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2007 US Open (New York): win over Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) in semi finals

7th September, 2007

Moderator: Questions.

Q: What made the difference between the first and second and third sets?

Svetlana: I guess when you put the ball in court, you win. When you hit it out, you lose. This is basically it. I was so nervous in the first set. I knew it was my opportunity. You know, I was so stuck there. I was just not doing anything at all. Every ball I hit, I hit it with the frame, the handle, somewhere out. Forehand. Didn't serve well. This was it. I was down one set, 1-Love, Love-40. I still was fighting. I would never give up. It was semifinal. It was not the best match I've played, but it was also great challenge to me. You know, I was talking to myself, say, Look, it's your challenge. You're losing, but you know you can do it, you know you can play better. You know if you do good basically you have to win. It's your challenge. You take it or you don't. So I did, and I'm really proud of my effort today.

Q: Why do you think you were nervous?

Svetlana: Semifinal of Grand Slam (smiling)? I mean, my last semifinal was one year ago in Paris. US Open is special to me, well, as any Grand Slam also. But, you know, it was great feeling to be out there. When I won it, I played semifinals against Lindsay when I had nothing to lose. Now I'm the favorite to be in the final, so this is what makes the pressure. Of course, pressure I put to myself because I think I'm good enough to be there.

Q: Do you think now because you're not going to be the favorite in the final will you feel less pressure?

Svetlana: I don't know. You know, it's pressure about what I put to myself. You know, I think after this week I gonna be No. 2 for the first time in my career. Really proud of my ranking. I'm really looking forward to play No. 1, Justine or either Venus who is playing one of the best tennis she played this year. The best player basically. Really I'm up to this challenge to play against the best players because I want to compete and try to be the best.

Q: How much better do you have to play tomorrow to win, regardless of who wins today?

Svetlana: Well, it's different, you know, because it's so much different because Anna's game is tough. With the wind she plays so flat. If the wind blows with your shot you have to take it early. If you play against the wind you have to play double. Tomorrow is just going to be very important to serve well.

Q: Do you root not to have to play the No. 1 player in the world?

Svetlana: No, not at all. Not at all. I want to play the winner of this match. Who wins the match means the better player, and I would like to compete against the best player in the finals of the Grand Slam. It's really now what I live for. I play tennis every day. I wish to be in this final. I wish to challenge myself there.

Q: What kind of challenge will it be if it's Venus, knowing she'll have the crowd on her side?

Svetlana: Doesn't matter. It's even more challenge to me. It's not about the crowd and stuff.

Q: When you're struggling like that early and there's nerves, do you move your feet more? Do you try to hit more spin? Give yourself margin? How do you snap out of it?

Svetlana: Well, I just felt I didn't -- my feet was not moving because of my nerves. You know, everything was blocking by nerves. I was more tired because of the nerves, not because of physical thing, you know. I am pretty fit and I can play matches like that if I'm not nervous. When the nerves get in the middle it tough. I was just taking it as a challenge, you know. It's just basic match, but on the other side is a pressure match because I was the favorite and I had good chances to be in the final. I was just saying, you know, you got to take the challenge and you just gonna say, No, no. I'm playing bad so today I lose. So I didn't do that and I was fighting. It's like one hour or two hours match. Maybe one set goes wrong I always have the chance to come back. What is beautiful about tennis is that.

Q: Is it more difficult to get into a rhythm against her?

Svetlana: No, not really.

Q: Were you surprised she didn't come out more nervous?

Svetlana: Well, you never know if she was nervous or not. The first set I didn't even let her play because I was playing against myself. I was just doing mistakes and stuff. I don't know how she was feeling.

Q: Were you expecting a tougher fight in the third set?

Svetlana: Second set I already played okay, you know. Third set it was tough because I was a break down I think or something like that. Maybe not. I don't remember. But anyway, I don't know, I played good second set. I knew if I keep going I gonna win. I felt like I was in control of the match.

Q: Do you think your game matches up with one of those guys better than the other? Do you feel more comfortable against Justine or Venus?

Svetlana: I have not think about it at all. It takes time. I don't want to think about it because you want one of them to win more or less. I don't want to think about it. I just want to play the player who wins, that's it.

Q: You said your win in 2004 seemed very far away. Is it all coming back to you now?

Svetlana: It feels like now I knew -- I felt really low after I won here and then I lost next round. I was really down on myself. Now I realize how much effort it took me to be here again. I went through difficult times. Now I'm back here. I gonna have another chance, another opportunity to play against best player tomorrow. It just great. I really appreciate for myself and my team who work with me what I've done. I came back to this level. This is what I really think so.

Q: Will you watch this match?

Svetlana: No. I gonna eat, have massage. I gonna relax. I know like how they play. I don't want to watch.

Q: How confident are you to win tomorrow?

Svetlana: I don't want to think about the win or lose. I just gonna go out there and enjoy the final. To play in the night I have not had one match on Ashe on the night yet. I played a little bit late with the lights, but I really didn't have night match yet. Just, you know, the opportunity for me to play a great final. I just gonna give my best. Doesn't depend on me if I win or lose. Of course, it does, but on the other player also.

Q: Do you have your hat picked out for your next press conference?

Svetlana: I'm not doing this. I'm not doing this. I wake up every day. I do things as I feel. I don't plan for the future what clothes are going to go and stuff.

Q: Is being No. 1 a goal you've had for a long time, or is it more of a target that you're getting close?

Svetlana: You play tennis for some reasons. It's not like I wanted to be No. 1 since I was three years old. But when I start playing good tennis, it's definitely one of your goals. When you win a Grand Slam you got to set another goal. If it's No. 1, definitely it's going to be No. 1 because there is pretty much no other goals. It's for a time, but not for ages.

Q: Does being No. 2 sharpen your desire?

Svetlana: Yeah, because it's pretty close. In the rankings, it's pretty far.

Q: What is it about the US Open that brings out the best in you?

Svetlana: I don't know. I just really feel -- yesterday some journalist came to me and asked, How do I like the crowd? Because some players complain about the crowd. I said, You know what, it's one of my favorite crowds of everywhere. I love French Open. It's real close to me. I would love to win it one day. US Open and French is my favorite tournaments. But there sometimes you don't know if crowd going to whistle you or they gonna say something. You never know. But here, it's just kind of showtime, you know. The crowd is always crazy. It's always nice. It pumps me up. This is what I like about it, you know, because sometimes you don't have to be American to be favorite. Of course, I mean, you guys love here American people a lot, from your country, but still people are so open minded from different countries, and it's unbelievable to be here. It's something really strange. Many surprises happens, and I love that.

Q: Is it important to give the crowd a smile so they get on your side?

Svetlana: Well, some players do so. Well, whenever I'm playing I'm not focused of what crowd gonna think. I'm trying to be myself. Definitely I would never be mean to the crowd. But there is two ways: either they like it or they don't. I'm not gonna do something ugly so they gonna whistle me for sure because I'm not stupid. Then, you know, I don't know, I just feel comfortable to play here.


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