UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION
1993 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Flushing Meadows, New York, NY
September 5, 1993
M. MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE/C. Martinez
1-6, 6-0, 6-2
AN INTERVIEW WITH
Q. Why were the first and second sets so different?
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: Today I played with a different splint on my finger than the last match and I was not feeling the ball very well on the backhands, I didn't dare hitting them. I was afraid of the pain a little bit. Once I realized that it was okay and that even -- if there is pain I am not going to hurt more my finger. I just went for all my shots and I think I have played one of the best tennis I can play.
Q. This wouldn't change your mind; would it?
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: I cannot think about that right now. Actually, my dream was to play one more good Grand Slam and retire and maybe it is coming true.
Q. Were you playing more sliced backhands than two-handers, the normal, because of the finger?
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: Yes, I played more and actually it is working out fine because I had problems on some of her very high lobs and it felt fine with just the one-handed backhand. I have practiced this. I don't dare always using it in the match and today I had to.
Q. Have you played Date?
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: I am playing Date right now?
Q. Yes, right now.
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: I played her, I think, only once in an exhibition in the beginning of the year in Australia and I lost to her. It is going to be a tough match.
Q. Do you know what you will do in terms of tactics?
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: I just have to keep on playing the way I have played; going for my shots; not being afraid to win the important points and anything can happen.
Q. Manuela, do you believe you can retire your career after the U.S. Open or not after the -- not after the U.S. Open but...
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: I said I would retire probably after Australia. I still believe that I can. It feels wonderful when I am playing like I played this tournament, but I know that I will have some downs also from now on. It is not going to be every tournament like this, and this is why I have to decide what I want to do. But you know, right now I don't want to think about it, retirement. I am still in the tournament and I am enjoying it so much. It really is like a dream.
Q. Is there any challenge, any competition between -- among you and your sisters?
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: No. Each one wants to do the best she can. But we don't think "I want to be better than my sister." Each one wants to do the best she can, but for herself.
Q. What is your prediction for the next -- between the sisters?
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: I have no prediction. I really have no idea what is going to happen. It is tomorrow, we will see.
Q. Manuela, after you lost the first set so decidedly, were you sort of thinking how do I say good-bye to this place or were you thinking I still could have a chance?
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: I was actually disappointed that I didn't play better in the first set. I was a little bit anxious of the pain. I was feeling a little bit nauseous probably from the nervosity and knowing how my finger would be today without injections. I was more -- I just wanted to go one more time for my shots. I didn't want to go out losing 6-1, 6-Love. I just wanted to play the best tennis I can and this is what I thought about.
Q. How is the finger now?
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: It is sore. But I have one day off, right, so maybe it will be better for the next match.
Q. I have seen your reaction after winning with her and today was the same, like you couldn't believe you can win?
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: It is exactly how I felt. Before I played Hack, my husband had made reservations for the next flight on Saturday. I mean, I really, really --
Q. He wanted to go home.
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: I really thought that there is no chance I could play. I thought that I would just go on the court and see what can happen and the same today. I really went on the court not believing that I can really win. And actually, before I went on the court, my sister Katerina, came to me and she said good luck. I asked her when are you both playing tomorrow and she said we are fourth match. And I said oh, good at least I am not going to see it, we will be flying home. She looked at me and said, what, I said oh, right, I still have to play, so this is my -- this was what I thought.
Q. Will you watch tomorrow?
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: I don't think so.
Q. Didn't you remember today on the court the match of your sister yesterday was, I mean --
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: She was down --
Q. 6 1...
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: Yeah. No, I didn't think of her, no.
Q. I mean after the first set?
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: After the first set?
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: I have been so many times down, I have played so many matches in my career that I knew that nothing is impossible, so I thought that I could come back. I mean, I thought that I could play a better set than the first set. This is what I wanted. It turned out even better.
Q. Which day you supposed to fly home right now?
MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: I don't know anymore. Don't ask me.
Q. Thank you.