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January 15, 2016

Svetlana Kuznetsova

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


6-0, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Sweet 16, No. 16. How does that feel?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Like I'm 16 almost. (Smiling.) It's great. I mean, honestly I didn't expect, but also, I never even one event I went thinking about winning. You just go there and perform and everything went my way.

It was not the easy schedule for me with doubles matches, with rain delays, with tough match with Simona this morning and last night.

I'm really happy. I want to keep focused for Australian Open.

Q. How did you feel after you walked out on court after the long match with Simona? Tired?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No, actually somebody ask me before the match, some supervisor ask me, How you feel, because probably everybody thinks I'm 30 I'm really old and I need to pick up myself.

I thought I will struggle, but I felt great. Honestly, I felt better than most the days here. I was really sore and struggling when I played singles and doubles two days in a row. Then I was sore.

But as I kept playing -- first matches of the year you're really sore. After you get going, at least myself, I feel great.

Q. The stats showed that you were almost flawless tonight; I think four errors. Did it feel that way to you? Did you feel like it was one of your best performances?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: One of my best finals feelings, yes. I don't know. I don't remember all my 16 finals right now, but I went out there and I felt like it was not even necessary to hit the ball that hard, because even if I put a ball back - like sometimes, not all the time - she wouldn't get to the winner.

Because I was moving well, I felt really comfortable recovering many balls back, and I wanted to be aggressive, but I didn't feel like I had to go for a lot all the time. Then to beat me or to win the point, she had to work really hard and really make a great shot. She made couple, but, okay, I mean, was there, next point. Next point I was serving good.

Yeah, just went everything my way. I fell asleep a little bit on 4-1, 4-2, I believe, then I served and it was like very important point, first point of 4-2 on my serve, and I made a great passing shot which kept me going. This was important moment for me.

Then I was just there.

Q. When you're winning that well, is it hard not to feel sorry for the other person our do you just block them out?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I was just thinking, Don't relax, don't relax, don't relax. You're doing so great. Don't relax. Yeah, you don't want to think that you're 6-Love up. Then important thing is to start well the third set, because things can completely change other direction.

So I was just focused on keep my game on and do the same thing. I felt like if I keep playing the same way, it's no way I going to go down.

Q. So couple weeks ago were you thinking, You know what, I'm going to be great again, right now; I'm going to play as well as I possibly can?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: When I did pre-season I felt great. I felt like I was moving well. But, I mean, never thought like, Oh, I going to do so well as I've done here.

But, I mean, Auckland shock me a little bit. I struggle there. It was first match, difficult conditions. I have different periods in the weeks, in the month I cannot perform. I'm not going to lie here. You see me so many years. I'm not the most consistent player of the circuit.

It happens. I just have to go over it and try next week and next week. It happened that week, but I did put a lot of effort in my pre-season.

Q. Don't you feel like you're much smarter than you were ten years ago now, so much variety?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: For sure. I'm mature. I know how to listen to myself. That's probably the biggest improvement. I just listen to myself. Because sometimes you look for other people to tell you what to do or kind of expecting the opinion of somebody.

What' most important is what you are inside, what you feel like and what's important to you. When you know more or less yourself, you don't get angry when you don't do so well. Just some balance which is within you. This is what I feel, and I feel that my game is in different stage.

I can do this different variety, whatever it is, of my shots because I'm able to. So I kind of analyze more myself.

Q. Quite a bit of conversation since your win about great to see you back; a lot of popularity around this win. And you look like you have another great major winning performance with this kind of tennis. Top 5 tennis. Do you feel that way yourself? Do you think you could get back to the top 5, win another Grand Slam?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Honestly, I'm not kind of -- if you say like, Welcome back, I don't think I've been gone or I relax at some stage. I don't take these words from you like so important. I would go crazy if I would put attention on every word which I don't like.

It's okay. That's what people say. That's people opinion. I never thought, that, Okay, I'm retarded or whatever you call it. I heard a lot of critics to my side that I'm -- I cannot play. I should leave the sport. It's okay. Even to Roger they say that.

I just don't pay attention to it. I just try my best, and hopefully this year will go better than past years. More or less I put all the time the same effort. Only thing is I analyze more myself maybe now. That's it.

Q. The conversation was positive tonight. Not criticizing you.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I'm not saying I had critics. I'm just saying I have not -- I don't think I left somewhere or I been like lazy or I didn't work. I still was here, still doing the same tournaments. Just didn't go my way.

Q. Is it achievable to win another slam do you think?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I never dream of winning one. I never thought winning one. It just happens behind hard work, effort, and just having pleasure playing tennis. To me. I'm not saying it's good way for somebody else.

If I have this opportunity and I can take it, I would love to. I would be extremely happy. If not, my life not going to end on it. But still, I love the game. I'm enjoying what I'm doing. It's great I can still win titles.

I don't feel old at all, you know. When they say veteran I just laugh at it. I feel great.

Q. So last year Serena wins three slams at 34 years old. Were you thinking, I'm 30, but still pretty young?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No, I mean, Serena, Flavia, many other girls, Roberta, just shows us that you can play. I don't think it's about the age. I think it's about the head. I think it's about the pressure, the attention which we have consistently during many years.

I started when I was 16 to play pro. I traveled before. Since 14 I went away from home. That's what tires myself a lot. I have to all the time be on the road. This is my struggle, not to play tennis or to practice. I love that.

That's what will take me out of tennis, you know, just enough of traveling or something like that. And of course the girls show that it's possible to do great and to be top in this age. What they say, I feel the doctor say after 30 is the best age for women in athletes, in sports.

Q. So the Grand Slam, outside of you, who are the favorites outs of you?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, but it's your job to say that, not mine.

Q. But who?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I think Vika is playing great; Serena always favorite; I hope Maria can come back strong.

For me, this is basics. Simona can be very dangerous. She is very good.

I mean, I just take the top of the list really. (Laughter.)

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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