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January 30, 2009

Dinara Safina


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You've spoken a little bit about your relationship with your brother. Can you talk about what it was like being kids.
DINARA SAFINA: Well, unfortunately when he was 14 and I was eight, he had to go to Spain. So after that we could not spend so much time together, especially that age when I was growing up. Even before, he would always go to the tournaments, playing under-14s. We were most of the time separate.
But still, you know, he's my big brother. Still today he is my idol, I don't know.

Q. How did you keep in touch with him when he was away?
DINARA SAFINA: I mean, sometimes it happens that we don't talk to each other for two weeks. But there is not much, and then we will speak every day.
We know that we're both good, and that's the most important thing. We have a very close relationship. I don't know.

Q. When he actually won, you were watching on television. Where were you?
DINARA SAFINA: I was in the Nice airport. I was flying from Monaco. But I was keeping on the phone every time SMSing, checking the scores.
Unfortunately, I didn't watch not one of his finals. Not against Sampras when he won US Open and not against Hewitt when he won here.

Q. You didn't get to watch his win here on television?

Q. When he won it, what did it do for your mindset, knowing he won this final?
DINARA SAFINA: At that moment he did some not very nice comments about me, because it was 2005, as I remember. On the press conference he didn't talk very nice, so I was a little bit upset about him on this.
But still, you know, it's just amazing feeling when you know, because he won it. For us tennis players, a Grand Slam, it's something very big. To know that he won it, it's just unbelievable feeling. It just made me, like, that I want also this, to have it one day.

Q. When you woke up this morning, you know you have the opportunity, what sort of mindset did you have?
DINARA SAFINA: Today I still okay. I still had a practice, so I was still thinking about my practice, not yet about my next match.

Q. Did you get nervous before the French Open final, do you remember?
DINARA SAFINA: I would say, yeah, because it was the first. It was unexpected, you know. When I came there, I was -- you know, nobody believed I can be there. Also me, I was like, Take one match at a time, one match at a time.
Suddenly you're in the French Open final. All of a sudden you want to win, all the pressure. I hope all the experience I went through in that match will help me for my next match tomorrow.

Q. In that respect, do you feel like you belong in the final this time?
DINARA SAFINA: This I proved because the people have been talking about this, I can be in the final. I've done it. Now just one more step to go.

Q. When you say you hope you can use that experience from the French, what are the biggest memories in your mind from that game?
DINARA SAFINA: I have a good memories. Unfortunately, I didn't make it. I didn't close it.
I don't know, mentally maybe I was not ready there for the final. I came out of the court, and suddenly I saw all this and I was a little bit down. After that, I played a good match.
Just mentally I was really tired because I had too much things going in the French Open, too many tough matches, singles, doubles all together. I was just mentally exhausted there.

Q. How different do you feel this time around going into tomorrow's match?
DINARA SAFINA: Here, of course, is still the beginning of the year. It's the beginning. I don't play doubles anymore. Every time I have some time off, I try to take as much rest as I can and just enjoy the day.

Q. You talk about a big atmosphere, having to get used to it. How important was the match against Jelena? Lots of noise, which will happen tomorrow.
DINARA SAFINA: Yeah, it really helped me. As I always say, you know, to get to the Grand Slam final, you have to go through all these kind of things. That makes you stronger, you know, to play the match like against Jelena when all the crowd is supporting her.
But I think I stayed very tough mentally there. I didn't panic. I didn't do anything. You know, made me stronger now.

Q. Are you learning to enjoy those big-crowd moments now, learning to soak it up?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, you take it as experience, you know. Okay, I have all the crowd against me, and I just try to get the best out of it, you know, or maybe to turn even that the crowd starts to support me.

Q. How do you think the crowd will be tomorrow night?
DINARA SAFINA: I hope they're going to be behind me, as I'm underdog coming into that final.

Q. Serena Williams, is she more intimidating to play against than some of the other girls? Other girls seem to crumble under the pressure of playing her at times.
DINARA SAFINA: I cannot talk about the other players, how they feel when they play against her. I just can talk on my own. You know, we played three times last year. I beat her once. I'm looking forward for this time to play against her.

Q. She's got an extra match to play in the doubles. It's been very hot. Do you think fitness might play a part tomorrow night?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, we're playing during night, so I think she has enough time to recover.
But, you know, I have even more time to recover.

Q. Speaking of fitness, was there one moment last season where you said to yourself, I've got to take charge and bump my fitness up in order to really get where I want to go, or was it a gradual process?
DINARA SAFINA: I always had a fitness coaches. I never had like a private for me fitness coach like I have now. I have the guy, he's traveling with me all the time. So he just helps me to maintain my fitness.
You know, with my tennis coach, when we started to work, we were always looking something in what aspect I can improve. Either it was my fitness, then it was my weight. So we always looking for some helps.

Q. Has Marat spoken to you since your win yesterday?
DINARA SAFINA: He just text me.

Q. What did he say?
DINARA SAFINA: Well done (smiling). That's it.

Q. You were talking about 2005. In that press conference, he said that you needed to grow up. How much of that sort of changed your thinking?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, you know, he didn't know what was going through my mind because I didn't talk to him too much, you know. He's not really the guy who has enough patience for this, you know, to have a woman's talk, you know (smiling).
So sometimes it's tough to him to explain what I have going through. I think it was a little bit rough that he said at that time.

Q. What about your mother's influence on your career?
DINARA SAFINA: From now on she has no influence at all.

Q. Earlier on?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I always had the coach. You know, she was just there traveling with me. She would support, but most of the times I always have a coach. Already for two, three years that she's not even involved in tennis.

Q. You said the other day sometimes you find it difficult not to concentrate just on your own game. Is that more difficult against Serena? Is that going to be more important for you to block out tomorrow?
DINARA SAFINA: No, tomorrow definitely I'll have to concentrate only, you know, on myself and the opponent, nothing else. If I start to think about something else, I can just start to pick up the balls.

Q. Do you and your coach talk about a specific game plan to play Serena or do you look at a tape of her semifinal against Dementieva or do you just talk in general terms about what you need to do?
DINARA SAFINA: Basically what I need to do.

Q. Not too much detail about it?
DINARA SAFINA: No, because there is not much. You cannot say play two balls to the forehand, one to the backhand, then you play a dropshot, then you pass her with a lob, or you serve. There is no game like this.
You just try to think what I have to do, and that's all.

Q. We've talked about your temper. Isn't there a positive side to how fierce you are?

Q. How fierce you are.
DINARA SAFINA: Well, you know, that's the way I am. It helps me to pump myself. That helps my game, you know. Everyone has his own personality. I have this one that if I will not pump myself, I will be just too calm and will be nothing going out, no fire coming out of myself. So it just helps me.

Q. How would you describe your form over the two weeks leading up to tomorrow's match?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I think it has been great. You know, I would say like yesterday match was a great match. I think I played good games. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow match.

Q. Tomorrow night the winner takes the No. 1 ranking. Do you feel you're the best player on the tour at the moment?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, if we are fighting for this spot, that says everything, no?

Q. Do you dream at all? Would you ever dreamed about hoisting the cup?
DINARA SAFINA: Not really that I would dream so many times about tennis. But just, you know, I would -- like I would like to have, you know. Dream as a kid, you know, that I would always want to be No. 1 in the world. But not when I sleep when I dream about this.

Q. You talk about how special Grand Slams are to tennis players. What would it mean for you tomorrow if you win?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, you know, to win tomorrow and to be No. 1 in the world, then, I don't know, I'll go and buy chocolate cake (smiling).
This would be my present for myself, that, yes, I can eat that chocolate cake.

Q. Your coach has said you've changed your diet in the last year. What sort of changes have you made?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, it's a diet, just what I can eat, what I cannot eat. Basically that's all.

Q. So very little chocolate cake?
DINARA SAFINA: No, I don't eat chocolate at all. That's just if I deserve it.

End of FastScripts

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