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June 30, 2008

Bethanie Mattek-Sands


6-3, 6-3

Q. You didn't seem at all intimidated by the opponent or the moment or the stage. Is that true? You really looked pretty fearless out there.
BETHANIE MATTEK: Yeah, I wasn't. That's why I practice is to play on those courts. I love playing on stadiums. Of course I want to play against Serena or girls like that just to see how my game matches up. So I was really excited to play.
It's not worth it to be scared out there. You get a chance, you might as well go for it.

Q. What did you learn about your game, how it's matching up?
BETHANIE MATTEK: It was a lot better. She played really well. She came up with some big serves. I think that was the difference was really the service games, and I wasn't able to hold the couple of games that I should have, and that was really the difference.

Q. Is that the toughest aspect of facing her, or is it something more abstract?
BETHANIE MATTEK: No, I think the toughest part is when the game is on the line, she comes up big. I mean, that's why she's a good player. That puts a lot of pressure on you to finish out games, which I wasn't able to do today.

Q. What did you see in Serena? What's your appraisal of her game at this stage, as so many people are talking about this seemingly inevitable march to a Serena-Venus final?
BETHANIE MATTEK: She's playing great tennis right now. I mean, like I said, she was serving bombs today, hit a couple like 118, 120s, I think. She's playing aggressive, she's coming to net, putting pressure on players, and I think a lot of girls will cave in. So I can see that for sure happening.

Q. What do you think if it does come down to Serena-Venus? What do you look for when you see the two of them match up, and what sense of appreciation do you have of that competition?
BETHANIE MATTEK: Oh, it just shows how dominating they are. You know, they're just both physical athletes and really put, again, put pressure on every other player to keep up the level. So you know, it's definitely good for tennis because we've all got to kind of catch up.

Q. And when you say see them play one another, what do you look for between the two of them?
BETHANIE MATTEK: I don't know, it's tough. I couldn't imagine playing my sister in sports (laughter), so I don't know. It's really hard to play someone you love and care about and then be mean, basically, on the court. I'll give them some credit if and when that does happen, that they're able to do that.

Q. If I had told you before the tournament that there would not be a 1, a 2 or a 3 in the quarterfinals, what would you have said?
BETHANIE MATTEK: I would have said, "You're crazy."
No, I think women's tennis is really getting a lot more depth. There's a lot more better players that are ranked 20, ranked 30, and even upcoming young players coming up.
So I think in a way it's good for tennis that some of those seeds go down just so that some other players are able to get some recognition for how hard they work and how good they are.

Q. Just one more thing. We've talked about two similar players, Venus against Serena. On the other side people talk about the march to a Federer-Nadal final. When you look at them, what do you see as the biggest similarities, if any, and the biggest differences?
BETHANIE MATTEK: Similarities are they're both great competitors. They're great athletes in their own way. Obviously Federer is a lot smoother and Nadal is just hard-core out there. I mean, I think they're exact opposite personalities. So I think that's what makes it a cool rivalry, actually, to see them both -- you'll either love one or love the other because they're so different.
I mean, it's really -- I love watching their matches. I just think last year it was a five-set final between them, and that was really exciting. It just goes to show you Nadal can play on a lot of different surfaces.

Q. Are you a Nadal or a Federer person?
BETHANIE MATTEK: I am a Federer fan. I think he's smooth, I like his game, but I've actually watched Nadal a lot more this year and really appreciate his all-around game, and even his hands at net and stuff, nobody really gives him enough credit for that, but I think he's really talented in that area, and not just as a scrambler, clay-courter player.

Q. But don't you think Nadal has a certain pure raw love of competition and ferocity of play like your man Brett Favre?
BETHANIE MATTEK: Oh, yeah, definitely (laughing). You know, every match he just goes 100 percent and does what it takes. He could be in the back fence trying to hit somewhere. I mean, it's pretty cool. It's really -- he just loves to play tennis. That's what I get from watching Nadal.

Q. You mentioned that they're so different in personality. What is the difference?
BETHANIE MATTEK: I think Nadal shows his emotions. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, whereas Federer is a little more internal. You know, he's just got a more calm, cool aspect about him. Nadal really gets your blood going, gets your juices flowing, and it's exciting to see him play.
Nadal, you're just kind of watching him, you get mesmerized by him, and then all of a sudden he'll come up with this sick shot that just looks so easy. I don't know, it depends what style of tennis you like as to who you'd like to watch.

Q. There were two little blond girls cheering for you. Were they your sisters?
BETHANIE MATTEK: In the yellow shirts?

Q. Yes, they seemed maybe three or four years apart.
BETHANIE MATTEK: No, they're actually my boyfriend's little cousins, and they came over from the States.

Q. Well, that was my next question. I mean, having reached this really terrific round, did you have additional relatives come to see you today?
BETHANIE MATTEK: Not today. They actually all came for my doubles match -- my doubles and mixed doubles on Saturday, so they flew in from Pennsylvania. So I had like six people -- it was nuts trying to get tickets for them.

Q. Do you mind sort of just listing the family members who were present today on court 2? Was it parents and a boyfriend and --
BETHANIE MATTEK: Yeah, it was -- okay, let me go through this. It was my boyfriend's mom, his aunt, his uncle and three cousins. And then I had a friend of mine and my hitting partner, obviously.

Q. And then if I could totally change topics, I'm increasingly curious about the decisions behind scheduling players on certain courts, and I'm just wondering about the politics of that, particularly as it relates to gender. Do you have any insight or feel -- have you ever scratched your head, wondering, why does that happen?
BETHANIE MATTEK: Well, I mean, I saw both Williams sisters got shafted to Court 2 today, and it was two women's matches on the main courts and four mens' today. That was interesting. Obviously they might have their reasonings, but I'd like to see more women's matches on the bigger courts.

Q. The singles matches on Court 1 or Centre?

Q. Yeah, I think people are starting to wonder about that. Could you imagine a defending champion like Venus or a past champion like Serena in Roger Federer? Could you imagine him on Court 2?
BETHANIE MATTEK: No, I don't think Roger will ever play on Court 2. And I really -- honestly, I was more surprised about Venus. I mean, I had already assumed on Saturday that I was probably going to play on Centre or 1, that was just a guess, and I was actually more surprised that Venus was on Court 2 being last year's champion.

Q. Were you aware that Jankovic, the No. 2 seed, played on Court 18?
BETHANIE MATTEK: 18, I saw that, yeah. That was kind of bonkers, yeah.

Q. She said she had to take a helicopter there, it was so far.
BETHANIE MATTEK: I know, I believe it. I was really surprised that she was all the way out there. I mean, she's 2 seed here, right? That's kind of shocking, actually.

Q. I have a question about the tour in general. Pro players have to face injuries, they have to face sort of the tough losses that sort of screw up their hopes, and then there's the travel. Of those three, the injuries, the losses and the travel, how would you rank them?
BETHANIE MATTEK: Injuries probably being number one toughest to deal with, losses, then travel. Travel, you've just got to kind of deal with it; everyone does.
For me any ways personally, it affects me more towards the end of the year. That's when I start to feel -- that's when I'm mean to the security guards at airports, so I'm not as patient as I am in January.
But losses are just as tough. I mean, you can lose a first round of one tournament 7-6 in the third and you have no idea what to do for the rest of the week then.
It's really kind of a combination of learning how to deal with everything because everyone is going to go through all three of them.

Q. And I was confused how to interpret your comments the other day. Do you have something up your sleeve fashion-wise for the Open?
BETHANIE MATTEK: Definitely, yeah, I do. I played it low key this tournament. Again, the outfit I was wearing was working for me. I figured, why change anything. I stuck with the same shower, the same breakfast, I was like, I'll just stick with it.
But I'm actually going to get a little more in detail on designing my own stuff for US Open.

Q. Here we've been loyal, we've gone to this deep interview. Give us a little -- are we going to go thematic like thrift shop, are we going color, texture? Give us a little fashion hint here.
BETHANIE MATTEK: Honestly, I haven't even thought about it. One of my -- I don't know, I'm going to talk with Bebe Sport again. That's who I'm wearing. After this tournament obviously my ranking is going to go up, so I'll probably be on the lookout for another clothing sponsor since I'm not technically signed with Bebe Sport.
If something happens before the Open with another company, my goal is to have somebody make me my own line and where I have input. It's up in the air right now.

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