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March 15, 2009

Dinara Safina


7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you comment on your performance today against Shuai Peng?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I don't know. Very far from my best, you know, but I'm still happy that I won the match in two sets. When you win the matches in two sets and you know you're far from the best, it just gives you confidence that even if you're not playing your best you still win the matches.
I'm really looking forward for my next round.

Q. Are you struggling with your game a little bit at the moment?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I just don't know. Today it was strange. Normally I won the set, you know, 7-5, and have to be on a roll. Suddenly I stopped in the middle of the second set. I was like, What I'm doing? Just play.
Suddenly I started to be a little bit more aggressive, but, I don't know.

Q. How about your serve? Are you happy with it right now?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I'm happy, I think. You know, I made lots of points with my serve. Just one game, at 3-2, and I'm not sure what happened. Just did some stupid mistakes, and then suddenly two double faults came in. Overall I serve for the set and for the match, and I won them at zero.

Q. This is another tournament where if you get to a certain stage you can be No. 1. When it happens each week like this, is it becoming a bit of a burden for you?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, no. I don't think about this, you know. If I deserve to be there, I'll get there. Doesn't matter this tournament or next tournament or during the year, you know. There is many tournaments to coming.
But definitely if I play like this, I do not deserve to be there. If I want to be there, I have to level out my game.

Q. This is such a big tournament, and yet Sveta lost, Elena lost, Jankovic lost, you're saying you didn't play your best today. Can you pinpoint a reason?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, the only reason can be that we all played in Doha and we didn't have enough time. I mean, really, I had 10 days off and straight to practice.
You know, it's -- it feels like we didn't even stop, so maybe we're still a little bit in the head like tired, you know. So I think this is the only way, and that's all.
But, sure, you know, the year is long. It's third tournament of the year, fourth for some people. We will find our level, and we will show our tennis.

Q. Are you feeling mentally tired at the moment?
DINARA SAFINA: Not tired, but just sometimes like I play the match and I suddenly realize, I'm not even thinking what I'm doing. It would never happen to me. Normally I would win a set and I would level out my game.
Then I was like, Okay, at least I realized what I was doing wrong, otherwise I would go to the third set. Maybe just this, that for some reason you play and play, and suddenly you're off the court for a while and then you're coming back.

Q. What do you do to recharge your batteries when you're not on tour and constantly practicing? Do you have some rituals or activities you do to ground yourself, to center yourself?
DINARA SAFINA: I think the best is just -- I don't know, for me, the best part to relax my mind is just go in the city. For my case, I would say I would like to go just shopping. Doesn't mean I will buy something, but just to look around. This is completely -- this relaxes me, you know. Just look at the things around, and that's help for me.

Q. What about the next round, which is against Jill Craybas? What are your thoughts about that?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, she beat some very good players here. We played a couple times, and actually played last year here first round. I'm just really looking forward for this match and playing my game.

Q. On a physical level, you're stronger maybe than ever. How do you work hard if the tournament is so close? What do you do in the gym? How do you keep the regimen going on?
DINARA SAFINA: I have a fitness coach who is doing this for me. I just do like he says. I think the best part, the most important part for me was not so much physically. I think it's just that I lost weight, you know. I think this was the most important, you know. If you lose eight kilos it helps you. You're much quicker on the court.

Q. You've come so close to winning two Grand Slam titles recently. What do you think it would take to give you that next little bit of an edge so that you can finally win one?
DINARA SAFINA: Just to have another chance.

Q. What would you do differently the next chance, aside from winning?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, just enjoy it a little bit more, you know.
I think I put -- I was stepping in there just to win it, and then I just get so tight, you know. Just next one I'll try just enjoy. You know, once you are enjoying the court, you know, the match, you just go for a much more.
I will just try to enjoy as much as I can, and let's see if the results will change.

Q. What lessons have you learned from your brother's experiences?
DINARA SAFINA: Just not to do like he's doing. Do completely opposite from him. (laughter.)

Q. Well, on that note, you know, you are slowly but surely becoming more famous than him. More in the spotlight. Do you tease him about this? Is there any little game about that?
DINARA SAFINA: No. No. For me, he's my big brother, and still, I mean, the people -- today one person is coming up to me asking me if I'm the sister for Marat. I'm like, Yeah. Are you playing tennis? And I look at them like, Well, okay, yes, I'm also tennis player. I'm still I think known more as his sister.

Q. When you go through a press conference like this and your brother is not brought up, no one talks about him at all, do go back to the locker room and celebrate?
DINARA SAFINA: Yeah, but it never happen, you know. There was no press conference where they would not ask about my brother.
So you see, even today you ask, so I cannot celebrate. (laughter.)

Q. Do you feel like more pressure as the No. 1 seed? Does it affect you at all?
DINARA SAFINA: Not really, no. Because I try to concentrate on the opponent who I am playing. I'm not looking even at the draw.
I just -- I even ask him who I'm playing in the next round, because I just pick one player, who I'm playing next. For me, I don't feel pressure.

Q. How are you influenced by the crowd? If the crowd is cheering for you, does that help you?
DINARA SAFINA: Oh, definitely helps, you know. Having the crowd behind you is the best thing that can happen, you know. Because when you don't have the crowd -- because they can pull you out, you know. You start to fight, and then, I don't know, they support you.
And in my case, it helps me. I like when the crowd is behind me.

Q. Do you wish Venus and Serena were here?
DINARA SAFINA: I mean, if they would be here, it would be the best, you know, because we want to play against the best players. You know, in my case, I want to compete against them to see, you know, where I'm at, which level. But I have a chance next week in Miami.

Q. Have you been paying attention to the tournament and seen all the girls who have lost?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, but they're not in my part of the draw, so I don't care.

Q. Do you socialize with Venus and Serena and the other top players?
DINARA SAFINA: We know each other. It's not like -- because once you get there, like higher in the level, that's what I realize. You just -- you speak less, but it doesn't mean that you are a mean person, you become cocky. It's just you start to have your own routine and your own team with whom you're talking more.
Of course, we all say good morning. How are you? But that's -- sometimes -- sometimes there would be something to talk. But sometimes you go to the locker room from the practice, and maybe the coaches are waiting for lunch. So you come in in a rush. Okay, but I have to take shower and I have to leave.
I think that some people said that I became more cocky and I don't speak. But you just live in your own world, so you don't even sometimes see the people, so...
We don't talk too much to each other.

End of FastScripts

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