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March 11, 2002

Daniela Hantuchova


MODERATOR: Questions for Daniela.

Q. The other day you were talking about how it was time for you to break through against a top player. Here you are, you did it.

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yes, yes, I'm very happy that I finally got through this match, beat No. 7 in the world. It's my best win so far. So I'm really happy the way I play today and felt really strong on the court physically, mentally. I was just happy that my whole game came together out there. Yeah, I showed good tennis today.

Q. How nervous were you serving for it 5-2?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, a little bit. At that game, I was a little bit struggling because, you know, I knew that I was close to a big win. But at the same time, I wanted to concentrate on every point. I made some easy mistakes at that time. With players like this, you cannot afford it. So then she took the chance, she broke me. But then I broke her back and finished the match. So I was very happy.

Q. Talk about the difference when you played her two months ago and now.

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I think mentally I'm much stronger. I got more experience. I knew exactly what to do in every time. I think the shot selection was much better today. I didn't give her any chances to come back, except that one game by 5-2. Yeah, I just took my chance today and finish it properly, like I didn't last time. I think that was the biggest difference that, that I really took my chance today and I didn't let her to come back.

Q. Did you face any fear going into a match against Justine? Did you think you could win right from the start?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah. I mean, right from the beginning I felt like I can win this match. I was just concentrating on every point, but also thinking all the time that I'm going to win this match.

Q. She said she practiced with you recently, that you played so well, that it made her nervous for this match today. Do you remember that practice session? Does it work the other way? Does it make you confident?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, of course, it does. Especially in the last couple of days, I was in the practicing, very happy the way I played. I played with very good players. I played with Justine, I played with Martina. I was feeling very confident. Of course, when I played her in the practice, I didn't give her any chance, the same I did in the match today. So I was very happy what I did in the practice I did also in the match because you are under the pressure, it's much tougher, but I did it.

Q. When you practice with a top player like that, is it practice but also you want to see what that person is like for real?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Well, I think it's more for practice. Well, a little bit, yeah, to get used to the pace of their shots. But, yeah, I have played with almost all of the top players, except some of them, so I know what to expect from them.

Q. With a win like this today, did it prove something to you?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Of course, it did prove a lot to me because I knew I had so many chances against these players, and I haven't used them. Today I did. I took my chance and win this very tough match for me mentally, because I knew I played her before, and I was close to win before. Today, it just everything came together. So I'm very happy.

Q. Did it ever happen to you where you practiced with somebody, they played so well, it scared you when you played them in the match?


Q. Say you practice with somebody, you played them a couple days later, they played well in practice.

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Not really, because practice is something totally different than a match. Sometimes you don't have to play good in the practice, and then you play great in the match. Then it's also the other way. So depends. But doesn't scared me at all.

Q. Now you'll be going into your next match. If you win that, your match after that, you're a favorite. That's a different position to be in mentally.

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, today I think I beat the toughest opponent in my section. But every match is different. Also the other players are tough. But I know I have my chances now, so I going to try to use them, but just do it from match to match and concentrate just on the next round.

Q. How old are you and how long have you been on the tour?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I'm 18 and I have been on the tour since '98.

Q. You used to train at Bollettieri for a month or so, didn't you?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I used to, especially in winter. For three years, I used to train there.

Q. You didn't come back. Why did you not come back?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Well, I used to work there with Nick, but he was not traveling on the tournaments. Then I met Nigel Sears. We decided to work together. We're very happy the way things are going at the moment. I'm enjoying the work with him right now.

Q. Do you feel inside that maybe this is your week coming up where you'll have your big, big breakthrough?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Of course, I do, especially after beating Henin today. Gave me a lot of confidence. But, you know, every match is different, so I have to just be keep focusing and trying to do always my best and see how it goes.

Q. Martina Navratilova was saying the other night you haven't really called or asked her anything regarding the mentor program, sought any advice.

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I mean, it's a great thing to work with somebody like that, to have her on the line whenever I need her. So far there has not been many things that I needed to ask her or something. It's great that I know that she's always there. I think that's great.

Q. Have you talked to her much at this tournament?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yes, we did. Because I'm playing so many singles and doubles, too, I haven't had much free time. Of course, when I will have them, then we will talk more.

End of FastScripts….

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