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September 1, 2008

Dinara Safina


D. SAFINA/A. Groenefeld
7-5, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Was it good to have a relatively short match, an easy match, considering this is such a long tournament?
DINARA SAFINA: Yeah, especially today. Honestly, going on the court I didn't expect that I'm going to win because I was just so exhausted.
I finish the warm-up and I just said, I cannot push anymore myself. Then suddenly I started to warm up before the match, just to get warm, and I was like, Okay, I'm starting to feel better.
My coach said, Just go out there, and if you want like just hit. No, he say if you want you can think. Well, once I go on court, I'm not going to think.
So I just went on court and said, Okay, I'm going to try what I can do today. And slowly I started to feel like, okay, like I still can push myself.
And then I just -- today I really happy that I won. Doesn't matter, like maybe I didn't play my best, but that I went through. This was the most important, because now I have one day off, and hopefully I can be 100% for my next one.

Q. Are you learning about how to conduct yourself in those long tournaments at the Grand Slams, maybe going to bed early or eating at different times?
DINARA SAFINA: No. I mean, I always have the same routine. I always go early to bed. I mean, at 9:30 I'm already in the hotel room, so nobody will see me later than this.
Dinner, every time at 7:30, so it's always the same routine.

Q. I know a year ago you were talking about how you were suffering from chronic fatigue. Have you changed your diet at all to help your game?
DINARA SAFINA: No. Now I'm taking much more care about the food. This is the most important thing for me now.
I know what I can eat and what I cannot eat and when and what, so I'm taking really good care of it.

Q. Can we clarify what your coach told you before?
DINARA SAFINA: No. I mean, after the match -- after the warm-up I just started to cry. I said, I cannot push anymore myself. He said, We know that you're not a machine. Just go out there and don't thinking.
He told me again, Just please don't show me any emotions, like these negative emotions. If you want, don't show even positive. Just go on the court and do whatever you can this day.
If it's 20% left from your body, just give this 20%. Don't use another percent just throwing the balls around and shouting.
He said, Whatever you have, just try to concentrate and put it into the game. So that's what I did today.

Q. Were you really crying?
DINARA SAFINA: Ask my coach. I could not stop from crying, yeah. So I guess he knows how to handle my emotions.

Q. Neither of you kind of served well the first set, and it took a couple of set points to finally win the first set. You had such an incredible summer, do you think you mentally basically improved in surviving to win the matches you're supposed to win?
DINARA SAFINA: I think I'm much -- as I've said, like I grew up I think a lot in the mind. A year ago I would not be able to do these kind of things. I would already -- maybe even the match before against Baczinsky I would already lose. But somehow I started like to control better myself.
I mean, of course, like as you have a trust in the coach, you know, so -- and, you know, he understands me and I understand him, so that's why somehow it's easier that I can express my emotions.
Because not many maybe coaches, they want to hear that like you are tired. Or maybe they will not believe you that you are tired. They will say, No, this is excuse because you don't want to lose.
He's like, I don't need excuse that you don't want to lose. Of course if I'll go on court I'll want to win. Through these like talking I try to kind of empty myself. Like, Okay, I don't have anything like that is bothering me inside. So I just go out there and try to focus only on the ball.

Q. You obviously one the US Open Series. Did amazing in Beijing. Do you almost see yourself as a potential favorite for this tournament?
DINARA SAFINA: I mean, so many good players now still playing, so I really -- you know, I just want to concentrate on myself and just one match at a time and doesn't matter.

Q. Do you think about the No. 1? Because I guess if you get to the final and the right scenario is there you could be No. 1.
DINARA SAFINA: Me and the rest of the -- who is going to be there also. It's open. Really, it's not only me. Right now Dementieva is playing really good tennis. She's also one to watch. Williams sisters and Jankovic. Whoever left in the draw has chance. Let's see who really deserve that spot.

Q. You've had so many success this summer. Does it seem like you've been playing forever? The hard court season is pretty hard on people, plus going China to play.
DINARA SAFINA: Not really. But I don't know, sometimes you -- wherever you come you feel like, I think I'm already here for one year. Like really, I don't know. It feels like you come somewhere and you're already like you know everything and you stay here like already one year. So I don't know.

Q. The Williams sisters, not so good at the French and fantastic at Wimbledon, and not so good at the Olympics. How do you have any idea how they're going to play here and what to expect from them?
DINARA SAFINA: I mean, of course, behind the crowd, you know, that's what motivates them. That's what they're playing for. They love playing here and they love the crowd.
They're really enjoying playing US Open. They are always very dangerous here.

Q. But they haven't played very well here. Especially Venus played much better at Wimbledon. Neither one has been in the finals for six years.
DINARA SAFINA: Well, there is always first time for everything in life.

Q. Looking ahead to the Fed Cup, the final against Spain, do you think you're going to be playing?
DINARA SAFINA: No, I'm not playing Fed Cup.

Q. Can you explain why you're not playing?
DINARA SAFINA: I think myself and my body is much more important than just go out there and just force yourself.
I mean, when you're having so many travels -- I also flew in States to China, from China back to States. Body is very sensitive in these kind of things, so I better take care of myself and prepare for the rest of the season.
And then maybe it force myself -- I think they're playing on clay court, and really doesn't fit anywhere in my schedule.
In this case, I will think a little bit more about myself.

Q. What are thinking about when the US Open is finally over? Is there something you want to do, sleep or lie on the beach, sit in a cafe?
DINARA SAFINA: Not much, because I have Tokyo. So try to get as much rest. Not going to be many days, but just to recover. I guess to enjoy a little bit, because when you play -- like stress on the match takes so many energy, so I will be one week, five days. I will try to enjoying as much as every day and get ready for the next tournament.

Q. Looking ahead you might play Amélie next in the quarterfinals.
DINARA SAFINA: She's a set down.

Q. You played her couple years ago and you lost in that the quarterfinal. Do you feel like you have a little bit of a mental edge this time if she does come through?
DINARA SAFINA: I don't care. I think I don't know. Still I have to see who is the winner, so I don't to think it is going to be Amélie when Pennetta is going to win.

Q. There are only two Russian women left in the draw, which is the lowest total of all the Grand Slams this year. Do you have any thoughts on why that's happening at this tournament?
DINARA SAFINA: I don't know. I really don't follow. Actually, when you said it's only two left I think, and really it's only two left. I really don't follow the draw. Maybe next tournament going to be more girls. I don't know; I don't care.

Q. Through all the success this summer, what has been your happiest day? Has it been a match or has it been going shopping?
DINARA SAFINA: Happiest day? Every day is a happy day. Why it has to be? Doesn't matter. When you wake up it's already happy.

Q. Marat obviously won his first Grand Slam here at the Open. How much would it mean to make it your first one, too?
DINARA SAFINA: I already answered this 100 times. It will be the dream come true.

End of FastScripts

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