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April 2, 2016

Svetlana Kuznetsova

Miami, Florida

V. AZARENKA/S. Kuznetsova

6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you describe that first set? From where we sat, the quality of play was pretty low. How would you say you played in the first set and overall?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Overall today or overall...

I mean, Vika, I don't think we played a great game, both of us. I mean, we had very equal games, deuce over time. It was very hard to serve from the side of the sun. I mean, I think we came to final both being a bit tired, a little bit worked out.

Yeah, I mean, I don't think it was unbelievable tennis and it was difficult conditions. But, look, I did what I could and today was not definitely my good day.

I mean, Vika played really confident game and she was really going for the shots, because I believe that she knew if she wouldn't go I would get better in the rallies.

Q. You've played her before her injury problems back when she was No. 1 and a two-time champion in Australia. How close do you think her form is? Do you think she could perhaps become "the" dominant player like she was in that period?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I wouldn't be able to tell you how close my form is than to tell you her form. I mean, it's very difficult to say.

Now she's on the height of her game. She beat every player she could beat, the best players now these four weeks. But the year is so long, so who gonna be more consistent gonna be dominate.

And so far she is the one who dominates this year. This is true. I cannot predict what's gonna happen. I focusing on my game, and I'm happy that even not playing my best game I could manage to get here to the final, I mean, this fighting and trying to be a little bit more consistent perhaps.

Q. This is your second final, 2016, and you did take a title earlier in the year. As you look at where your game is now going into the clay season, how do you assess your abilities and what you would like to work on moving forward this year?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, I think my honest opinion is that in Sydney I was much better shape. I felt much better the ball, and I felt like I was dominate on the court.

Now I'm not at this point, and I lost a little bit of the base of training. So with the clay court season, I must take a couple weeks to prepare in order to be fitter and be faster and be more consistent, because in order to play good on clay I really need that.

I had a little bit difficulty planning my schedule, because I had to play Fed Cup for Olympics and it was kind of messy weeks which I couldn't take decisions. I think it's my fault because I had to go to Doha/Dubai, and then I think more important would be if I could practice and be better for here.

But this is what happened. From now on I just have to practice a little bit more to get better for clay.

Q. You mentioned the difficulty of serving into the sun on that side of the court. We saw you switch to the visor. Did that make any difference? Did that help at all?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Well, I couldn't see the ball, anyway. It got better. And the thing is as I played second day at 1:00, 1:15 it's bad sun. 1:30, 1:40 moves a little bit away. On the deuce side it's really bad for couple games and then goes to ad side. So you have to just hang in there. You could see my unforced errors.

Q. Great tournament. Did you think your groundstrokes kind of disappointed you today? Because she was coming on you on your backhand, coming to the net, taking it away from you, and also she was going to your forehand and a lot of unforced errors. What do you think?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I cannot say I was hitting the ball perfectly for all two weeks. I was not. And today she had to push me all the short balls. She was going for it. I knew that would go. That's her game, that's Vika's game, that's what she's doing the best.

So for me it was very important for me to get better strokes and play deeper, but I couldn't imagine because I don't feel the balls I would like to. So definitely from short balls she would approach. So I just try to hang in there and do maybe something to mix it up.

I was missing too much and from my forehand side and I was not kind of there with my every shot I have.

Q. Second set, I think it's 4-2 and you had a break point. You would have been right in it I think at 3-4, and she served that big ace wide. You feel like you had your teeth right there into the match on that point?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, you can talk about many balls during the match which if I would make that I would be back. Like in the first set I also had chances to go back, but the thing is key moments she was playing better than I did. I couldn't take my advantage. I didn't make my shots. That's it.

Of course if you don't take it, she goes for it.

Q. You have been coming here for many years. What's your reaction to the talk about the tournament possibly moving to China, South America, Orlando, leaving Miami?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I would like it to stay here. I like Miami a lot. I like -- I mean, this is a swing. I mean, I hope it's not going to China because it's already too many events there.

And I believe in scheduling the year better by the zones. Like we go to America for Indian Wells/Miami, you know. And then to go only for Indian Wells it would be weird, you know. Because we travel already a lot, and it takes time.

The game is so physical. You recover so long, you know, after the trips. Like I will go to Moscow now, and I will be five days like zombie walking and in the night and with jet lag and everything. So I would really hope it would stay here.

Q. They have obviously been frozen in what they can do with the facilities here. How do you think they compare now with other similar tournaments you play in?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I feel it's great. I didn't see nothing bad with the facilities. We have some tournaments that are not really good facilities, but here, I don't see anything bad. I mean, I don't know. What's wrong with facilities?

Q. We have Maria kind of out of the picture. Serena is kind of iffy. Victoria doesn't have the greatest record on clay. You have won Roland Garros. How do you see the clay court season? Do you see it as wide open, lots of opportunities for a lot of different people? What's your thoughts going into the clay court season?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I feel that Serena she can get on top of the game, as with Vika. With Maria, I don't know this case. Very difficult for me. I don't understand.

And the rest is -- there is good players who can shock top players, and it's quite open. But you have to see how Serena will go to clay, you know. You never know. If she's good mood, not good mood, good fit, not fit, you know, you never know. (Laughter.)

No, but when Serena is her best, I mean, it's tough, you know?

I love playing on clay. And it's tough, always tough, but there is more options for other players, that's true.

Q. Speaking of clay, you said your hard court season was interrupted by Fed Cup and maybe you would have practiced instead of playing in the Middle East. Do you intend to take more of a training block for clay, given Madrid and...
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah. That's exactly what I would like to do. But I have to see. I enter couple tournaments more but I still have to see that.

Q. But ideally you'd like to have a break?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yes, yes. I'm just -- you know, it's very difficult for me. During the years I was younger, I could play more in a row, and now I have to choose really in order to be at my best to prepare good and to play.

And I like to have matches. So it's really difficult balance to have enough tournaments and enough matches. You never know how you go. You have to inter-train so much in advance which you cannot predict.

Q. At this point in your career with having the win, getting to the final this week, and other players like Garbi├▒e, Serena, and Simona out earlier, you came in at No. 19. Do you know where your ranking will fall next week? How much of an opportunity do you see perhaps being back in the top 10 as you head into the clay season?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, I don't count points. Sometimes people ask me what's your ranking, and I can't answer. I know more or less that I'm in the first 100, for example (smiling).

I hope people say a lot about it. My win, I get top 10. If I lose, I'm like top 15 or whatever it is. I don't know, you know.

If I have the game and I have the confidence, and even sometimes I don't have the game, I still can fight and run and manage to win like I did here like making it to the finals, winning good matches, that's most important for me.

And if I play some more tournaments, good. That would be nice. I would get my rankings up. This is very simple and this is part of the tennis. If you play, you get better rankings.

The thing is I'm playing very good. On clay (indiscernible) early out of the tournament, I need to improve that stage.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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