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July 1, 2008

Elena Dementieva


6-1, 6-7, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Elena.

Q. How does it feel to be in the Wimbledon semifinals?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, it feels wonderful. It's my first semifinals here, and I'm just very exciting about it. As you can, you know, see, I was really, really tight. It was such a close moment for me, you know, to go through.
But I'm just really happy that I was able to go through such a difficult situation in my match and was able to finish, you know, in a good way.

Q. Was what happened at the French Open against Safina going through your mind?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I don't know. It just kind of come to you in this kind of moments, and I was trying not to think about it and stay aggressive, stay focused.
But, you know, I mean, just the feeling, you're in semifinals, you really want to make it. I just somehow lost my concentration again. It was really difficult, you know, to start all over again.

Q. What did you tell yourself coming off the chair going into the third set?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, actually, you know, I just told myself that I have to think that I won this second set 7-6, and that gave me some energy in the beginning of the third set.
I didn't want to think. I forget immediately what happened to me because I remember this match against Dinara and I didn't play at all in the third set.
Here I really didn't want to lose this match. Really was trying everything as possible to fight, to play, and be positive, and it really work.

Q. And when you served the match out this time at 5-3, it looked like you had no nerves whatsoever and actually played well.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, I think just in the end of the set or in the end of the match we were both disaster. I mean, it was really hot out there and was really tired in the end of the match.
It helps you with your nerves because, I mean, you don't get that tight. You just feel more relaxed in the end of the match and trying just to hit the ball, not pushing and to wait for the mistake.
So, yeah, I'm glad I could do it.

Q. You say you have a problem with your concentration. What can you do to improve that?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I mean, there is nothing you can do. You just have to go through this experience. Because, I mean, it's okay to be nervous during the match. It's okay to be tight.
I don't want to go on the court and feel like I don't care, if I'm going to lose or win today. I really want to make it, just like I said, for the first time in my life in the semifinals of Wimbledon.
It's really big to me, so all you have to do just to go such experience and be able to stay strong in the end.

Q. Can you talk about your early years on grass and how difficult it was for you.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, I remember my first time coming here I couldn't really find the game to win and would struggle a lot. After playing a couple of times here I feel like I really like it, you know.
Every match give you a little bit of confidence. Every time you feel much better, you know, with movement and with the playing on the court.
So, yeah, I mean, playing on Centre, it was a great experience for me. I think I won on Centre for the first time. I lost to Serena, I lost to Sharapova last time, and it was a really great experience for me.

Q. Can you afford any sort of loss of concentration in the semifinal, given who you're up against? You got away with having some loss of concentration today. Do you think you'll be able to get away with it in the semifinal?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I mean, against Venus, she's the defending champion. It's all pressure on her. I really have nothing to lose, you know. All I need is just to have a day off, you know, to recovery, just to play my game, just to enjoy the moment.
I mean, I really have nothing to lose against her. I just want to go on the court, you know, and play well.

Q. Last week you were coached by John van Lottum who is now back in Holland. What could he do to help you, and did you miss him the last two matches?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, actually I asked him to help me during the Hertogenbosch. He said he can come for one week here to help me in Wimbledon. I mean, I was really enjoy to play with him. He's a very good player. He had some good results playing on grass, so he gave me some good tips before he left. Yeah, it was a good help.

Q. In your mind, when you were serving for the match, were you too confident? Did you think you were already in the semifinals?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, no. I mean, after losing 7-6 I wasn't sure at all. I was trying not to think about the score and just play every single point. Just said to myself, I mean, it's not over until you shake your hands, so just stay aggressive, keep fighting, and let's see if you can do it.

Q. I was talking about the second set when you were serving for the match.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, I mean, I was going from the beginning my way. I mean, I think I was playing much better in the beginning, like 6-1, 5-1, 5-2, serving for the match.
Then, I don't know. I mean, you really have to play aggressive in the end to finish the match. You really have to win it, not just wait what she's gonna do. I mean, for sure, she has nothing to lose. She's already down, so she's going to go for some risky shots. She will take these risks.
I just couldn't stay, you know, strong in the second set.

Q. You say you're the underdog against Venus. As the top seed left in the competition, is this not yours for the taking?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I think Venus is the defending champion. You know, she likes to play on grass, and she won a couple of times here. She really knows how to play here, so I think she's a favorite, you know, without seeded players.
We never play on grass before, so it's going to be our first meeting here on grass courts, and we'll see.

Q. You have a few early thoughts on how you can beat her?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, just give me some time. I need to enjoy my moment. Tomorrow for sure I will think about it.

Q. Nadia complained about the heat on court. Said possibly the officials could have done a little bit more. We saw you holding an ice pack to the back of your neck. Was there anything more the officials could have done?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, actually, nobody really expected to have such wonderful weather. I mean, nobody put sunblock and nobody had the ice. I mean, we didn't have an ice pack in the beginning of the match because, I mean, it doesn't feel like Wimbledon at all.
So you have to be ready for this wonderful weather, but it's just like a dream for the players.

Q. Had you not put any sunblock on yourself?

Q. Some players almost need to have dramatic shifts, ups and downs, almost like their emotions are triggered by that. Are you one of those players?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, I cannot say that I like drama, you know. For sure I prefer to win in two sets. But, I mean, playing on Centre Court, it's just a big -- I think it's a big privilege for all of us. I didn't want to -- I mean, I was happy in the beginning that I show everyone that I can play, I can play good. But I need to show that I can win this match.
So for me, I mean, somehow just found a way to stay strong and positive in the third set, you know, with a dramatic second set. I mean, it's okay. It's a game. It's happen now and all the time.

Q. Speaking of up and down, this is your 10th year on tour now. How do you manage to just maintain belief in yourself with all the ups, severe downs all the time?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, because I don't count. I don't count how many years I'm playing. It's every time like a first time.

Q. On TV you said when you were getting into trouble in the second set you thought about the French Open. What was that like?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I was like, Oops, I did it again; I'm out of semifinals (laughter). What can you think about it? And then when I take some time to change my dress, I was like, I don't want to lose. I really want to win this match because I don't want to have this experience again. And I won it.

Q. You seem to have a very good attitude about this. Some other players would be very defensive, basically lying through their teeth. You seem to be okay with it.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I really think while you're on the court there is no time for being upset or disappointing or negative because, I mean, you'll do it in the locker room.
But while you're on the court and you have a chance to play in front of the crowd on the Centre Court of Wimbledon, you have to take all the chances and, you know, fight till the end because I like to play, I like to compete, yeah.

Q. Don't you want a coach for a longer period?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, my mom is my coach.

Q. You worked with John.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: He was helping me, but my mom is my coach.

End of FastScripts

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