Mar 23rd, 2003, 12:34 AM
J. CAPRIATI/A. Rodionova
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. I just wanted you to comment, you've had great performances on all the surfaces, particularly on clay and hard court. Do you have a preference whatsoever on surface at this point?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: At this point, not really. I think I can adjust my game to play every surface as long as I have enough time to prepare on it. You know, none really bothers me, not one or the other really like I hate playing on it.
So I think my game is, you know, can adjust well on each surface. It's, like, suited for all kinds of surfaces like that so...
Q. The men's game has changed a lot in Paris on the clay with the defensive baseliners, the kind of negative tennis that used to prevail there. Now all people are prevailing. Has the women's game changed? The women tend not to change style as much. What have you seen in your career there?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: To tell you the truth, I really haven't seen much change. You know, it's basically the women, you know, are the same game on each surface even though maybe it's like, you know, the ones who have more topspin, a little more topspin, might be a little better on clay. But it's not such a huge difference like you have in the men.
Some guys, they just, you know -- no woman ever really stands like ten feet behind the baseline and just whips the ball back with heavy topspin, so it's not too much of a difference.
Q. What big adjustment would you have to make, do you think? What do you do mentally since the game is not so different surface to surface, what are the key factors for you, having won in Paris, that you need to do and shift your thinking on?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I mean, there are some differences that you have to do. You can't just play, you know, step up to the baseline and hit every ball as hard as you can like on clay court, like you can on hard or grass or whatever. So you have to have a little more patience on the clay, and just I think your endurance has to be better. You know, kind of just get into that mental frame of mind that you're going to be out there, the points are going to be longer. So you just got to have a lot more patience out there.
Q. Do you use more strategy or less?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: It's -- I mean, maybe a little different strategy, but I think it's just -- it doesn't change too much from surface to surface, so I think you can use the same thing like you would use on a hard court, you know, you can still hit the dropshot, whatever, and even throw in a high topspin or whatever. You can do that on the clay, obviously. And, you know, well, you can't really do that on grass. But, you know, those kind of little things like that.
Q. Today's match, did you know much about her beforehand? We didn't.
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: No, I had no idea.
Q. How difficult is that, to approach somebody you don't know what to expect?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Well, I didn't even know what she looked like. Then I saw her and I've seen her before but I've never seen her play.
But, yeah, you don't know what to expect. That's why you just got to, you know, take the first few games and kind of feel the opponent out. I figured she was Russian, so she probably had the same style as all the other Russians which are kind of just hitting flat and hard.
So in the beginning, yeah, it was a little bit getting to feel her game out a little.
Q. Was it frustrating, you had a couple breaks in the first set. Then she got back. Did that kind of...?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, it was my first match. You know, the conditions are a little tough. It's a little hot out there. I felt a little sluggish out there in the beginning and, of course, the wind and everything.
So, you know, I don't think I played like my greatest tennis. I mean, I didn't have to, luckily.
So, you know, but I did have some good key moments in there where I did play well and needed to do well, you know, in the tiebreaker, let's say, not let that get away.
Q. Is that the shortest rain delay you've ever had?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, pretty much. I mean, Wimbledon I think, you know, we've done it on and off like that a few times. But it takes a long time for it to dry there.
Q. Who's the toughest woman you've ever played on clay?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: On clay... It goes back. I mean, it's hard to say. I would have to maybe -- Gabby Sabatini would have been the toughest, because the time I was playing her, I wasn't that strong physically and she was a lot stronger. I had a tough time handling her spin. She had a lot more spin on the balls than the girls do today.
Q. You weren't pleased with your eyes in Australia. Have they healed?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, for the most part they're pretty much 100 percent.
Q. Do your bangs give them any kind of shade?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: No, I wish. But... No.
Q. Do you do any therapy or anything like that for the eyes?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: No. I just got to wear glasses a lot whenever I can and just have checkups. That's it.
Q. Was any of that related to the actual laser surgery you had to correct the vision?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I had that done already like a few years ago.
Q. So that had nothing to do with this?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: No.
Q. Does that have something to do with the sun or being outside a lot? That's the same thing I guess?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, the sun and I guess wind maybe. But that's why, I mean, a lot of time players do have it or people in Florida do have it.
Q. How would you assess your game right now? How do you feel you're playing?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I think I came off a great week last week in Indian Wells and I feel like I'm getting back to the level where I was at, you know, before the beginning of the year. I'm just, I think, you know, slowly rising, and hopefully I'll just keep getting better and better, peak at the upcoming Grand Slams. I feel confident, and that I'm moving a lot better than before in the year.
Q. Are you pleased with your fitness at this point?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah.
Q. Do you think there's room for, on the tour, the way the tour's been going, looking at the top four, five players, do you think there's room for another Sanchez-Vicario who's going to pop up, a player who's going to build her game on retrieving and spectacular gets, or are those days gone?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I think those days are pretty much gone. No matter how much good of a retriever, you have to have something to counteract that, too. Because, you know, it's just too powerful, where you can only run so much, I think. Otherwise, you're just going to, you know, get powered off the court.
So I mean, I would have to say Kim Clijsters is very similar to Sanchez as a retriever, you know. She plays a lot of defense, good defense. But she also has, you know, the attacking game, too.
So, I mean, nobody's really going to be like Sanchez, but...
Q. Was the radio show fun for you last night?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, it was okay. Pretty painless (smiling).
Q. It looked like the fans liked the ability to interact with you?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, I felt that too, you know, that they're happy to see me here. I think they get a kick out of when they can get in there and ask the questions themselves, sort of, you know, get up close and personal.
Q. Do you enjoy playing in this tournament? How do you feel about this one?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I do. I've always enjoyed playing here. I mean, I enjoy Miami a lot. It's a fun place. You know, it's just if it stays this hot or keeps getting hotter, I don't know...
But for the most part, yeah.
Q. Does it drive you a little more, having been in the finals the last, I guess, right, two years here?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah.
Q. How does that affect your mental game?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, well, of course I just want to have the best results and do the best I can and whatever that is.
But of course I would love to have an actual title here. I mean, I feel like I came so close, especially that first year that I got to the final. So, you know, it would be perfect for me to actually win here, you know, being kind of my hometown. I guess we'll have to see.
Q. Your match today, the woman you played, that was the first time you played her?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Right.
Q. The tiebreaker, can you go into a little bit of detail there? Do you think that kind of took all her drive away from her after that?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, I mean -- no, she wasn't giving up; that's for sure. I just think I raised the level of my game in the second set also, and I didn't have a letdown by winning it.
Even if I would have lost it, I think I would have -- it was so close, I think I was just right there anyways. I would have upped the level of my game and probably took it, you know, to a third or something.
But, you know, I think she played well at that moment. But in the tiebreaker, I think I played better. I played a little smarter than her.
Q. Monica said the other day she doesn't think the WTA tour or any of the tournaments have sufficient enough security in her opinion. I was wondering, I mean, obviously she's had an incident, but do you feel that the security's sufficient around tournaments that you go to?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: I think so. I've never had a problem, fortunately. I mean, sometimes I think it's unnecessary, I feel weird like when somebody's with me like following me around and stuff, watching my back. I mean, it's good to know they're there. But only at tournaments -- I mean, there is enough people, I think.
Q. On a day when you're not coming off the practice court, maybe not coming off a match, I know Pete Sampras, he'd wander around a tournament. Do you do that, just kind of walk?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: No. I can't really do that now because too many people...
Q. Recognize you?
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah.
Q. What did you think of the rain today? I don't know if anyone asked you that. When it first rained in the tiebreaker, was that nice? It was hot.
JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Yeah, it was hot. It cooled things off a little. That was nice. But of course you want to get through the match, don't want to have long delays, especially at a point like that.
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