Craybas' Post-Match Interview
J. Craybas - Day 6
Saturday, June 25, 2005
JILL CRAYBAS: Thank you.
Q. How does it feel to be up there and beating Serena?
JILL CRAYBAS: It feels great. I'm not sure if it's hit me yet, but it feels really good, yeah.
Q. Were there times you felt you were choking a little bit?
JILL CRAYBAS: No. I mean, I felt that way in the past a little bit but today actually I felt calm during the entire match, even ‑‑ I mean, even at close points, that I felt like maybe I could have stepped up a little bit more. But I pretty much felt calm and confident the whole time.
Q. What did you make of her, as I recall it was kind of a radical change in strategy in the second set when her serve became very, very soft and weak, did you pause and sort of have to wonder what she was up to or...?
JILL CRAYBAS: No, I mean, I was just trying to focus on what I needed to do. I wasn't trying to figure out her strategy. I mean, I did notice, obviously, that a couple serves were slower.
JILL CRAYBAS: But, I mean, I can only guess. I mean, maybe because she was missing a few first serves earlier in the match. But I was just trying to focus on what I was doing.
Q. She's pretty devastated. She was sniffling and crying.
JILL CRAYBAS: Yeah.
Q. Pretty down on herself. Did you recognize that during the match, her frustration? Could you sense she was getting increasingly upset?
JILL CRAYBAS: I didn't, no. Again, I was just trying to like stay within myself and just focus on what I needed to do, and really just, you know, stay focused on my game.
Q. How hard was it for you all day, sitting around waiting, thinking you're going to go on Centre Court, then all of a sudden being on 2, and the atmosphere out there and everything?
JILL CRAYBAS: The atmosphere was actually great out there. I know in the beginning there weren't many people out there. But I think once people knew our court had been changed, as you saw, the stands were completely full. It was a great atmosphere.
As far as the waiting around, I mean, we're used to that, just from tournaments like every week, we're used to waiting around. Sometimes we're just ‑‑ we go on right away. With the rain delays here, we're kind of used to that.
Q. You're one of the few players left on tour who have spanned the entrance of the Williams sisters on to the tour until today. When they came on the tour of course they were the biggest, most powerful players on the tour. Would you agree that in the last four or five years we've had more players of their size who can hit the ball every bit as big but who possibly train as hard or harder than they do, and it's no longer possible to just walk out there and throw your racquet on the court and come away with a victory?
JILL CRAYBAS: Yeah, I mean, I think every year it's getting ‑‑ I mean the depth of women's tennis is getting stronger and stronger. You see it every day. There aren't many matches anymore where girls are winning 1 and 1, 1 and 0. It's close all the time.
I think the depth of women's game has gotten really strong.
Q. You had a big discussion with the umpire at some point in the second set. We couldn't hear it.
JILL CRAYBAS: Yeah, I thought they had missed a few calls on her serve. I thought a few of them were out. I was just ‑‑ we weren't arguing, I was just discussing, because I thought that particular serve that happened, I thought it was a little bit long. She was explaining to me that the machine didn't go off. She can't overrule the machine.
Then I asked her, Even if you see it long? And she said yeah, she couldn't overrule the machine. The machine didn't go off, so...
Q. What does this mean to you? This is a big moment, huh?
JILL CRAYBAS: Uhm, I mean, not ‑‑ I mean, the win, the win is absolutely fantastic. But it means more to me because of what I've been working on in my game for the last six or seven months. More, I mean more for winning myself, more mentally.
I was able to come through today, more mentally ‑‑ I mean, mentally just what I've been working on, on court with my coach, it just ‑‑ that means a lot to me because I know what I did and that's what I was supposed to do on the court. I mean, not supposed to, but that's what ‑‑ that's what ‑‑ it was a sense of accomplishment for me, for what we've been working on.
Q. Could you elaborate on that a bit. What do you mean?
JILL CRAYBAS: Basically, more believing in yourself and trusting yourself, and, you know, going after your shots and not backing down and just really, really trusting yourself and going after each particular shot no matter what situation you're in.
Q. How about in the grand scheme of things, in the grand scheme of your career, you know, what does this mean to you? I mean, this is obviously the farthest you've gone. You're at Wimbledon, beat Serena Williams, two‑time champion. Have you even been able to think about what that means in your career?
JILL CRAYBAS: I'd like to think it's just the beginning (smiling).
Q. I know you had lost to her in two previous meetings.
JILL CRAYBAS: Yeah.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the way the Serena you played today is different from the one who beat you before and how you're different. You started down that road already.
JILL CRAYBAS: If it's okay, I'd rather just talk about how I've changed.
Q. Okay, sure, yeah.
JILL CRAYBAS: Because she, obviously, does her own thing. I mean, it's not ‑‑ I don't know really what she's up to off the court, on the court, because I'm just trying to focus on myself and what I need to do.
But I think I'm a really different player from when I played her two years ago in Wimbledon and Miami last year. Uhm, and again, it goes back to what I said before about just, you know, believing that you belong on the court. And the two previous meetings when I played her, I don't think I believed that I could actually win the match, no matter how well I was playing. Because even if you're playing great, if you don't believe it, then it's usually doesn't happen. That's changed a lot for me.
Q. What was your reaction when they told you you were going to go to Court 2 as opposed to being on Centre Court?
JILL CRAYBAS: I was a little ‑‑ I was okay with it. I mean, I wanted to play on Centre Court. I played her two years ago on Centre Court, so I was able to play then.
But Centre Court is just, you know, that's what everyone dreams of, is playing Wimbledon Centre Court. So ‑‑ but I was okay with that. I just wanted to play.
Q. She fought back on you pretty good in the second set. So you're going into the tiebreaker, this whole self‑belief thing you're talking about must have been pretty huge there. Did you still have confidence going into the tiebreak? Were there some real nerves there?
JILL CRAYBAS: I did, actually. I think one thing I had going for me is that I love playing tiebreakers (laughing). I do, I just really love it. I don't know why.
So I was really excited when it got to a tiebreaker. But, again, usually at that point I was serving at 5‑4, and I usually, when I'm serving, I can feel my hands shaking as I'm serving. But for some reason, I felt great. I just felt really calm and ready for each point.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about your coach, Raj, whose last name I can't pronounce, and exactly a little bit about your work and what are the places you work out?
JILL CRAYBAS: Where do we work out, is that what you said?
JILL CRAYBAS: His name is Raj Choudry (phonetic), is his last name. We actually work out in California in Newport Beach.
Q. Keep going. What facility?
JILL CRAYBAS: Oh, at the Newport Beach Tennis Club. And we just ‑‑ yeah, we train there mostly all the year when we're home. I mean, we're not home very often. But when we're there, that's where we train.
And we've just ‑‑ we've been working together for probably six and a half years now, and it's just been great. And he ‑‑ when I first met him, I was ready to stop playing because I just wasn't enjoying myself anymore. And then he came along and he really, you know, brought fun back into the game for me and made me enjoy myself more and appreciate the game more. He's just been a huge asset to my tennis and my personal life.
Q. What are your prospects for a sweep of the Williams sisters?
JILL CRAYBAS: (Laughing).
Q. And then your birthday on the 4th of July.
JILL CRAYBAS: Yeah, it's the first year Wimbledon doesn't fall on my birthday (smiling).
Yeah, I haven't thought about Venus yet, actually. I know I play her next.
Q. It's a good time to do it.
JILL CRAYBAS: I'm just trying to savor the moment right now.
Q. You said before about self‑belief when you walk on the court, so the other previous times when you've played her before, can you sort of describe what you were feeling when you saw Serena Williams and what you were feeling today when you saw Serena Williams before the match, how it was different.
JILL CRAYBAS: Previously, when I played her, when I saw her across the court, I was probably thinking to myself, "Oh, my God, I'm playing the No. 1 player in the world." It was kind of a shock to me because I had never played her before, the first time. Last year in Miami it was a little bit better, but still wasn't feeling confident that I could win the match. And today, as soon as I walked on the court, I just felt like we were equals. And I think that made a big difference to me.
Q. How do you think you'll walk on the court against Venus, who you've never played before?
JILL CRAYBAS: I think the same way, just because I've gotten to a different place for myself, as far as mentally where I am and as far as how I view my tennis now.
Q. How did you have the fortune of meeting up with Raj? You said you were ready to quit?
JILL CRAYBAS: Yeah, I went to the University of Florida. I graduated, but I was still there training. And he came, he came in the year ‑ I can't remember what year it was ‑ but he came and he was assistant coach at Florida. I didn't play for him but I was still training.
Q. How did you end up in California?
JILL CRAYBAS: My brothers lived there for a while, and I like California a lot better than Florida. So my brother and I decided to buy a house together and we live together now.
Q. In Newport?
JILL CRAYBAS: In Huntington Beach.
Q. The other day Taylor said he wasn't recognized at the Newport Plaza. Are you recognized? Do you have that problem when you stroll around?
JILL CRAYBAS: At the Newport Plaza?
Q. In Newport Beach?
JILL CRAYBAS: At the club?
Q. The plaza, when you walk around.
JILL CRAYBAS: Oh, no, I'm not recognized. No.
Q. Did you end up getting the help of a sports psychologist, or was it mostly work with you and your coach on the mental game?
JILL CRAYBAS: Pretty much work with me and my coach. He majored in psychology, so... (smiling).
Q. Do you hit with Lindsay or Corina or any of the other pros there?
JILL CRAYBAS: Yeah, I hit with Corina. I've hit with Corina before. There's a couple players at the Home Depot Center up in Carson, and I hit up there a lot, too, with a lot of different players.
Q. Did you have family here today? Your coach, was he here, too?
JILL CRAYBAS: My coach was here, yeah. My sister and her husband live here.
Q. Oh, really?
JILL CRAYBAS: Yeah. My sister married an English gentleman and they've been living here for I think two and a half years now. They come every year.
Q. What's her name?
JILL CRAYBAS: Jody
Q. What was your best previous win?
JILL CRAYBAS: I'm trying to think who would be the highest. I've beaten Dementieva and Zvonareva and Suarez.
Q. How is it to be getting your moment in the sun here? I know it hasn't completely sunk in, but you beat Serena, it's Wimbledon. You got the attention now. You've been working so hard for so many years.
JILL CRAYBAS: Yeah. I think it's just a great accomplishment for myself, I think, just because of all the work that my coach and I have been through, you know, just trying to ‑‑ just him trying to get through to me how much I need to trust myself again. And I think ‑‑ I mean, the outward praise is great, but I think more what's ‑‑ the accomplishment what we've achieved.
Q. Is this a good blow for the college‑educated?
JILL CRAYBAS: Yeah. Maybe more girls will go to school now (laughing).
Q. What was your class?
JILL CRAYBAS: My degree?
JILL CRAYBAS: In telecommunications.
Q. In what year?
JILL CRAYBAS: Oh, '96.
Q. Some pretty good guys go through the Newport Beach Tennis Club.
JILL CRAYBAS: Scott Davis is here, too. I've hit with him, too. And Rick Leach> sometimes hits there were Brian MacPhie>. And Justin> Gimelstob> has hit there before. There's a lot of good players.
Q. You've hit with some of them?
JILL CRAYBAS: Yeah, yeah.
Q. Did you think about turning pro while you were in college or you had decided you would finish regardless?
JILL CRAYBAS: I thought about turning pro since I was in high school, yeah. But I still decided to go to school.
Q. So you were determined to put that ‑‑ make that wait until you finished school?
JILL CRAYBAS: Yeah, yeah. I can't remember why I chose to. I mean, I always wanted to go to school, and then once I was in school, I wanted to finish.
Q. You said your parents were here last time.
JILL CRAYBAS: Two years ago.
Q. Two years ago, right, when you bought those tickets. This time have you talked to them? Do they have any plans to fly over real quick?
JILL CRAYBAS: I haven't talked to them yet, but I do have like 10 messages on my phone right now that I haven't looked at.
Q. I saw you played an IFT event in St. Paul earlier this year. If somebody told you there that this would happen, what would you have said?
JILL CRAYBAS: I would have probably wanted it to be June really fast (laughing).
Q. You've deserted East Providence?
JILL CRAYBAS: Yeah, well... (laughing). I don't get back too often, yeah. But I'm from Rhode Island>, for those people that don't know.
I used to go back for Christmas every year, and then sometimes I go back during the US Open> because it's only a two and a half hour drive, but I haven't gone back in a couple years now because my family now flies out to California for Christmas.
Q. Where did you go to high school?
JILL CRAYBAS: Lincoln School in Providence.
Q. In Providence?
JILL CRAYBAS: Uh‑hmm.