Open finals, it’s really hard for me to say.
It seems from the last two matches, Serena. But Venus has won this tournament twice in a row. So, you know, we’ll see.

Q. A year ago at this time it was like — the mix was six or seven players reasonably could go for it. Now they seem to have pulled away quite a bit, obviously.
MONICA SELES: Yeah, definitely.

Q. Was it fair to say the most improved players are the Williams sisters?
MONICA SELES: Well, I think Venus was playing very well last year to win the US Open. I think she won all the three tournaments coming in. So in my eyes last year Venus was the favorite, as I think this year Serena’s won the most tournaments. I think the one that has improved a lot is Serena, very much so.

Q. With the September 11th anniversary a week away, the thing that happened with Serena last week, there’s a lot of attention to security on the tour. What’s your sense of the feeling of you and the other players about how things are handled nowadays?
MONICA SELES: I really don’t know. I mean, hard for me to comment because I don’t know the things that are going around. Just coming into the stadium you feel you have to go through security check points before you didn’t have to go. But I really don’t know the details, so what goes around behind the scenes…

Q. Do you feel secure?
MONICA SELES: I’ve always felt secure at the tennis court, all my career. So I would see no difference today or…

Q. What do you have to do against Venus when she’s serving that well?
MONICA SELES: Well, you got to return better and you got to serve yourself better to put the pressure on her. But, you know, when someone is serving 115, it’s tough to return no matter how well you’re playing.

Q. When you did have that one breakpoint, she came back with about an 112 mile ace. Did that deflate you?
MONICA SELES: No, I mean, all night long I had a very tough time on her serve. Her serve tonight for me was just too good. I mean, that sums it up.

Q. Is it as painful to lose this deep into a Grand Slam tournament as it used to be?
MONICA SELES: Oh, each one is very painful, I mean, each loss. I think if it wouldn’t, then you wouldn’t be playing. That’s for sure. I mean, each loss – last year I lost in the fourth round – was just as bad as losing in the quarters this year.

Q. Is there anything from this that you get a feeling like you can improve on? You know, how do you close that gap?
MONICA SELES: Well, I definitely have to work on my serve a little bit. Not just this match but this past tournament, it’s been out there.
I’d have to sit down and, you know, not make a hasty decision here.

Q. You didn’t want to go into the details of the difference between your play now and the clip that was on TV. If you played the Monica from that period, how do you think the match would turn out?
MONICA SELES: It’s hard to say because obviously I didn’t have to face a serve like Venus’ going up in those 115s and stuff like that. That would be a big difference. You know, to compare to that…

Q. You’ve played a lot of great players in the years and stuff. Your game has gone up and down in shifts. It’s hard to analyze this. Out of all the players you played, which player was capable of shutting you out of a match and intimidating you? Just playing so well?
MONICA SELES: Well, all the top players. For sure going back, Chris Evert, I had some tough losses, Navratilova, Steffi. Then Martina Hingis, Venus, Serena. I mean, I had some bad losses against each one. So…
I mean, any given day, any of those ten players out there.

(Note: this is a partial transccript)