2003 Australian Open – 1st Rnd Interview

January 14, 2003

Seles d. Kurhajcova 6-0,6-1

THE MODERATOR: First question for Monica, please.

Q. You still seem to be able to keep up the same intensity up 6 -0, 3-0. How do you do that?
MONICA SELES: It was just a little bit wild there, 3-love in the second set. In a Grand Slam, anything can happen. We saw that last night. You just want to close the match.
It was tough. We waited so long for the match. I didn’t know what to expect. She hits that ball so hard, and I was just happy that I played it aggressively enough to win in two easy sets.

Q. Is that the perfect start, you not having to go on too long, ready to go for the next one?
MONICA SELES: Not really. I think in a Grand Slam you’re just ready for everything. It really would not matter to me. You know, just really one point at a time, match at a time. Tomorrow it won’t make a difference. I’m just happy I’m still in the tournament and look forward to the second round.

Q. Do you feel there’s no pressure on you this year?
MONICA SELES: Yeah, that’s been the case for the past three, four years. I’m just really at this very happy stage in my career where my body’s still letting me play, I’m still enjoying working hard and playing some good, solid tennis.

Q. After what happened to Jennifer last night and Serena today, what pressure does that bring you in your first round?
MONICA SELES: I truly don’t look at the other scores because that’s really so irrelevant at this stage. I just worry about what’s ahead of me. I don’t watch any of the other matches. Obviously when someone like Jennifer, the defending champion, loses, everybody talks about it so you hear about it. I just try to worry about, you know, what’s ahead of me and what’s my business.
But it shows how strong the women’s tour is, though, that first rounds are as tough. Anyone can beat anybody nowadays.

Q. You’ve got a qualifier in the next round. Do you know much about her?
MONICA SELES: No, no. But, you know, she’s — she has to play very well, she beat Maria Sharapova, who I played two weeks ago in Hong Kong, who’s a great young player. I’m going to ask around the other players and see what I can come up with.

Q. Having an easy game tonight; you’ve got a qualifier in the next round; is it good, from your point of view, to have matches when you’re expected to win?
MONICA SELES: You can’t — you never know. I mean, it can be good, it can be bad. I’ve been doing this for so long. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter. Every day is a new day. You could wake up, not feel good, you could wake up, feel great. That’s so irrelevant. I just try to go home, get a good night’s rest, come back, practice, and be the best that I can be for my next match.

Q. How do you keep the hunger going after being on the tour for so long?
MONICA SELES: For me it’s so simple. I just love to play tennis. Besides that, that’s why I start as a little girl – I said this so many times – that’s the only reason I keep playing. I’m lucky enough to play at a high level still professionally but I know I’ll play tennis as a sport for me for a lifetime.