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June 25, 2008

Anne Keothavong


Q. Another day, another win at Wimbledon, piece of cake, this tennis life, isn't it?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I think it was a good effort from Mel and I. Neither of us have won a doubles match here at Wimbledon before, and you know, the Chinese pair are an experienced doubles pair. So it was a good win for us.

Q. Is that the best way, do you think, rather than having a break and just spending a day practicing, to actually play another competitive match?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Definitely, yeah. The more matches we can play, the better. Yeah.

Q. How are you feeling generally about your game now going into this match against Venus?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Pretty good. I've got nothing to lose. I'm really looking forward to it. You know, I think it's an exciting opportunity for me. You know, these are the kind of moments you play tennis for. Like I said, I've got nothing to lose.

Q. Obviously there's a lot of focus on the game, it's possible you'll be on Centre Court and a lot of attention. Are you someone who plays better with that added pressure or are you someone who's able to just block it out and focus?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I feel like the more support, you know, if everyone can get behind me, the better. Whatever court I play on, it's going to be a tough challenge ahead of me. Like I keep saying, I've got nothing to lose and I'm going to go out there and enjoy it.

Q. Have you talked to Naomi at all about her match?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I haven't actually. We've both been pretty busy so I haven't spoken to her about it.

Q. Have you seen it?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I haven't, no. Today I was just focusing on the doubles. I was going to speak about it later.

Q. Have you played on Centre Court before?

Q. How do you feel about the prospects?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah. I don't know if they'll put us on Centre because Venus played yesterday on Centre, so I don't know if she gets to play two matches in a row on Centre. I've never played on Centre, and if I do get the chance to, then great.

Q. Have you played the No. 1 before?

Q. Do you mind me asking if you have a boyfriend who's supporting you during the tournament?

Q. Is it better that way to focus on the game?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I'd like a boyfriend, it's just right now I'm quite busy.

Q. Can you understand sort of the way tennis seems to go in Britain, where we kind of have a bit of a lull and what you guys get up to doesn't really sort of hit the back pages, as it were, and then all of a sudden at Wimbledon you're suddenly center stage and all the focus and yesterday with Chris Eaton and all that? Do you ever allow that to impact on your game?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: No, I don't think so. I think all of us British players are aware of the impact doing well at Wimbledon can have. But also I think everyone has to realize tennis isn't just about this fortnight, it's not just about Wimbledon, and we're grinding it out the rest of the year. The better we can do, the more exposure we do get. And if it's all positive, yeah, I think that's only good for British tennis.

Q. Is it too easy to forget that sometimes, we forget what you guys do?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I think not for us players. I think people, yeah, can lose sight of the fact, you know, tennis isn't just about Wimbledon. But like I said, for all us British players, this is a great time of year, and it's really a special place where we all want to do well.

Q. Have you walked through the Village at all since yesterday?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I had dinner in the Village last night, yeah.

Q. Was there a difference, were people coming up to you --
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Not at all. I don't get recognized at all, and that's perfectly fine for me.

Q. Seriously, do you never get recognized?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: No, I think I look pretty different when I'm not in tennis clothes.

Q. Nobody pesters you for your autograph then?

Q. What did you have to eat last night?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I just had some chicken at Piccolino's. It was nothing exciting.

Q. How will you psych yourself up for playing the reigning champion? Are you going to watch any stirring films or play any favorite music?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing and just try and stay relaxed and as focused as possible and try and treat it as another match. You know, nothing -- no dramatic changes.

Q. Can you tell us about the kickboxing because you do a bit of it, don't you, in your spare time, but it's not a few karate chops; you actually do it quite seriously?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I do it, but not as much recently. I haven't had as much time to do it as such. But it's definitely -- I think it's an alternative way to get your workouts in. Yeah, it's something I really enjoy.

Q. You didn't do it for security reasons, did you?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Probably -- well, I mean, I started off from a young age doing TaeKwon-Do, so one thing kind of led to another. I think for a young woman it gives you a tremendous amount of confidence knowing that you can -- if you were ever in a dodgy situation you could put up a good fight.

Q. Have you ever been in any tricky situations? No disrespect to --
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: No, I haven't. I feel perfectly safe there.

Q. Will you try the kickboxing on Venus tomorrow?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I'll just focus on the tennis.

Q. When you were having dinner last night were there other tennis players in the restaurant?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I was having dinner with Claire Curran, her husband, and Jane O'Donoghue who used to play.

Q. Venus will have no problems recognizing you?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I should hope not.

Q. Have you ever spoken to her?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I played doubles against her last year here.

Q. Is that the only time you've spoken to her?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I don't think our social lives really cross paths. Everyone kind of does their own thing.

Q. You alluded to yesterday in your game you had to overcome some difficult hurdles in your career, not the least four years ago.

Q. "The Tiger injury" I think it's called now.
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I'm fully recovered from that. It was a bit of a setback at the time, but I've recovered well and the rehab and everything, and I've had no problems since.

Q. Was it sort of a threatening injury at the time?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: At the time it was, but I went to a good surgeon, he did a good job, and I had good people around me helping me with the rehab.

Q. How did you do it?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: On court. I just ran back for a smash and somehow -- I've never had knee problems before, just an awkward fall.

Q. What was the surface?

Q. You caught your knee in the surface?

Q. You mentioned yesterday, and you probably won't answer this, but you mentioned that you've had sort of a few personal problems in your past that --
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah, they're personal things and it's not something I discuss in public. I think those -- the people close to me, my family and close friends know what I'm talking about, and I think they're very proud to see me where I am.

Q. Talking about the state of tennis in this country at this moment is fairly positive, especially with the women the way things are going. Do you see yourself as sort of a trailblazer for British women's tennis? You're the No. 1 if you got there, and what result it would have to knock out Venus Williams? It could have a massive impact.
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Definitely. If something like that did happen, it would be great. If a young kid kind of looks up to me, then all the better, and I hope I can be a good example to the younger ones coming through.

Q. As someone who's come through the system, do you think we're doing enough to encourage --
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: You know, I think it's a tough job. I don't think you can ever do enough. You've just got to get people out there playing and competing and just enjoying it and loving what they're doing.

Q. Back on a personal note, are you still friends with Jamie Delgado?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yes, we're very good friends.

Q. Can you feed off each other, like Chris Eaton last night?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah, I just saw Chris before I came in here and gave him a big hug. I'm really pleased for him because he's a top guy. You know, all of us, whoever does well, we're all behind one another. You know, it's great, we all -- a lot of us train at the NTC, so we all get along and we know each other well. Yeah, seeing Chris do well last night was brilliant.

Q. He says he drives a car with duct tape around the mirror.
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Does he? I don't know.

Q. Do you have a car? Do you drive?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I don't drive. I can drive but I don't drive in London.

Q. Why, because it's too scary?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Well, I'm not here very often, and I just kind of rely on public transport.

Q. How have you been getting here?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I'm staying with some very good friends in Wimbledon.

Q. So you just walk here?

Q. Can I just ask you, going back to kickboxing, do you take any qualifications for that? Do you have any --
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I didn't. Obviously because I had a TaeKwon-Do background I kind of knew what I was doing when I started kickboxing, but no, I haven't competed in anything, and I'm just focusing on my tennis.

Q. Is there anything contractually written into when you're playing your tennis? Can you play a dangerous sport like kickboxing, and if you were to come back and say I can't take place in the US Open because I've broken my --
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I'm pretty sensible about it. I don't do anything too wild.

Q. Do you think you'll rise to the occasion? Are you the sort of person that responds to big stages?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I think so. In yesterday's match I was a little bit nervous to start off with, but my match against Venus tomorrow is totally different. You know, I can't stress just how excited I am about it. I'm looking forward to it.

Q. You're not going to walk on court in a trench coat or anything, are you?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: No (laughing), no.

Q. Is it the biggest match of your career? I can't think of one bigger off the top of my head.
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I guess so. She's defending champion, so yeah.

Q. Has your family been here to see you play?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah, they've been supporting me all week, so that's nice.

Q. Greg Rusedski was in the crowd yesterday watching your game. Do you sort of get much input from the other guys, the other tennis ex-pros who are here?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: It was obviously nice of him to come and watch. I didn't realize that. I do see Greg at the NTC because he does a lot of the camps with the juniors. I've never actually been on court with him, but that's nice.

Q. You seem very relaxed. You don't seem like 24 hours from now you'll be playing the biggest match of your life.
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: If you knew me, I think my friends would describe me as pretty chilled out. It's another match (laughter).

Q. Could you have imagined that four years ago, going out to play the Wimbledon champion?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: I think you always dream and hope of a lot of things, and I've always looked up to Venus and she's a great champion. Yeah, like I said before, these are kind of the opportunities. That's why I play tennis is to get opportunities like this and be on the big stage.

Q. Which knee was it, by the way?

Q. Is that the only serious injury you've had?

End of FastScripts

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