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June 28, 2002

Els Callens

Wimbledon, England

Q. Did you expect this?

ELS CALLENS: Actually, no, I didn't expect this. I was very close, I think. Every time -- I didn't even expect to be 5-3 up in the second. I had a point to even be 5-2 up. Every time she came up with an unbelievable shot. She just played a little bit better than me.

Q. Have you ever been in a double tiebreak before?

ELS CALLENS: In a singles match?

Q. Yes.

ELS CALLENS: I never played her. Yeah, sometimes I play a double tiebreak, but not regularly, no.

Q. We all know that Serena has a tremendous power in her shot, but you seemed to be finding the way to combat that pretty regularly. Did you have a clear strategy for that before the match began?

ELS CALLENS: Yes. The first strategy was to play serve and volley the whole time against her, but I didn't feel comfortable doing that because she has a very good return. I was going to mix it up. So she didn't know what to expect. If I was maybe doing it all the time, she would regulate herself on that. But sometimes from the back it was tough and I had to play deep and play fast, also maybe back behind her. In the first set, she even fell a couple of times because the court was slippery. That was the strategy from the back, to try and get her out of balance on this grass court, not give her time, because if you give her time, then of course it's me that's running. Also keep the ball low with the slice. She was having a lot of trouble on that. That was also the strategy to play, if I could, a lot of slices, then come in.

Q. After seeing this match, I wonder why you have never played semifinals before.

ELS CALLENS: Well, I played very good today, I think. I'm happy the way I played today. It's nice to have a very good result against a No. 2 seed. It was very tough now because I gave everything, and now I feel like I'm almost empty, no more energy left. I hope I have some energy for my doubles later on. But it was nice. I played good tennis, and I'm very happy about it. I had a tough opponent also.

Q. Were you strong? Was she weaker than you expected?

ELS CALLENS: I think she just had troubles with the slice, and she felt a bit uncomfortable with slipping a bit in the first set. As the match progressed, I think she came up with great shots later on in the first set, and also in the second set. Maybe if I can serve four times big at 5-3, then maybe I can take the set. But didn't happen. She came up with a good return game. After that, she served pretty good. I was bit unlucky that I couldn't play that volley in a more cross-court at 4-2. She came up a bit too good for me.

Q. Did you go into the game today with your strategy or did you see that your slice was working and decided that's what you should do?

ELS CALLENS: Because she has a kick serve on the grass. Normally I would play aggressive on it, try to hit it. I started to play slice on it. I saw she was having troubles on that, so I continued to do it. It was working for me. You should continue something that's working.

Q. Was that experience talking at that moment, or instinct?

ELS CALLENS: No, I just saw that it was working. If something is working, you don't have to change your tactics. If it wasn't working, then I would have tried something else. But in the second set, she was trying -- she was also changing hers. She was coming in on the second serve, so she didn't have that annoying slice ball to play on. She was taking it in volley.

Q. Was this the best Grand Slam of your career?

ELS CALLENS: Yes, I think you could say so.

Q. Why?

ELS CALLENS: If you get to the third round, you're very close, you lose in two tiebreak sets against a No. 2 seed, then you play a very good Grand Slam.

Q. Why was she having more trouble with slippage than you were?

ELS CALLENS: I was also slipping. Maybe she has more power in the legs and she's pushing more off. Then, of course, you slip easier. It's like on clay: if you push off hard and your stance are a bit wide, then you slip easily. I was also slipping because I felt it was pretty slippery, because the grass is getting too sand in the back. You don't have a lot of grip.

Q. Did you feel you had lost the game immediately after it?

ELS CALLENS: No. I was a bit -- I said to myself, "Shit, you were close." But I don't think I lost it; I think she won it in the end. She was a bit better. She came up with very good shots, and she served good. I think she was in the end just a bit better than me.

Q. Do you feel as if you have lost the game now, that you have lost a game?

ELS CALLENS: No, no. Of course, I lost. On paper, I lost. But I play good, and I'm happy about it.

Q. Who had the best service today, was it yours or from Serena? What do you think?

ELS CALLENS: I think maybe on the important points, she was serving better. It's really hard. It's really fast.

End of FastScripts….

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