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August 26, 2008
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
A. SZAVAY/G. Brodsky
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Are you still living in Brooklyn?
GAIL BRODSKY: Yeah. I've never actually moved out of Brooklyn. I've just been on the road a lot.
Q. So where did you go to high school then?
GAIL BRODSKY: My high school was based out of Ojai, California. It's Laurel Springs Independent Study Program, so there's two ways to do it. You can do it online or through textbooks, so I do a little bit of both.
Q. Ojai, is that like the Palm Springs area?
GAIL BRODSKY: It's near LA, about an hour and a half away from LA.
Q. How do you assess your match?
GAIL BRODSKY: How do I assess my match? Wow. I was pretty nervous in the beginning. To start out, I mean, I've never been in a situation like this before, so it was an interesting experience.
I wish I could have had a better start. That would have probably given me a little bit more confidence in the end of the second set, or first set I mean, when I had a set point.
But overall I think -- I think I played pretty well. I mean, she is No. 14 in the world, so she's definitely a great player.
But I think I did -- I did okay, I think.
Q. What's it like to go a few weeks ago from the back courts of the Brooklyn Tennis Club to now the Billie Jean King Tennis Center?
GAIL BRODSKY: Well, same as the past three years that I've been playing. I mean, I played the juniors the last three years, so every year I play here.
I mean, it's a great atmosphere and everything, but a tennis court is just a tennis court, you know. It's not really any different.
Q. Obviously you are a tennis professional. Do you see yourself going to college, playing...
GAIL BRODSKY: I am not sure. I've never actually seen myself as being a college player, so I think I'm just going to give it 100% on the tour and see where that takes me.
Q. Once you are a professional, even at 17, are you still eligible to play?
GAIL BRODSKY: No.
GAIL BRODSKY: No.
Q. Are you seeing yourself in college, tennis aside?
GAIL BRODSKY: Hopefully I'll be successful enough on the tour not to go to college.
Q. Is it a matter of being a team format when you talk about college versus singles?
GAIL BRODSKY: No.
Q. When you say you don't see yourself as a college player...
GAIL BRODSKY: I mean I just see myself on the pro tour.
Q. Brooklyn hasn't exactly been a hot bed of top tour stars. How did you emerge out of Brooklyn? Can you tell us a little bit about your early background?
GAIL BRODSKY: Well, I don't know. I've always worked with -- from the beginning I worked with my father.
As you said, we started out on the back courts in the public courts around Brooklyn.
Q. What part?
GAIL BRODSKY: Ah, there was -- we mostly play on public courts at Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn, so we started out there. I don't know. It's just day by day hard work, and this is where we ended up, so...
Q. What was it like to switch, like the Dodgers themselves in Brooklyn to California and go out and play in pretty sunny California?
GAIL BRODSKY: Oh, it was great. I mean, we never -- we never have any trouble anymore. When we started out in, were starting out in Brooklyn, we would have trouble with people trying to kick us off the courts, telling us we were using too many balls.
My dad was giving me drills and stuff, and people were always giving us trouble. Thanks to Mark Weil and Weil Tennis Academy, we were able to raise my game to a whole other level than I would have been able to in Brooklyn.
Not that Brooklyn is a bad place, of course, but it's just not a tennis-oriented city.
Q. How many years did you spend with Mark?
GAIL BRODSKY: It's five years now.
Q. How did you meet him?
GAIL BRODSKY: He actually contacted us and offered us a full ride, my father and I.
Q. How long have you been living in California?
GAIL BRODSKY: We don't actually live in California. We live in Brooklyn, but we go out to California and train there.
Q. How often are you out there?
GAIL BRODSKY: Past years, I'd say about six months out of the year; and the three years before that, about eight to nine months.
Q. Brooklyn is more of a place for, let's say, hoops or football or whatever. What was it like being a tennis player early on with your friends and so forth?
GAIL BRODSKY: Different. When my friends would ask me, you know, what I do, you know, outside, after they go -- they go to the park and they would invite me, you know, just to go hang out with them. I'd be, like, I have practice, guys. They'd be, What? What are you talking about? It was interesting. It was different.
Q. It was a little different to go to the academy where people were playing...
GAIL BRODSKY: People were much more understanding about everything there.
Q. Did you play Kingsburg Community College in Manhattan Beach? Is that where you played?
GAIL BRODSKY: No. Well, it's right nearby Kingsburg College.
Q. Public courts in Manhattan Beach?
GAIL BRODSKY: Yes.
Q. As they say "the" these days, what are your aspirational goals? Do you have some thoughts about top 100, top 50? Higher, lower? What are your goals?
GAIL BRODSKY: Well, I think anybody's who ever sat here would tell you they want to be No. 1, of course. (laughter.)
But that's everyone's -- that's everyone's goal, and it's my goal, too. I mean, the question is whether, you know, I can keep pushing to get there, but that's definitely my goal in the future.
Q. There was a time when the New York area actually produced both male and female tennis players of note here, from Mary Carillo, Vitas Gerulaitis to the McEnroes. Do you think you might be able to start a renaissance here, or is it just a one-shot...
GAIL BRODSKY: I don't know. I really don't know. A fellow eastern player is also doing really well here. There's a lot of other junior girls from the eastern section who are doing really well in juniors and in women's tournaments, so I don't really think it's an area thing.
I think it's just every person -- it's personal. Whoever wants it enough is going to make it.
Q. Have you played the Maccabi Games in Israel?
GAIL BRODSKY: No.
Q. The first tournaments you played as a junior were what? What were the first tournaments you played?
GAIL BRODSKY: You mean junior, junior, like my first tournament ever?
GAIL BRODSKY: Oh, it was a 10 and under level 3 round robin sectional, (laughter) and I won it, too.
Q. Where was it?
GAIL BRODSKY: Where?
Q. In Brooklyn?
GAIL BRODSKY: I'm not sure. It was one of the sport time centers around the area. I can't remember that far back.
Q. What do you like about your game?
GAIL BRODSKY: Um, I don't know. I can't really say that I like anything. I'm just sort of trying to work on everything all at once. But I can tell you what I would like to improve in my game.
Q. What would you like to improve?
GAIL BRODSKY: Definitely my net game. That would be something that I want to improve upon.
Q. In Mark Weil Academy, what is the best quality there? I mean, let's say that you have a young tennis player who wants to go to America. Why would you suggest to go to Mark Weil Academy?
GAIL BRODSKY: Personal attention. Every coach cares about each player. There's not one coach there that would just, you know, not care about every single player that is at Weil Academy.
Q. Talk about your fighting spirit. Do you think that's a real strength of yours? Could you reflect on that for a moment?
GAIL BRODSKY: Definitely. I think it's -- that's the main thing that pulls me through some very tough matches that I've had, in juniors and some women's tournaments.
I mean, what really drives me to keep my fighting spirit and, saying, Come on, and pumping myself up on the court, is that I see all the top players doing it and obviously it must help them, because they're on the top, you know.
Q. Tell us a little bit about your parents, who introduced you to the game. What's their background?
GAIL BRODSKY: Well, we're originally from the Ukraine, and they have their own dog grooming business. They're self-employed, and my mom stays at home working the whole year. My dad travels with me everywhere to Mark Weil Tennis Academy, everywhere we go for tournaments, so he's like my personal coach. He's the whole, you know, the whole team put together.
Q. Do you have any mentors out on the WTA Tour? People who you're close to?
GAIL BRODSKY: My dad.
Q. When did you start playing? How old were you?
GAIL BRODSKY: Six.
Q. How did it happen?
GAIL BRODSKY: How did it happen? We were near the beach, and there's handball walls. My parents were just hitting against the wall, you know. It was just a regular beach day, and I said...
Q. They were hitting what, tennis balls?
GAIL BRODSKY: Tennis balls, yeah, with a racquet.
GAIL BRODSKY: And I just said I wanted to try. It looked like fun.
Q. And was it fun?
GAIL BRODSKY: Yeah. Apparently I liked it a little bit (laughter.)
Q. Are you familiar with the story of how Seles started by hitting against the wall?
GAIL BRODSKY: Yeah. I've heard that story.
Q. Can you tell me a little bit about your high school education and your relationship with high school? Were you home schooled or...
GAIL BRODSKY: I started home schooling when I was 13, and I've been home schooled ever since. So for four, almost five years, I'd say.
Q. Do you wish you ever went to high school? Do you miss that experience?
GAIL BRODSKY: No, just because if I had gone to high school I wouldn't have been able to do the things I did for my tennis, and ultimately that was my dream. You know, as I said, I never saw myself as being a college player, so, you know.
Q. We have seen many players coached by their fathers, and some of them went through some kind of trouble, some others didn't. How is your relationship, if, let's say one night you want to go out? You have to ask your father and he's also your coach. How does it work?
GAIL BRODSKY: We don't really have problems like that. You know, I -- if I want to go out, we usually go out as a family somewhere. But if I want to go out with my friends...
Q. Do you have a deadline, you have to be back before midnight?
GAIL BRODSKY: No, we just usually set up a time. I control these things. I know I'm responsible enough to know when I have to be back, because I have to practice the next morning at 6:00 a.m.
Q. Every morning?
GAIL BRODSKY: Oh, no, no, no. I'm just saying, you know, if the situation is like that.
GAIL BRODSKY: We don't really have problems like that.
Q. Did you identify with some of the very young teenage Olympians who put so much, almost their entire life, into a single athletic endeavor with all that discipline and lack of contact with other elements?
GAIL BRODSKY: Well, the main difference between, you know, Olympians I mean, sports like the gymnastics and things like that, is that in tennis we have four huge events every year.
They look forward to one Olympics every four years, so there's a huge difference in that, that they see the Olympics as being something much bigger than I guess we see it.
So, you know, I guess maybe tennis players aren't as nervous.
Q. What do you take out of this match from here?
GAIL BRODSKY: Out of this match?
Q. Yeah. What is your lesson?
GAIL BRODSKY: I just see that I'm right there with the top players, and it gives me a lot of confidence to know that I stay in the points with her and I can be in the games. I had a set point in the first set, so that gives me a whole lot of confidence going into my next tournament.
Q. At the academy, do you always play against men or girls, or who do you practice mostly with?
GAIL BRODSKY: We train as a group, so sometimes I will play against boys. We have match days, and I will be matched against boys and matched against girls. It's always a good competition, because I can play against a player who is not my level, and then I can play a player who is much higher than my level.
So it's always -- it always kept me on my toes ready for anything, ready for any kind of player.
Q. Some said California is a little bit of heaven. What do you like best about life in California?
GAIL BRODSKY: The view. We have the mountains right over the courts, and you can just see it. It's just absolutely incredibly beautiful, and then we drive 20 minutes out and we can see the ocean. It's just -- it is heaven. It's really nice.
Q. What do you miss about Brooklyn when you're on the road?
GAIL BRODSKY: My mom.
Q. Do you have brothers or sisters?
GAIL BRODSKY: No.
Q. Do you ever play any other sport?
GAIL BRODSKY: No. Just -- we've put all our focus into tennis and all our -- you know, we've been 100% in tennis, and obviously we've -- my family has sacrificed a lot for me to bring me to the level where I am today.
Q. Does your dad still do his work?
GAIL BRODSKY: Yeah, when we come back to Brooklyn he helps my mom out in the business.
Q. Seems like sometimes you get quite angry at yourself on the court. Have you ever found that that's something that you need to control more or you need to work on?
GAIL BRODSKY: Well, it just helps me get my anger out instead of -- if I kept it inside I feel like I could play the next play worse or hit a bad shot or hit it in the net or something.
I'd just rather let it all out before I play and be calm for the next point.
Q. This is your biggest press conference, probably, in your life?
GAIL BRODSKY: This is my only press conference. (laughter.)
Q. What is your reaction to it? Are you surprised about the questions you're being asked? Are you happy to be here or whatever?
GAIL BRODSKY: Let me ask you a question. How do you think did I?
Q. Very well.
GAIL BRODSKY: Okay. Thank you.
Q. There are a lot of dogs in Southern California. You could just move the family business there.
GAIL BRODSKY: Doesn't really work that way. We're having some tough time with it, but...
Q. What kind of music is on your iPod?
GAIL BRODSKY: All kinds. I have Russian pop to punk rock to classical. I have everything on there. I'm very open to different kinds of music and everything.
Q. You said you have bean coming to the Open since you were a little kid. Any matches you watched as a kid that stood out in your mind that inspired you to become a pro?
GAIL BRODSKY: Not really. My dad would always sit next to me while we were watching the matches and he would always point things out to me with each player that we watched. I guess I've taken a little piece of that for myself, and it's helped me come here.
End of FastScripts