Spirit's Monica Seles TV Quotes

The following quotes were taken directly from the television screen, word for word. I list them here in chronological order.

These quotes are about Monica's life and career. It is by no means a complete list; I haven't seen every Monica match or news conference.

I included any quote which I think is complimentary to an exceptional degree, highly amusing, or of significance, for historic or other reasons.

1989 French Open
Unknown interviewer: (Speaking to Monica after she was eliminated in the semifinals) "You are the sunlight of this tournament."
1990 French Open Final
Pavel Slozil, Steffi Graf's coach: "You know, [Monica] went onto the court and tried to go for her shots, and she's good enough these days to make winners even against Steffi. What has surprised me, of course, is that it is her first Grand Slam final, and she went for her shots right away."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chris Evert: "It's one thing to overpower Steffi, like Martina Navratilova when she serves and volleys, but it's another thing to outplay her at her own game, and that's exactly what Monica's doing."
1992 French Open Final
Chris Evert: (Talking about Monica's comeback win over Gabriela Sabatini in the semifinal) "She played like she belonged on the men's tour."
1992 Wimbledon Semifinal
Bud Collins: "I mean, she's been grunting throughout her career. Perhaps they should have put a muzzle on her her first year, but you don't ask her during a Wimbledon semifinal to change her approach to the game. I don't think that's fair at all."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bud Collins: (Talking about Monica's great relationship with her father) "Remember how teenagers are supposed to have trouble with their parents? She said, 'I'm still waiting.'"
1992 Wimbledon Final
Dick Enberg: "Monica tried to deter her grunting, and people say, 'Well that shouldn't make any difference.' What do you think?"
Chris Evert: "I think it's taken away that firepower behind her shots. This is not the same Monica Seles that we've seen all year. And something's different, and it's been a distraction for her. She's thinking about, Oh, I can't grunt instead of thinking about hitting the ball hard and placing it. It has an effect on her, and it's been negative."
Dick Enberg: "It's like someone who's been always chewing gum playing basketball, and they say, 'Okay, shoot your free throws, but I'm just going to take your gum away. Don't think about it, though!'"
Bud Collins: "Yeah, it's ex post facto, and I think it's very unfair. Here's a woman who's won five major championships. It was never an issue. She did everything in Paris, Graf never complained. And when they went to the press conference, Martina Navratilova, she did complain during her match. Somebody said, 'This is the 11th time you've played her, did you just hear her this time?' She said, 'It was louder.' But I think it was very unfair to Monica, but yesterday, no one was going to beat Steffi Graf."
Dick Enberg: "No, it didn't matter whether she grunted or not."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chris Evert: "And you know, Dick, talking about the grunt, you keep talking about it. And it is a major issue here. I think it's just too bad that the players, Martina, Tauziat, they couldn't have complained to Monica to her face, you know. Not on the court, not in a big match."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chris Evert: "It's a surprising sight, and I think that Steffi took her eye off the ball and was looking at Monica up at the net, thinking, What is she doing up there?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bud Collins: "No fire at all from Monica, and I think it's because she's trying to restrain herself."
1993 Australian Open Final
Mary Carillo: "Nobody is as good a match player as Monica Seles. I'm not counting her out!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mary Carillo: "Monica also says that she never watches matches of herself play, and I think that is absolute genius. Because if she saw what she did, as she does in this point – a full-bodied swing from half-court for a winner – if she saw that, if she watched any video of her own thing, I think she'd look at the screen and go, 'AAAAAAAACK! What am I doing?! How could I try that?!'"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cliff Drysdale: "Seles played fifteen tournaments last year, she won ten of them, she played four Finals [of those she didn't win]... Tremendous record, tremendous consistency from Monica Seles. Number one player in the world, and yet she's not that far in front of Steffi Graf."
Mary Carillo: "Well, she should be, Cliff. That's just the ranking system. I mean, even Steffi admits that... Each system is flawed, both the ATP and the women's side, they try very hard to get the ranking system right. But you can't tell me that a woman who's won three out of the four grand slams in each of the last two years should be in danger of losing her Number One spot, that's ridiculous!"
Cliff Drysdale: "You got that right! No question!"
Mary Carillo: "It should be very difficult to become Number One in the world, and it should be very difficult to lose that spot, too. And I think these rankings don't really reflect that."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mary Carillo: "That was a 92-mile-an-hour serve from Steffi, and I'd like to have gotten the radar on the return of serve. It was stronger."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cliff Drysdale: "Graf has won eleven grand slam championships."
Mary Carillo: "Seles has played 20 less but she's already won seven of them."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mary Carillo: "How much can you say about this woman? She is a remarkable – she has that remarkable instinct, when under the gun, when under pressure, to attack. She's got the instincts of a doberman. You know, when confronted, she attacks. It's the natural thing for her to do. I just, as I say, I've never seen her like before. I've seen great players, obviously, great champions. But time and again we've seen Monica in trouble, we've seen her play less than her best tennis, and in the end, I mean, she just basically says, 'All right, gimme the ball, gimme the ball.' And she hits winners. It's great stuff."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mary Carillo: "[Steffi's] actually playing better than when she played in '88 and won the Grand Slam. Everyone acts as though 'Well, you know, she's got to get it back, she's got to get it back.' I actually feel that Steffi has added a lot to her game. She's a better defensive player. She's got a better first serve than she used to. I think her slice backhand really works well. I mean, I happen to think that she's a better player than she was a few years ago, but she's facing an opponent that is just remarkable, and I think that's why she doesn't have the Grand Slams titles we're used to seeing from her."
1993 U.S. Open Interview
Steffi Graf: "I look at it as a very good year. I mean, I've played very solid, I've won the matches that I really had to win, and even I came back from a few matches that I almost lost already, so I think I've had a great, steady year. But it's difficult to really say, looking back a couple years, that it's a great year, because Monica has been missing."
1993 U.S. Open Trophy Presentation
Steffi Graf: "Well, like you said, I had an incredible year, so I am very happy about it. But I do know that there's one player who hasn't been around the last three grand slams, and that's Monica, and I just hope she'll be soon back."
1995 Return of the Champions Exhibition, pre-match report on SportsCenter
Mary Carillo: "She is going to come back so strong, so much better than I personally thought she ever could, she is going to come back quickly and kick major babe butt."
1995 Return of the Champions Exhibition
Mary Carillo: "Just hearing her giggle again is just about the sweetest thing I've heard in women's tennis in years."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mary Carillo: "It's Karolj that really formed Monica's game. He started her playing at six, but she quit early, she didn't like it too much. Then she saw her older brother, Zoltan, carry home a trophy from winning the Yugoslav junior tennis championships, liked the trophy, and said, 'I gotta get me some of that.'"
Tim Ryan: "She's had a few since then."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mary Carillo: "By the age of eight, in fact, Monica had won a major European 12-and-Under championship, and her brother said she couldn't even keep score and she had no idea when the match was over."
Tim Ryan: "And didn't care, probably!"
Mary Carillo: "She didn't. She just wanted to hit the ball."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mary Carillo: "Her father is a political cartoonist and documentary filmmaker, and he used to draw Tom and Jerry cartoons on the balls to make it fun for the kid. And he said, 'You have to go after the ball like a cat goes after a mouse.' And that's just what she does, and more often than not, her opponents are the mice, and not the cat."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tim Ryan: "Game to Monica. Pat O'Brien is with her parents. Pat?"
Pat O'Brien: "All right, we're with papa and mama, Esther and Karolj Seles, and, uh, having saw smiles down here, how do you think Monica is playing?"
Karolj Seles: "Say, Monica, now and, little bit, and there was, for me now, not important how play Monica, my think import now how come back Monica, and too many good people have here, and too many people help Monica come back, IMG, Mr. McCormack and Betsy and TV and CBS and many many good people and my think this will now import me, Monica little bit, not play two years, not easy."
Pat O'Brien: (Obviously wanting to end the interview as quickly as possible because he didn't understand a word) "Thank you very much, enjoy the match."
Karolj Seles: "Thank you very much."
Pat O'Brien: "Tim."
Brief, awkward pause.
Tim Ryan: "I think he's happy, Pat."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tim Ryan: (After Monica won) "The younger champion: too good, too strong and definitely back."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Martina Navratilova: "I am just thrilled that I was a part of Monica's comeback, to be on the same court with her again. She's a great champion, the game has missed her, and it's fantastic to have her back."
Pat O'Brien: "How do think she played?"
Martina Navratilova: (Rolling her eyes) "Huh! Ha! Those passing shots were not a mirage. Monica, you are definitely here, you definitely hit those shots, just like I remember. Going by me. Time after time. You know, 6-3 6-2, but as usual Monica played great on the big points, I couldn't win the close games, and that's why she is who she is."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mary Carillo: "And look at this, there's all these strangers, hundreds and hundreds of strangers around her, and she's smiling. That, to me, is the best thing that has come out of this day, that Seles is really finally back, and is making herself emotionally available to the public again."
Tim Ryan: "Absolutely. When we saw her go over to sign the first of her autographs at the end of the match, a little tingle, and a really good feeling that she felt secure enough to do that."
Mary Carillo: "It was terrific, no kidding."
Tim Ryan: "To see that smile, to, to -"
Mary and Tim (together): "To hear that giggle!"
Tim Ryan: "To see that look of intensity awaiting serve, everybody welcomes her back."
1995 Canadian Open, 2nd Round
Mary Carillo: "For Seles, just returning to the tour makes her a champion."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mary Carillo: "She's back, kids."
1995 U.S. Open, 4th Round
Martina Navratilova: "This is why Monica Seles is one of the all-time greats."
Mary Carillo: "Has anyone ever been able to hit her way out of trouble the way Monica Seles does?"
1995 U.S. Open Semifinal
Mary Carillo: "I've got it in my head, Martina, that Seles really enjoyed having to hit the tough shot on a big point. She thought that was fun!"
1995 U.S. Open Final
Mary Carillo: (Amazed at a winner Monica had just hit even though she was losing) "Refresh my memory, Jim: what constellation is Seles from? How can she play that kind of a point, just being two points away from out of it?"
1997 U.S. Open Broadcast, In Studio
Pat O'Brien: (Talking about a cancer-stricken child who got to meet and hit with Monica) "She's a good kid. She was in the studio."
Mary Carillo: "She's a terrific kid. And Karolj Seles's kid – Karolj, of course, Monica's father, he's battling cancer, too – he's raised himself a nice daughter."
Pat O'Brien: "And that's why we love Monica, as well."
1998 French Open, 4th Round
Chris Evert: "Gavin Hopper, her coach, said that Monica was very hesitant to even come over here and play the French Open. After Rome, when she found out her father was in a coma, she went home and spent twelve days and twelve nights with him, before he passed away. She arrived here Saturday before this event, and they've been trying to make up for lost time, by really doubling up on the training."
Dick Enberg: "Karolj Seles, her coach, and we remember the great stories about their early relationship. He'd draw cartoons on the tennis ball to make the experience of practice a happy one."
Chris Evert: "He was a great tennis parent."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chris Evert: "The players are finding it hard to play Monica. I hear words through the locker room that everybody's emotional when they play her."
Dick Enberg: "She is well-liked, isn't she?"
Chris Evert: "She is well-liked and well-respected, and they really feel for her during this time in her life."
Dick Enberg: "She's handled her success and her tragedy with true elegance."
Chris Evert: "And dignity. And you know what, that's because of her solid upbringing. She has and had great parents."
1999 Australian Open Quarterfinal
Pam Shriver: "There is something about the air Down Under that just suits Monica Seles."
1999 Roland Garros, 3rd Round
Chris Evert: "[Monica] then really got cheated out of a lot of Grand Slams. She was really dominating women's tennis, dominating Steffi Graf. As I said before, she won seven out of eight Grand Slams and then got stabbed and was out for 27 months. Her assailant got his wish, that Steffi Graf be Number One, and sure enough, Steffi regained the Number One position when Monica was out of the game. So he got his wish."
Dick Enberg: "Who knows how many titles she would own had she remained in full health?"
Chris Evert: "Well, a lot more than nine Grand Slams, I'll tell you that. That's so not fair, when you look at Steffi's 21 and Monica's nine, it's very unbalanced, and it shouldn't be."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dick Enberg: "But [Monica] has dealt with [her issues] very admirably, and I think when she was young, because she was so successful at such a young age, that there was some envy, some people, because of her on-court manners, her grunting and all, made fun of her, didn't like her, even, but she's a very likable person. Was then, and certainly is now."
Chris Evert: "Well, the players really look up to her and respect her, and as you said, she's handled everything in a very dignified manner. And the thing that I love about Monica, when she loses a match, she has no excuses. I mean, she has nothing but praise for her opponent, and that's such good sportsmanship. You don't see that a lot in sports today."
Dick Enberg: "Well, that falls under the category of 'respect for the game.' You certainly had that, and we admired that quality in you, and it's becoming a lost art. There should be more reverence to the sport that they play, and people cheer them while playing, and they make a very handsome living through that process."
Chris Evert: "And she also, you know, her results speak for themselves. She talks with her racket. She's had so much success, but you never hear her bragging, or being arrogant or cocky, and I think that's the younger generation. They're very much that way, they speak what's on their mind, they're very much in your face, and you know, that's good, that's entertaining, but Monica has that modesty about her that I think is very attractive."
2002 U.S. Open, 3rd Round
Dick Enberg: (After Monica won a 23-stroke point against Yoon Jeong Cho) "Quite a rally!"
Mary Carillo: "And a noisy one! It's nice to hear Monica Seles playing so well."
Pat McEnroe: "Well, she never plays poorly, then!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pat McEnroe: "It's funny, Dick, you talked about what could have been with Monica. You look at her record, when she won Roland Garros in 1990...when she started in '91, the run, she won the Australian, she won Roland Garros again, didn't play Wimbledon, won the U.S. Open. Ninety-two: Won the Australian again, won Roland Garros, got to the Finals of Wimbledon, won the United States Open. Went down to Australia again, won there, and then was stabbed. Now –"
Dick Enberg: "How great would she have been in terms of her Grand Slam titles? And with all the misfortune, including the loss of her father and coach, at a young age for him, I think she has matured as well as any tennis player that I've encountered in the last couple decades."
Mary Carillo: "I think she's the classiest woman tennis player in that locker room. She is so gracious in victory and in defeat. I've never seen someone better than Monica Seles."

Back to the Monica Seles page

Back to my home page