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French Open: win over Dinara Safina (RUS) in final

6th June, 2009

Moderator: Questions, please.

Q: Tell me about your emotions. You must be very, very happy?

Svetlana: I'm still in some of the shadow yet. I don't understand what happened, really. But I came on the court and I just played the match. It was just one more match. If it was first match, it was last match, I just did my best. Definitely it was a lot of emotions inside of me, but I control it. I still cannot open it yet to go out. But, you know, the most important thing happened, and finally I won here. I want to -- my favorite tournament is New York and here. It's very big for me.

Q: Was it also a mental game out there in which you could sense that Dinara was struggling with her serve and maybe more under pressure being the No. 1, had to prove she's the No. 1?

Svetlana: I don't know. I don't want to talk for her. She's amazing athlete. She works very hard. One day she'll make it here. You know, I respect her a lot, and she plays with too much pressure. This is what I want to say, and I play just to have fun and to enjoy it. This is it. But, you know, she work hard, and she's No. 1 because she deserve to be there.

Q: You had to wait for five years. Do you know why? Was it also for you, because you had so many emotions inside, time for you to learn to control the emotions and show your best game?

Svetlana: It's like this because God wants to be like this. I work hard and I still did hard work every year and tried to do my best here. It's very important tournament for me, because it's full of emotions. I lost twice: once to Anastasia, and then she won, I had match point up and I lost to a champion. Then I lost to Justine Henin, match ball up, and missed like this. Then I lost final. I had opportunities. I said I just gonna keep trying and keep working and keep doing this. This is finally my trophy. I'm really happy, and nobody one can it off me. I have won Roland Garros and I have won US Open, and this is it. I don't know why five years, ten years,whatever. I'm have it now. This is it.

Q: You could have been coming in here losing 3 to 1 and saying, Well, the way Dinara has bee playing, etcetera. How did that affect you last night or this morning before the match? Did it make you looser to know that all the pressure was on her?

Svetlana: You know, come to the press conference and say pressure is on her. But do you think I want to lose going out there? Definitely not. So I go out there, and it was very similar. I was calm. It was similar feeling when I won the US Open. I cannot explain it. It was same when I was going on the court in US Open. I came out there and said, Everything's great. I'm just doing my thing I love. I'm enjoying. It's my passion, what I'm doing. It's my job. This is it. And I cannot ask for more. You know, God gave me this opportunity to do well, and I'm doing my best. I cannot wish for more.

Q: Was it easier or more difficult because she's your countrywoman?

Svetlana: Look, two finals I won against Dementieva and Safina. It's weird. For me it's weird. I had troubles playing Dinara. But anyway, it was most important match we've played, I guess. I won it, and I'm happy for this. I'm just looking forward for new battles. I have great pleasure and honor to win this trophy, and especially Steffi to give it to me today.

Q: You had some very tough times after winning the US Open. Can you just kind of take us back and think about from where you were in a low point and how difficult it was, the journey, to get to where you are now today?

Svetlana: Yes. It's been very tough times for me, especially I think the tournament before French Open last year. I was in some point I was saying -- I lost in Rome and I left to Moscow and my coach was not happy about it. I say, I don't want to train. I don't want to think about it. I don't want to go back to Spain. I said a few times I want to quit playing tennis. I said it. I never felt it. Definitely I would still play to enjoy, to have fun. I said it to Marat few times. I said, Marat, I don't know, maybe I should not play. He said, Okay, you are crazy or what? You have unbelievable opportunities. You just have to play. This probably was the worst time. It was last year. It was everything was on top of me, and I had to take this decision finally to leave Spain. For me it was big. Some people was telling me to do it earlier, but I was not ready. For me, it's very important to listen to myself and be ready to do the things what I'm doing.

Q: Sveta, to get to this point where you go back to Moscow and you start putting things together, what was really the most important thing? Taking pressure off? Not worrying about winning? Believing more in yourself? Being more independent?

Svetlana: I came back to Moscow, and I had so many people telling me, You wouldn't be able to play here. You are not able to train here, because it's too much information; it's too much destruction, too much night life or whatever. And once -- yeah, here we go. In Olympic Games, I really had tough times because I lost first round. It was big one for me, you know. I was not ready because the schedule was so hard. I had my friends, basketball players, the girls, they asked me -- I asked them if they wanted to go to see tennis. They said yes. They came to the club, and they told me they saw Roger and they say, Can we have picture with him? And I was like, You know how I love Roger, and I never came to him myself asking him for picture. I never did. For me, it's better to do something for other people than for myself. So I did go to him and say, Can you do the picture? So while I was looking at him and, he was looking at me and said, What do you want? But, you know, me for me it was big, because I never -- like I knew once he said he likes my tennis and stuff. I also appreciate. I didn't believe it, but... (laughter.) Yeah, because they said Roger said that. I said, Where? Show me this, because I won't believe what you're saying. He was very nice. He did picture with the girls. I had a talk with him like for 10 minutes, and I never spoken to him before. I was talking to him about the problems I had. He was listening, and said, Look, I want to move from Spain. I want to go to Russia. Everybody telling me this. I don't know what to do. He say, Look, you can only depend on yourself. You can control it. If you can concentrate and live in Moscow, do this. If you cannot, only you can judge, you know. Only God I say can judge us. You know, this is it. I really believe in it. I came back to Moscow and I work hard, and I had my time to do everything. I had my time to do everything. I had my passion, I have my friends, I am in my home country. I'm very patriotic. I love being there. This is a moment turn, because I start to work hard. But still, I let it go. I said, Whatever happens, I just do whatever I feel doing. I gave my best. This is it.

Q: Everyone has always said in the locker rooms, especially the Italian girls, that you are the nicest to talk, to have jokes, to go out in the evening. Before the last question you didn't seem to smile so much, so I was going to ask you why? Because on the court, even during the ceremony, you were sort of very sort of still concentrated.

Svetlana: I'm shocked. I'm shocked, yeah. You know, I knew -- I believe that I could win today. I knew that. But, you know, if I start -- like I play last match with Sam or another with Serena, I was 4-up, break up in the second and I have a set, and I make myself concentrate on these moments so much, so I'm still playing the match in myself. You don't have to think about that you win before you win. So now I won, but I still trying to focus on the match because I push it so much into myself, this thought. That's why I don't smile. But maybe I have few glasses of wine, I relax, and something happens. But for the moment, it's really big for me, this win.

Q: Anyway, you came with the make up, with the white jacket. You look nicer. Very good. Very good. Congratulations for everything.

Svetlana: You like it? Thank you. I was trying. I was trying. Maybe it's not my best profession to do makeup and hair, but I was just trying to express myself.

Q: You said many times that you like Roger. Are you going to watch tomorrow his final, and are you going to root for him?

Svetlana: I wish I could, but, you know, I have not been to Moscow for two months, and I'm just crazy to go there. I going to have only four days, and I don't know yet. What time is the final?

Q: 3:00.

Svetlana: Maybe if I take the early flight I can watch it back in home on TV. Maybe my friends convince me to stay here. I don't know yet. But for the moment, my flight is around 12:00 to leave to Moscow.

Q: What would it mean if he would win for you?

Svetlana: I was thinking a little bit about it. You know, it means a lot to me if Roger wins and I win. I think when I won the US Open I think he also won. Definitely I would go for him totally, but I don't think matter if I'm here or not. It doesn't matter. I would be happy for him anyway.

Q: When you saw that last ball hit the tape and float towards the alley for a double fault, did you smile then? What did you think? You knew then that you were the champion.

Svetlana: I could not react. First serve she served, I thought, oh, my God. She's nervous. I said, I don't believe she can do same one second one. You still have -- you want it or you don't. I was like, Oh, my God, double fault. I just turn to my crowd, turn to my fans, and went like this because I really believe that God help me to do that. I went to the net and I had to shake hands. Yeah, before I was imagine if I gonna go down on the floor if I win Roland Garros in my dreams. Hey, I could not do it today, so...

Q: You didn't smile when the double fault...

Svetlana: No, I cannot smile at her face and you double fault. No, I respect her a lot to do that. Maybe I smile back when I turn back, but definitely not after double fault.

Q: What about the special dedication to your physio?

Svetlana: Oh, nothing. It's just a joke we have on the team. It's not special. It's just the way we call each other.

Q: What is his name?

Svetlana: His name is David, and he only came to work here in Paris, you know, and Larisa work only four weeks. But it was unbelievable atmosphere on our team. Everybody was so relaxed and so easygoing, and this is really what I need. Before coming all claycourt season, I spoke to Shamil and I say, Shamil, I don't know what to do. I don't want to go. I mean, I have so difficult schedule to play Stuttgart, Rome, Madrid, one week, French Open. I could not imagine to finish all these tournaments, and I did great almost, not counting Madrid, for example. But I was tired then. He said, Yeah, but we need you for Fed Cup. I said, I know, but I still want to play good in French Open. He said, You'll do good. You need good team. Everybody relax. Everything going to be fine. I said, Look, Shamil, I respect you a lot. I cannot leave you. I go to play Fed Cup to defend to defend, to do as better as I can. I'm still sorry I didn't do well, but I still put all my effort into it. He help me also. We had great team. Everybody great.

Q: This is the title of your second tennis life basically. You're making your own decisions. Is this just kind of a symbol for you, because when you were 19 you were still a young girl?

Svetlana: Yeah, this is big. Didn't happen just by luck. To have two Grand Slam trophies, big, you know. I just cannot express my feelings. I just have feeling inside and need to share it with my close people.

Q: Russia is also suffering from the economical crisis. Do you think that your victory can help Russian tennis again? New clubs maybe?

Svetlana: I don't think my victory can help economic system, because they don't care if Safina wins or Kuznetsova wins. You know, I think I'm just proud for my country that today we played Russian final, and it's big for Russia. I hope tennis can develop even more bigger in Russia.


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