Catching Up With... Amy Frazier
Published August 26, 2006 12:00
ROCHESTER, MI, USA - As the US Open draws nearer, Amy Frazier's career grows more remarkable. This will be her 20th consecutive appearance at the year's final major, as well as her record 71st overall Grand Slam main draw appearance; she is still going strong in the regular season as well, winning her eighth Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title at the end of last year and recently making her 90th quarterfinal. The 33-year-old also has no plans of stopping.
After a tough clay court season, you've been in solid form the last few months, reaching the quarters at Cincinnati, wins over Santangelo, Dulko, Golovin; any cause for the sudden spike?
I do feel like I'm playing well right now. In the spring I lost some matches but once you win one or two, you start to feel better. Throughout the year I've worked hard and have tried my best, but sometimes there are ups and downs; you have to ride them out and stay positive, and it's bound to turn around. Everyone is so good now, you go out and they're all ready to play.
Do you always start playing well in the American summer season?
I love this time of year. Obviously, playing here in the United States, and on hardcourts, is just a nice feeling. I think all Americans like this. We're home and playing on a surface we love so it's just great. I look forward to all the summer tournaments, they're all really nice.
How important was winning Québec City at the end of last year?
Gosh, it was just a great way to end the year, to win a tournament. I hadn't won one in a long time; it was a great thing. Again, I've always thought that what happens one week doesn't make much difference the next week. Winning a title doesn't happen very often, so it was exciting.
Cincinnati was your 90th career quarterfinal. You have your 71st Grand Slam coming up, it's also your 20th US Open. These numbers are almost Agassi-like; what do they mean to you, if anything?
I feel really lucky. I can't believe I get to do this for a living. I don't really pay too much attention to numbers like this, though. I still just look forward to playing each match, going from tournament to tournament. Numbers are nice but I keep going because I enjoy it.
Before she was going to play you in Cincinnati, Serena Williams said that you still look and play like you're really young. How do you feel about that, coming from someone like her?
I hadn't read that. That's really nice. I would say thank you. It didn't end up being a very close match though! You know, I don't feel old. I feel young. I think I'm a much better player today than I was 10 or 20 years ago. To keep up, you have to keep improving, or you'll be passed by. Because there are so many players now that are so tough. Hopefully I've improved a little over time. I would say my game is fairly one-dimensional - it hasn't changed, maybe it's just gotten better. My serve is better, I'm more consistent from the ground, I come into net a little more than before... I've been working on eveyrthing.
What is your current coaching situation?
I work with Steve Herdoiza, and we've been working together for the last eight years. We grew up together. He has absolutely helped me keep up with everyone. I look forward to going to my lessons. He's very helpful. He makes hard work fun. I appreciate him and his efforts a lot.
What do you do off the court to relax and keep yourself busy?
Tennis players don't have as much time on the side as people would think, but I like reading, and when I'm home I do a lot of the normal stuff, like going to movies and seeing friends.
Who were your tennis idols, growing up?
Chris Evert. She had just a little bit of everything. I grew up watching her and her game, her demeanor; she was always so classy and when she played, she left everything on the court.
What was your first memory of the Tour?
My first tournament, Oklahoma in 1986. I was scared to death but it was fun and exciting too, all at once. I lost in the qualies, 61 60, to Louise Allen; she had a slice backhand and I had never seen a slice backhand. In the juniors nobody has that! I went back and worked on learning how to deal with that.
What has been the best tournament run of your career, not necessarily a title run?
San Diego in 2000. I felt like I played a couple of really good matches in a row, and I had a win over Martina Hingis too, when she was No.1. But to pick that over winning a tournament is hard. Los Angeles was the biggest tournament I've won, if I'm forced to pick one. But if you win a tournament it's so special, because it doesn't happen too often.
You've had 27 victories over Top 10 players in your career. Which has been the biggest?
If I had to pick, it would be Hingis, just because I felt like it was the best match I've ever played, and it was against her, someone ranked so high. But that's if I had to pick one.
What have been your favourite places to travel to on the Tour?
I love playing in Tokyo and Australia, but I don't look forward to the long flights. Outside of the United States, I would pick those two places.
You've played against a few generations of top players; which is your toughest competition?
The top players are just so good, the Top 5, the Top 10; you play them a lot and they're just so good. They're all so good. It's hard to pick one. Tough to compare.
What keeps you going?
I just love to play. I enjoy practicing and hitting, and I love playing matches. It's fun to go out on the court and try to compete, and see how it goes. I don't really enjoy all of the travelling, the airports, the planes; but I love just playing.
You've said before you want to become a teacher after you retire. Is that still the plan?
I've always wanted to be a math teacher. I can't imagine not being involved in tennis, but I really want to go back to school and then eventually teach math. I want to teach at secondary level. It might be tough though, as it has been a long tine since I've had to write a paper!
A lot of young players probably admire your record, your longetivity, and would kill just to spend one year in the Top 50; any advice? You seem to have had a pretty healthy career.
I would say just have fun and be secure and confident to do what's best for you. It's a game. You know, giving advice makes me nervous, because what works for one person may not work for another; but for me, keeping it fun has helped. If you love playing, that's a good start.
Tell us a bit about these Michael Chang racquets you've been using!
Every time I go to play in Cincy they always ask me about this, it's really funny. I don't think anything of it! They stopped making this racquet I use in the late 90s. I love them, and I don't like changing racquets, so if I'm happy why would I change? I have enough so why not keep using them? You have to feel comfortable on the court. Changing racquets is just not fun for me. Prince made a racquet named for him - he used it - the Prince Michael Chang - because he was with Prince. I was a fan of his, he was great, but the main reason I use them is because I just love the racquet.