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French Open (Paris): win over Nadia Petrova (RUS) in third round

31st May, 2008

Q: Your serve has always been an important part of your game, but in your first three matches, your serving has been particularly strong. Have you been working extra hard on your serve? It's been almost dominating here?

Svetlana: Yeah, I did change my serve after Miami. So, you know, it took me three weeks. I played Warsaw, I played better in Rome. It was unconsistent, (sic) but now it's getting better. So now this is two weeks; I need my serve more than ever. So I'm really focused on it, and I feel like I'm doing much better.

Q: Different toss, different grip? What's different?

Svetlana: The same toss. A bit different movement. A movement, you know?

Q: Yeah. And it feels very comfortable now?

Svetlana: Yeah. When I get the movement and all get together, because serving all the time one way, to change it it's a bit difficult. But, you know, I feel so much power in it more consistent. Much more smoother, the movement. So I feel really good when I can get everything together.

Q: You are not very happy because the way Petrova performed or because the day is sad or what?

Svetlana: No, I'm very happy. I just have to have really fast lunch. I hope my lunch stays inside of me. I really was happy out there. I was really enjoying my tennis, so...

Q: Sometimes after a bad shot you'll scream something in Russian, and we always wonder what it is. Can you share some of those things? (laughter.)

Svetlana: You know, I shout like, Come on, next time do better. I try to scream positive things, you know. Sorry, no translation. (laughter.)

Q: Some players are just born to play tennis. It's very easy for them. Are you one of those players, or are you a player that has had to work very, very hard to get where you are?

Svetlana: I think both, you know. Because about hard work, it's what my family teach me to do. They're all cyclists, and cyclists is really hard workers. Since kid, my parents always teach me a lot and train me a lot. Still they push me so much so I maintain my hours of practice. And another thing I will never forget. Once the guy -- I came to Spain, and I had to take few Spanish classes. Like I couldn't take more. I took like three or four. I couldn't last more. The guy -- we had like a game, and he had a paper. So you choose a paper, and you get the name of somebody in the room and you have to describe this person. That guy said, This girl was just born to play tennis. She plays on the court like she meant to be there, you know. And it was me that he said it. At that moment I really started thinking, you know, I love to do that. And even day of rest, I enjoy doing this. When I play well, I have such pleasure when I'm playing. It's really great to doing something which you love to do. It's hard to work. Definitely nothing is easy, but it's a huge pleasure to live life like that.

Q: So for your point of view, what works best today? And also, do you think you have chance to win this tournament?

Svetlana: Well, the best today? I think I play really consistent. I was trying not to do unforced errors in the first two, three shots. It's important for me. And not to rush too much. I was playing so high on the net, lots of spin. I was moving pretty well. And, yeah, definitely I think I have a chance. Why not? I think there is a few players who have a really shot to win it, and I hope one of them is me.

Q: Victoria Azarenka. First time you played her pretty easy in Miami. Not so easy anymore?

Svetlana: Where did I play her first time? Sorry.

Q: It was a Grand Slam, wasn't it?

Svetlana: US Open, sorry. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Q: Third time. She's getting better and better and she's young and very talented. What is the challenge in playing her now?

Svetlana: Definitely -- you know, what motivates me, what I love about Grand Slams, you come to Grand Slam -- I came to this Slam. I was not in that good shape. I mean, I was fit, but I didn't play well on clay. Maybe I didn't have that much confidence and maybe Jankovic has win in Rome coming into French. I was fresh, and first two matches I knew I had to stay focused. But third round I played Petrova, so it's big motivation, playing another Russian. I know she can play really well, and today I was focused. Next round it's even more difficult. Last time I played her in Miami, I was 6-2, 5-1 and match ball down, and she served like this out, you know. She challenged that, and it would be an ace but it was out. She's tough. She can play good. She has nothing to lose. Younger, you know. She hits the ball really strong, but I believe I'm -- I have more experience being out there. I think clay suits me a little bit better, and I'm really looking forward to this duel. I think it's going to be hard match.


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