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September 1, 2004

Daniela Hantuchova


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Daniela, please.

Q. Could you get confidence more and more by each match?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Oh, yeah, for sure. I mean, especially match like this gives me lot of confidence and I'm really happy that I got through because I was expecting a really tough match. I mean, I played her couple of times, and obviously she's in very good form. I mean, she won a tournament and made a semifinal in the Olympics. So, you know, she's a tough player to beat, and I'm really glad that I got through today in two sets.

Q. Can you talk about the match the other night. You seemed awfully relieved to get through that one, and then how hard it is to come back out.

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Actually, I mean, in my mind that match is already gone. I don't think about it at all now. I was really happy to get through. Obviously, it helps when, you know, you can get through a match like that, being two match points down. I think it usually makes you then even more determined because you appreciate that you are still in the tournament. And I think it was a good test for me mentally in the first match. You know, that's why I was maybe even more focused in the next match.

Q. Conditions any more easier today than your first match?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I mean, for me was much easier today because I had nothing to lose. You know, she was the one under pressure. That's why I was, you know, more relaxed and I was, you know, going for my shots, was really calm. That's the kind of situation I really like, that nobody was really expecting me to win, and I was the one that had nothing to lose. I think that's where I play my best.

Q. A couple years ago you were in the same position that Maria is in now, in that everybody was talking about you on court, off court, everything. Is it a little bit easier now for you that attention is not completely focused on you? Can you understand what it's like for Maria?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, for sure it's easier for me because I've been in that situation before. At that time it was hard because, you know, everything was new to me and I didn't know really what to expect. There was so much attention anywhere I went to. But, you know, now I got more experience and I'm more relaxed and more aware of what I'm doing on the court, off the court. I think she will learn the same, too.

Q. What advice would you give to her?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Just, you know, being focused on what she's doing on the court. I think she's doing that really well. You know, it's just matter of getting used to it, that's all.

Q. Do you have any superstitions or quirks you have out on the court?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I like to keep the same ball when I win a point.

Q. What kind of car do you drive?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: What kind of car I drive? I think I keep that for myself.

Q. Do you have any favorite junk foods or snacks that you really like?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Junk foods? Oh, it's hard to think of anything. Junk food? I love cookies.

Q. Thoughts on playing Patty in the next round, Patty Schnyder.

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yes, she's a really tough opponent for me. I have played her a lot. I don't know what it is, but I just find it very difficult to play against her. She's got a very awkward game. You know, she is a very talented player, so she can do with the ball whatever she wants. It depends a lot on what day I catch her. Whether, you know, she's going to be really focused and play well, then it's going to be a tough match. Sometimes mentally she's a little weaker. But, you know, I think if I play like I did today and if I will be focused like I was, I think I have a pretty good chance.

Q. What is awkward about her game?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Because she's lefty and she hits it with a lot of spin, but she can slice it, too. Sometimes she can take the pace off the ball. And she can do all kinds of things on the court. You don't really get a really good rhythm like when you play against someone that just hits the ball hard. So it's difficult, for sure.

Q. Do you think you could win this tournament? A year ago, two years ago, did you believe you could win this tournament? Do you believe it now more?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Every tournament I enter, I always want to win and always want to do well. At the moment I'm not trying to think that much ahead of me because I don't want to put any pressure on myself. I think the best I play when I've got nothing to lose and I just enjoy myself out there and that's what I try to do in every match. How far I get this year, we see. But obviously it would be fantastic. But, you know, whether it's going to happen this year or next year, I can't tell. But I'm sure it's going to happen.

Q. Does it seem funny to you that two years ago if you played Alicia, you would have been the big favorite? Does it seem funny she's the one and you have no pressure?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, I know, I know. But that's what I said. I think I much more prefer to be in this situation because that's when I can be really, really loose and relaxed in the match. But, you know, I think if it's going to be the other way now, I would be ready for that, too, to be the one that everyone wants to beat again.

Q. Why now do you think you're better at handling that than a few years ago?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Because I have learned from the mistakes I did one or two years ago. I'm more aware of what I want to achieve and what I want to do on the court. I think mentally I'm much stronger than I was probably a year ago.

Q. Can you think of a particular mistake you feel you made a couple years ago?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I was just putting way too much pressure on myself. That's all.

Q. How much longer do you think you in this tournament can be considered an underdog?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: When you start to do well, everyone starts to expect more things from you. So I can't say that. But I'm sure if I'm still here in the second week of the tournament, then people will start to notice that I'm playing much better and I'm feeling stronger. So I don't know, I can't say now.

End of FastScripts….

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