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August 26, 2008

Dinara Safina


6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Very nice start to your US Open campaign. Feel good today?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, it was difficult match, because I never -- I only saw her playing, and actually she was a good player, you know. So I was a little bit unexpected.
It was pretty windy today outside, so I'm still happy that I could play two sets and I win my match.

Q. You come in with great, great momentum; hardcourt season very successful for you. Just talk about arguably one of the hottest player coming in right now, at least in the assessment of many. Just talk about your sense of confidence and coming forward and what your goals and ambitions are here.
DINARA SAFINA: Um, about goals, I don't like to think that far, you know, because I know I like to take one match at a time because every opponent is dangerous.
Maybe today I went not 100% focused. I was a little bit achy, and it went straight 6-3, 6-4. I was struggling today on the court. It's important I go out there and give my 100% every day.
Well, I mean, I've been working really hard all the years. And, yes, maybe I didn't have the right people next to me, so I guess like all the work and I would say all the patience that I had, you know, not going down and some ups and downs and I still was staying positive, and now finally I've found a coach that he fits me, and fitness coach who is taking care of that I stay 100% shape. So I think just paying off, all my results.

Q. Marat, having won here before, how special would it be for you to equal his accomplishment in the same venue?
DINARA SAFINA: I don't know. I think this would be my dream come true. I don't know. This would be the most amazing thing that can happen.

Q. What did you and Marat fight about when you were little kids?
DINARA SAFINA: I would say he would, on the court, that I would behave like a baby and the crying and all this. He hated it. He was always like, Come on. You have to grow up in your mind. You cannot behave like this.
Mostly that he would give me advice like that. I just have to grow up in my mind. But it needed time, so...

Q. I actually meant at home. I didn't mean on the tennis court.
DINARA SAFINA: Ah, at home?

Q. Yeah.
DINARA SAFINA: Only thing that I was doing every time, messing the room and he had to clean everything. But that's okay.

Q. Would you ever tell him that he isn't the most adult person always on the court, either?
DINARA SAFINA: That's why he's telling like from my experience. I tell you, don't do this.

Q. Which sort of relationship do you have with your brother? Now you are one of the first players in the world. You are playing so well. You are champion. You, too. Which has changed between you?
DINARA SAFINA: Nothing changed. It doesn't need the results. It's family. Doesn't matter. That's why, you know, you have your family always next to you whenever you're up or down. They are the same. Nothing can change.

Q. What would you like to have about Marat, like tennis player or like human being?
DINARA SAFINA: When he plays his best, I would take everything what he has: his power, fighting spirit. I mean he reads the game very good, and when he plays he's the best everything. When he plays his worst game, then I don't need anything. (laughter.)

Q. Like human being, what do you think is his best quality?

Q. Human being.
DINARA SAFINA: His best quality?
I think he's the person like he would be always next to you. Like whenever you need help he would be there. I can say like with us, family. You know, like whenever I was down or whatever, he -- I think he would prefer like to see me smiling.
I would say sometimes, I cannot feel anything on the court. He would say, If you would just stop it, just enjoy the life. For him, most important he sees me happy. So he will help with whatever he can.

Q. Where were you when he won here?

Q. And were you at home or...
DINARA SAFINA: Well, Valencia. I was spending some time there. Actually I was not even watching, because we had not cable TV to watch that final. But we had some friends who were calling us and telling us the score.

Q. And how long was it before you were able to reach Marat after he won?
DINARA SAFINA: Maybe next day I spoke with him. I don't remember. It was so long time ago.

Q. Now that you have more success than him, is there advice you can give to him? And would he listen to your advice?
DINARA SAFINA: No, I better listen to his advice. I cannot -- yes, I have now success, but he was No. 1 in the world, so I still have to catch him up. He still can teach me many things in life.

Q. I was at a press conference of his last week in Los Angeles, and he said it used to be that I was her big brother. Now it's the opposite. Now it changed. Do you see it that way?

Q. Now you're the one that's known more?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, but I'm still his younger sister. Doesn't matter. Because still I would walk and I would hear the crowds, saying, Oh, this is the sister of Marat. I think forever I'm going to be his little sister.

Q. Are you going to watch his match? He's about to play.
DINARA SAFINA: No, actually I'm not watching him unless I'm out of the tournament, because I get very tight watching him, and I still have practice, so...

Q. We know something about the Marat girlfriends. We don't know anything about the Safina boyfriend. What you can say about that?
DINARA SAFINA: I don't speak about my private life.

Q. Have you guys ever had a sibling rivalry, or is it even more noticeable now that maybe you're having more success than he is? Has there ever been envy or jealousy between you?
DINARA SAFINA: Never, never. In our family this doesn't exist. We don't have this.

Q. What do your parents say to you about that? In order to not have that sibling rivalry, what have they said to you?
DINARA SAFINA: Whew, it's just the way we are. Like maybe -- the way they educated us, that -- I mean, I cannot even imagine be jealous of my brother. I would -- it's impossible.
It's because it's our family, and whatever. Success, it's the family success. I can't not even imagine it.

Q. Are you glad he's a brother and not a sister so you don't have to play him?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I guess, but let's see, next year Hopman Cup how we're going to play mixed.

Q. It just came to my attention that we over here might be mispronouncing your name as -- would you like us to correct us?
DINARA SAFINA: I don't care. It's already Safina. But I'm Safina, normally. I'm used to it. I'm used to it. It doesn't matter.

Q. Do you think you lost at the Olympics because you were tired? That was the reason?
DINARA SAFINA: You know, you can find many excuses. She was better that day. Yes, after you can say, yes, I was tired, or this.
But if you are tired, don't go on the court. So she was just better that day. I give her all the credit.

Q. She said yesterday that it's been very difficult for her to focus right now on this tournament, that Sunday night she watched the closing ceremonies. She said in a lot of ways her heart still felt like she was in Beijing. This has been a very difficult transition for her. Have you had any of that similar-type experience?
DINARA SAFINA: No. Actually, I didn't even watch the closing ceremony. Somehow, I don't know, I came, I played and I left. I didn't maybe even get to feel this Olympic or, I don't know. It was just, okay, come and go.
I flew straight from China to here, so somehow slowly I got this atmosphere. But today on the court I was like, it's a Grand Slam, but I'm not even nervous. It was like, this is strange, because normally before the Grand Slam you're very tight. Like even Olympics first round I was really nervous, and today I was completely not feeling so on the court, like not nervous on the court.

Q. What do you attribute that to, though? You're just feeling very comfortable right now?
DINARA SAFINA: No, I guess I have to change a little in my mind and to prepare better. I don't know. Because it's better that I feel a little bit nervous than completely without any feelings inside.

Q. Compared to last year, have you lost weight?
DINARA SAFINA: You can see.

Q. I don't know. I ask.
DINARA SAFINA: If you think I lost some, I guess I lost.

Q. You don't know?
DINARA SAFINA: I did lost.

Q. You're both playing your opening matches today. Is this a significant day for the family?
DINARA SAFINA: I guess for the parents who are following on TV. For me, I'm used to it.

End of FastScripts

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