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March 12, 2006

Emma Laine


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Emma..
Q. Can we start?
Q. How long has it taken you to get where you are now? When did you start, what age?
EMMA LAINE: I started when I was 5, 5 years old, and I went to my tennis camp and we played one week tennis and also some other sport, but then it was the main thing. And, yeah, actually I like it a lot and I wanted to play more and -- yeah.
Q. Started at 5?
Q. How did the daughter of a Finnish hockey player. How did you end up with a name like Emma Laine?
Q. How is your name Emma Laine? Your father was a Finnish hockey player. He's Finnish.
EMMA LAINE: Yeah. Yeah.
Q. So where did it come from?
EMMA LAINE: I'm born in Sweden.
Q. In Sweden, right.
EMMA LAINE: Yeah. But I'm Finnish and my father played ice hockey in Sweden, so that's why I'm born there. But like all my family and everything is from Finland, so...
Q. But your name is British; right?
EMMA LAINE: Yeah. I don't know, but it's also Finnish name.
Q. Laine is Finnish?
EMMA LAINE: Yeah, we say Laine, but usually I'm hear always Laine or Laine or something like that.
Q. Emma, about the second set, how did you break it open after that first one?
EMMA LAINE: Actually, the first set was tough and it was -- it was good match. And second set, I start to play better. I mean, it wasn't so windy anymore and I felt -- I felt good on the court after. When I took the first set, I just -- I felt like I played even better, and, yeah, it was good, good set.
Q. Do you think that this tournament could be really good after those two first-round losses in February?
EMMA LAINE: Yeah, actually definitely. I had a tough time. I got sick in India, and then it was tough. And then last week, I finished my antibiotics and all my medicine, so I'm just so happy to be healthy again.
And so I've been trying a lot to practice and my body is listening to me. So it's nice feeling to play. And I'm doing great, so I can't even wait to play tomorrow, so...
Q. Can we go back to a match you played earlier this year with Martina Hingis and just, I want to ask you: Did you see things there from her that you hadn't seen before in terms of style of play? How is she different from most players on the tour?
EMMA LAINE: Yeah, she's very solid. I mean, she's not the -- she doesn't do any mistakes and she knows how to play, you know, where to hit the ball. And the main thing is she's reading a good -- where the opponent is hitting and she's also there. And I mean, she has played so much, and I can say that she's very solid on the court and lot of confidence and -- but that match was my biggest match in my career so far, so it was very nice. And it gave me a lot of confidence and, like, I believe myself that I can.
I mean, I need a few matches against good players and then I'm ready. And, yeah, it's tough because there is no Finnish players from like women's side, so I'm only one and it's tough. I can't ask like how is it to play against Hingis or how is it playing against someone else, good ones. So I have to do everything by myself. Of course Nieminen is playing good and I can talk with him, but it's different, so, yeah...
Q. So you haven't played any of the real heavy hitters on the tour?
EMMA LAINE: No -- actually, I guess Hingis was the biggest match for me against the --
Q. The most important person?
EMMA LAINE: Yeah. Yeah. So -- oh, I hadn't had chance yet, but now I get into big tournament, so I'm really looking forward to play against top players.
Q. What two things would you have to improve a great deal on to be No. 1 in the women's tour?
EMMA LAINE: It's easy question. I have to improve everything, like all the part of my game. But I think I have done a lot of physical now, last half year. So I have to keep going that and improve my physics and also some -- some things in my game and in my techniques and tactics.
I need something else and some more things, but actually I'm improving all the time, and I'm really looking forward to practice harder and harder every day. So I think it's the main thing.
Q. The next time you play Hingis, what will you do different?
EMMA LAINE: I will not do so many mistakes and I will not be so nervous.
Q. How do you explain your rise as the only Finnish player?
EMMA LAINE: Yeah, actually it's tough. I mean, it's always easier if there is more players and I can ask, like, help and how you are doing this and this, because everything is new for me, but I think it's good way. So I have to learn everything by myself and, so, yeah.
Q. You're the champion of Finland, I imagine, aren't you?
Q. Many times or --
EMMA LAINE: Yeah, not many, but when I was 14, I won the first time the Nationals in Finland, so...
Q. The Women's Championship?
Q. At 14?
EMMA LAINE: Yeah, when I was 14.
Q. You won the Open?
EMMA LAINE: Yeah, the Open, yeah.
Q. Wow.
EMMA LAINE: So after that, I haven't played, so, like we have two times per year, and the other ones are always during Wimbledon and the other one, it's during Miami, so...
If I have time, I go to play. Of course it's nice, but I haven't played so many after that, like couple of times.
Q. Have you gone somewhere else to train so you can have better competition?
EMMA LAINE: Yeah. I have a coach in Sweden, so I'm.
Q. Sweden?
EMMA LAINE: Yeah. I'm practicing there a lot.
Q. Maybe you could talk to Daniilidou and Mirza, the only ones from your country, you can all --
EMMA LAINE: That's right. And now I feel I get into it and I know all the players and it's more fun and I don't feel like I'm alone. I have a lot of new friends and I feel -- I feel like I belong here, and, yeah, it's nice. It's nice.
Q. Do people know you in Finland? Are you recognized?
EMMA LAINE: Yeah, actually quite a lot. I mean tennis is now getting bigger in Finland so that's very good. And also like media has -- like of a -- when I won the championship when I was 14, after that the media has writing a lot and, yeah. But actually now I live in Helsinki, so it's a little bit better there because it's bigger city than when I live in small city, (Latyi (ph)?), so everybody almost knows me, so it was tougher. But I'm traveling all the time so I haven't been home for a while, so...
Q. Do you have a sponsor?
EMMA LAINE: Yeah, I have big sponsor, like, helping me to travel and also Finnair with plane tickets, and, yeah, it's great because we don't have tournaments in Finland and I have to travel all the time and, yeah, it's tough.

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