August 31, 2004
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Was it almost too easy, or is that the way you like to start?
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Yeah, the score was like really easy, but the game I guess was like not really easy because I know that if you give her little chance that she can take, you know, and play her game. But I was happy with the way I start. That's really good.
Q. After a good appearance here last year, you come here ranked No. 3, Grand Slam title holder, does it feel different? Do you feel the expectations on you right now are high?
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Oh, yeah, I mean, I do feel different, you know. I start to be more professional I guess on the court and enjoy more tennis right now and enjoy life. Yeah, the crowd really support me now, more support. People recognize me more right now. It's really nice. I mean, I'm really happy right now.
Q. Talking to Serena, she feels that the era of the Williams dominance has only been a 12-month interruption, she and her sister can come back and dominate once again. A lot has happened, especially with the Russian players, five in the Top 10. Do you think there's something out there that the Williams sisters don't know in terms of talent on the WTA Tour? Can you talk also about why there are so many successful Russian women on the tour.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: First question I can answer. Williams really dominated, they were No. 1 and 2 in the world. Nobody can compare with them. But right now I think first of all the tennis improve a lot, the girls improving tennis. They practice hard. They start believing them self that, first of all, they can play against them, and second that they can win. I guess that's the key why everybody start playing better against them. Yeah, I believe that Serena and Venus can come back. I mean, right now, I don't know, Serena not Top 10 or whatever.
THE MODERATOR: 11, 12.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: But she will be back for sure because I think she's hungry and I think for sure she wants to be No. 1 again. Push her practice and play much better, for sure. About the Russians, I guess we have good competition between us, you know, like we playing a lot of tournaments against each other. You know, for me I know behind my back so many good girls, and I want to be No. 1 in Russia. It push me practice and play better. For them, they wants to be ahead of me so it push them to play better.
Q. Who do you see as the favorites?
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Who is the favorite here?
Q. Yes, or the favorites.
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: American, for sure. But all girls playing right now good. Like Amelie playing unbelievable. Lindsay played really well. She played four tournaments, and she won four of them. Serena playing really good first match. So I think it's going to be good competition and good tennis this week.
Q. What about Lindsay, she really picked it up this summer? Do you think she's capable of winning after not having won a Slam since 2000?
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: She playing really well. So I think, yeah, why not. She believe in herself. She fit. I hope she fit. She playing really well. But, of course, she can win.
Q. Why do you think we haven't seen a similar surge among Russian men?
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: I don't know that. You should ask them, not me. But we have a good course. Maybe it's a little bit harder for them to compete with the top players. I know they practicing pretty hard, but maybe not the time right now for them. More coming for sure.
Q. I'd like to mention a few elements that people point to in terms of the surge in Russian success for you to comment on each of them. Natasha Zvereva demanded she get prize money. Do you think that was a factor?
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: I don't know. For me, not really because I was really young back at that time, and I didn't really think that I will be -- it's going to be my job. I think maybe Anna, she shows that, first of all, we can be one of the best tennis players. I don't know, the money not -- for me, it's not in the first place. For me, was more to win. I would just like to win. That's it.
Q. Do you think tennis becoming an Olympic sport was a factor in the popularization in Russia?
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Maybe. Maybe not. I'm not sure. I can't really comment that. But, you know, every year somebody was playing good or bad. Every year something happen tennis. That's how tennis become popular. First Natasha, then Olympic, then Anna. Now, I don't know, hundred Russians playing good. You know, that helping to popularize.
Q. Was Yevgeny's success...
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Yeah, and also men's. Yevgeny, gold medal. Marat, when he won US Open 2000, that's small steps, but really helps.
Q. What about the role of Boris Yeltsin? Was that a factor also?
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Yes, he bring a lot of money I guess to tennis. He bring sponsors. He love to play tennis. A lot of rich people start playing tennis, as well. Big tournament in Russia, Fed Cup in Russia. Yeah, you know, lot of money right now around the tennis.
Q. You said you're beginning to enjoy life more. Can you talk about that? It's wonderful to hear. Can you explain how that's working for you?
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Yeah. Just, you know, I understood before when you were playing, you were like 50 or 60. You was always under pressure because, I mean, you don't want to be in the middle of hundred, you want to be the best or you don't want to do this at all. And I was really sad because I tried really hard, but nothing was working. And right now, my life really going well. You know, I'm playing tennis really well. Everything really good. That's why I'm enjoy.
Q. When you're in Russia, do the tennis players enjoy the same type of visibility and popularity as they do here in the States?
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Russians, yes, yes.
Q. People on the street?
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Yeah. Right now, yes. I mean, because we have sports channel, and the tennis really popular. Show almost every tournament. People recognize us in the street. We have commercial with Russian tennis players. I think it really goes well right now.
Q. Do you enjoy having a group of other Russians with you on the tour at events?
ANASTASIA MYSKINA: Yes, I mean, really, really good. I have a lot of friends traveling with you. It's not that boring. So you can speak the same language, you can go out together. I think it's nice.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.