Jelena Dokic Tour Results: Interviews
Tennis Masters Series of Rome 2000 (Italian Open)
19 May, 2000
2000 FORO ITALICO - Tennis Masters Series of Rome
May 19, 2000
M. SELES/ J. Dokic 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
An interview with: MONICA SELES
Q. Difficult match today?
MONICA SELES: Definitely. I started out playing really well, then I let Jelena
in and she started playing some amazing points at some key times.
Q. How much did your experience help to beat her?
MONICA SELES: I don't think that was the key in this match. It was just better
play from the ground strokes I think, and just really better play overall.
Q. You must have been happy with your serve, Monica, 69 percent serves in and
five aces, that's good?
MONICA SELES: Yeah, it was one of those days. I knew I had to serve well because
she's a very good returner and she was attacking. After looking at Venus' serves
last night, I knew my serves weren't going to be as fast and you had to serve a
high percentage in.
Q. She gives that ball a pretty good wallop. How hard is it compared with the
other top players?
MONICA SELES: I was very impressed with how well she played under pressure.
Whenever she was down, she served unbelievable. But I knew it; she's one of the
toughest fighters out there on the Tour. She's a hard hitter. If she's playing
well, she's a very tough opponent.
Q. In certain moments the match reminded me of your semifinal with Jennifer
Capriati in 1991 at the US Open. I never saw a match --
MONICA SELES: Yes, we were going at it pretty hard. Each of us were hitting
hard. It was similar to that match, right, yeah.
Q. You were playing a lot to her forehand. Do you think her backhand is stronger
MONICA SELES: I think it was just one of those days that I was playing that side
more. I've never seen her play. I played against her in Australia -- yeah,
Australia -- a year and a half ago. A year and a half ago, yeah. But today I
wasn't really doing that intentionally. I kind of wanted to test out -- I knew
she liked pace, I knew that. I'm a player that gives you pace. I'm not going to
play like when she does suddenly.
Q. Can I ask you what you consider to be her best stroke?
MONICA SELES: I think she's all-around a good player I really feel. I think
mentally she's very strong. I think that's really her best side, me personally.
And that she's a fighter and then she expects a lot of herself. I think that's a
very good attribute. In terms of her stroke, that's tough. I think at key times
her forehand was worse and at key times her backhand was worse. I don't know the
total unforced errors, I haven't looked at the sheet. Same thing with her
serves. She definitely goes for her second serve very hard, too.
Q. What does it mean to you to play against someone who says you are her idol,
and did you know that before the match?
MONICA SELES: Yeah, I mean I think it's -- I'm just really very happy about how
well Jelena is doing. Obviously she was doing this well a year and a half ago in
Australia when she played great ones against the Top 10 players. She was born in
the same country as me, probably started playing tennis when I was doing well,
so probably she got to see me. And obviously I got to know her dad and her mom,
I talked to her last year. She had a very tough French Open match there and I
talked to her for quite a while there after that. I just really like her, you
know, her attitude and how much she wants to be a top player. I think she has a
great future ahead of her.
Q. There were some very demanding rallies. How did your stamina hold up?
MONICA SELES: I think I was fine. I really feel fine. I had a good stretch and
everything. Obviously it's been tough playing so many matches three sets the
last 24 hours and all that, but I felt I was running out there. I think I had
more trouble a little bit this week with my mental lapses than physical ones.
That's one area I'd like to really improve upon for tomorrow's match.
Q. Except for the press conference, what is boring in your tennis life now?
MONICA SELES: Which is the most boring thing in tennis now for me? It's not a
press conference. It's waiting around for a match. Like today, when you're
waiting there for two and a half hours, you know. But then I saw -- I'll never
forget, last year, I think Steffi and Venus were playing. I remember thinking,
"Jesus," because I think they went back and forth across the court many times.
That's part of it. If there would be one thing I'd love to change, that would be
that you know when you play, a set time. But I think that's really for all the
players. That's the most boring thing for sure, waiting.
Q. Do you think that today it is more difficult for a 17-year-old girl like
Dokic than the old time when you were 17, or nothing has changed?
MONICA SELES: I think it just depends on the individual. I think both are hard
on their own. Sometimes when you're 17, you don't think, you just hit the ball.
Sometimes you don't have the experience. Sometimes when you're 26, you think,
but you have the experience. I mean, I have a lot of these conversations with
Martina and I don't know. I mean, I think when you go out there, I still believe
that day the better player is going to win without experience. I think people
put too much emphasis on experience and all that stuff. I understand maybe if --
I really don't buy into that experience stuff personally. I think the better
player wins on that day. That's just my theory on that.
Q. Which particular aspect of your mental attitude do you think you need to
improve for the semifinal?
MONICA SELES: Disappearing from the court, my mental part. Just flying away, I
think, because the first two matches start out very slowly. Today I started off
really well. Then at key times, you just wander off. And you can't do that. I
mean, I had that problem for a while at different times and I just got to be
more consistent. But I think -- I mean I'm human, so it's hard to be up every
day, every single minute for the match, too. I don't want to put unrealistic
expectations on myself, too. But I do believe you can try always to improve.
Q. You won this tournament ten years ago. How far is it in your memory?
MONICA SELES: In my memory it's not too far. Just really, truly I keep bringing
this up because the first time that I beat Martina, someone that, growing up,
really I admired, I had her poster in my room, and suddenly it was a really easy
match. I never imagined that. Then going on and beating Steffi and winning the
French were things that I never believed or imagined would happen to me. Then
when that finally happened, I was like, "Wow, this is pretty great." And I think
-- I believed a lot more in myself after that. So that match will hold a very
special place in my heart, I think, forever. I mean it's up there with winning
the French Open and then all those other ones.
Q. When your concentration goes, where is it flying away? Where?
MONICA SELES: Oh, to problems in my life (laughing) pretty much.
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