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French Open: win over Serena Williams (USA) in quarterfinals

3rd June, 2009

Moderator: Questions, please.

Q: That was sometimes advantage for you, advantage for her. It was like that during this match. How did you leave this match?

Svetlana: Well, it was very tough match. It was difficult to me. And if I would say about first set, I was 3-Loveup and then she start to play better and better and it was equal. I would say normally I would think that she would win first set and I'll have to win second set. So it was very confusing. But as match was going on, I had chances in the second set and I didn't use them. That game that I twisted my feet, I was more concentrate of my feet don't hurt. Thinking about it I lost my serve, and she start to play better. It was same scenario as Australian Open. It was identically. In second set, third set I was pushing myself to fight, and still she was break up. With her it's a big difference. She started to serve great, and I'm very proud that I push myself and I could fight still for the third set. This brought me the victory, because I still fight until the end.

Q: This match in Australia was an experience that you used today?

Svetlana: Well, basically I repeat the same mistake. I think I only start to play in the third set better, and still kept fighting. On clay, can I do it and manage to win this match. If today would be a hardcourt, it would be much more difficult. So I still have this mistake to close it in two sets. But now even I close it in third set I have more confidence to play next time, and hopefully to close in two and to play better.

Q: Were you haunted by the Australian Open memories at all?

Svetlana: Yes, a little bit. In the third set it was tough, but still I convinced I can make it. In the bottom of my heart I still believe that I with play. I was doing great. You know, I wasn't playing bad. Yes, I missed my moments, but she also was playing good. She served good in important moments, and I still believe I was fighting. So that was the key.

Q: Best win of your life?

Svetlana: Just one more victory. It was great match, and that was it, you know. I don't want to play with wins or loses of my life. I am not this. I am just doing my best. I put today everything on the court, and for me today it was the most important thing.

Q: You play Australia's Samantha Stosur in the semifinal.

Svetlana: You're Australian, right?

Q: I think you've only played her once before, but it was in 2004. So it was a long time ago. What are your thoughts going into that match against her?

Svetlana: Oh, I still didn't think about it a lot, you know. I thought a lot about recovery. We played two hours and forty minutes, and she played maybe -- I don't know. How long was the Sam's match? It was really quick. So we're in different conditions. I give her advantage as she had short match today. She played on center court. I have not played on center court yet. They didn't want to put me there. They put me on Suzanne. You know, I love to play Suzanne Lenglen. It's my lucky court. Maybe I should ask them to move tomorrow to this court. But as it is semifinal, I think I must to play on Philippe Chatrier. But I'm looking forward to playing Sam. She plays good. She wouldn't have any pressure tomorrow because she has nothing to lose. But myself, I don't want to put myself as the favorite. She beat also very good players. I'm just going to go out there and play. She's going to be very tough to beat because she has very big forehand to play on clay and great serves. She serves over 200 kilometers an hour. It's going to be very difficult match. Again, I will take my time to rest today, and just come out there tomorrow and try and fight as today and see what I can do.

Q: You've played, in your wonderful career, many players who are very tough mentally: Justine, Maria, and of course Serena, among others. Who do you think is the toughest fighter you've ever played?

Svetlana: Well, you pushing me now to tell somebody's better than somebody. I think they're all great champions, you know. Depends on the day. Some matches I was match ball up with Justine on center court, and I miss by this my forehand winner. She won the tournament later on. You know, they're all tough. I cannot say somebody is tougher or no. It's always was for me to play hard -- very difficult to play Justine on clay court. She was great. Maria on grass and hardcourt, and Serena,also. I mean, they're all great champions. I cannot take one of them and say something.

Q: The men say always in this tournament they are playing almost on cement. This is hardcourt, it's not clay. You're insisting about saying about clay, clay, clay. So what it means? You are a specialist on clay? It's really clay or not? What about this surface?

Svetlana: Well, did you see the sand? I still have after clay in my hair. I think it's the clay there.

Q: Why men they say is hardcourt?

Svetlana: I don't know, you know. In the hardcourt today, Serena, she played me too many -- against me -- you know, against direction shots, and you slide a lot on this clay court. Maybe that's why -- well, I don't know what the men say anyway. I can say my opinion is it's still clay for me, because you can slide and the spins a lot.

Q: So you can use some weapon here on this court?

Svetlana: Yeah, definitely. Definitely.

Q: Serena just came in and sort of said she didn't really want to give you credit. She said basically that she lost this more than you won it. It was her fault. It was her problem. Does that bother you, or does it matter to you at all?

Svetlana: It's always good when somebody gives you credit. I always try to give credit for somebody, whoever I play. Doesn't matter if I play good or bad. But, you know, she's great champion. I respect her. I think we both fighted [sic] a lot today. Maybe we didn't play either of us played great. I didn't close when I was 4 1-up either. So I could have done much better, also. But I believe we both fight hard, and it was very interesting match to watch. I give my best. I was lucky and I won this match. I push myself to the limit. This is what I can say.

Q: Russia is playing Serbia in Fed Cup. What do you think about it?

Svetlana: Different question. Where do we play? In Russia? In Belgrade? Well, bad luck for Russian guys, because the crowd is going to be going nuts. I think -- I think it's going to be tough for Russian guys.

Q: You mean girls?

Svetlana: Ah, girls?

Q: Fed Cup.

Svetlana: Oh, sorry. Sorry. Fed Cup next year already. It's still too long -- we still in middle of the year and we're talking about next year.

Q: But the draw was today.

Svetlana: Well, I still trying to focus on my Serena's match, you know, and not thinking about next year Fed Cup (laughter.) Well, first of all, about myself, I want to say that Shamil, before asking me to go for Fed Cup this year, he say, Only come this year and next year I will let you go. This is what he told me. I don't know yet. My schedule, I don't know is question a little bit too advanced for myself. But it's going to be very tough, because Ana, Jelena and Belgrade is three very difficult things to play against. But if we have our best team, we can do well.

Q: Do you know why you wash the line and tap on your shoes a lot of times?

Svetlana: I have an addiction to the line. I do it all the time.

Q: You wash it. It's your routine or something like that?

Svetlana: Yes.

Q: Before, Serena wasn't too gracious, but don't you think that when someone loses, should never come immediately to the press conference? Because every time a loser comes, they say something not too nice towards their opponent. If they come maybe one hour later, they're more relaxed, even if they lost. They are more gracious against the other one. Don't you think this should be a sort of policy that you should think about? You all?

Svetlana: No, the rule of WTA Tour is, I believe the rule is the loser has a preference to do the press whenever they want, so the winner has to adapt. Well, for me, it was -- I don't mind whenever she does and whatever she says, you know. I know my thing, and this is it, you know. If she thinks this way, maybe she was after the match today -- well, everybody is professional. I believe everybody can control what they saying.

Q: There will be maybe another Russian final. I don't know if this was already asked. Myskina and Dementieva played the first Russian final in a Slam. What do you think about you and Safina? Okay, there is a semifinal before and you haven't won yet, but this reflects the superiority of the Russian tennis in general if you see four or five Russian girls always in the top 10 or one is always No. 1 and things like that. Do you think that this is fair enough, in away?

Svetlana: What's not fair? We work hard and we get what we deserve. I believe in that. You push me too far away to look for the final, because why do I have to talk what's going to happen maybe Saturday? Maybe it's not going to happen. So on Saturday, if we're going not to be in the final, or some of us not gonna be in the final, I gonna look like idiot here. I'm sitting here talking about Russian final which maybe won't happen. But I believe that the girls work hard to have different mentality, completely different. Even I have been thinking about this quite a bit, because everybody thinking and asking questions, Why Russians so strong and stuff. I believe it's not only coming when we grow up it was so difficult. It's also coming through the war, because our grandparents they were -- maybe I go too deep, but this is what I -- by thinking about it, I came to this point. Because our grandfathers, you know, grandmothers, they were fighting in the war and things were very extremely hard. They had to go with nothing, you know, without maybe bullets, only with knife, and still to go to war. The kids of -- they teach their kids to be always strong, you know. Always we have difficult moments in Russia when we grow up, and we always learn to be strong. I think this is one of the keys.

Q: In the United States, there's not too strong a sense of the war, but is that still a part of life in Russia? How do you feel about it?

Svetlana: Definitely it's big. It's big, you know. I played final on 9th of May with Dinara in Rome this year, and even in Rome I felt this, you know, because it's big. They celebrate. It's huge in Russia. Everybody is drinking and having fun and celebrating the victory. I'm very proud for my country that they made it. It's big, definitely. Everybody reminds about this victory. Everybody is proud for that. Russia is very big patriotic country for me. We still believe a lot in God. Yeah, the war made big change in everybody even till this point. We will never forget about it, I think.


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