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March 16, 2008

Sania Mirza


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You just beat her, Sania, four times now out of four.
SANIA MIRZA: Is that right?

Q. Yeah. She plays you tough, but you seem to get the big points from her.
SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, I mean, you know, she has a great backhand, great backhand down the line, but I kind of feel like when I stay aggressive I'm always the better player.
As soon as I try and get a little passive or try and keep balls inside, she's very solid. Obviously she runs down great and she puts -- in the beginning, a I think I was getting a bit surprised by the way she was running down those balls. But.
Played her in San Diego last. You were there. It was a tough match even then. We always play tough matches. But, yeah, it's about finding the way to win.
I think the last game at 5-3 I committed to my shots and I wanted to be aggressive. I said it doesn't matter because it doesn't matter if I miss the ball doing the right thing, but I wanted to do the right thing and it paid off.

Q. Given that her conditioning is usually good, right, she runs down a lot, after that first set tiebreak you probably thought, oh, my God, I could be out here for another hour.

Q. Forever.
SANIA MIRZA: I was a bit irritated with myself, because I was fighting, fighting, the whole time, coming down, coming back all the time, and then leveling up and then not going up or finishing it.
Then finally I did go up one point and one set point, and I sprayed the ball off my backhand. I think I'm happy with myself, because of the fact that it's very hard to regain your focus and regain everything. You know, even the nerves and regain all that almost like you have to inspire yourself again to fight all over again, because you've done everything right except win that set.
So, yeah, I think that was the toughest part. But when Sven came on the court, the only thing he said was, Just try and take your time, because I know it's very hard to regain the focus after losing such a tight set.
So, yeah, but, you know, I'm just happy with winning the first set. I was playing well. I never felt like I was playing bad tennis. It was probably going a little bit up and down, but not as much that I thought, right, I'm just out of this match completely.

Q. So how would you assess now the first couple months? You got close to Jankovic in the last tournament. Weren't able to pull it out. Close to Venus, and then today you beat a good player, three-set match. It's positive?
SANIA MIRZA: Of course, I have been working a lot on my fitness lately. I've been trying to get as fit as possible, just trying to stay injury-free, and I think Shahar is one of the fittest on the tour, if not the fittest.
It feels good that I probably could have gone on. You know, I wasn't like dead tired, and I was still running down balls. I wasn't feeling like I wanted to collapse on the court, which is a very good sign for me, because I am keeping up with the best in the fitness, which is not my strength of area. So I think it's -- you know, it's been a good start to the season. Yeah, I've had some very good matches.
Last year I missed out three months around this time, and so I think I have an advantage, because I'm going to gain on all these points and all these extra matches, because I didn't play last year and so I have nothing to lose.
I've had a good win today. Even the other day that I won 6-4 in the third, I mean, the conditions were very difficult. To pull to the a match like that, I was actually pleased with myself, because it's very hard to beat someone who's coming out without -- coming out and has nothing to lose.
Yeah, it's been a good couple of months, and I hope I can continue in Miami.

Q. Sounds like you're ready for a straight-set match after these first two.
SANIA MIRZA: I'm looking forward to my day off tomorrow. I'm playing doubles, of course. (laughter.)
So I have a day off finally, and just come out and hit an hour, and so, yeah, I think I play Hantuchova next, and, you know, I've played her once in Sydney a few years ago. I haven't played her since. Yeah, I'm just looking forward to it.

Q. What are you going to do on your day off then?
SANIA MIRZA: It's not really a day off. We still go to the gym or do the things that we have to. Probably not, you, know a few hours, but at least an hour, and I'm going to come out and hit an hour.
I don't think I need to hit any more tennis balls. I've hit quite a few in the last three days.

Q. So you're working with Sven sort of like Ivanovic is working with Sven. Is that a good situation, and is it enough for you? Because it's not like you are getting his attention all the time.
SANIA MIRZA: I actually am. I think he does a good job the way he distributes his players, and -- I mean, I think he's done a great job for Ana the last year or year and a half. He's helped her a lot in her game.
I definitely, you know, we started with -- the first week was in Doha, and then I cramped and I couldn't play anymore. This is our second week, and, you know, I feel he has a great temperament. He's a very experienced coach. I think it's a great facility and a great thing that he is doing.
I don't know too many other companies doing that. Until now I haven't felt like I didn't get the attention I needed and, of course, I still have my dad, who is, you know, kind of the super coach or whatever. (laughter.)
So, you know, he's around all the time, and him and Sven are talking. He doesn't have to be there for every practice or every warmup. It's fine if he's there for the matches and discussing tactics and stuff.

Q. Can you talk about playing Daniela a little bit?
SANIA MIRZA: Well, I mean, she's played, she made semis at the Aussie Open, and obviously she's playing really well. Like I said, I think the time I met her was 2006, if I remember correctly, in Sydney.
You know, I mean, I think I've played a couple of good matches now. I have to go out there thinking I have nothing to lose. You know, I'm just -- she's the seed, she's the big player. She's also the defending champion, if I'm right.
You know, I'm -- I have to focus on what I want to do instead of what she's going to do. And, yeah, I think if I play like today, I remain solid, remain calm in my head, just try and do the right thing. I mean, just have fun out there.

Q. How long did it take you emotionally to get over all that was happening in January?
SANIA MIRZA: Well, it was a tough time, obviously, because it wasn't the first time that was happening, and it's been over the last few years that something or the other has been coming up. But I think it was just pushed to an extent in December and January where, yeah, I was very upset.
For me, I think that personally this is a good achievement to be playing the way I am playing and to be beating these players who are at the top, because, you know, I'm dealing with a lot of things off the court, which a lot of people are not dealing with.
I almost -- you know, I mean, I was very down in Aussie Open, and during that period, and -- but I did come out strongly. I think that's where your support team counts. You know, I'm fine. I mean, I think we all go through ups and downs mentally and physically and, you know, sometimes you feel like why do you want to do this?
And sometimes you feel like, oh, I'm going to show everyone and oppose all the odds and come out of this.
So it's a matter of how -- it's a matter of perspective and it's a matter of how you look at it, I guess.

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