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March 21, 2008

Svetlana Kuznetsova


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Seemed like you had more energy in the third set than the previous two sets. Were you eating anything on changeovers or drinking anything? You had a lot more energy in the third set.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I guess I'm just fit. I felt pretty tired, you know, out there.

Q. Didn't look like it.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: But I guess it's my strength. I train a lot, so I felt great out there in the third set, and I think I really stepped inside and played inside, not so far behind.

Q. You're the first person to beat Maria this year. How does that feel?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: It feels great. I don't think Maria plays like always she can play, you know. Neither did I. But I think it was very good, interesting third set.
First, so so; second better; and third we got both our game. It was a good match, and I feel great winning.

Q. So what were your thoughts going into the third set? Because as you said, you played very well with the forehand, you served better, didn't play so defensive, and you really took the match from her.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Well, I thought we both didn't play first set well. Second set, I had my chances. I had Love-30, and I was just a bit too far behind. I figured out how to play better, my coach helped me a little bit, and then I stepped in and I felt much more comfortable.
I'm not a player who has to defend so much as I did maybe in the end of second set, so that's why probably lost it. But Maria, her strokes is very -- she stroke the ball very well, and she has extremely long shoulders. So it's really hard to move her around and the ball comes pretty flat, so you got to really have very good reaction to react.

Q. Did you sense that she was not all that keen to play, that she didn't have anywhere near as much energy as you did? Looked like you had a lost more bounce, a lot more zest for the game than she did?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Well, I don't know. I wasn't looking at her energy. I saw her concentrate on every point, and she always positive. I watched her play Daniela and I watched her play today. We both didn't play well first set, but we both tried our best and stayed focused. I know Maria's not loser. She's not going to quit the match.
She's going to play till the last point, and I really took it away from her. I think it's my credit I played well in the third set.

Q. How much of her playing is a mental battle, especially in the third set?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I think it's mentally better for me, even she won second set. But with this heat on hardcourts, outdoors, I think I'm just little bit fitter. But in the third set I have little bit advantage because I'm used to her game already a little bit more.
But, anyway, I mean, she's great server. It's going to depend actual a lot on serving when you play her.

Q. Any particular reason why you both struggled a bit for rhythm in that first set?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I guess I didn't play player who plays like her and she didn't play player who plays like me, so we both were very different. Sometimes I was expecting the ball come much faster in the first game and I was so frustrated it was not going that faster as I was expecting it to.
I was too much behind, and I had so many opportunities and I got broken, I broke her, and then, you know, I saw she was not 100 percent there. Myself, I wasn't there, either. So it was very frustrating. It was no rhythm. With Maria you don't play long rallies at all. It was maybe few, which was great rallies. It's maybe two, three shots, and it's never good, you know, never can get the rhythm.

Q. Can you talk about your success here these last two years? You've done very well to make the finals back to back years. Can you just talk about what's contributed to that success?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, I feel great here. The ball bounce well. I like these balls. I love these courts. It's very good atmosphere for me. I can stay focus, because it's not so much moving around. I get bored, but still I'm on my thing.

Q. What do you do try to not be bored here? Have you found anything to do?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I'm still bored. I want to go to outlet but my coach said, No, you stay at room. I'm like, Okay. I read a book, I go to the Internet, I watch movies. I love American TV. I'm lucky, so I can watch so many shows like Mtv and E Channel and watch a little bit gossip, so I'm interested in something.
I'm pretty cool, you know. You have so much free time here that can -- I can think a lot, so I kind of clean up my head. So it's good. It's good.

Q. How does that compare when you go to Miami?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Well, Miami is crazy, you know. I love this atmosphere, you know. I'm so emotional, and sometimes I give too much emotions to stuff, not tennis. You know what I mean? Like tennis is first thing for me, but sometimes I feel like I need more attention to that.
I need -- I still try to do that. Like in Miami probably I would go away of all things possibly of what I can go away. But it's hard, because everything I do I want to do it the best. Like I talk to you guys, I put myself into it. I want to explain whatever I feel.
I go to do aces for the tournament, I try to do my best. It spends energy there, there, there, there. Sometimes I need more focus on the tennis.

Q. How was it different at Wimbledon from, say, here?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: It rains. (laughter.)

Q. Really? It rains there?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Sometimes, you know, few times, few years.
Well, Wimbledon is different. Like if you would put me play with Maria, it's going to be even less rhythm in Wimbledon playing her. In Wimbledon, it's too much crowd, it's too much people who -- like I like to meet new people, I like to chat, I like to communicate.
But you have to realize this takes your energy away. So I have to sometimes take me away from it.

Q. So how did you win the US Open? That's the craziest of all.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I was young. Nobody wanted even to talk to me, so I was like (waving hand). They were like, Hey, oh, she plays tennis there on the back courts, you know.

Q. What are your thoughts of the women's final being moved from Saturday here? It extends it for you at least one day.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I don't mind. You know, a final is a final. How many days?
But probably Saturday would be better because of next week Miami. But still we're not going to play till Friday, so that's fine. If it's better for tournament it's good for us.

Q. Let's look ahead to the possible opponents. First, if you could talk about playing Ana and then if you could talk about playing Jelena.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: You know, I was thinking about it this tournament. Like I've been going match by match by match. If I going to face playing Ana, I feel ridiculous because I was the oldest player on this tournament. I didn't play nobody older than me, and I'm only 22. These girls are all like 19, 20. I'm like, Oh, my God, I'm 22.
Last few years I was newcomer and was like, Oh, my God. It's so frustrating me so much. The girls play me extremely well. I lost to Ana in Madrid, yeah. I had chances there. It's good to play her.
I would love to play both of them, and both matches would be extremely tough. She plays well, she serve well, she improve so much her movement on the court. It's going to be tough match, and definitely because I lost last time. But I took few revenges already here. Hopefully one more.
With Jelena I played in Dubai. It was extremely hard match. It was like two-and-a-half hours. We run miles and miles on the court. It was extremely interesting, so I'm looking forward to any of them, and it's going to be very hard.

Q. How important will it be to finally get a title?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: For me it's very important, because I've been to the finals and I know what's that, you know? To play it, you know? To really play it, not to think about that it's finals, play it.
So I think this time I can get it better, you know. Like I will need to put myself out there and play my game, you know? Not thinking about something else. Both can win, because we're all top 4, top 3 players in the world. So it's 50/50. Nobody has much priority to win, so we just play. Anything can happen.

Q. You said earlier this week that an Olympic gold medal would be more important to you than a Wimbledon title, and maybe a French Open title. Do you think the Olympics are much more important to Russian tennis players than other countries, than other tennis players from other countries?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I haven't been talking to other players, but my family it is like that because my parents are so much Olympic tradition.
Definitely I'm not going to compare, when they ask us to compare I don't have another way to choose Olympics or French or Wimbledon. But for me, every tournament, it's very important, and I'm going to give my best every single week. This is how you get better.

Q. If the winner of Sunday's final had to sing karaoke in front of that center court crowd, would you welcome the challenge?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Look, who wins, rules. This is the thing which I remember, and I know it's like this in tennis and everywhere. So the winner rules. If I win, means I rule.
Look, if I win, I'm happy. I can do pretty crazy stuff if I win. I'm not promising anything.

Q. If you win, what would you do with that trophy, the big fish trophy?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I love this. I love the trophy. I really like the dolphin.

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