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2011 Australian Open (Melbourne): win over Justine Henin (BEL) in third round

21st January, 2011

 


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Q: Justine has dominated past matches. What was the difference today?

Svetlana: I think I was aggressive, and I served better. Then I think I dictated most of the time. Yeah, I have not been scared at all when I went to the match, so I just wanted to play my game and try to play with my best against her worst. She doesn't have worse, but I mean something where she doesn't like.

Q: Quite hard work in the end for you. Justine said she sensed the nerves in you. Did you tighten up in the second set?

Svetlana: Yeah, I did. I mean, I was not scared; I was not afraid when I went to the court. But of course I get tight. I kind of had a perfect match, 6 4, 5 4, serving. Didn't have any breaks. Just had few breakpoints. Serving good. Then the nerves came. Then started to do a little bit of show time, you know, it's like comedy. Women's drama going on. It's not only women's. It's like every match you see something, when it's tough matches you see something like that, and then you have to fight the nerves to fight against yourself a little bit. Because you try to take your time, but it's not quite working. So I just have to be there and fight. I think I fighted against myself very well and also I did against Justine. So I'm pretty pleased. I was quite lucky actually. It was like a lottery a little bit the tiebreak. It was crazy. We had some great rallies out there and I fought hard. Just happy I win in two sets.

Q: In that period you started to try and play safe and that almost compounded the problem for you.

Svetlana: On match point I didn't play safe. I almost missed the ball. I just got tight. It was I kind of didn't play the right things in the right moments.

Q: Is it because it was Justine do you think?

Svetlana: No. Because I was tight. Maybe a little bit of course, you know, because I had tough matches against her, many matches. It was her who had some trouble to close it and I was like, Maybe I have opportunity. Today it was me in the position. But I think I did it pretty well. She did good. She was playing actually better when I was leading, when it was equal. That's what I think. I think she went for the shots. When I had match points, serve to her forehand, she went winner down the line. Isn't that risky. So she played aggressive and good when I was in front on the scoreboard.

Q: Also you want somebody who plays better when you're back sometimes, that you take more risk like Justine did.

Svetlana: I know that Justine, she tries to go in and hit it a dozen other ways. Whereas myself I'm not sure sometimes. That's why I have sometimes trouble. I think I can work both ways: I can defend, but I think in the end I start to hit my forehand, the winner, well, the forehand I force her last point, I knew I had to go for it because the nerves was getting it. It was the right decision, you have to play aggressive. Every player has to choose their way of playing at the important moments.

Q: Do you have a cold or something?

Svetlana: No.

Q: Francesca just mentioned before that this year in her opinion you move better. Is that because you lost some weight?

Svetlana: What?

Q: Francesca say that you move better this year and you're more quick in a way?

Svetlana: I didn't run some sprints with her, I don't know why she knows this.

Q: She looks your matches.

Svetlana: Oh, okay.

Q: You lose weight?

Svetlana: The people say to me, yeah I did lose some weight. I don't know, looks like to me as well. It's a little bit easy, less trunk to carry on, so... No, I mean I been working hard and trying to take care of my foot. Just great.

Q: How is your foot?

Svetlana: Actually it was pretty good. In the end it got really worse in the tiebreak. It was really painful. Anyway, I hold on.

Q: And can I ask you something about you and Francesa? You're friends outside of court. She always says nice things about you and you about her.

Svetlana: I didn't start to talk about her yet. How did you know?

Q: In the past.

Svetlana: Maybe I want to do big news. (Laughter.)

Q: We're waiting for it?

Svetlana: No, I'm quiet; I'm nice. With Francesca, we're great. We have great friendship. It's like but we both are athletes, and both know clearly when we go out to the court. We're animals and kind of fighters against each other. This is pretty clear. It's not going to disturb our friendship. It's going to be nice match. Yeah, I mean, she's a great personality. I have lots of fun with her.

Q: Who's going to bite the other one first?

Svetlana: I hope I try to bite her first, but this is a fight, another one I'm looking forward to. Never know.

Q: You played so many times Justine. She has made some mistakes today. Do you think she was at her best level?

Svetlana: I think she done mistakes every game. Always some mistakes. But definitely she's not at her top level now. Neither am I. We're both coming back. She is coming from injury, some problems she had. Not sure what was it. I'm coming from playing completely opposite what I supposed to play, changing styles, whatever. You know, it was just another fight. I cannot judge how good of her percentage she is of her game. Definitely not at her top level.

Q: So you think you're not 100% of your shape?

Svetlana: No. I always believe I can play better and better. My shape is much better, but I believe I can be so much better more. I will work for this as hard as I can.

Q: What is missing?

Svetlana: Nothing is missing. I move good. I think I can be even stronger. I can move faster. Always there is space to improve. Nothing is bad. I'm happy with my performance and with my form, tennis wise, fitness wise, mental wise. But you always have things to improve. Roger is great example. He always improves and work on something. Always you can work on something else.

Q: How important was your win over Sam Stosur in Sydney last week? I think it was your first win against a top 10 opponent in quite some time.

Svetlana: Yeah, it was quite a year I haven't beaten a top 10 player. It was a great match, you know. It was really exciting playing Sam in home country, almost her city. It was great atmosphere. Very tough to play against her in her home. But it was great and it bring me a lot confidence, this match. Just, yeah, really happy with the way I played. It was great match.

Q: Do you remember anything in particular of your previous matches with Francesca Schiavone?

Svetlana: Yeah, we play Fed Cup and I lost. We had kind of not understanding, but we had talk about it afterwards in the locker room. We didn't talk for some time. I didn't shake her hand. So after we spoke in the locker room, so we are completely over it. I said sorry or whatever. We just talked. She misunderstands me; I misunderstand her. First me, I misunderstand and I didn't shake and she got pissed or whatever. It's women's stuff. But it's women's mentality or whatever it is. In the end we are fine. So it's great.

Q: And about tennis wise, matches, head to head...

Svetlana: I remember I lost to her Fed Cup first match I played, but it was my best year on clay actually. I lost only two matches: Safina once in Rome final, and I lost to Francesca in my match on clay. It was pretty rough to play first match against her because we had so many long rallies. It was three sets. Yeah, I remember sometimes I won. But doesn't really matter. It's a new match. Everything is new game.

Q: In the tiebreak, what made the decision, turning point?

Svetlana: I don't know. It was like it could go so many ways, the tiebreaker. I don't know. I just don't even know who had match points, who didn't. I wouldn't even remember now. I just had to fight every point. I was trying to go for shots, not to wait her mistakes. Even sometimes she did mistakes. Yeah, I remember on the last forehand I had to go, and I thought I missed it. But apparently it went in, so was pretty happy with it.

Q: Can I have a few words about another Belgian player, Kim Clijsters. You played her in the first career, and in the second career.

Svetlana: When did I play her in her new career?

Q: Last year I think. You played once against her.

Svetlana: I don't remember. No, no, I don't think I played. But anyway, I don't remember. Doesn't matter. She's more mature. That's all I can say. She was the same Kim; she's nice, great person. Nothing I can say that something change or something. When you mature you can see it on the court.


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