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January 21, 2009

Dinara Safina


D. SAFINA/E. Makarova
6-7, 6-3, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You've now had 70 unforced errors in your first two matches. Is that a concern?
DINARA SAFINA: In both matches 70?

Q. Yes, combined.
DINARA SAFINA: Thanks for telling me (smiling).
Well, actually I'm not focusing on them, like how many I do unforced errors. I'm just trying to find my game. I'm trying to be aggressive, so that's normal that I'm going to have some unforced errors.
Well, it is too much. But so I have another chance to improve, to have them less.

Q. Do you feel like anything has changed since Sydney?
DINARA SAFINA: I think after I lost the first set, then I really played my game afterwards. I really stepped in and I was going for my shots. I think I played good match today.

Q. What happened in that first set?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I had a slow start. You know, I think I played poorly until 5-1. I didn't do anything. I was waiting for her mistakes.
But after 5-1, I started to play better. I started just a little bit go for a little bit more. Straight it was 5-All, 6-5 for me. Then again I went back away from my game. I played poor tiebreak.
But once I lost it, I was like, if I don't change, I'll go home. So then I think I really stepped in and I think from 3-All I won all the games.

Q. So you're not concerned about your form?
DINARA SAFINA: Uhm, that's good, because I still -- I feel like there is so much inside of me that I can improve. You know, there is still so much room because I've been working hard.
I think today, in the third set, they were the shots like I've been working on. Even I winning the matches and I still feel there is so much more inside, so I have to let it go.

Q. What about your second serve? You only won 27% of points today. Are you concerned about that area of your game?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, after the first set I think I had no problems anymore on my serve. Just first set was poorly. So doesn't matter what was the serve, forehand, backhand. Everything was not aggressive enough.
Because once I became aggressive I had no more problems holding my serve.

Q. Given the conditions are different today, did it make any difference to the way the ball played?
DINARA SAFINA: I think it's just physically much easier to play. Like little cool breeze you have. It's not exhausting, you know. When it's heat, it's tough. But I think it's much nicer to play with these conditions than when it's much hotter. The hotter it gets, the ball bouncing much higher. I like it more today.

Q. You had some frustrations in Sydney, too. Did you come to Melbourne thinking it would be a bit easier down here, or do you still feel a bit frustrated with your game?
DINARA SAFINA: I think now I'm on the right way, on the right track, you know. I think it's getting better.

Q. You always emphasize playing aggressively. Have you ever had matches where you feel maybe you played too aggressively, went for too much?
DINARA SAFINA: No. That's why because I play, like first round, I was opposite from aggressive. It was try to push even more the ball, you know. You know, that's the problem. I better lose the match being aggressive than lose the match and being passive. Whenever I'm passive, I lose. That's what happens every time. I lost the tiebreak because I was passive.
So once really I want to lose the match just saying like, Oh, I was too aggressive. So I'm trying to get this.

Q. When did this idea come to you? Was it Berlin where it sort of clicked?
DINARA SAFINA: Yeah, 'cause, you know, without going for the shots, you know, without risk, you never gonna be successful. Yeah, maybe that's how I won the first round. I was not -- the girl actually lost to me. I didn't win any point.
But I prefer like play my game and lose. Then inside, you know, for your satisfaction, you know, it just wasn't my day. But when you lose without doing anything, too many things goes into your mind, like why I was passive? Why I was not going for my shots? There is so many questions.
So it's better like just saying, It's not my day, than question hundred times yourself.

Q. You put so much passion into your tennis. What do you do away when you leave the courts to relax?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I think honestly I'm the laziest person. Nothing, nothing. Just sight-seeing, no. I'm so lazy to walk somewhere. I don't know. I guess when you practice, you work hard, to walk somewhere, like if I need to buy something I will walk.
But just to go to walk to the museum, no chance. I rather sit in the room. I can easily be 24 hours in the room without moving step from anywhere and just changing the channels on TV. That's how I am.

Q. Do you feel you're missing out on a lot by not sight-seeing?
DINARA SAFINA: It does, you know. When the people ask me, How was Melbourne? It was great. Tennis club and hotel was great (smiling). Sometimes it's really sad that I can just not say how it is. I would not say, I went there and I saw this.
But I guess maybe I'm still young thinking about this. Once you will get older, just by the age maybe. At the moment I'm maybe not interested in these things. Maybe older I will get, I'll be more interested in doing these kinds of things.

Q. It's not a Grand Slam thing? If you're at Indian Wells or Miami, you don't go out for a cocktail or to the beach?
DINARA SAFINA: Yeah, I'll go to the South Beach just to Apple store. Because I know it's there, and I will move there to buy a laptop. But by myself to go there -- or maybe for the dinner I will go. But just to go there and walk around, not me.

Q. Are you concerned at all about your consistency? Do you think you need to be more consistent as the tournament goes on?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, by saying "consistent," it means not going for your shots. And I better go for my shots and I miss them than be consistent and pushing the ball. What's the point? I can make zero unforced errors if somebody wants, but just I will not hit any winner.
So it's better go for the shots. Yes, maybe hitting, you know, unforced errors, but I will still make more winners than unforced errors to win the match.

Q. Your level, you lost the first set. If you have a match like that later on in the tournament it could hurt you.
DINARA SAFINA: But after I won 6-3, 6-Love. That's what I was looking for after. I forgot the first set. But then I stepped in, I increased my level, and I played my game.
From 3-All I haven't lost one game. I don't think she had many chances afterwards.

Q. What's the biggest difference being one of the top seeds at a Grand Slam?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, difference? Now when I practice there is more people standing watching me, that I get better court, that I'm not anymore Marat's sister (smiling). That's different.
No, I mean, also, from other hand, when you step in on the court the people, they coming to support you. They see you bigger. Before, really, I was known as Marat's sister, nothing else. Yes, I had some success, but I cannot compare to what I have now.
So I prefer to be in this case than last year, you know.

Q. How do you like your new schedule this year? Is it easier to play this year?
DINARA SAFINA: I think this question I can answer the end of the year, because it's still beginning of the year.

Q. How do you see the new schedule?
DINARA SAFINA: I think it's good. We have more time to prepare for the tournaments. I think it looks good. The end of the year I will say like was I really exhausted or not.
Last year, really, it was no time to rest at all. Since Berlin it was crazy. I was going from tournament to tournament, week after the week. There was no place that at least I could stay for a week or two weeks and just calm down and practice. It was too much coming up.

End of FastScripts

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