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July 6, 2006

Amelie Mauresmo


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Amélie Mauresmo.

Q. So the thinking woman's tennis player goes on court in the third set and gives Sharapova a heavy dose of serve and volley tennis and blocks back a lot of --
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Is that what you are gonna write (smiling)?

Q. -- blocks a lot of off-speed balls on her serve. How key was that in deciding this match?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Well, it was really the way I wanted it to go to today. Maybe I could have avoid to talk about a third set, but that's just the way it is and the way it was today.
You know, I felt tactically I played very well today, and, well, also throughout the tournament, obviously, because my game is really, I guess, different from what the other girls are playing on grass.
So it makes it maybe a little bit different for the opponent too, you know. She has to adjust every time, she has to play almost a winner or passing shot every time. So, yeah, it makes it a little bit different.
You know, obviously, that's what I'm doing best here. So why change today? And today, again, I really wanted to do it this way and it worked out pretty well.

Q. Today, though, didn't you have to dig deep in the match today?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Yeah, yes, because, you know, I got tight at some point. My first serve didn't work in that second set, didn't work the way I wanted it to, like it did in the first set.
But, again, that's just the way it is. I just hang in there. I kept fighting. I could have, you know, in that third set - how do you say - probably let it go because of the mental and, you know, didn't happen this way. I just, you know, felt it was not gonna be this way this time. So I was able to, you know, fight through it, so that was good.

Q. What did you say to yourself in that second set, 'Here I go again' after the last two years?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: What I thought was, Okay, this is one set all. It's still a third set to play. Yes, I maybe could have closed this match at the second set, but it didn't happen this way. So, you know, what can you say?
Then everybody, you know, you guys kept asking me, What have you learned about these three semifinals? So probably this is what I learned today. It was not perfect, but it still was a win, and a convincing one, I think.

Q. She's obviously known for grunting. I'm not going to ask you about that. You let loose with an incredibly loud scream during the match.

Q. You screamed. You yelled yourself.
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Yeah, in the end of that second set, I think, yeah.

Q. I can't remember you doing that before. I don't know if it's true or not. What was behind that?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Yeah, I probably felt I needed to let it go, let it out a little bit, you know, probably in a different way that she does.
But, uhm, I just felt that I needed to do that at that moment of the match. Didn't help me win the second set, but maybe helped me a little bit in that third.

Q. Seven years between the first two Grand Slam finals, and now, what, five months. How does that feel?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: It's a bit quicker, huh? That's good, because I don't think I have still seven years of tennis.
So, uhm, no, that's good. That was definitely a big breakthrough for me, winning in Los Angeles at the end of last year, you know. It helped me a lot, in Australia, and then also for all this season. I think it will help until the end of my career. That was a big, big moment, big change for me.
So, yeah, just very happy. But, again, you know, really want to give it a try on Saturday. You know, one more to go.

Q. Did you bear any ill feelings towards Justine as a result of what happened in Melbourne?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I had that question, I think you asked me that question a few days ago. Because you guessed right, we're playing in the final.

Q. Quite relevant now.
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I think really this final is gonna be about tennis. That's what I want it to be. That's, I think, gonna happen. Yeah, really, I'm just gonna focus on this, really.

Q. Are you pleased it's going to be Justine? I mean, it's only a few months ago. It's nice to have that other opportunity to play her when she's fit and she's well.
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Well, I think it's good. I think it's good. I think it's good. She probably feels very happy about it also, to have the opportunity to have a revenge after the final of Australia.
No, I'm just taking it really as it comes. I watched a little bit of her match earlier today and she seemed, yeah, to be in great shape and to also be aggressive and likes to come in also. So it's gonna be interesting one.

Q. Could be a great week for you, celebrating your birthday, France in the final of the World Cup.
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I hope it's the French week, you know (laughing). I just hope.

Q. Obviously, you've had a reputation in the past about the mental, you were saying. In the second set, of course, some people were thinking, This is happening again. What was going through your mind when that was happening in the second set, and how did you get past it?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I felt okay. It's also normal at some point. We've seen her get tight as well. You know, I'm not the only one here on the tour that is getting, you know, nervous or tight or whatever. I just feel that before, when I was getting tight, probably my game went really down and very low level. When now is much better, and especially since I'm capable of coming back into the match and really play my best tennis again in that third set.

Q. How much more difficult will it be to serve and volley against Justine as opposed to Maria Sharapova?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: We'll see. I'm not gonna really talk about the final or the way it's gonna be.
But, you know, Maria is one of the best returner, I think, on the tour. And, you know, every time you don't hit a great first serve, she punishes you, you know, on the return.
And Justine has been very aggressive also on the return, from what I saw this week. So we'll see.

Q. How will you relax now?

Q. How will you relax?

Q. Now, up to the final, what will you do to chill out?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Oh, well, probably what I always do, you know. Probably go out and hit a little bit tomorrow, relax tonight, having my massage, treatment and everything. No more soccer to watch so that's not good but we'll find something else. Probably watch a little bit of the men's semifinal tomorrow.

Q. What will be more nerve-wracking, watching France in the World Cup final or playing in the final?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: That's a -- I don't know (smiling). Well, I don't know. I'll talk about it. I'll tell you after. I will tell you my feelings.

Q. When you're up 3-1 and three breakpoints, is it about being tight or letting down your guard a little bit?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Well, it's about I don't know. That's tough to say. That's hard to say because sometimes she served well, sometimes I felt I had opportunity to maybe come in or be more aggressive than I did.
So it's probably, yeah, getting a little bit tight at some point, which is, again, sometimes it can happen.

Q. We know you appreciate fine wine. Do you have something appropriate in your cellar that you may be able to open if you return home as Wimbledon champion?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I have plenty of things appropriate for this (laughing).

Q. What if the French football authorities gave you a call and said, Hey, look, you've been in all these finals, great success in LA and Melbourne, what should we do?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: The football authorities?

Q. Soccer, soccer. What would you say to them if they called you up and asked for advice in terms of preparing for a final.
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Ah, well, I think they don't need my advice. Obviously, they've been -- a big part of that team has won in '98 the World Cup. I guess they all have great experiences in their club as well. They probably don't need my advices.

Q. Putting it a different way, what is the key? Do you try and just get as relaxed as you can, as private as you can, or do you focus specifically on a strategy and tactics?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: For me, I'm gonna probably relax a little bit tonight and tomorrow and start to think about the match probably, the tactical part of the match, and knowing also, you know, that we've played many times against each other so we know each other pretty well. Never on grass, so it's the first one here.
So yeah, many things we gonna have to think about and see how it goes. But I think I will take it pretty -- in a relaxed way.

Q. Is it easier or more difficult to play someone who you've known for so long?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I find it -- I think it's better for me. I mean, I prefer that. I'm always -- yeah, I prefer to know what's -- probably what's gonna happen and the strength and the weaker points. So, yeah, I like that.

Q. As you have learned to become mentally stronger over the years, has there been one piece of advice or one technique you have learned that's especially helpful?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Not really. I think it's experience, really. I cannot say when I think this or when I do this or when someone tells me this, then it makes me better player or more relaxed on the court, no. It's lot of experience.

Q. Can you talk about the traditions of this club and the Champions Ball and so on. Can you remember which final you first remember seeing growing up on TV?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I'm gonna first talk about the tradition. I mean, I've always said, every year and since I'm here again this year, the atmosphere, the tradition part of this tournament, that I really appreciate that, that I really like to go on Centre Court. There's something special about this court. And I think it's great to still have one tournament like this that we can really appreciate. You know, maybe if it was all year long, like this one, would be different, but it makes it very special. And I really appreciate that.

Q. Your backhand and Justine's backhand are two of the best, without question, in the game. Could you compare them for a moment, just compare and contrast the two shots.
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: I think on this surface she's probably using more the topspin than I do, from what I've seen in the last few matches. And, yeah, that's probably -- I mean, I'm not gonna go into details or whatever. And also, on other surfaces, I probably use more the slice than she does.

Q. In addition to bringing a good tactic, does the serve and volleying have the effect of keeping you aggressive on the court so you don't fall back into a conservative kind of thing?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Yeah, it does. But as we've seen in the second set, when the first serve is not here, it makes it a bit more difficult.
But it's true, it always keeps you going forward, going forward, going forward, so that's a bit better for me.

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