SI: When did you finally grow up?
CE: I started soul-searching when I was 28, and that went on to about 32. Then I caught up to where I should be. Being a tennis player puts a lot of reactions and emotions on hold.
SI: What are the qualities that make a champion?
CE: They're all negative qualities. At least they were for me. When I look at the players who have made it year after year, like Billie Jean, Monica and Steffi [Graf], I see intensity. And again, that might come from a negative—from insecurity, from seeking attention. It might come from, "I want to prove something."
SI: Could it come from love?
CE: Are you kidding? Love? Billie Jean said 10 or 15 years ago that she hated to lose more than she loved to win. That's the truth. You hate to lose more than you love to win.
SI: How much did you hate it?
CE: Oh, I hated it. I hated it. I think you have to have that. And you have to have an arrogance to maintain a high level of confidence. Most of the time I kept it inside. But, boy, it was there. You know you're better than the other players because there are so many times when you're down 5-3 in the third set and you don't get worried. You still know you're going to win. That's true arrogance.
SI: Were you aware of that arrogance as a player?
CE: Oh, I knew. I was aware of all my qualities as a player. I recognized them and justified them. In my mind I thought, Well, while I'm playing, the people around me who are close to me have to understand that I'm going to be moody, that I'm going to have a short temper at times, that I don't have a lot of patience. You just get so involved. And everything revolves around you. I was aware of it. And the last three years, I didn't like it.