26th October, 2009
Winning her second Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros, adding to her 2004 US Open title, she also won her 16th singles title at Stuttgart and Beijing. She also has six wins over top-10 ranked opponents, all coming this year, five of which were against top-five ranked opponents. She also enjoyed a clay season in which she won 17 of her 20 matches and reached three finals, winning two of them. Playing in her fifth Sony Ericsson Championships this year, she is here from Russia and is our No. 3 seed, Svetlana Kuznetsova. Questions, please.
Q: You're coming here in pretty good form after last week. Are you feeling good?
Svetlana: Yeah, I feel happy. I feel excited to play here, to compete. Definitely is going to be very exciting competition for each of us who going to be playing here. I think everybody's extremely great player and I'm looking forward to play.
Q: Can it be difficult to focus on this tournament because a part of your mind is on holiday which is about to come afterwards, or not?
Svetlana: Well, I think I think about holiday less than other girls because I hear them talk all day about where they go. I don't know, I just want to finish my job first, then I will focus on my holiday. Is just different event here than other events because it's round robin, it's weird to play. But I think we're professional, we have to adjust. I'm just looking forward to play and not thinking much about holiday. Definitely I am, but I'm not that tired to think about it.
Q: A couple of weeks ago in Shanghai, in the men's event, there were lots of players retiring, lots of talk about the length of the calendar. They were saying the women have it absolutely right by finishing this early and having time to recover. How important do you think that is in terms of keeping fresh for the next year to come?
Svetlana: I think Sony Ericsson WTA Tour has improved the scheduling system so much better. Definitely there can be always improvement and never everybody going to be happy. But comparing to men's tour, our schedule is much better because we already playing Championships and they only playing St. Petersburg this week. They still have two or three more weeks to go. It's crazy 'cause you don't get time to rest and don't get time to have good preparation before next season. For us, it's so much different, so much better.
Q: Is that a result of having a very good relationship between the players and the Tour? I think that's the thing that affects the men, there's so many arguments that go on between them.
Svetlana: Well, I think the Tour has heard so many players complaining about how bad the schedule was before, that we are womens, and we not so strong to play all the year, and we have so many injuries, the calendar suffers, the tournaments suffer, they were smart enough to change. But I think now the communication between the players and the Tour getting better. But is still to come more, I hope.
Q: A few minutes ago Elena spoke out firmly in favor of Dinara's No. 1 rank being worthy and merited on the basis of her performances over the year. You've won two Grand Slams, but never been No. 1. What is your take on that?
Svetlana: Which Elena?
Q: Elena Dementieva.
Svetlana: Okay. Well, I think Dinara deserve because she played so many good events. I mean, for some reason she's there because she played finals of French Open, finals of Australian Open. I'm not going to be the one to say you have to be No. 1 winning a slam. But I don't want to judge no one. I'm doing my own career. I won two Grand Slams. I'm happy with that. Definitely I'm going to try to become No. 1 one day. I don't know, I don't really think about it, you know. Everybody of us has different life and different schedule.
Q: But it's nice to get support from their fellow countrymen on an issue like this when the criticism is flying.
Svetlana: Well, the criticism always going to be there. There people who cannot sit and just concentrate on their own life. Also press asking all the time her, you know, You never won a slam. Of course, she's stressed by that because you don't want to come to the press and listen all the time the same question. In one way, I understand her.
Q: Can you compare your group with the others?
Svetlana: I'm not here to compare. I'm here to play. It's hard to compare. I think as you've been a while around the tour, you've seen so many groups, how is another group. I'm not going to say anything. I just going to go out there and play. The only thing I can say, my group is really tough.
Q: Last year I think I'm right in saying you didn't win a match here.
Q: Was there any kind of reason for that? Was it coming at the end of a long year, you found motivation tough?
Svetlana: Comparing this year to last year, I was really tired and really down. I had really tough year, many things going on, was not kind of performing well here. I even had the possibility to play and to win last match, but it already didn't matter, so it was not great motivation to play for me. For this year, I guess I'm just much better mentally and physically on my level of the game.
Q: You said you're going to try to be No. 1 yourself someday. What do you need to do to achieve that?
Svetlana: Just to have more consistency because I have everything else.
Q: Is that mental consistency or...
Svetlana: Just play the tournaments in better way because this year I won Grand Slam, I won Beijing, but I had great possibilities in Australian Open, had chances, and I lost to Serena. I was set up and 5-3. Then I had another chance against Caroline in US Open. For example, in these two tournaments if I would do a little bit better, just two, three balls during these matches, you never know where I would be now. But now it's already past and lesson learned. I just want to play more consistently.
Q: Do you feel No. 1 is more within reach than it has ever been for you?
Svetlana: I been No. 2, you know. I'm not thinking about it. I'm just playing my game. If one day it's meant to happen, is gonna happen. I'm just trying my best, just enjoying my game.
Q: How excited are you by the equality of the women's game and the fact we have young players coming through, Kim has come back, Justine is coming back? Do you think potentially the next couple of years is an exciting time for the women's game?
Svetlana: I think it is. You know, it's extremely interesting because every player which you see has a different game. One is hard-hitter, another one is a bit defensive, another one... I mean, every player has different personality. It's very interesting to watch. It's very unpredictable. I think is one more excitement into the game.
Q: Is it more difficult to play your group or walk down the stairs like yesterday?
Svetlana: More difficult to play the group (laughter).
Q: Would you say that perhaps you are underrated as a player? The spotlight tends to be on other players. Perhaps what you've achieved in your career is not given as much prominence as it should have been?
Svetlana: You know, one moment I was caring about things too much. Since long time ago I just thought, you know, it's not under my control, so I just don't care and I don't look at it. I only want to care about things what I can change. It's my game.
Q: Since this is the end of 2009, there's also some talk now about who should be considered the Player of the Decade. Do you have an opinion of which names you would put out there for that?
Svetlana: Last 10 years?
Svetlana: Definitely Henin, then some players who I have not played in the past.
Q: What about the Williams sisters?
Svetlana: Yeah, I would put Serena up there, yeah, for sure. Thank you.
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