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January 25, 2009

Marion Bartoli


M. BARTOLI/J. Jankovic
6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How confident were you going into the match, given that you were head-to-head with her 3-All?
MARION BARTOLI: You know, I was really confident because I played really well my last match against Safarova. I knew I could beat Jelena on a good day, it was just a matter of executing it, you know, play the right shot at the right time and doesn't make too much mistake.
But I was not overwhelmed by the situation, and I just went for my shot and everything went in today. It was just a great match.

Q. Any particular part of your game that pleased you?
MARION BARTOLI: Well, most everything, you know, except maybe two service game. But, you know, I was on the wrong side. I was having right the sun in the middle of the face when I was tossing the ball. It was really hard in the second set to serve on one side of the court.
But after that I think I played just a great match. I hang in there when it was the time to hang in there. I went for my shot when I needed. I return really well. I serve well the last game. So I'm just pleased about everything.

Q. When did you realize she really wasn't going to come back into the game?
MARION BARTOLI: When the last point was over (laughter). Because, you know, against her it's never over until you won the match. You know, obviously she's No. 1 in the world. She's a great player. She's fighting until the end.
This game at 4-All was so important for me to win and to break her to go ahead 5-4 in the second set, and then just try to hang in there toughly and just focus on ball after ball, point after point, doesn't think about the victory.
But when I was up 5-4 and serving for the match, just stayed focused and be ready for everything.

Q. After your great run at Wimbledon two years ago, were you satisfied with how you went in the Grand Slams last year?
MARION BARTOLI: Well, not really in here, and the French Open obviously, because I lost twice in the first round.
But, as I say many times before, I was struggling with my health for the first six months of the year. I was just not able to practice as I should, you know, to be ready to play some tennis at the pro level, that was it.
Some days I was staying three days in a row inside my room at home or even in the hotel room when I was on the tour. I couldn't practice at all for three days in a row.
There is no way, even if I'm tough mentally, to win some matches like that. So I just try to stay positive. My dad help me a lot, obviously. I start to feel better after Wimbledon when I was still able to win two matches.
After that I think I had a great run to finish inside the top 20, which half of the season was already quite an achievement obviously. Just try to practice hard this winter to be ready for here, even if I never had a good Australian Open. And this year it just went my way.

Q. How determined were you in the off-season to come back and be a top-10 player again?
MARION BARTOLI: Well, I was really determined, you know, this year to do everything I could to be ready. Honestly, I felt really at the end of last year I was playing well.
But just having this little problem to win some tough matches in a row, be able to go day in and day out and be strong physically. I was fit, but not strong enough. I really put in hard work during the off-season, and today it shows up.
I just play a tough match two days ago. I'm coming in today on court just feeling good again, be able to move really well and to defend when I need it, of course, to go for my shot when I need as well.
I was just really determined to come back in the top 10. I think I'm just in the right direction.

Q. Was Monica Seles somebody you admired a lot? You seem to have a very similar style.
MARION BARTOLI: Yeah, I can hear you fine (laughter).
Well, you know, she has been really my hero when I was young, the same as Pete Sampras. Even when I was playing with one-handed, she was already playing with two-handed. She was already my hero because she was just so fighting on the court. I really loved her spirit on the court. She was putting everything into it. I just love Monica.
Of course, now I play double and she play double-handed. She's a huge inspiration for me.

Q. Australian season hasn't been a happy hunting ground for you. Now you made the final in Brisbane and now in quarterfinals. Do you sort of pinch yourself a little bit?
MARION BARTOLI: Yeah, well, you know, I've been in the final of a Grand Slam, so it's not a big deal to be in a quarterfinal. I'm just taking step after step. I'm playing good. I'm feeling good.
Of course I beat Jelena the same Round of 16, I think, in Wimbledon 2007, so there is quite some memories coming back.
But I just want to take it match after match. If I can have a great run. I'm not the only French here. There is still Alizé Cornet, and I hope she's going to win today. I hope there's going to be one French in the final of the Australian Open.

Q. Do you feel in order to win matches against great players you have to be playing great on offense, or do you think defense now is a very important part of your game?
MARION BARTOLI: Well, both. I mean, obviously if you want to win against those top players you have to be great in both situations, either defense or offense. There is no way you can play only offense the whole match. You need some defense sometimes.
If they put you on the run and you cannot put two balls on the court, they gonna beat you. I think it's important to be able to play both defense and offense and obviously be able to be great in both.
I think today, that's why I won, because in defense I was putting always some pressure to her, was always scrambling some balls, making her play this extra shot. And when I was in the offense, I was able to hit a lot of winners, so...

Q. Winning against the world No. 1, does this mean for you you can go all the way up? Is this something that pops up in your mind after a match like this?
MARION BARTOLI: Well, yes, of course. But when I'm stepping on the court, no matter who is my opponent on the other side of the net, I really feel I have some chances to win.
Even if I play against Jelena today, against the No. 1 in the world, even if I beat her today, doesn't mean I'm going to win the tournament. It's not working like that. There are some really tough players left into the draw, and I just hope to be able to achieve the same kind of matches in the quarterfinal, and maybe I will go all the way.

Q. Do you feel like if you play your best the next three matches that you really do have a chance to win the tournament?
MARION BARTOLI: Of course, yes. You know, I mean, as I say, I've been in the final of a Grand Slam before, and there is not a lot of players have been able to achieve that. So I think if I'm playing the same way I have a real chance, of course.

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