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May 19, 2006

Dinara Safina


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Well, tell us about it. You'd never beat her before, right?
Q. You did?
Q. One time is all.
DINARA SAFINA: And one time she beat me. First time I beat -- okay, first time she retired against me in the third set (laughing).
I played against her 2003. In the third set she retired, and we played then 2005 US Open and she beat me in three sets first round.
Q. Were you a little afraid it was getting away in that last game, 10 minutes?
DINARA SAFINA: Yeah, I mean, it was Love-30 then she served two times on the line. Then I just started to -- I don't know what to think in my head, "bring it back" or "hit the ball." And I was thinking about not what I have to do, like is she gonna miss or she don't gonna miss. So then I was like, "It's better I go for it than to wait a mistake from her."
Q. Now, another Russian player or an Italian.
DINARA SAFINA: Okay, she's not so Italian. She's more Swiss (laughing).
Q. Okay. Half Italian.
DINARA SAFINA: Yes. I mean, it would be great match if I have to play against Kuzy. You know, we know each other very well. I just have to concentrate, same like I did today. I think who's stronger gonna win, you know.
Q. You are a little bit more nervous when you play against a Russian player, or no different than the others?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, you know, like if you play -- maybe if you didn't play for a long time with this girl or you don't know her, then doesn't matter for me against who I play. If I don't know the girl, then I'm little bit nervous. But if I know how she plays, then I just have to think, you know, what I have to do on the court. Then it's easier.
Q. You've played well on clay this year. Charleston was good. Rome is even better. How do you feel on this surface?
DINARA SAFINA: Good, you know. I had a good preparation. Okay, before Berlin, you know, I was in Monaco practicing. I was really working hard before the clay court season.
Q. What do you think your new coach is bringing to you?
DINARA SAFINA: He teach me lot of things, you know, that before maybe I was not giving like important thing, you know. And I think, you know, he really take care of me, you know. We have a great relationship, you know. He's, I can say, my best friend, you know. We understand. When he's on the court, seeing outside, and if I look at him, I know what he wants to tell me, you know. I'm really enjoying working with him.
Q. For you it's a big change comparing with last year?
DINARA SAFINA: You know, yeah. It's little bit different. That coach, he also, you know -- the Russian I had before, he teach me a lot of things, you know. He maybe teach me like at the beginning like I was like -- when I was younger I was like lazy in the practice. Not lazy, but I could, like, "I'm tired, I don't want to practice anymore." So he teach me if you want to be better, you cannot do this. So he really teach me to work hard, you know, day by day.
And then he teach me more now how to play, you know, the game, you know, what is my strongest shot, you know, what I have to do, you know. I think it's working.
Q. How long with him?
DINARA SAFINA: Since beginning of the year.
Q. It's a totally different question. This year at the French Open they start on Sunday. What do you think? Would you like to play on Sunday? They only play a few matches on the three main courts. Do you think it's a good thing, and do you agree with that?
DINARA SAFINA: No (smiling). Of course, we have one little day rest. How we can be happy with this if we don't have a rest (smiling)?
No, I mean, maybe it's good for the tournament we start on Sunday, no. But anyway I don't care. I mean, more importantly, then maybe I have two more days off (smiling).
Q. Since you beat the best seed, do you think you are favorite now? If not, who is favorite to win this tournament?
DINARA SAFINA: I don't know. It's really tough to say. Svetlana, I think she's in one of her best shape now. You know, Venus, she beat Patty yesterday. Patty, she's a great clay court player, you know.
I mean, now I think it's really open, you know. Martina, she's playing unbelievable. Flavia, you know. It's really open now. I mean, it's just matter who maybe that they fights more and has more eagerness to win or whatever, who's more make... I don't know how to say.
Q. Desire.
DINARA SAFINA: Yeah, desire to win, you know.
Q. Have you got it?
DINARA SAFINA: Yes (smiling).
Q. You have also the doubles.
DINARA SAFINA: Uh-hmm. I think I'm fourth on or third on.
Q. Not today?
DINARA SAFINA: No, today I play doubles.
Q. Yes?
DINARA SAFINA: Yes, yes, I play doubles.
Q. Yes, you play doubles today?
DINARA SAFINA: Yeah, I think it's third or fourth. I know I have to play doubles (smiling).
Q. You have to think of too many things at this point of the tournament.
DINARA SAFINA: No, I go and I play. No, no, I don't even think I gonna tank. No, no, no. I go and fight. But I didn't remember which match actually I play, third or fourth. I only knew that I have first match singles.
Q. You say that you play better with the players that you know. Do you know Romina Oprandi?
DINARA SAFINA: I know her since Juniors.
Q. Oh, yes?
DINARA SAFINA: Yes. She's the same age or one year older than me.
Q. Yes, 20 years.
DINARA SAFINA: I know (smiling).
Q. Did you see the match against...
DINARA SAFINA: Zvonareva, yeah. We saw a little bit actually because I went to warm up before it yesterday. Then I know that she has unbelievable hands. And, I mean, I think she's playing good now. She beat so easy Zvonareva. She is a great fighter. Probably it's gonna be tough one.

End of FastScripts...

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