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September 5, 2014

Sania Mirza

Bruno Soares


6-1, 2-6, 11-9
An interview with:

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you talk about those five match points that went by and coming back?
BRUNO SOARES: They went by fast. That's all I remember.

SANIA MIRZA: I got tight. He held his nerve. I needed that a little bit with my serve. I was serving well till then. You know, I was making a lot of first serves. It's never easy. No matter how many you win, never easy to close it out. That's when you need I think partners and that's what helps when you partner up with each other. You're happy to come through that.

Q. Can you address and talk about the momentum that you certainly had going? You dominated the first set; second set got away from you. There must have been some momentum swings going on. What was happening and how did you make some adjustments?
BRUNO SOARES: We had a really good start. Started playing really well from the beginning. Got an early break and managed to win the first set 6-1. Second set, first two games we both served well. On the third game we were playing a good game until 30-40 and Abigail came out with two aces under pressure on those two break points we had. I think that's where it changed a little bit. Next game I ended up missing a few volleys and giving them the break. The momentum changed. They started playing much better. We couldn't really get back into the match. But I think the best thing we did is just to stay positive and s soon as the breaker started he have -- we got an early lead and started playing aggressive. Got back to our game. Until 9-4. Then struggled a little bit few points here and there. But again, I mean, it's not easy to win. It's a slam. But at 9-all we came out, we kept fighting positive, and played our game. In the end it worked out.

Q. You had three matches that had a third set tiebreaker going into this. How tough does that make you?
SANIA MIRZA: I mean, I think -- you know, this format the margin of error is so small. You know, like if you, the break in the second set, the match was going to be a 1 and 3 or 1 and 4 match, but you don't get that. The momentum swings when you play a super-tiebreak, no matter how far ahead you are. I think it does help -- I don't know. At least I believe that we came through so many tough super-tiebreaks that we had the advantage. I think that we get aggressive. I think that's what really helps us. The super-tiebreaks, being aggressive and going for it helps. That's what we did until 9-4. The minute we got a little bit tentative, especially me, I think that's where we lost those few points. It does give some confidence when you know you've come through so many super tiebreaks to come through that one, too.

Q. Could you guys tell me how long you have been a team and how you originally became a team?
BRUNO SOARES: We have been playing for two weeks (laughter). No, I tried to play with Sania for a long time.

SANIA MIRZA: What a lie.

BRUNO SOARES: She finally gave me a chance to play. I mean, my results before wasn't good enough, so after a couple of weeks she accept my offer. I'm just joking. She had another partner, and after Wimbledon she messaged and another conversation started.

Q. I know obviously in men's doubles and women's doubles and mixed there is lots of change and go so forth. Can either of you tell me how many partners you have had in your careers? And also, kind of what's at work? Is it scheduling? Availability? Are you looking for a partner that does certain things well that go with yours? And do doubles teammates have to like each other?
BRUNO SOARES: In my case, yeah. There is a few guys that can do it business-only situation. I can't. I mean, I have to get along well with my partners off court because I think it's very important. But, I mean, I don't know how many partners I played, but it's like a relationship. It's not easy. I mean, you practice, I mean, on men's and women's doubles, basically 24 hours together with your partner. In mixed it's different because you play four times a year. But it's pretty much the same. You're looking for someone that complements you, plays on the same side, other side that you like to play. I mean, we tried to keep the same point. I guess now Sania, she will accept my offer to play Australia.

SANIA MIRZA: We have to win. My standards are very high. We have to win a slam. (Laughter.) I'm joking.

BRUNO SOARES: It's like this. It changes. It's normal. You start trying it with somebody and you think it's going to be good but it just doesn't work the way it is. It's normal to change.

Q. I'm curious, do you think in mixed doubles that the guy tries to pick on the woman?
SANIA MIRZA: Oh, yeah, for sure. But that's the play. Whoever picks on the woman won't win because my partner picks on the woman. No, I'm kidding. No, but I think a lot comes down to how the girl holds her own, because of course the girl's gonna play a lot more balls. The guys have to try and intercept. I think whoever does that better and tries to, you know, protect the girl at the volley a little bit, I think that's why we do -- I think we did well together. You know, in tight situations he came up with some huge volleys and, you know, helped me out. And, you know, I mean, I have to basically put the return in, try to get it deep, you know, to the guy's feet or whoever is serving to the feet. I think that's how you combine really in mixed doubles. I think everyone goes all out for the girl.

Q. And I wonder too if you can tell when you're playing with a partner that you haven't played with before you can tell right away that there is sort of a communication that maybe is almost mental telepathy, that they just understand what you're doing?
BRUNO SOARES: Oh, for sure. First match we played we didn't know each other at all on court. We know each other off court, but it's very different. I mean, we start playing and you have to understand like what Sania, what she likes to do, what I like to do. My best serve, I mean, the spots that I like to hit. I think it's like Sania said: you have to help each other out because it makes it a different game. Everybody picking on the girl, and I think you have to put her in the best situation as possible for her to hit her best shots. I think that's what we managed really well this week. She hits the ball well. That helps me. Hits really hard and helps me at the net. That puts more pressure. I think once you understand her style and the shots that she likes to hit, I can put myself in a better position to try to help her.

Q. A lot different, men's or women's doubles, is there a different dynamic at all or is it still just kind of understanding each other and working together, or does it change?
SANIA MIRZA: I think outside of tennis it's the same in terms of, you know, like compatibility and chemistry and, you know, whether you get along or not. I think it's hard for me to play with someone I completely, you know, dislike, you know. Few people like that, and it's hard for me to play with someone like that. But, yeah, it helps. I think it definitely helps if you're friends. Helps if you get along. But on the court the dynamics change quite a lot. In men's and women's doubles it's not like there's a different sex involved. It's two people who are almost as good as each other. You know, it's a different kind of game and different kind of tactics go into it.

BRUNO SOARES: A lot is strategy. It's the way you're gonna play your partner and your opponents. In men's doubles, dynamics is different; mixed doubles, like she said, you've got a woman there so you've got to work better to get the best chances.

Q. Coming into this tournament it wasn't really a happy time back home, all the stuff happening. Given that, how good has this fortnight been and this title, of course?
SANIA MIRZA: No, I mean, it's been amazing, you know, to make semis in doubles. Unfortunately we lost yesterday, but, you know, to come out the next day and win, I think it's been a pretty good last four, five weeks. We got a final in Montreal, as well. So, yeah, it was tough, you know. Just before I left there was a lot happening at home. But, yeah. Still a proud Indian, I guess, five weeks later.

Q. What is special winning the US Open? Both together come the best career result at the US Open. You reach the best career result. Fourth round 2005. This is your best at the Grand Slam. You have won already the mixed doubles. You reached the final last year. So there is some special here?
BRUNO SOARES: Well, I think -- I mean, it's definitely special. But in my case, I'm going to go with the conditions. I always like to play in the States. I like hard court. Conditions here, I think it suits my game well. So that's one of the reasons. I actually think I played better in Paris. But results, they say I play better here. But tennis-wise I feel really good in Paris, as well. But I don't know. It's definitely special. And I think once -- I mean, you play well in this tournament, and the next time it definitely helps, the good memories that you have, the positive energy that you get playing the same tournament that you won before, that you had a great result. I think that helps. And the last three years have been like that to me. Every time I come here there's something special about that that keeps me going and keeps making me play well and having good results. I just hope it keeps like this until 2025.

Q. Do you think that affected Sania's individual singles performance? I mean, you won with Makarova two years ago, and since then Makarova is rising up on the singles. How do you see this?
SANIA MIRZA: If I make a comeback, then maybe you'll see me in the semis two years from now.

BRUNO SOARES: I don't want that, because last time Makarova played mixed was 2012 and she quit. We were doing well. And now I find Sania. I hope she sticks with me now.
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