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French Open: win over Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) in fourth round

1st June, 2009

 
Moderator: Questions in English, please.

Q: It was kind of an up and down match. How did you pull it back together in the third?

Svetlana: Yeah, it was tough, mentally. I was really nervous today. I don't know why. And I saw she also was. But first set, it was not very great game from both of us, but she did more unforced errors and I won. I served well. Second set, I played little bad and I did a lot of mistakes. I wasn't moving that much. After I went to change the clothes, I been thinking, I relax a little bit, just to play my game. I started to do much better. You know, started to move her around, not doing many unforced errors from my side. Because I was doing too much of this, and served better. There were not that many double faults.

Q: You're at the point of the tournament where that kind of mental lapse is probably going to take you out of the tournament. What do you need to do to sort of keep it together and focus through the entire match?

Svetlana: You know, something positive out of this match, and it's not bad and it happened today, that I could -- that I won this match. I had -- well, it was a challenge to do this, and I did it. Not on purpose, but it came up like this, you know. Definitely I not happy to play three sets, but I already been through a little bit of fight, because other matches were too easy and sometimes it's not too good. Today I was a little bit on test. So it's also good in this stage of tournament. But next matches, I cannot allow myself to do this. I really understand that. I just have to be more prepared.

Q: Can you just talk about the challenge that Serena presents to you?

Svetlana: It's great. I have fun, you know. I maybe don't have great record to play Serena, but I really enjoy playing her. It's always fun. It's always we have very tough matches, and I'm looking forward to play her.

Q: I know this is clay, but can you just reflect a little bit on what happened in Australia and how you can turn that around in two days from now?

Svetlana: Well, yeah, definitely can turn it around. It's going to be very tough, you know. Serena, maybe she didn't play that many tournaments on clay. Maybe she didn't do well, but you cannot discount her. She's big champion, she's great player. She won here, and definitely she knows how to play on clay. I feel -- myself, I feel a little bit, I guess, more comfortable on clay than her. I have to try to use it in advantage of mine, for myself. Yes, I have to just to play my game and to try to dictate. I think the serve going to be big in this match, gonna to mean a lot. So I think definitely we both have chances. I think she's favorite, but still, you know, I'm looking forward to play and have fun out there.

Q: Can you talk about the coaching relationship, how that's going and what you're learning?

Svetlana: It's going great. I enjoy working with Larisa, because she's not only my coach, she's my friend. This is great. For me, atmosphere in the team, it's means a lot. Now I have my hitting partner, which is 22, my massagist [sic] which is 24. So it's funny, you know. In some way I just start to think about it right now, and it's very funny. But I enjoy it so much. I cannot explain it.

Q: Why is that funny?

Svetlana: Because everybody is so young. We're like in school almost. A little bit grown school.

Q: Are you the school teacher or are you the student?

Svetlana: I'm medium. I'm in between. Larisa is the mama of us, kind of. No, she's not definitely mama. She's like my sister, but older sister which tells me what to do sometimes. It's great. Atmosphere, it's amazing. Yeah, I think it's very important for the team.

Q: You get along with Serena pretty well off court, don't you? Some other players find her intimidating. Can you just talk about your relationship with her and why you don't find her to be a person to be feared.

Svetlana: Well, first of all, I respect her a lot. She achieved unbelievable effort in tennis, you know. Every player dreams to achieve what she did in tennis. I respect her for her achievements. Outside of the courts, she has great personality. We text on BlackBerry. Definitely in these tournaments we talk less, but we listen kind of similar music. We have similar interests. We laugh a lot, you know. I don't know, maybe before when I was coming to the tour, you know, they were - her and her sister, Venus - they were kind of intimidating. But lately, you know, we're in kind of the same -- I mean, top 5, top 10, we don't intimidate each other, you know, because we face each other every week. So it's not really -- we're like friends, but in the court, it's business, you know. It's two different things.

Q: Could you talk a little bit about Agnieszka's game? Weak points, strong points?

Svetlana: Well, I don't think -- first of all, I didn't think she was in the best shape today. Neither were I, but I play much better on clay, for me. She plays good, but if I use my spin and move her around, I think I have more advantage than her. She's always tough opponent. That's why maybe I was maybe a little bit nervous. She reads the game good; she mix the points; she has a lot of drop shots; she's very smart player.

Q: What do you think she needs to improve to be a solid top 10 player, maybe even higher if you think she could get it?

Svetlana: You know, I'm not -- it's not my job to tell you how good she can be. My job is to play and to win matches, so I'm doing this. But she can be good player. She needs to work basic on everything. Maybe little more strength, because the girls are maybe sometimes overpowering her. But the rest, she's very good and very smart. She reads the game very well.

Q: We came into this tournament sort of saying, Well, we don't know who's going to win on the woman's side. On the men's side it's pretty clear. Now Rafa is out, Novak is out, Roger is down two sets. What are your thoughts on what's going on?

Svetlana: I'm terrible with predicting something, because in another press conference ask me who gonna win, and I said, Djokovic in good shape. He loses. They said, Do you think somebody can beat Rafa? I say, I doubt. But Rafa looks like machine, and only who I want to win, it's Roger against Rafa, and then Rafa loses. Now I would say Roger, but Roger is two sets down, so it's very difficult situation. Definitely I still hope Roger can do it, you know. I still would love to see him win it. I still believe he can win today's match, even though it doesn't -- the conditions are extremely hard to play. There is definitely French guys doing great, you know. Gael is doing great. I'm also good friends with him, so I wish him definitely good luck. With his knees, it was tough for him. Hopefully he can make it through. And Andy is starting to play better on clay, so it's also getting interesting. Tsonga is always interesting to watch. He's unbelievable athlete with what he does on the court. Gael and he, it's unbelievable. It's like a circus to watch, you know.

Q: Any predictions today from you?

Svetlana: Um, I don't know. I better not do this, because it's all comes up opposite.

Q: So you're not pulling for Davydenko?

Svetlana: Oh, he's good friend of mine, also. (laughter.) I wish -- you know, I'm good friends of all guys. For me it's hard to say somebody. I wish him good luck, also.

 

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