Interview after the match
M. Pierce - Day 6
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Q. You seem to be really enjoying yourself out there today. Very much at ease on the grass?
MARY PIERCE: Thank you. Getting there. Feeling more at ease with each match. Happy with my victory today.
Q. What are the chances of going further at Wimbledon? I think it's nine years since the quarters.
MARY PIERCE: Quarterfinals, yeah.
Q. What are your chances?
MARY PIERCE: I don't know. I don't really think like that and look too far into the future. I'm just taking things moment by moment. I have a mixed doubles match next on, so that's my next thing I'm thinking about.
I'm just enjoying being here and every day. You know, last year I lost first round, so I'm definitely doing a lot better than last year. I just feel like I'm improving with every match I'm playing on grass. I hope that it keeps continuing in that manner. Just see what happens, you know, just match by match.
Q. Are you playing mixed doubles with Mahesh Bhupathi? How did that come about? Did he come up to you?
MARY PIERCE: Well, I've wanted to play mixed with him for a while, and it's just never really worked out yet. Then it just kind of happened, not really last‑minute, but, you know, I thought, "Okay, why not?"
I'm not playing doubles here. I think I can physically playing singles and mixed doubles. I've always wanted to play with him. He's a great player.
I'm looking forward to it. It should be a lot of fun.
Q. How has your life changed since Paris? I remember you were saying that nobody wanted to talk to you for a couple years. Then you were being interviewed all the time. You get to the final. What has that done for you? What has happened since we saw you in Paris?
MARY PIERCE: Not a whole lot has changed. You know, I just took a week off after that, rested, started training and preparing for Wimbledon. That was my next new focus. I was very much looking forward to competing again.
I just feel like I'm really on a good path right now and just continue every day trying to improve and, you know, keep working hard. I feel like I'm at a decent level physically and play‑wise, but definitely have room for improvement and want to improve and hopefully will improve. You know, that's pretty much what I look forward to every day.
Q. What effect has your reconciliation with your dad had on your outlook?
MARY PIERCE: On my outlook?
Q. Yes. Your outlook off the court and on.
MARY PIERCE: Nothing at all.
Q. Has he been able to attend matches? If so, how much have you had the chance to see him?
MARY PIERCE: My dad will not be attending matches. He hasn't in a long time. We see each other practically every day when I'm at home in Florida.
Q. A couple years ago when the Williams sisters came in here, it was sort of a foregone conclusion they would reach the finals. They might play in the fourth round. From your perspective, what's happened to Venus and Serena?
MARY PIERCE: I don't know. You know, they're the best people to ask.
Q. Do you sense they're not as engaged in the sport as they were before?
MARY PIERCE: You know, I don't know. I think Serena and Venus are really interesting girls. I like them a lot. I have admiration for them and respect. I think they're doing a lot of great things for women and sports on and off the court. Very interesting.
I think that they're really the best ones to ask I think of what's going on with them.
Q. Do you feel in tennis now you're winning the mind game?
MARY PIERCE: Yeah, most of the time because most of the people I play against are younger and not as experienced as I am. So I feel that I can see things on the court in a different way than I had in the past, obviously, 10 years ago. When I play against girls that are either half my age, five years or 10 years younger than me and don't have as much experience, I kind of see things.
You know, I mean, that's just why they say experience, it does help, it does make a difference. It doesn't mean you're going to beat everybody, but it definitely helps.
Q. Is it just a matter of age or is there something in your mentality that's changed that suddenly you felt ‑‑ where it clicked in and you felt in charge mentally?
MARY PIERCE: Not in charge mentally (laughter).
Q. In charge of yourself. >
MARY PIERCE: I think it's a combination of things. I think definitely with experience, you know, days that go by and things that you experience good and bad, they add to your wisdom. I also have changed over the years. I think that's a good thing. I always look forward to that every day, as well, you know, trying to learn something about myself or others, on and off the court always looking to improve.
Q. How would you compare yourself as a player today and when you had your deepest advance in a tournament that long ago?
MARY PIERCE: Well, what could I say? You know, just more experienced. You know, calmer. I just see things differently, do things differently as well. You know, not a huge, huge change because I'm still the same person. There's not really any secrets to anything. Hard work always pays off.
Q. And style of play?
MARY PIERCE: You know, I just think I'm able to know more my game and my opponent's game. If I need to, to adapt while I'm playing.
But, you know, I try to be an all‑court ‑‑ you know, be an all‑court kind of player, be able to do everything on the court.
Q. Sometimes the Williams sisters are criticized for all their off‑court activities as a distraction. You had a very nice positive comment a moment ago about them being good for sports and for women. Can you expand on that a little bit, please? >
MARY PIERCE: Well, I think also for their color, it's great. You see a lot other girls that are coming out now, young girls in the USTA that are coming out and playing. I think that was great. We had Zina before and Laurie. You know, just for young girls in general, to get them out there and play sports and have confidence in themselves.
I think Venus and Serena do have confidence in themselves and they go after what they want and they know what they want. I think those are great qualities to have. To dream and to know that things can become reality.
Q. The off‑court activity has a plus side to it?
MARY PIERCE: You know, I don't know. I don't look at things that way actually. I look at things totally differently. If you're happy and you're doing what you want to do, it's great. That's all that really matters.
Q. Considering the level of the game today and the fact that the long season, we see those that are doing well having a lot of injuries, do you think it's going to be rarer that we see the women's game dominated by one player or another going forward?
MARY PIERCE: I think so, at least for right now. I can't really tell the future. You know, that's how the women's game has been the last few years. You know, different girls are winning the Grand Slams, different girls are winning tournaments each week. You've got new girls, young girls that are coming up as well.
It just makes it for a lot of depth on the tour and a lot more challenging as a player. Not as many easy matches. There are none any more. As a player, it keeps you on your toes. You're just constantly wanting to improve physically in your game as well.
Q. Can you stay at the top if you don't continually improve?
MARY PIERCE: I don't think so. I don't think so. I think you need to always ‑‑ you know, you're going to reach a certain level, hopefully your best level. You know, there's always younger girls that are coming up that are taller, stronger, faster, hit harder. At least in my opinion, you always need to keep improving.