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June 25, 2008

Elena Baltacha


J. ZHENG/E. Baltacha
6-2, 7-5

Q. What went wrong there?
ELENA BALTACHA: Oh, God. I just don't think it was my day today, to be honest. It was such a roller coaster it was unbelievable.
At the beginning I couldn't quite get myself going. She started really well, and before I knew it I was 4-Love down.
And then I managed to kind of get in, but it was too late in the first set. Then she took it away 6-2.
Then started well, you know, and upped my standard, but it was just such a roller coaster. One game was great, then it was -- you know, I had 30-love leads, or even 40-15, and then stupid errors. And then that was that, really.

Q. Did you feel the pressure?
ELENA BALTACHA: To be honest, I don't really get nervous. I mean, when I was serving the double faults, I thought -- because my second serve is pretty reliable, pretty spinny. I've got a high percentage on it.
But it was just amazing what a roller coaster it was. I couldn't quite sustain that kind of level, and that was a difference. She carried on exactly the same standard through the whole match, from the beginning to the end, and that was the difference, really.

Q. When you got to 30-Love and 40-15 and all that, did you find yourself thinking about it? Because it almost looked as though you were sort of in a slightly different mindset at that point.
ELENA BALTACHA: Well, no, I kind of thought -- right. Well, do exactly what you've been doing to get yourself to 40-15 or 30-Love. Then I thought what was so difficult was because she stayed at the same standard that I felt I had to kind of keep at that same level.
Sometimes that adds a little bit -- you know, I could become wild. I think I haven't got that whole consistency of, you know, if I'm stringing two points really well together, it's just keeping that level, isn't it, keeping that standard in.

Q. It kept you through certain games, but there were other games when it just went.
ELENA BALTACHA: It just went, yeah. I just couldn't keep all of that going. That was the difficult kind of thing.

Q. How do you explain that? Can you think of any reasons behind that?
ELENA BALTACHA: I think that's the thing I really need to improve on. If I'm playing really good then I'm very dangerous, but then there's the inconsistencies. That's the difference between top 100 and 130. I really need to really improve on that.

Q. Did you expect her to be that consistent, or did she surprise you?
ELENA BALTACHA: I think at the beginning it surprised me. I thought she'd be a little bit nervous or a little bit -- but she wasn't; she started very quickly.
I was looking at her stats, and she's only played ten tournaments this year, and she already -- two years ago she was, I think 27 in the world and top ten doubles, so she's obviously a very good standard. She's obviously just dropped out of the top 100, but I'm sure she'll go back in quite quick.
I knew it was going to be a tough match and I knew I'd have to play my best tennis to beat her today, which I couldn't do, you know, and it's very disappointing.

Q. You always talk about if you get the spell of injury-free tennis that you want and almost everything goes right you feel you could get to the top 100. Do you feel you could get there by next year?
ELENA BALTACHA: Yeah, I really do believe that. That's definitely my main goal now. I've got the weapons, I just need to improve this consistency. Because my results, you know, it still is a little bit all over the place, the way that I'm playing. So I really just need to knuckle down and just get that level, to maintain that level.
But I think I've got the big shots and I think my serving needs to get better. My serve has been letting me down, as well. So that definitely needs to be worked on.
But I think it's exciting. I'm looking at it as a very positive experience, and I've still got a lot of things that can get better. And if I can improve it, then I think, yeah, I can break top 100.

Q. It seems to have been a very positive Wimbledon for the British women. Do you think we're right to think, well, maybe next year we can have two or three?
ELENA BALTACHA: I think so. We're all kind of borderline now and we're pushing each other, and the standard is getting better. It is very exciting for British tennis. Definitely.

Q. Do you feel you'd be at the standard you want to be at if you hadn't had the problems you have had, which have been well documented? Do you feel you'd be there already?
ELENA BALTACHA: It's difficult to say, but I would have -- I think so. I think so. I think if I would have had a clear run, you know, then I think, yeah, I would have been definitely.
But it's just one of those things, you know. It's one of those things that it did happen, and I've just got to accept it and just keep going.
I do believe that I can be top 100, whether it's the end of this year or whether it's next year.

Q. What do you have to change to actually do that now? You say next year you hope you can improve your consistency. Is this going to take a change in training regime?
ELENA BALTACHA: As long as I make sure my body gives me a chance, because my body does still break down from time to time with the back. So as long as I just keep conditioning myself, make sure that my back is getting strong, all the other areas that I'll need to improve on to make sure the back keeps holding up.
And then it's a matter of whether it's going to allow me to play the number of tournaments that I want to play, because all the other girls are playing 30 tournaments a year and I'm on about 23, 24, so I'll need to up the tournaments, as well.
Hopefully my body will let me do that.

Q. It must be quite frustrating, as well, to not play as much as you want to play.
ELENA BALTACHA: Yeah, of course, and obviously practice-wise, as well. But hopefully we are addressing now the different kind of exercises and stuff that I will need to do to keep the back going. As long as I can do that and I can get a clearer run, then I think top 100, here I come, hopefully. Hopefully soon.

Q. How tough is it to get up for the next tournament after all the hubbub that surrounds this one?
ELENA BALTACHA: I actually don't find that very difficult, because I think like now -- when I was younger it was, I'm going to Wimbledon. Great. But I think now because I'm getting older and I've played it quite a few years now that it's just like another tournament, really, for me.
It is very -- I love playing here at Wimbledon. I'm not saying I don't, and I love the atmosphere and all the people that come to support and it's a Grand Slam at home; it's fantastic. But in another way, it is just another tournament, really.

Q. So how many people will you expect to be watching you the next time that you're out there in comparison?
ELENA BALTACHA: Well, my next tournament will be probably Stamford in America for a month, and I don't know, probably not very many. I don't know whether -- it's nice in some ways, really, because it's not being viewed under a microscope as much. So, yeah, it'll be quite nice.

Q. What are your plans after that? Are you going to try to qualify for the US Open?
ELENA BALTACHA: Yeah, I'm going to be going to the States for around two months. I'm going to play the tournaments leading up to the US Open.

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