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March 14, 2002

Daniela Hantuchova


MODERATOR: Questions for Daniela, please.

Q. How would you assess your game today?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Well, today was pretty tough because Emmanuelle was playing well, and the conditions were a little bit harder because was quite windy. Especially in the first set, I didn't feel like I was hitting the ball that well, like I did the matches before. But then I was very happy that I changed the momentum and started to play much better in the second set. I put her under more pressure. I started to feel much better on the court.

Q. Were you feeling any nerves at the beginning?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Well, of course, because there was a little bit of pressure, because I knew that I have a big chance to win this match today and that I was playing a player that is ranked much lower than me. I was a little bit nervous at the beginning. But then I was just trying to play my tennis, to do the right things, and it worked.

Q. Might you have been overconfident?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Not really. I mean, even though I'm playing really good this week, every match is different. Especially, you know, first time semifinal in a major for me was very tough, especially mentally. But I'm very glad that I got through this match. I'm looking forward for the final.

Q. How excited are you to be in your first final?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I can't ask for more. It's so exciting for me, to be first time in the final and playing one of the best players in the world, you know, on a major tournament like this. I'm so happy just to be here. I'm enjoying every minute here.

Q. Can you talk about playing either player, Seles or Hingis?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I never played either of them. I mean, it's going to be pretty tough. I'm just so looking forward for the final. It's going to be exciting.

Q. Do you care who you play?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: No, not at all. I mean, I will just try to do my best no matter who is on the other side of the court. We see what happens.

Q. Will you adjust your tactics depending on who it is?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, of course. We going to talk with my coach, of course, about the player who I going to play, then we see.

Q. Since you're the lower-seeded player in the final, will it take some of the pressure off you? Will you feel more comfortable?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Of course, in the final I'm not under pressure at all because I'm playing either Martina or Monica, one of the greatest players ever. I just going to enjoy it out there, try to do my best. I know I have a chance because I was playing really good the whole week. So I'm quite confident.

Q. Do you think it's maybe an advantage for you because they've never played you?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, I think so, because they are the ones that will be under the pressure. That's right, they never played me. You know, I just can go out there and play my best. We see.

Q. If six months ago someone came up to you and said, "You're going to be in the final at Indian Wells against Monica or Martina," what would you say back to them?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I would think that's a nice idea, but I would also think that's a lot of hard work. But maybe I would believe them. I'm glad that that happened.

Q. Did you ever see Monica playing when you were growing up on TV?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, of course, I watched her many times. She and Martina were one of my favorite players. I admire them for their game. It's just great to play against them.

Q. Did you ever look at their shots and say, "I want to be able to hit this kind of backhand or think like Martina," something like that?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Not at all because I think every player should have our own technique and our own style of play. That's what I'm trying to do, just to be myself on the court. I never try to be somebody else or something like that.

Q. Does it feel good because you've kind of become a crowd favorite?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: The crowd was great during the whole tournament. I felt a lot of support from them. It's been great.

Q. Have you talked to your parents yet? How do they feel?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I talked to my mom already and my coach. Right now I'm going to talk to the rest of the family watching it at home.

Q. They will be excited, I'm sure?


Q. You've been the focus of a lot of attention. Are you used to that? Do you think it helps your tennis?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Well, I think it's thing that belongs when you are getting better and better. It's just one part of the tennis that you have to also do these things. But I'm very exciting about it. I'm really enjoying it.

Q. How much of the confidence that you've been saying you have do you suppose comes from playing that strong match against Venus at the Australian Open?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, that match gave me already a lot of confidence because I knew I was very close to beat her. All of the matches I played with the top players gave me a lot of experience and confidence, too. Especially this tournament gave me a lot because finally I broke through those top players and I started to beat them.

Q. I know you practiced with Hingis before. How about Monica?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: No, I never played her. Never.

Q. Even in practice?


Q. If you had to single out one thing you like about California, what would be that one thing be?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I think this Tennis Garden here and beautiful weather and great golf courses.

Q. Are you a golfer?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I started little bit, hit some balls. Just little.

Q. Do you like it?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah. It's a nice way to relax.

Q. What is the difference now between you when you played Venus, the third set of that match, and the third set today?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I think there was a big difference in my head. I knew exactly what to do in the important times. I didn't know that before. I got more experience. I was trying to be more mature than I was with Venus. Maybe to be a little bit more patience in the important points. I was just believing all the time that I could win this match. My attitude was different than with Venus.

Q. What did you think of her crazy dropshot?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: That was really crazy. I mean, especially in this wind, you didn't know where it was going to finish, that ball. So was quite tough this shot, yeah. Was strange.

Q. Was she a tougher opponent than you had expected?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I think she played really good today. Was very tough because was semifinal. I knew I had big chance, so was a very tough match for me. I'm very glad that I got through.

Q. We've been debating that dropshot. Was that a miss-hit?


Q. The very high dropshot. Was it a miss-hit?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Well, I don't know what that was.

Q. It had the backspin.

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: It was actually quite a good idea to do it in that wind, but I didn't expect that.

Q. At the end of the year, what would you consider a successful year for you?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Last year at the end of the year I wanted to be in the Top 20 by the end of the next year, and I'm already there. So now I have to set up next goal. I'm not like trying to be on a certain place on the ranking on a certain date. I'm just trying to always do my best and then see what happens.

Q. This couple weeks been the most fun you've had since you've been out on the tour?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, this tournament has been unbelievable so far. Yeah, I think one of the best I ever had.

Q. Are you having fun playing tennis? Is this a good career?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Of course. I mean, this is what I always wanted to do. Enjoying every second out there.

Q. What are the press conferences like for you? Are we in the press really tough or a piece of cake?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Not really. It's something that belongs to tennis, too. I understand that the people wants to know more about the players that they are watching, so I think that's normal.

Q. Are you getting phone calls from the media back home?

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yes, yes, a lot. Also during the night, yes. That was not nice.

Q. They're waking you up?


Q. Take your phone off the hook.

DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I'm going to do that.

End of FastScripts….

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