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August 28, 2004

Elena Bovina



Q. Steffi Graf, Venus Williams, Jennifer Capriati, now you. Your name is in fine company at the Pilot Pen. Did you enjoy yourself here?

ELENA BOVINA: Oh, definitely. It's been amazing week for me. You know, to tell the truth, I never thought, you know, one time that I could win the tournament. It's not that I didn't believe in myself, it's just I was so kind of playing, you know, every day, day after day, match after match, that I never even, you know, thought myself getting to the finals. I just wanted, you know, to get through each match, you know, just do things that we talk with my coach about, do them on court really. (Elena's cell phone ringing.) My sister said hello to everyone (smiling). Sorry.

Q. Wasn't Vladimir Putin?


Q. She called to congratulate you then?

ELENA BOVINA: Yeah, she called me. She called me first time on the court just when I finished, you know, the match. I told her to call me back because it was... Now, again. She's like, "Oh, come on, I want to talk to you."

Q. Is she back at home, your sister?

ELENA BOVINA: Yeah, she's in Moscow. It's late now. It's almost 1:00 at night there.

Q. Can you talk about the match. Obviously it was hot out there. Went to three sets. How close was it?

ELENA BOVINA: You know, I think it was as close as it could get really. I think that the deciding point was, you know, those last few games. It wasn't really about who was stronger, it was just about who was stronger mentally, who wanted to win more at this point. Maybe in the second set I wanted to win so much that it kind of stopped me from what I was doing that was helping me to win. So maybe I focused too much on the result. I could feel like I could get it now. That's very dangerous, I mean, because if you just play, if you play -- if you enjoy, you try to do your best, for me that's the best feeling for win. So I tried to relax in the third set a little more and not to think so much about, you know, win or lose, just play every point, you know, try as hard as I can. Especially with this heat, sometimes it also helps because you can't think so much. You kind of playing automatic in the final. You know, when you get so tired, you stop thinking, you just do what you do.

Q. How important was this victory for you in your career?

ELENA BOVINA: I mean, it's not, you know, very important, but it's great to win a title. You know, my last title was almost two years ago. You know, it feels great again, this feeling when you get the tournament. I would like to win a couple more maybe (smiling). I'll try.

Q. It wasn't a big celebration for you afterwards. Were you too tired to celebrate? Was it because it was your friend?

ELENA BOVINA: No, I was very happy. I was happy for Nathalie, too, because she had a great week. She got to the final. She beat, you know, good players. And it's great for her, too, because she's been struggling a little bit lately. You know, to me it's perfect because we had a great match and she's my good friend. You know, it's just very nice to have -- it's nice that I won, but it's nice to have her as an opponent in a final, too.

Q. What does this mean for your confidence heading into the US Open?

ELENA BOVINA: Well, you know, I wasn't thinking so much about the US Open this week. And maybe today I'm not going to think about it, too. But, you know, definitely it feels great. And I think that I really start to play how I should. I have many, many things to work on still, that I can improve, I know. But, you know, the US Open, it's a Grand Slam. All you can do is just, you know -- if you want to win a Grand Slam, you have to get through seven or eight matches. It's very difficult, you know. I'm just going to play, you know, one match at a time and try to do my best there, enjoy myself.

Q. Sometimes it's hard to play somebody when you know them so well. You played well against each other. Do you know why that is?

ELENA BOVINA: We been practicing together quite a lot. Today actually, you know, for quite a while I was feeling like it was just another practice match. So maybe that's why I feel so, you know, confident there in the first set. I wasn't thinking too much that it was the finals or anything. I know how it feels, you know, when we speak to each other. We even talk to each other before we went out. I ask her how is she feeling. We have very good relationship. It didn't bother me. I mean, I knew she wanted to beat me, so I didn't feel so bad when I was beating her. It's two different things: on the court and off the court. I think we can separate these things quite well.

Q. During the heat rule, did you guys talk in the locker room or not look at each other?

ELENA BOVINA: We did a little bit. She was like, "Shit, it's he so hot." I was like, "Yeah, tell me about it." But, you know, she did her thing and I did my thing. You know, we just didn't have too much energy to talk to each other during this period. We tried to recover as much as we could, you know. But it was funny because we were sitting like red faces, you know. But, you know, it's okay. It was difficult for both of us. But, you know, I think we had a pretty good game today.

Q. Did you change during the break also?

ELENA BOVINA: Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure. I mean, you know, it helps to just take all the wet clothes and change because, you know, it's getting heavier when it's wet.

Q. When was the last time you played in conditions like this?

ELENA BOVINA: Well, I don't remember really. I remember the worst tournament, weather-wise, was my first tournament in El Paso, my first professional tournament. I was 17 years old, 16 years old. My first professional tournament I played in El Paso, in summer. It was so hot that, I mean, the shoes would start melt. It was even hotter than today. I had to play through to the qualifying. And actually I won it. I won like eight matches in one week. The final was a crazy match, too. But, you know, I remember that feeling, how I felt back then. It was also like three sets. And it was so difficult. But, you know, I found a way to get through it. I kind of knew that, you know, I can handle these things. So it's nice to have that kind of experience.

Q. Is there a certain excitement in a final that you can't duplicate anywhere else?

ELENA BOVINA: Well, for sure, you know, you have this feeling before you go out on the court, and maybe even the night before, you know, you're so excited. Sometimes you're too excited, you know, you can't even fall asleep. And, you know, your heart beats two times faster than normally. You're just trying to calm yourself down, you know, as much as possible in the situation. But, you know, there's nothing you can do. You know, it's normal to get so excited, especially, you know, if you haven't been in the finals for quite a while. If you're in the final each week, you know, maybe you know how to handle it. You don't even feel that.

Q. You won eight out of the last nine points. You were tired at that point. Was it more mental, being mentally tough at that point, to win those?

ELENA BOVINA: Yeah, you know, I think I couldn't really finish at 5-4. I had a chance. But, you know, that returning game was really bad. I missed, you know, easy balls. I didn't have -- I didn't give her a chance to miss. All I wanted to do basically is maybe just get on her as much as possible at this point. And maybe I didn't think so much about that it's, you know, I need only four points to finish it off. You know, just try to stay aggressive as much as I can, but also to play with calm, you know, because sometimes you lose control if you want to get on top so fast and you can miss balls. I think I did well. I gave her a chance, and she missed a few balls. And that definitely, you know, gave me confidence to finish.

Q. Is your back totally fine today?

ELENA BOVINA: Yeah, it was good. It was good, yeah.

End of FastScripts….

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