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September 11, 2015

Flavia Pennetta

New York, NY, USA


6-1, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That was a spectacular match.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Thanks. Thank you.

Q. Talk about how happy you are with how well you played today and what that win means?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, of course I'm really happy. I think I play really well from the beginning. In the second set, I just wait a little bit too much in the beginning of the second set waiting for her mistake and I didn't push a lot like before.

But really happy, because I was 3-1 down and I just starting again with what I had to do. Everything was working amazing today, so really pleased.

Q. You said the other day after your last match that you just are surprised because you just didn't expect to do so well. What's come together for you in these two weeks that's enabled you to get to a Grand Slam final, your first?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, it's amazing, because also 20 days ago my physio asked me if I was if I never think that I can win a Grand Slam or be in final of Grand Slam, and I say no. (Smiling.)

I mean, for a lot of reason I think my answer was no, but like always say you never know. I mean, you just have to play and try your best, and the good things coming when you never expect most of the time.

When you want too much something and you really like say this is the moment I have to do this and that, always it's gonna be a big mess.

Q. In what ways are you different during this tournament than in other majors that you have competed in?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, I really like this tournament like always. It's one of my best tournament. Always have a good feeling here when I play. The central court, it's amazing. The atmosphere here is something I really like.

I mean, also in the other tournament there are a good atmosphere, but here, I don't know why I always play pretty good.

Q. So why do you think it is that here you are in the final for the first time in a major?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Why? I don't know. (Laughter.) I mean, there is no reason. The only reason, it's because I am try to play all the time, try to give everything on court, and this was a good week for me.

I mean, it's really amazing the way I starting to play in the last three matches. Today was amazing, because the first match was not that good for me. I didn't have this good feeling in court. I was fighting and try to get through the first round, but with not a good sensation, you know.

But today I play really well. I mean, I didn't make mistakes. I was focused. I was aggressive.

The mistake I made was because I was trying something, I mean, not because I was scary. I just had two games where I was a little bit, Okay, thinking too much. But then I just try to don't think, just play, and we will see what happen.

Q. When you go to bed tonight, before you fall asleep and close your eyes, what do you think you're going to see?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Hmmm. I don't know. I can tell you how was this this night, I mean, how I sleep yesterday. I didn't sleep really well. I was a little bit like changing the positions so many times. Try to, okay, relax, breathe. Because sometimes I was already awake all the time.

You know, I was ready also at 3:00 in the morning. So just to say, Okay, it's early. Just try to sleep a little bit more and just take the right position and sleep again. I mean, I was not in the nice sleep at all. But it's okay. I mean, if this is the result, it's perfect. (Laughter.) I hope to have the same every night.

Q. I hope you get some sleep tonight.

Q. A lot of people say Serena, it's amazing that she is 33 and able to do this. You are also in your 30s. How are you able to train and to become a better player as you get older?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, I always like to -- for me sometime it's easy to practice, to do this, I mean, to be really professional and practice, gym, tennis, physio, and this kind of thing, and it's worse for me to compete sometimes.

I mean, I can practice every day. It's something I really love to do. Compete, it's something I not always like. So for me, it's just something I always used to be, always used to do. I mean, I practice since 10 years in Spain where they start with a lot of hours in the court. You just spend hours and hours training.

For me, something it's in my mind. It's something that completely normal.

Q. The other day you said that you actually like playing under the lights more at the US Open, but clearly you were relaxed out there today. Why were you so comfortable?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Today was not that sunny like the other day, so the shades was not that much.

But when you play, you have to think it's the same for me, for Simona, for Roberta, for Serena. I mean, it's the same for everybody.

It's just the point where you want support all the things as they are coming, but it's the same for everyone.

Of course, if I have to choose, I prefer light. But if I don't have any option, I play. That's it.

Q. How close were you actually to retiring a few years ago after the wrist?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Close. Really close. (Smiling.)

Q. Why didn't you?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Because was -- was easy for me to still practice. Was easy for me to still traveling. Was easy to me doing this kind of life because it's nice life. But sometimes it's too much.

So that's why I'm still playing. Not for any other reason.

Q. How much did that win last year in Indian Wells give you the belief that you could compete at the top level again? And I'm also curious, do you believe you're drawing any experience from Indian Wells making a run at a big tournament like New York?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Well, I think Indian Wells was a really a nice moment for me because it's coming also completely in the moment where I never expect something like that.

But the way I played, the way I always fight in the court is still the same. Sometimes I can play better; sometimes I can play not like this, not that good.

But I am still the same player. I mean, I'm try to be positive all the time. Sometimes I have a bad moment like everyone. I mean, I'm a tennis player, but I'm also person. So I think everyone has -- the moon, is going up and down, no?

I mean, of course was really important to win something like Indian Wells.

Q. Serena has just taken the first set. The match isn't over, but pretty good chance you're going to be out there...
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Against Serena?

Q. Well, yeah. It's a pretty good chance.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, you never know. They are still fighting and they are still playing.

Q. But with all she has at stake with the Grand Slam and so forth, just talk about the anticipation of that match.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, it's going to be amazing for her to do something like that, and it's going to be amazing for me to win this tournament. But we're gonna have of course a different way, because she is a big champion. I mean, we cannot compare each other.

But it's gonna be nice to be on court, to be playing maybe against her or maybe against Roberta. I mean, it's going to be anyway you have a chance to do something amazing. You have the moment you always expect. I mean, when you are a child and you thinking, What do you want to do? I want to win a Grand Slam. Okay, nice.

Or I want to be in the final or I want to be No. 1. I mean, everyone has different goals. But for the moment, I don't want to think too much about tomorrow. I mean, it's something so special to be here now.

I want to just feeling a little bit more for few hours, and then we're gonna think about tomorrow.

Q. But how would you describe Serena as a player and as an athlete?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Amazing. I mean, there is no word to say. I mean, she's amazing. So powerful, so consistent. She's still thereafter so many year, when some player like her, like Federer, like Nadal, like Djokovic, Maria, they have everything. They already have everything like a player, like a sportwoman, sportman. But they are still there. They still fight every day. They still have this attitude so positive all the time.

So it's something amazing, I think.

Q. So when you see Serena on the court, what goes through your mind?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Maybe this is the good day for me. I always try to be positive when I go on court against her, because -- I mean, I never beat her before. I have few chance, but it's really tough to play against her.

So I just thinking maybe it's a good day for me. Maybe it's the day where I can do that.

But is the only thing you have to think when you play against her. If you go in court and thinking you don't have chance, you're gonna lose 6-Love, 6-Love for sure.

Q. You said that as a child this was the moment that you expected. What did you dream? What did you expect when you were a child?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, for me was I didn't have a goal so high. I have to be honest. I mean, I always thinking I would like to play Rome, for sure, because when I was really young every year my mom and my dad bring me to see the tournament.

So I grow up with Rome tournament, and the first year when I play there was amazing for me because it was something -- it was my dream. Or I always want to play with Seles or Capriati because was somebody I really love to watch. I buy all the stuff of like all the dress of Seles, the Steffi racquet. I was look at them like amazing player, amazing people.

So my goal was just to play Rome, to be a good Italian player. Not a good in the world, but in Italy, yeah.

Q. Serena is such a big figure here in America. How well known, how celebrated is she in Italy?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: She's really famous in Italy. I mean, that was the question, right? I mean, wherever she go she gonna be someone really special. She never gonna be someone normal, I can say. She's like Valentino Rossi. If you see Valentino here, it's going to be tough don't stop him and ask for a signing or a picture or a selfie or whatever.

Q. I'm not sure she knows Valentino Rossi. Do you know him?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Vroom, vroom.

Q. You said you came close to retiring. What specifically kept you from doing that? You know, what kept your head in the game?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Every year for me it's -- I start here and I don't know if I gonna play the next year. I mean, during the last three or four years I have the same -- the same -- I don't know how to say in English. My mind, it's always like this (Indicating box.)

Okay, we are gonna play. We start here, and then after US Open we're gonna decide if I keep play or not.

But in the last three years I just keep playing, because for me, it's something I really love to do. I mean, I don't see myself without tennis. It's not easy for a player to I think take this decision and say, It's over.

It's always like -- it's something I did since I was young, so I don't know what else I can do. I don't know what I like. This is the point. I mean, I don't have time to know if I like something more. I have to discover everything. It's like a new life completely.

So sometimes it is the more scary thing, no? Because the life, it's gonna change, but most of the time it changes better. I hope so.

Q. You have said earlier you were describing your success today, that part of it was you can't want it too much or you kind of make a mess out of it. Is that a fair assessment?

Q. So going into tomorrow, is that going to be a factor for you to go out there and -- obviously you want it very, very badly.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, of course when you are here you want really badly something. In the other point, I don't have nothing to lose. If I play against Serena I don't have nothing to lose. If I play against Roberta, it's going to be nice for everyone. Doesn't matter who is gonna win. It's going to be a big thing.

Of course you want to win, but you gonna hug her if she gonna win. It's amazing. Doesn't matter. When you are at this point, nothing gonna change.

Q. You lost to Serena here last year, but you beat Roberta two years ago. What are your thoughts on those two matches here?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Last year against Serena I think I play really good. I mean, that was my feeling when I finish the match. I mean, I play really good. She played better, much better.

Against Serena it's a little bit different from other player, because sometimes she don't play really well but she has so many good things that doesn't matter. She can keep winning.

But there is a point where she decide, Okay, I cannot give her too much space, because if not, maybe I can lose. She knows that.

So when she play with a player that a little bit she scary about, she always get on court, really, like, from the first match really aggressive.

Q. Have you watched her this tournament?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Her? No. Not too much.

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