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January 21, 2003

Daniela Hantuchova


MODERATOR: Questions for Daniela.

Q. What was the difference compared to last year's match against Venus?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Well, I think it was a much higher level than last year. I think Venus came out today playing unbelievable. I think that's what she needed today to beat me. She did it. All the credit to the way she played today. I mean, I had my chances today, too. You know, today she was just better.

Q. What was it like facing that serve today?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I mean, that serve was incredible. I mean, you know, you feel like you have your chances, and somebody serves like 200 Ks an hour, there's not much you can do about. I think the serve really help her today. I mean, I had my chances on her serve, too. But, you know, any time I felt like I was going to break her or something, she just served unbelievable. I think that made the difference, that my serve was not as hard as hers, and she was getting some easy points on hers.

Q. As much as that, you did break her. Was it you not playing big points as well as you needed to?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Definitely I felt like I had my chances, even though she was playing really well. That gives me confidence that today I think she had to play, you know, one of her best matches to beat me, and she did it. I haven't seen her playing that well, you know, for the last matches. Today she just came out and was hitting the ball really hard. For sure, I mean, if I would maybe make the lob, that would have made a difference being 5-All in the first set. Yeah, sure, I had my chances, and I just didn't use them.

Q. What kind of improvements do you think you have to have in your game to beat her?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Well, I think right now it's all about power because I think my tennis is there, but it's just sometimes so fast that I can't do anything about it, I mean, especially the serve. Yeah, I think I have to improve the speed of my serve, being even more faster. You know, using those chances that I had today.

Q. Do you do much weight work? Is that something that needs to be done to improve the speed?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Sure, I do the weight work, too. This match has showed me I have to work even harder on it. I mean, I'm really glad this match showed me what I have to improve, what I have to work on. Hopefully next time it's going to be better.

Q. When you were playing so well in the second set and you were able to stay 3-All, you were broken, was that sort of a disappointment? You looked at your coach.

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah. I think it was such a great rally, and I just needed to finish it. It was such an easy point, I was disappointed that I missed it. But I never thought that the match was over. I always fight till the last point. Until we shake the hands, the match is never over. I was always hoping to get my chances. But, you know, with that serve, I couldn't have done much.

Q. How close were you today to playing your best tennis, do you think?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Well, I think, sure, there was room, too, to go up a few gears. Overall I think I was, you know, not playing my best, sure, but I was happy the way I was hitting the ball. Maybe I should have made more first serves, that would have make a little bit, you know, difficult for her. But otherwise, I mean, I was happy the way I was hitting the ball. I made few, you know, easy mistakes that against a player like that I can't do that. But, you know, first time being here in the quarterfinal, it's great. The Williams sisters are the only ones that I have lost on a Grand Slams in the last year. I mean, also Monica. Otherwise, only the Williams sisters. So that gives me a lot of confidence that in the other matches when I was the favorite, I won all of them. Overall, I'm pretty happy how I played here.

Q. When the crowd started calling balls out in the first set, did that distract you?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: No. I enjoy playing so much here because the crowd is really great. They get really into the match. I think, you know, playing out there on Rod Laver, it's always great because the atmosphere is really special. I really love playing in front of an Australian crowd.

Q. Who is your favorite now for the title?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Boy, it's really difficult to say. I mean, in tennis you never know. I mean, every match is different. Obviously, the Williams sisters are big favorites. If Venus plays like she played today, I think she's got a really good chance to win it. You know, there is still Kim and Justine and many others. At the moment, it's really hard to say.

Q. Can anybody beat her if she's serving consistently well at that speed?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I mean, she's got the ability. She's so big. She's got so much power. I don't see any reasons why she can't do that. That's pretty scary. But, you know, I was glad that even though she served hard at some stages, I was able to get the return back.

Q. What do you do to relax when you're not playing tennis?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I mean, I always like to do something. Either it's doing another sport like skiing, swimming, whatever. When I'm home, spending as much time as possible with my family.

End of FastScripts….

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