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August 17, 2008

Zi Yan

Jie Zheng


6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. This is the only medal in the tennis in this Olympics. Who would you like to share this pleasure with? During the game you actually had some difficulties. What was the origin of the strength that you had to come through?
JIE ZHENG: (Through translation.) I believe that it's actually quite difficult to win this bronze medal because the four pairs in the semifinal are all very good players and they are all winners of Grand Slams. So this bronze medal is very important to me. I would like to thank many people including my leaders, my coach, partners, family and all the staff in this venue.
Last year I had some injuries and all these people supported me and encouraged me. A partner said for me, I'm going to wait for you on the court. Then after my injury, seven or eight months later we have this Olympics. So it's a great thing to win the bronze medal.
Today during the first set, it was actually a very difficult game. We had many ties, so it was quite tight. We encouraged each other. We had some regrets from the loss yesterday, but we did well today.

Q. Tennis is very professional now. You experienced two Olympics together. How do you feel about the Chinese tennis going towards the professionalized way? Compared to four years ago, how is the environment different to that time?
JIE ZHENG: (Through translation.) Actually four years ago we didn't really understand what does "professional" mean, including the coaches and the players. We all chose to play the other competitions before the Olympics just to prepare for the Olympics.
But right now we actually specifically choose some competitions, and this is very different in terms of logistics. Before we only had one coach for three or four players. But now it's about one to one, so a coach can pay 100% of their attention to the player.
Now that we have many researchers behind us, nutritionists to help us, build up our bodies. As Asians, our bodies are not as strong as the European or U.S. players. Now that we're better, we can win.
Other than that, it's not just the players. A lot of people actually are supporting us from behind and help us from behind. That is why we are successful.

Q. Now the No. 1 ranked in the world did not win any big Grand Slam events, but she became No. 1. For you, is that a motivation or is that a negative?
JIE ZHENG: (Through translation.) Actually, looking at this year, we don't see one specific strong player on the women's tennis court. A lot of people have chances. That is why the competition will become more fierce.
Our No. 1 today did not win any slam, but she is very consistent at all the events. That is why she is No. 1. So now more players have more chances.

Q. What signs have you seen during these Olympics of the growth in tennis in China at all levels of the game?
ZI YAN: (Through translation.) Actually, we attract more attention this year. We see a lot more spectators actually come to see the games. More people are involved in the tennis games. This year our players on the court are more competitive. So that way I believe that the tennis is actually growing and improving.
JIE ZHENG: (Through translation.) Looking at the overall standard and level of the Chinese tennis players, I believe they're all going in a good direction in terms of the hardware, like venues, and in terms of the players.
This year during the singles and doubles, we all have players entering the semifinals, which is a good thing. Which proves Chinese players do not only do well in the doubles, but also the singles. In terms of rankings, we have four or five players in the top 100, which is a lot better than four years ago.

Q. Jie Zheng just mentioned that you encouraged her while she was injured and you told her that you would wait for her. That proves that you guys cooperate quite well. Can you tell us more about that?
ZI YAN: (Through translation.) Actually we knew each other from while we were very young. Then Zheng Jie is actually a little older than me, so she is like a sister to me.
When she was injured, actually I had different feelings because at night, I didn't have anybody to chat with, because we always stayed in the same room. That is why I was waiting for her to come back, and I believed that her surgery would be successful.

Q. How about your cooperation on the court?
ZI YAN: (Through translation.) You all know during this period of time, I wasn't very successful. But we communicated very well, encouraged and supported each other. Sometimes on the court, I'm not doing very well. She encourages me so I feel that someone is there for me.

Q. I heard that you are from Sichuan province. Do you have a message for the Sichuan people who suffered the damages of the earthquake?
JIE ZHENG: (Through translation.) Actually, we were playing games in Italy on May the 12th when the earthquake happened. When we heard the news, we were really shocked. We tried to contact family and friends in Sichuan. A lot of people asked us to accepted messages for them.
Actually, the Sichuan people sent us more messages because during the disaster, they were still brave, they were positive, they never gave up. I'm proud to be someone from Sichuan.
And during the Olympic Games, we fought really hard and we want to show this Sichuan spirit, that we are brave.

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