Jelena Dokic Tour Results: Interviews

U.S. Open 2003
Flushing Meadow, NY, USA
28 August, 2003


August 28, 2003

M. PIERCE / J. Dokic, 6-2, 6-7, 7-6


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Jelena. 

Q. That must have been a very difficult match emotionally for you, being up so 
much in the third set. What were your emotions? How do you feel now?

JELENA DOKIC: I mean, I felt like maybe I should have been off the court 
earlier. I mean, she was playing well. You know, she could have finished the 
match in two sets. Especially she had a match point. And I was lucky to turn it 
around. I was starting to play better. She missed a few. Then all of a sudden 
the match turned. You know, it's disappointing, for sure. But that's tennis. You 
know, it's just not my year, it looks like (smiling). I have to go on, you know, 
learn from this.

Q. What do you learn?

JELENA DOKIC: I really rushed at 5-1. At 5-2, 5-4, when I served, I mean, I got 
really tight. I waited for her to miss, and I shouldn't have done that. You 
know, I thought the match was over. You know, next time, I mean, I'm sure if I 
had that opportunity again, it wouldn't happen. I have to learn from that.

Q. Is this sort of the most emotional loss that you've had in this while?

JELENA DOKIC: I mean, I've had losses where I was up. But, you know, having 5-1 
in the third, such a bigger match, is disappointing. I haven't had anything like 
this. You know, I guess I'll just -- you have to take this. It's over now. Learn 
from it.

Q. Are you now maybe looking at playing in Australia just to get on to another 
Grand Slam, get going again?

JELENA DOKIC: Whether I lose here or win, it won't make a difference whether I 
will play another Grand Slam. Whether I will go to Australia or not, I mean, a 
loss like this will not decide. This is not what I make my decision on. You 
know, there are a few other factors that come into play, but definitely not 
whether I lost here or not. 

Q. You said at 5-1 in the third you thought the match was over. Actually, Mary 
said the same. How would you characterize the way you felt? Were you 
overconfident or were you nervous?

JELENA DOKIC: Nervous. I was confident when I broke her at 1-All to go up 2-1. I 
won three straight games. I was playing really well. I was attacking. She 
couldn't do anything. Okay, she held serve at 5-1. She served well. But I 
shouldn't have let her get away with two breaks, 5-2 and 5-4, serving. I think I 
even had 15-Love at 5-4. I think where I made a mistake was at 15-All where I 
had a really high ball, I should have hit in the air. I got really nervous. 
That's basically why I lost. I got tight. I lost the match myself; she didn't 
win it. I beat myself.

Q. Few problems with the serve, as well. 

JELENA DOKIC: No, I mean, a few. I mean, I had a few double-faults. But she was 
returning well. So I was going for a little bit more. This is normal. When you 
have someone that was playing as well as she was, you know, you expect this. But 
I served well to pull off the second set. Generally the serve was not great, but 
it was good. She was just hitting winners. Even off some of my good serves that 
I was hitting, she would be there. So it's difficult when you play a player like 

Q. Unusual to see someone getting the same speed on first and second serves? 


Q. Pretty much the same speed. 

JELENA DOKIC: At 6-5 in the third, I hit two aces at deuce and ad on a second 
serve. I mean, I was going for it. You know, sometimes you do this. Sometimes I 
didn't, but some I did.

Q. Could you speak about your new coach, what you think he's doing for your 
tennis? Do you intend to work with him next year?

JELENA DOKIC: Yeah, sure. I mean, I think he's really changed my game and 
improved the way I think on the court, how I play. I've had some really tough 
losses this summer, but I think generally my game is better than it was at the 
beginning of the year. Yeah, I mean, I just have to keep on working. This is a 
tough loss for me. Mentally, it's very tough. But I have to go on.

Q. What did he say to you after this loss?

JELENA DOKIC: It was not the game; it was a problem with my head basically. I 
lost the match. I just got too nervous. I think it's a lack of matches, lack of 
confidence to be able to finish a match like this. And when I'm able to do this, 
you know, I'll be back where I was before. I had a few matches this summer that 
were like this, exactly the same. You know, I have to get over this.

Q. Does he have a strategy for combatting that nervousness?

JELENA DOKIC: No. I mean, usually mentally I'm a tough person. Usually I have no 
problems with that. I think just the fact I wasn't doing great this year, 
there's a lack of confidence, and this happens. 

Q. Did you think to yourself that because of her status with her injuries, she's 
been off for a long time, did you think to yourself in the third set, her 
fitness isn't where she wants it to be, she said that, did you think if you just 
ran her around a little bit, you were going to win?

JELENA DOKIC: Yeah, I mean, I played her last year and she was much worse than 
she was now. She's lost some weight and she's moving better. I mean, I knew what 
I had to do. But it's difficult when someone is hitting it as hard as she is. 
And she was still moving very well. Even on my own serve, when I was trying to 
attack, she would be, you know, hitting return winners. She was still playing 
well. I don't think there was a great strategy. A strategy to move her is fine, 
but she was hitting winners all over the court. So , you know, even though her 
fitness is not there, she's been injured, I think she's playing better than she 

Q. Do you think she's the kind of player who, even at her age, could be a factor 
here in this tournament?

JELENA DOKIC: I don't know. I mean, she's playing well. How far she can go 
depends how she recovers after matches, what her injuries are, whether they'll 
come back. Just depends. She's playing well. I'm sure she knows that. She's been 
playing better and better. You know, whether she can be someone that gets to the 
semis or the final is a different story. I mean, you have Justine and Kim. I 
think there's still a little bit, you know... 

Q. Does she hit it as hard as anybody out there?

JELENA DOKIC: She hits it harder than anyone, for sure. But there are other 
factors that come into play, like movement and everything. You know, I think she 
can do well.

Q. She hits it as hard as Serena and Kim from the ground?

JELENA DOKIC: For sure, yeah. I mean, some of the shots she hit, I didn't see. 
But, you know, Serena and Kim move better, better serves, sometimes returns. So 
this is the difference between 1 and 20.

Q. You say your confidence is down because of not the best of seasons. Can you 
tell us why it hasn't been the best of seasons for you?

JELENA DOKIC: It just hasn't been. You know, you can't play well every year. I 
think I played a lot of matches the last few years, so maybe mentally I got a 
little tired, and physically. It happens. Then if you lose one or two 
tournaments, your confidence goes down, you lose a few more, keeps on going.

Q. Do you think you're better at accepting defeats in matches than a few years 
ago? If so, why? Is it just a maturing process?

JELENA DOKIC: For sure. I would deal with it much tougher before, you know, when 
I was younger. Now, I mean, you have to take this. There's no point of me 
getting down. It could affect me for the next few tournaments or few months. So, 
I mean, this was a big chance, and I had a good draw. But, you know, that's the 
way it is. You know, I'm sure it will make me a better player, a tougher player. 
You know, now I know. Maybe next time if I get in a situation like this, it 
won't happen. You know, I usually deal with it fine. I'll be down for a few 
days, but that's what it is. You have to go on. 

Q. Nicole Pratt said to a couple of Australian journalists she thought you're at 
a difficult stage in your life, without having the same support from your family 
that you had previously. Do you think that's a fair reading of where you are at 
the moment?

JELENA DOKIC: I mean, sure, a few things have changed in my life. That's nothing 
new. Well, but it's all new. I mean, I haven't been in this situation before. A 
lot of things that have happened is new. It's different. There are events that 
go on off the court. You know, sometimes this can affect the player. I usually 
deal with this fine, but it's a new territory for me. You know, it's all come at 
the same time, in the same year. That's fine. I mean, I just have to -- I mean, 
I work hard still. I love to play. Hopefully it will come back.

Q. Are you still having fun playing tennis?

JELENA DOKIC: Yeah, sure. I mean, I could really get down after today and say, 
"Look, this is not -- I don't want to be out there anymore." But I'll be out 
there practicing again. You know, I think sometimes you need to really go down 
to come back up even stronger. You know, I take losses hard anyway. I will take 
this one really hard. But, you know, I think, you know, I have to just forget 

Q. Are you still based in Florida?

JELENA DOKIC: No, Monte-Carlo. 

Q. Full-time apart from when you're actually playing tournaments?


End of FastScripts....



August 28, 2003

M. PIERCE / J. Dokic, 6-2, 6-7, 7-6


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Mary, please. 

Q. Nice going. Were you trying to build up the suspense or what? 

MARY PIERCE: No, I didn't need any more than was already going on. So just 
happened that way, I guess. Made the victory sweeter.

Q. But at 5-1, are you thinking about a warm shower or...? 

MARY PIERCE: No, cold shower, actually. But 5-1, yeah, see, I didn't realize it 
was 5-1. I knew it was 5-2. You know, I just tried to just stay calm and just 
told myself to just fight, you know. Just kept repeating that one word to 
myself. You know, you never know what can happen in tennis, so...

Q. English or French? 

MARY PIERCE: English. 

Q. This hasn't been a great year for Dokic. She's one of the few seeded players 
that has a sub-500 record coming in. Are you at all thinking as you begin to 
rally in the third set that maybe her confidence is not that high in general, if 
you can get something going, maybe she'll go to pieces?

MARY PIERCE: I was thinking that more in the beginning when I first came out. 
Jelena hasn't been playing as well as she had in the past. But needless to say, 
she has been starting to play better again. I'm starting to play better. So, you 
know, I just thought it was real important in the beginning to just start off 
really well and, you know, maybe that issue of her confidence level would come 
up and that would be a good thing for me, so positive for my side. But, you 
know, definitely in the third set I thought that she looked pretty confident. I 
think that she thought she pretty much had the match.

Q. She won only four points of the next 24. 

MARY PIERCE: Okay. I didn't know that (smiling).

Q. Was that you or was that her, that statistic? Was that you all of a sudden 
raising your game, or did she go off into another planet there? 

MARY PIERCE: I went to another planet. No. You know, like I said, I just tried 
to stay calm. I really just went for my shots. I think in the big moments of the 
match, you know, it seemed to me that Jelena really stepped it up and played 
some good tennis. She hit some shots, you know, there was nothing I could do. I 
was being a little bit tentative when I had my chances, maybe vary. Started to 
miss a few shots that I wasn't missing in the beginning, like in the first set. 
You know, I'm still not back to the level where I want to be; it's still a 
process for me. So, you know, the fitness and my physical level is getting 
better, but it's not there yet. So that was also an issue for me. My legs kind 
of weren't there in the third set, so I just said, you know, "Just start going 
for your shots," you know. 

Q. You worked so hard to get back from the injuries, get your fitness back. 
You've won a Grand Slam, you've done a lot. What is your motivation? Why do you 
want to keep doing this instead of going on to something else?

MARY PIERCE: Because when I won the French Open, I just felt like I was starting 
to scratch the surface of coming into myself and my potential and being the best 
that I can be. Then, you know, since then I, you know, had some injuries, I've 
been out for a while. So I just feel like I haven't really done everything 
that's in me to accomplish in tennis. What that is, I don't know. But I just 
feel like I have more in me. I just want to continue and try to get back and 
just be the best that I can and just see where that takes me, you know. Whenever 
it's time to move on and stop or do something else, I'll feel it and I'll know.

Q. You've had so many ups and downs, highs and lows from when you started. How 
has your relationship with the game changed as you've matured and grown up?

MARY PIERCE: I really appreciate what I do a lot more. I love it. Where at 
times, it's really difficult, you know, always traveling, being away from home. 
There are times when you just want to be home, you know. And so when I had the 
injuries and I was out, I really wanted to play because I was really starting to 
play well and just do well and have fun. It was a really difficult thing for me. 
Sometimes you don't want to play but you're doing fine and you're healthy, so 
you've got really no reason to stop. So it really, you know, made me think a lot 
and just really miss it and realize what a great life I have. I don't really 
think I have a job, you know. It's just something that I do that is just great. 
I appreciate every day more than I used to.

Q. Can you remember the last time you came back in a match like this, third set 
from that sort of deficit, especially in a Grand Slam?

MARY PIERCE: Two matches come to mind that I played. I played Lori McNeil here 
at this tournament, down 6-3 in the tiebreak. I don't know if I was down a set 
and 6-3 in the second-set tiebreak or if it was just the third set. I don't 
remember. Then I played, I want to say...I don't have a good memory with my 
matches, actually. I think Hingis in San Diego. I was down in the third. I came 
back, I think, and won. I'm not sure.

Q. Looking at saying you're in this process of coming back, you've felt your 
legs, for instance, in the third set today, realistically speaking, what are 
your expectations in this tournament? 

MARY PIERCE: In this tournament? I don't have any at all. I just take it day by 
day and match by match. I already did better than last year, you know. Last year 
I lost in the first round. It's not like, "Okay, I'm satisfied, if I lose I'm 
happy." That's not how I feel. I just know that I'm in the process of working 
back to getting to the level that I want to be and need to be to compete in the 
top. So I'm just going out and trying to improve every day and every match. When 
I step on the court, just to enjoy it and give 100 percent. You know, whatever 
happens, happens. Like all the girls out here, we all want to win. We're 
competitive. No one likes to lose.

Q. In a sense you've rolled back the clock. You're back to somebody, I suppose, 
experiencing some sort of rebirth and starting again? 

MARY PIERCE: In a way, I mean, yeah. I had to start back basically from zero, 
you know, a year or two ago. So it was kind of like starting from zero all over 

Q. Conchita Martinez is another veteran player who is trying to get back to 
where she once was. She's done a pretty good job of regaining her fitness. She 
may have just sort of topped out as a Top 20 player rather than Top 10. Do you 
feel it's a long shot to get back into the Top 10 for you, but 20 will be more 
realistic for you?

MARY PIERCE: I don't know. I just want to be the best that I can be and maximize 
myself and my potential. Whatever that is, that's what it is. I know that the 
game is a lot stronger and the girls are a lot better and faster and hit harder. 
I also know that, on any day, I have and can beat anybody. So only time will 

Q. Can you be satisfied at No. 18 or 16 if you're playing as well as you can and 
still not Top 10? 

MARY PIERCE: Probably not. Probably not. I'd have to see. 

Q. You won the Australian, you won the French. Will you ever embrace the US Open 
like you would these two tournaments? 

MARY PIERCE: The Australian and...

Q. The Australian where you won your first major. And the French, winning it in 
Paris. Will you ever embrace the US Open?

MARY PIERCE: Every Grand Slam is, for me, special. They're like the ultimate 
tournaments of the year. Those are the tournaments that I really get excited 
about the most and that motivate me the most. Each one is so different. Just the 
fans are different and everything about every Grand Slam is different. So, I 
mean, each tournament is special to me.

Q. Could you have done this without Sven? 

MARY PIERCE: I couldn't have done it without God, that's for sure, with my faith 
and the help and the strength that I get. Without Sven, I have to also say that 
I have to give him credit as well because he is here with me and he is working 
with me. So he's definitely been helping me and it's working out great. I'm very 
happy with it. 

Q. 5-1 is obviously a remarkable comeback. In some way you located your weak 
point. Your problem is not fitness. Does it mean in the third set you needed 
five games to recuperate and recover your energy maybe before you won? 

MARY PIERCE: Well, I didn't really recuperate and recover, so... I just really 
just tried to stay more calm. I kind of just went for my shots. I think that 
helped to conserve my energy and not trying to get too uptight or upset if I 
lose a point or too emotional about the match. So I mostly just stayed calm. 

End of FastScripts....

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