27th August, 2008
Q: How do you feel about the way you played, and what do you think of her game? She played a real tough first set.
Svetlana: Well, I think in the first set, I mean, first of all, I was going out there and I knew she's young girl, she's playing good, but I had no clue how she will play. And during the match, I had -- like people can talk to you about the game or the point, can play more or less, but I've never seen how she plays. I knew she had been to my academy where I'm train, but I never paid attention how she will play. She plays the ball really flat and fast. But when you move her around, you got to find just your keys to play. So for me, it was about this first set. You know, I was looking how to -- when I was in danger situation, I was 4-2 down 40-Love on her serve, I think it was, and I just realize I had to go more to the forehand, because backhand she was making so good shots. It kind of made me go outside of the court and just defend. This is what I didn't want to play like. So I started to play better through her forehand and moving her around a little bit more. And second set, I just start to be so much more confident in my game, just making my moves, you know, depending on myself. First set, some point I just had to wait a little bit of her mistakes. Because she plays very good, but she takes lots of risk on the points. But she's young. I was very surprised, because it was her first US Open she been play in. She's 18, you know. She had nothing to lose. But also it was good experience for her, and for me it was tough match to play.
Q: You had a breakthrough here obviously with the championship. I mean, talk about what this place means to you, what this tournament means to you as a one-time champion.
Svetlana: You know, you just come out here. I come to every Grand Slam, but here you feel special, like I've made it here. I really can do it and I've done it here. It's amazing feeling, because I've been also to the final here last year. And it's like this thing, it supports me in some kind of way. I don't know how to explain. I just play much more confident. I'm enjoying this city so much, the crowd. When you play here, it's different atmosphere, and you just have so much fun being on the court. Even playing first at 11:00 it's not so many people, but you feel special being on central court.
Q: Are you happy with your game right now, the way you're playing?
Svetlana: No, not really. But you know what? I don't think you should be coming into Grand Slam and playing first matches the best game you got. I think I want like to grow every much playing better and better. Today I play much better than my first match, so it's looking good for me. I just want to go step by step. Definitely I'm not in my best shape now, and I haven't been playing well before US Open. But Grand Slams kind of keep me much more motivated, and I do much more better on Grand Slams.
Q: What can you tell us about your younger opponent for today?
Svetlana: Well yeah, she plays good. It was her first US Open, main draw, I think. And she been not scared at all. She been hitting the ball very strong. She was playing very good.
Q: How do you keep up your mental toughness in your training?
Svetlana: Well, you just -- when you go out there, some days you don't have so good and you just have to cheer you up, you know, just to keep playing, to keep putting different goals each practice so you don't get bored and you still keep motivated. Because if you think, Oh, today I have to go again, and tomorrow, again. You just have to enjoy your game, work on different zones, different parts of your game, maybe technique, maybe physic, everything different. Like this it keeps you motivated and setting goals for yourself.
Q: Many people have said the women's side is so wide open this year. Having success here, also having a tough times here, just your experiences, how much of an advantage do you think that is for you?
Svetlana: Yes, I agree completely that it's so open. I think it's very interesting for everybody, because it's very unpredictable. It's tough for every top player, I think, because everybody has a really good chance to win it. Yeah, it gives me good confidence, because I lost here once in first round. I remember this, and this makes me go harder and harder. If I remember good things, making final or winning one day, keeps me even more positive, gives me more anger, you know, to play.
Q: I know that was a while ago, the first-round loss here. But can you go through what you did in the first set today? Does a little piece of that still linger in your head?
Svetlana: No, has nothing to do with it. It was totally different -- I was not prepared to play here in 2005. I came up not practising anything because I was injured, and I don't know actually why I did that, because I was not prepared to play. I lost to somebody, and it didn't matter who I was playing because I was just not playing. Now, I have much more experience, I play better. And even with my worse I can win matches if I stay tough, so for me it's important to stay tough.
Q: World No. 1 ranking on the women's side has changed I think five times this year, four different women. Justine obviously is not in the game. She's retired. Talk about the women's field right now. Is there more parity now than there has been, say, in the past several years? World No. 1 can go to almost anybody if you really fight hard.
Svetlana: Well, I was listen to the TV last night, and they were saying that it's not good for tennis if there is not a clear leader. It's better to have just, like, for example, with Henin. I don't know if to be agree or not. For players it's different. To be player, you want to see yourself or somebody else to have always a stroke to be No. 1, knowing that if you do a good job you can be there. But definitely it's a lot of nerves and we are all new. Generation change so quick, and we are all like here 23 and younger, most of the girls. Like nobody there, Justine left, so everybody wants to, but everybody nervous, kind of. It's a bit funny situation, but I think it's interesting for everybody. It shows -- everybody learns so much from it.
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