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June 24, 2008

Ai Sugiyama


A. SUGIYAMA/Y. Wickmayer
6-4, 6-2

Q. A good start to Wimbledon. You seemed very focused today, despite many distractions on court. How do you feel you played?
AI SUGIYAMA: Yeah, I think I start really good, and actually the girl I played today, I haven't played, of course. It was first meeting. She did well in Birmingham. She went to the finals, so she's good on grass, and I was expected to be 100 percent sharp from the beginning, and I think I focused very good today. Yeah, I'm very pleased the way I played today.

Q. How does it feel to have broken the record for consecutive appearances?
AI SUGIYAMA: Yeah, I'm very happy. I mean, when I heard the number of the Grand Slams I play, it's actually really huge numbers. Even here, I came here 16 times. This is my 16th Wimbledon, and it's been great.
I just don't want to be just -- just be here, but I wanted to perform well, as well. So I focused practicing here good, and I focused today's matches well.

Q. When you started this long run of Grand Slam appearances, could you ever have imagined it would go on 14 years now, however long it is?
AI SUGIYAMA: It would be very tough for me. The motivation was always up and down, and to motivate up there is really tough. But also, it was a good motivation for me to keep going as long as I can. And if I'm fit enough and play good enough to be top 50, 30, 20, that would be great. I just don't want to just be there. I still need to play good, and I need to feel that I can keep going, like not only being the first round participate.

Q. Did you ever come close to missing a Grand Slam through injury or --
AI SUGIYAMA: Actually not.

Q. What's your secret? How do you stay so fit?
AI SUGIYAMA: Maybe I thank my parents, that's the first thing (laughter). And I'm also traveling with my trainer, taking care of my body, train well, and have massage every day.

Q. Does it get harder as you get older to keep --
AI SUGIYAMA: It's also here (pointing to mind) and body are very connected, so when motivation going down, my fitness going down, everything going down, and performance pathetic. But once the physical or mentally tough, then you start to play good, then you can really push yourself to be -- play hard on court. So mentally and physical, it's very connected.

Q. Getting to 100 might be a bit far, but how far do you think you can go?
AI SUGIYAMA: Oh, I mean, every day I have to really have a good day each day. Tomorrow is the only day that I can think of. Today I focused today. Actually I never thought I can play this long, and I never thought I would be playing like this really, 2008 Beijing. I never think too much ahead. But just I would like to play next US Open for sure.

End of FastScripts

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