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March 16, 2008
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Must have been pretty satisfying today to win pretty well against a top player.
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: Yeah. I mean, it was -- I played much better today than I did against Safarova because the conditions were so much easier and Safarova's match was blowing like 30 miles an hour.
Tonight or today was cool but no wind, so I was able to serve better and just play my game, so I'm pretty satisfied with it.
Q. Seems like you were riding that momentum from towards the end of last year and this year and the Fed Cup...
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: I changed racquets, also. I changed from the Babolat to the Prince, so I feel like I have a little bit more control. I started doing better once I switched to that racquet. I feel like I've improved my game also in my mind. So just as I get older, I feel like I'm improving.
So, yeah, I am kind of riding, you know, with some confidence, especially coming off of Fed Cup.
Q. Do you feel like you're kind of coming into your game and yourself as a player out here?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: Yeah, I'm definitely coming into my game. I know what my game is now. I have a game, actually.
It's easy to go out there when you have a plan and you know what you're going to do day in and day out and you know what you have, you know what your strengths are and you know -- you know, like I said, you just have a plan.
So it's working well with me, and I think that as I'm getting older, I'm just maturing mentally, so I'm able to handle certain situations better, too.
Q. Somewhat unusual for a player to switch racquets in mid career. Why did you do it?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: Actually, it's not that unusual. I think a lot of players have been doing it lately, but I did it because I felt like the Babolat I've had for seven years, and sometimes that racquet is so powerful that when I was young and I didn't have much strength it was good for me.
But as I got older and I got stronger it was almost too much power, and sometimes I couldn't control it. I need to make a lot of balls, so I switched to the '07 Prince, which has a lot of power but control at the same time.
So I feel like I can swing out on the ball and it not -- it's not going to fly on me like it did with the Babolat a little bit.
Q. Does it affect your serve a little bit?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: Little bit, because it's a half inch longer. Maybe a little bit.
But more so, just returns and volleys and just overall consistency plus power.
Q. A lot of really rough storms in Atlanta the other day. Have you heard anything from back there?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: Yeah. It's unfortunate, but I'm like an hour and a half north of Atlanta, so I think -- I know that all my family and everybody is okay, but the weather has been pretty bad there. That's pretty much all I know.
But we're closer to Chatanooga, Tennessee. We're about 15 minutes away from there.
Q. What's your hometown?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: Chickamauga, Georgia. Five miles long -- it's just like 5, 10,000 people. It's pretty small.
Q. Are you the biggest news, biggest star out of there?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: Oh, yeah. (laughter.) But, you know, I'm just like 15 minutes away from Chatanooga, Tennessee, so...
That's sort of a pretty big tennis town or whatever, so they keep up with me.
Q. It still goes to your head that you're such a big idol there?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: Oh, yeah, for sure.
No, no. I just know that I get little writeups here and there, but I don't get to go back there much. I live in LA now, so...
Q. In what town?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: L.A. I'm big time now, in L.A.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about your next round? I didn't get a chance to hear who you play next.
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: I think Radwanska. I think that's who it is. I think we kind of have similar games. We're both pretty quick. I know she's a good player. She's young. She's been doing well.
But like I say, I go out there and I play my game every day, and I just want to do the very best I can, always.
Q. When you were playing, it seems as if you and Safina were getting upset with the line calls.
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: I think sometimes you just get frustrated and maybe we take it out on whoever's calling the lines, but I felt like the line calls were pretty good. Maybe a few serves here and there, but there's no soft spot out there, so sometimes it's difficult to see exactly if the ball was in or out or anything.
But I think she was getting a little more upset than I was. But I thought they were fine.
Q. I know you were getting about your confidence getting higher and higher with the success you've had these last few months. What does a win like today do for that confidence?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: Well, it just continues to grow and I continue to be more comfortable with my game, and just out on the court, handling certain situations. I mean, you're going to feel pretty good each time you have a good win and you, you know, get to the next round or whatever.
Like I said, I mean, I've had some confidence now for like four months or so, especially since changing to the Prince racquet and able to feel just like I can hit out on the ball. It's just growing kind of every day.
Q. Maybe I should know this, but what's the lay of the land on the upcoming Fed Cup? Are you in or out or part of the picture or you don't know or...
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: I don't know if I'm supposed to say, but it looks like I'm in, like I'm going to Moscow, so -- I'm getting my visa. I'm headed out.
Q. Getting your visa?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: I have to get a visa to go there.
Q. You didn't have your visa before traveling?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: I don't always have to have one everywhere I go, but I have to when I go to Russia. This is my first time to go. It's my first time in Moscow, so it will be fun.
Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, how did you like San Diego for Fed Cup?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: San Diego is beautiful. I mean, La Jolla, the place we stayed at is right on the water, so -- it was a good experience for me all around, because I got to practice and kind of hang around Lindsay Davenport, Lisa Raymond. These two girls have had phenomenal careers, and I kind of learned from them.
So it was just a great experience overall for me, and I was just happy with the way I performed, as well. I'll be excited to go to Moscow.
Q. Did you guys celebrate at all? Did you guys as a team like go to Sea World or...
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: Did we go out and party? No, we didn't, because Sunday got rained out so we had to play Monday. I had to get on the airplane the next morning and go to another tournament, so there wasn't much time for any, like, hoopla or anything. We just kind of -- we had to go, you know.
But we were all excited, for sure, and we were excited -- we were excited to go to Moscow at the same time, and I've never been, so it's a good opportunity.
Q. Is it special having those courts right by the ocean? Is that a pretty nice combination?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: Oh, yeah. I mean, it's just kind of something about the water is peaceful, you know. And I live on the ocean, too, so, right now -- so there's something about living near water and you can see water that's kind of peaceful, I think. So I was pretty relaxed the whole time.
Q. Did you spend time with Lindsay's son?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: Of course. Jagger.
Q. What was that experience like? What was he like?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: Oh, he's super cute. I mean, he's a baby still. He's got a cute personality. He's always smiling and he's laughing and he seems like he's a happy baby. So she seems like she's doing a great job balancing out her career and being a mom. I mean, she just does it perfectly. It's pretty impressive.
Q. No crying and yelling?
ASHLEY HARKLEROAD: No, he has a nanny, too. So, yeah.
End of FastScripts