Sep 8th, 2003, 12:12 PM
In the interview after her doubles match Martina Navratilova was asked some general questions on the women's tour.
She was full of praise about Justine and esp. the match against Jenny! :D
It's not in the transcript but in the video. Here's a link:
Sep 8th, 2003, 12:15 PM
Also legend Jimmy Connors had very nice words at his press conference:
Well, I must say I had a good time watching Agassi and Nalbandian yesterday. I was out here for a little bit and was able to watch. I went home, back to the city and watched the end of it on television and enjoyed it. I liked Roddick's performance. And Nalbandian also is one hell of a player.
I also enjoyed the Capriati-Henin -- she's married now. I don't know her name, sorry. I enjoyed that match and the gutsy performance that she put up. :D
Sep 8th, 2003, 12:35 PM
Here's part of the interview transcript that's not on the U.S. Open Web Site (Courtesy of asapsports.com)
Q. Are you happy at all that someone like Justine now - who has a real awkward game, has a whole range of shots - has been able to succeed?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yes, absolutely. It's great to see that kind of shot-maker be successful. You have to be a great athlete to do that. Again, I said I like the way she plays because she uses more of the court. Ultimately, ground stroke for ground stroke, she can match up with just about anybody. But then she's got an extra option. That's what I always said. That will be the next player. Not necessarily serve and volley, but somebody that can take the short ball, come in, use the whole court, do the drop volleys, do the dropshots, hit the short shot and come deep down the other way, use the whole court. She's doing that. She's the next dimension. Obviously, you have to be very good at it, but that's the next generation. I think she's the kind of player that can take it to Serena and Venus and make them do more instead of just relying on being fast and hitting the ball hard.
Q. Many felt that the Justine match with Jennifer was also intriguing in terms of who can close the deal here, who has the self-belief. It seemed that Jennifer's racquet speed, the speed of her stroke, the length of her stroke, was all coming down quite a bit at crunch time. I don't know, but can you talk about the art of closing matches and what you have to do under that excruciating pressure?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: You have to be brave. You have to be willing to not take a chance, but swing even a little bit harder, if anything. Let -- you have to believe that you have it and let the body take over. I think Jennifer gets too much into her head and doesn't let the body take over. What I did see, which I haven't seen before she started in this tournament, I didn't notice it before, is hitting her forehand off the back foot a lot. Even when she is not pushed back, she pushes herself back. I haven't seen that before. She still hits it extremely well. But how much better would she be hitting it if her momentum was going forward instead of stuck back there? But 11 times within two points of winning the match, you don't get to a matchpoint, you know something's up. I don't care how great the other player is playing; you are allowing that to happen. Obviously, Jennifer's had a hard time closing the deal. As great as she played and as much as she can take from that, how hard she fought, but how hard did Henin fight? My goodness, that was the most amazing effort I think I've ever seen - man or woman on the court. To keep coming back, plugging in. She's cramping, having to hit, play different shots. But she made it happen. And then she comes back and wins the next day. I mean, that was just amazing.
Q. So how does a champion not get into the head --
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, you have to let the body go. You have to say, "Okay, be the ball." It sounds stupid but it works. You have to trust your body and trust your instincts and be brave. If you play careful, that doesn't work. I was careful in the first set. Second set, I finally started hitting. I was like, "This is ridiculous." But you have to just trust it, that it's there. And she didn't.
Q. Martina, you've seen in the US Open the last two weeks a change in the pecking order in women's tennis, th absence of the Williams sisters?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, it will be interesting to see. I hope that they play before the end of the year. It's such a great story with the two of them. Now there's obviously a big hole. I mean, you take away the top two guys in men's tennis, you have a problem. Agassi, Federer out of the tournament, it's like, "Whoa..." So it will be interesting to see what happens. I think Henin, of anybody, has the game and she has beaten both of them on clay and other surfaces.
Q. She's closed the gap?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: She's the closest one. She's closed the gap. I definitely would have to say she's closed the gap. It's not closed yet, but she definitely was a lot closer than she was a year ago.
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