UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION

1993 U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Flushing Meadows, New York, NY

 

September 7, 1993

 

M. MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE/K. Date

7-5, 7-5

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH

 

MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE

 

Q. Manuela, you must have surprised yourself in this tournament?

MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: Completely. Every match that I have won from the last three matches has been a surprise. Really not expecting more than just hoping to be able to play.

 

Q. The problem with your finger made you perhaps concentrate hard or made you try a little bit harder; different strategies used?

MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: Maybe. Maybe, because the match against Martinez I used a lot more on my slice. I am taking more chances with my forehand and I know that I have to put it in because I cannot rely on my backhand all the time. On the other hand, my backhand has become quite consistent. I can't hit it very hard, but I can -- I am not making a lot of mistakes from it. So maybe I am becoming a bit more steadier and when I have a chance, I just go for the shots.

 

Q. Have anymore dreams this week? You mentioned the other day a dream; that it was your dream to do well in -- here.

MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: Every match that I have won here has been a dream, from the last three matches, since I broke my finger it has been -- I still cannot realize it. It seems so incredible that I am in the semifinals. I would have never thought that this was possible.

 

Q. When you go out there, because this is sort of a dream, are you feeling no pressure at all?

MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: I have absolutely no pressure. I am just so happy to be on the court and being able to play, because a few days ago when I broke my finger and I thought why is it me again at the moment when I am playing so well, why does something like this have to happen again; thinking that I will not be able to play at all. I was so down after that day when we came back from the hospital, because last year in Australia, the same thing more or less happened with my foot. At the moment when I was playing the best, I was having such high hopes for that year, and again, this time, I thought if there is God up there, why is he doing this to me, and now I see why he did it. Maybe this is the way he made me play better.

RICHARD FINN: Can you tell everybody what happened to the finger; when did you hurt it, so forth?

MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: I hurt it at the warm-up of the doubles, first rounds doubles with Maggie. We were warming up. There was a very slow coming ball from the ball boys, he threw it to me. I wanted to serve and it just caught my finger and it completely went down.

 

Q. So it broke or it jammed?

MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: There is a little piece of the bone that chipped off with the tendon. The tendon went and it took a piece of the bone.

 

Q. Did you default that match immediately?

MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: Well, we played three games. I wanted to see if I could play and after two backhand returns, I was in so much pain -- that is why I was sure that I would not be able to play. Lucky I had one day break the next day.

 

Q. Then you went to the hospital from here? You had a trainer see --

MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: They sent me immediately to the hospital. They took X-rays and two days later I had two injections in my finger so I could play my first round match because it was too sore. So they numbed the finger. The last match and this match I had no injections. I am standing the pain.

 

Q. Manuela, remember last year you almost didn't get to play the U.S. Open because your ankle was bad?

MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: Yes.

 

Q. It is unbelievable?

MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: Yeah, I am getting every stupid injury you can get.

 

Q. What happened last year?

MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: I sprained my ankle four days before the U.S. Open.

RICHARD FINN: I am just going to let the Europeans do it because we are on deadline and if we want to go back to English we can.

 

Q. Is there any Bulgarian press here?

MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: There is one.

 

Q. One guy?

MANUELA MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE: He is not here, though.

 

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