Alex Stevenson interview
I'm not the *ahem* biggest fan of Alex, but she comes across much better in this interview than she has in others. She talks honestly about her game and goals, without any of the "I'm gonna win Wimbledon this year" kind of arrogance. She's ambition, certainly, but that's all to the good. And she seems to realise that she needs to work pretty hard, which is also good.
March 8, 2002
PACIFIC LIFE OPEN
Indian Wells, California
A. STEVENSON/S. Kleinova
An interview with:
MODERATOR: Questions for Alexandra.
Q. Do you want to talk about that match, that opponent?
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: It was good to get through it. It's a little hard to get a rhythm in the beginning. But I won, so
that's a good thing.
Q. You seemed to get your rhythm in the second set. You seemed to turn it up a notch. A little different game than the
first. Anything you did differently?
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: After 5-2, that long game that took over -- I was a little upset about that, so I decided to
speed it up a little.
I went up 3-0. That changed the rhythm. I was trying to do a Steffi Graf-style second set. I mean, she gets it over with. I
needed to speed the girl up because she was just putting me to sleep, she was going so slow. But I guess that's her
style, so I just had to pick up the pace a little.
Q. You won the first three games of the second set at love. Was it occurring to you that maybe you were going to bagel
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I was hoping to. Unfortunately, she got two games. It's all right, though. I focused well.
At 40-Love each of the three games?
Q. Yes. You won 14 points in a row.
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: That's good.
Q. How do you stand against Dementieva?
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, I lost to her in Moscow, so I need to beat her this time. I was a little upset. Moscow
was very close. It was an okay match. I had my chances. But I think I'm a better player.
But this court's slow, so I'm going to have to go out and really move my feet and play well. She's a tough player to beat,
so I'm going to have to play well.
Q. How are the conditions for your game here in Indian Wells?
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I think they're good. The courts are slow, like I said. I think Stadium 2 and Stadium 3, I don't
think people play on them all year, so they seem a lot slower than practice courts and Stadium Courts. That's what I've
noticed. Usually I notice a lot when it's a bit slower.
So playing this girl today, she really didn't have any pace on the ball, and it was hard because the ball just stuck. I really
had to move my feet.
So if I'm playing well, moving well, then the court's fine for me. I definitely like faster courts, though. I grew up in southern
California, so those courts are very fast. I mean, it's southern California here, but they resurface them.
Q. You've had some really great victories this year. Is there anything that you really are happy about in your game?
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I'm just happy that I'm playing better. It's not there yet. I mean, I have a while to go. A lot of
people have congratulated to me. I like to say, "On what, I haven't won a Grand Slam yet."
I still haven't reached my goals, but I'm getting there. It's a lot better than last year. I don't have any injuries. I'm physically
fit. I feel better, like I can move on the court all day long. It's a big difference when you don't have an injury. You feel a lot
I'm just going to keep working hard.
Q. In the match you played today, it's 1-2, you're down a break, did you have any concern about the match at that point?
What did you do?
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I was just upset that I lost my serve. There is no reason for that. I just figured I better break
her back and win my serve.
I wasn't really worried.
Q. I know you are doing distance learning. Do you still have time for your singing?
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I practice in my hotel room. But mostly I'm kind of stressing because I've had this whole
week to do my homework, and I need to go do it tonight because it's due Sunday by midnight. So I have two days left -
well, a day and a half left. So I need to do that tonight and tomorrow.
Q. I remember you saying that last week.
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: It always happens. It like comes up on you. I've done the reading, I just have to do the
papers. That's always the hardest part. You get the reading done the first few days, the next few days you stress over
what you have to write, then the last day you write it. College is very tough.
Q. What are the papers about?
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I'm taking composition class. Actually, it's not a paper. I wrote a paper last week, so I have
to evaluate my peers' papers and write two pages on what they wrote. That's always annoying.
Then this paper for fairytales is on narrative poetry. I have to write a paper on what I read, two to three pages,
well-written. Then I have to respond to my classmates.
Then communications I have a short paper due on anything that I pick in the book. So I think I might pick conflict. I kind of
like that. It's very interesting. Conflict in communication, non-verbal communication. You learn a lot. When you take
communications, you learn a lot about the media. So it's helping me.
Q. What have you learned about us?
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I can't reveal my secrets (laughter).
Q. You said your game is not where you want it to be. What kind of things are you doing and how long do you think it's
going to be before you get to the level you really want to play at?
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: I'm just going to keep working hard every day, work on things, like volleys. I mean, I'm still a
baby at serve and volley, if you go by years. I'm like maybe nine months old. I need to learn a lot about that.
Just getting to the net and learning where to volley and how to bend, where to put it. It's a tough game. I mean, I don't
have a baseline game like most of the girls out here who just sit on the baseline. I need to figure it out more because I
have a one-handed backhand and I want to come to the net. It's hard to get to the net against these girls. They're very
I'm just going to keep working on that. When I get there, then I'll tell you, but I'm not there yet.
Q. You seem to be making up for it in mental toughness where you're not strong in certain areas. When you became
very determined, it was clear you were going to finish it out.
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Yeah, mental -- kind of cliche, "Mental toughness is 90% of the game." But it's a very
important part of the game. If you can break the girls out here, you have a chance to win, if you're tougher than them.
It's been hard for me to get tough over the last two years, but I've had lots of things happen to me, and it's made me a lot
tougher. I'm glad they happened because I wouldn't be as tough as I am now. I just keep getting better each week.
Q. At the end of the first set, the last game, you guys went a long time with it. You said that was definitely frustrating to
you. It seemed equally frustrating to your opponent. Do you think that broke her at that point?
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON: Well, it was frustrating to me because she took so long. I mean, I shanked it back, a return,
she took like 30 seconds between serves.
I guess -- I don't know. I guess it broke her because then I went up 3-0. But I think I changed the pace and went a little
faster and got things going my way. So the momentum definitely swung a little.
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