Monica on her misfortunes
Q. You have had more personal setbacks than most athletes have to deal with, and have coped courageously and remarkably well with them all. Looking back now, who and what would you say helped you most?
A. I definetly think the people who have helped me the most over my career and in my life have been y family. They have always been there for me, no matter what, and they gave me strengh and support by just being there.
Q. Do you still find it difficult to talk about the major tradegies in your life, the stabbing and the death of your father?
A. Of course, I am not always ready to talk about (the stabbing). Thereís been so much written about it already. I donít really want to go into the private details of my life. My family problems are my concern, and I donít think they are of any interest to anyone. But time goes by, it doesnít seem to stop when anything happens in my life. I donít mind telling readers about the new thingys that are going on in my life, and to talk about other things.
Monica on womenís tennis
Q. What are your thoughts on the future of the sport?
A. Womenís tennis has a great future. It is becoming more and more popular around the world, and it will keep on going like that. With it being so popular, more and more little girls will want to play our game, and they will be the future stars of tennis.
Q. Do you feel a bit detached from the tour these days?
A. I must admit I feel a bit out of it with all this showbiz stuff, even if itís good for the sport. Wheni started playing I could never have thought that womenís tennis could have grown so much. In those days we were with Steffi and Aranxta and it was quite quiet in comparison. Now thereís just so much going on, so many requests to fulfil, and everything is so noisy. Sometimes it makes me feel more of a spectator than an actor in all of this.
Q. Are you friendly with the other players?
A. It has changed a lot in the last four to five years. I was lucky t be there when Martina (N) and Chris were playing. I remember it wasnít always very friendly between them! After that, with Steffi and me, it was even less so. Today somebody like Hingis, who was No 1 for so long has changed a lot of things, because she speaks naturally with the other players. In the past a lot of No 1ís didnít even bother to say hello!
Q. Are there players you like to watch or play?
A. Martina, the Williams sisters, Jennifer, JustineÖIn fact I love playing gainst the top players. Whatever happens, these are the players you will learn from. When I was younger, I loved to watch Navratilova. Recently , I have seen her in an exhibition match and what sheís doing, and what she has accomplished, is wonderful. She still hasthe fire. Without Martina, Billie Jean King and Chris Evert, who were the real pioneers, none of us would be here, and the tour wouldnít be so sucessful if they hadnít first done the work for us.
Monica on the media
Q. It was difficult setting up this interview with you. Why do you dislike interviews so much?
A. At Grand Slams I never like doing interviews because you have to be very focussed, and itís difficult to agree to all requests. The problem about interviews is that they are always about the same subject and the same questions. I am aware that it is part of our job to communicate with people, through you (the media). But after spending a lot of time and energy on interviews, I often discover that my words have been twisted, and whatís written is not close to reality. It happens so often I am not sure I care anymore.
Q. Do you like talking about tennis?
A. After a match, especially a defeat, I donít want to talk to anyone. When my Dad coached me, he used to try and get me to talk to him after a match, but without much success, and now I often regret that I refused to speak with him. Today I am bit better because I am aware that it is not the best of attitudes. With my coach, Mike Sell, we talk about it a little later but never straight after a match.
Monica looking back
Q.Who was your tennis hero?
A. I think the players I look up to most are probably Billie Jean King Ė whoís such a posative person, without her hard work womenís tennis players would not have all the advantages we have today- and Martina Navratilova. She was a great left-hander. I really enjoyed playing tennis against her and we had some terrific matches. She was such a great athlete and serve-vollyer. I wish I could serve-volley like she did!
Q. Which do you consider to be your most memorable match?
A. I have been lucky enough to have had some great matches and some great memories throughout my career. A few stick in my mind, and probably winning my first Grand Slam at Roland Garros when I was 16, and again in Paris two years later winning that marathon third set over Steffi 10-8 in the final is something I will never forget! Obviously, winning in Australia in í96 after the stabbing, was very emotional for me and that will stay with me for a long time.
Monica on her life after tennis
Q.How many years do you feel you can go on playing at the highest level?
A.Right now I am really enjoying playing tennis, and I have always said how much I love the sport. As soon as that love goes, and as soon as tennis is not fun anymore, I will probably stop. The problem is, itís impossible to put a time frame on it.
Q. What would you like to do after tennis?
A. While you are playing tennis your primary focus is on thatÖany elite sports person will tell you.
"I probably respect Monica more than any other player out there. Not only as a player, but also as a good friend, and an amazing person. I was so happy to see her play well last week, and then score some big upsets here this week. But I was also very happy to close it out in two sets, because as we've seen these past few weeks, Monica never gives up." - Lindsay Davenport after defeating Monica Seles to win the estyle.com Classic title
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