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March 28, 2004

Eleni Daniilidou


THE MODERATOR: We'll get started.

Q. Can you just talk about what this win means to you. I mean, Jennifer, three-time finalist here last three years. Big deal for you?

ELENI DANIILIDOU: I'm very happy, first of all. I mean, it was excellent game from my side. I was fighting. I was very, very focus. I was playing very aggressive. I mean, I did a really good job compare for what I was working with my coach. And the key was that I was really aggressive and I was two steps into the court. I played very good, and with my forehand, I put very much pressure to Jennifer. I think she is not -- she didn't play her best tennis. I mean, everyone knows it's very tough to come back after a big injury. But it's still sometimes more tougher for me , I mean for us, to play focus and concentrated because I know that she was not in the best, for sure, performance.

Q. I would imagine you always try to be aggressive. Why was it working so well today?

ELENI DANIILIDOU: I was moving very well, yeah. I was moving very good. My serve still can be better, but it was a key also that I put a lot of first serves in. With the second ball, I was more aggressive. I was starting a lot from my forehand. I put a lot of pressure and tried also to move her right, left, right, left. When I had the chance, I went to the net. Her ball is very, very heavy. Sometimes it's very tough to control the point or let's say the game.

Q. Your homeland hasn't had a lot to celebrate about. People have been very critical of the Olympic preparations. Can you just talk a little bit about that. Do you find yourself having to defend it?

ELENI DANIILIDOU: I think now I don't have pressure for the Olympics maybe because I'm not so often there. I'm not really -- for since November, last November, I was there one week only because I have a German coach and I am practicing in Germany. I was traveling, I play a lot of tournaments until now. I'm not so much in Greece. Until now, I am still quiet inside for myself, and I'm really looking forward to play because it's really something special for all of us, let's say, the Greek team and the Greek athletes. For sure I'm very focus also for the Olympics. I hope to be without injuries until there and really to feel good and give everything.

Q. Serena Williams was asked about the Olympics and said she very much wants to play but she is concerned about the security situation there. What are your thoughts about that issue?

ELENI DANIILIDOU: It's for sure now everywhere is dangerous. Honest, I'm start to scare a little bit to travel with all this, what happening. But, I mean, they really spend -- I heard also that they spend also three times more money than Sydney for the security part. It's a little dangerous situation because it's a big event and everyone is all around the world are going there. But, I mean, I think and I hope, first of all, everything to be done and really to enjoy the time and really to be quiet there.

Q. When you saw the draw came out, there were so many players out of the draw, the Belgians, Lindsay Davenport, Myskina dropped out, did you think, "This could be a week where I go deep into the draw"?

ELENI DANIILIDOU: For sure it's a pity situation that the top names pull out. But, honest, is for me it was normal that now, I mean, since the new year a lot of injuries are coming. It's very tough to make a schedule and very tough to play every week. I mean, I think it's impossible. It's normal that some players can pull out, even in the future. It's very early in the year to see this situation, but a lot of - eight, ten - people pull out, especially the tops. But it's part of our let's say -- it's very tough to play every week. For myself, I was very confidence really to go through. I was looking very comfortable for Jennifer's match because, honest, I really like her game and also her ball. Always I have fun to play against her. I really enjoy today the match and I give everything.

Q. Can you talk about how you've made it. Greece doesn't have a huge history or tradition of tennis.

ELENI DANIILIDOU: No, not so much (laughing). We have people to play, but actually 15, 16 years old, everyone stopped because the system was also with a school doesn't really help. I mean, you cannot really travel. I was in the same situation, 15, 16 - 16 years old, I was thinking what to do, "Should I continue to study," or I wanted also to study medicine. And it was very tough decision but, honest, I love tennis and I really went positive to play tennis.

Q. So you had to move? If you stayed in Greece, were the facilities or coaching available or not really?

ELENI DANIILIDOU: We don't have coaches. We don't have indoor. I mean, for me, it's very tough. Okay, now the last five years I never had Greek coach. We don't have indoors court. It's very bad because, I mean, the special -- the two years now, the weather is very bad. We don't have indoors. I just choose to have German coach, and I feel very good with her. We work now two years. It's very tough because I'm never in Greece, and I really miss my family and my friends.

Q. Do you have a big following?

ELENI DANIILIDOU: Not so much. Not so much.

Q. You're just it, you are Greek tennis?

ELENI DANIILIDOU: Yeah (smiling). More or less, yeah.

Q. Have you had many of your fellow players ask you about the security situation in Greece?

ELENI DANIILIDOU: Yeah, yeah, they are interesting. Always when they know that I am back to Greece, they ask me, "What's going on?" They are really, honest, back still, but I hope and really I am positive that the last minute it's gonna be a good Olympic Games.

Q. Do you encourage them to come to the Olympics?

ELENI DANIILIDOU: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Q. What do you say to them?

ELENI DANIILIDOU: I just say for sure is gonna be big event and, I mean, we have to enjoy the time. First of all, is the most important to enjoy the time. It's special for me that is with the history and all the people that are gonna be around. I heard that the courts will be full also. They're gonna be nice courts, especially also tennis, I mean, the tennis center. We have to enjoy the moment and really something special for me.

Q. Do you think that the tennis center they're building for the Olympics, will that help with the future of Greek tennis maybe?

ELENI DANIILIDOU: Maybe. It's the first step. After -- already they start to do some test events. They have some small tournaments now, men's and women's. They really try to do everything, how it gonna be in Olympics with ceremony, with umpires, with ball boys, everything. They start already to have many test events. I hope this gonna help, because it's a pity because we have good weather, we have courts, but we don't have players.

Q. When you go back to Greece, are you sort of amazed by all the changes that are being made?

ELENI DANIILIDOU: I was shocked when I came. I was shocked. Athens especially is getting very beautiful. It's very good because it was really a mess before. Now is -- they rebuilt a lot of things and they built new stuff. It's getting very beautiful.

Q. Are cans of tennis balls hard to find in Greece if you want to go out and buy a can, are they hard to find?

ELENI DANIILIDOU: You can find, yeah. You can find (smiling).

End of FastScripts….

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