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March 17, 2009

Dinara Safina


D. SAFINA/J. Craybas
7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I was just kind of curious, Marat, he never plays really that well here, but you seem to be playing very well. Can you just talk about the playing conditions here and maybe do you have any reasons maybe why your brother struggles here?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, it's not easy to play here, you know. There is mountains and the ball flies a little bit more. So I guess this is the reason. The air is much drier than usually in some other countries, so for some people it suits, some people not.

Q. So does it suit you, do you think?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I keep winning, so it does. (Laughter.)

Q. You've frequently used the on-court coaching. Can you talk a little bit how that's helped your game?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, you know, it's always good to see other opinion, because sometimes you play into the match and you really don't realize what is right, what you're doing right or wrong. You know, it's always helpful.
I mean, today I didn't use it. But most of the times when it's very tight, it helps.

Q. Does it help settle your nerves to have your coach out there, too?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, it does help, because, you know, to see what's going on. Sometimes you start rushing and you just don't know what's going on. And like this, it helps. He comes, and says, Okay, try to focus a little bit more on this, a little bit more on that.

Q. When Marat decided to retire, that he was going to retire this year, when did he tell you? What was your reaction when he told you?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, he was supposed to retire already last year. (laughter.) He's keep playing. You know, for me it doesn't matter. I just want him to be happy, you know.
He had a very long career. He had a successful career. And if for any reason he's not enjoying anymore -- I mean, because by the years, you know, he play the same tournaments through the whole life, you know. And I guess you come to the routine, and it's everything the same, same people.
So if it doesn't make you happy it makes no sense. So I just want him to be happy.

Q. You've play tennis all your life. You've been around tennis all your life with your mom and all that and the club. Do you think you missed out on anything outside of tennis?
DINARA SAFINA: I think so. You know, it's -- because we have no other life, you know. We don't know anything. You know, basically when we stop tennis we have to learn so many new things. It's not easy to learn by age 30 or what to do in your life. I think that's why many players keep playing, because they try to stop but they cannot find themself.
Because like this, you know, you're playing tennis, you have to go to practice, and suddenly you stop and you have so much time. You need to occupy that. I mean, it's great for some people who has a family then. You know, they take care of their kids.
But some of them, they don't have family. I think it's not an easy to finish the tennis and to decide what you want to do in your life.

Q. Have you found some other things outside of the court that really interest you that maybe some day you'll pursue more?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, in my case, you know, I have -- I would like to have a family, you know. This would be the first thing, you know. Because I really love kids, you know. This, in my case, I would try to find husband. (laughter.)

Q. That's the first thing, yeah.
DINARA SAFINA: Yeah, to have babies. So this is going to be the main thing.
Well, and just grow them up and give all the love that I have to them.
Beside tennis, I don't know. It also depends where I'm going to live, you know. I mean, for sure it's going to be something with tennis or with sport. Manager, I have to learn many things about this. But I would like to experiment myself.

Q. You say you feel like you missed out on things, some things growing up. What do you think you missed out on, and would you change it?
DINARA SAFINA: Basically, this, you know, to have -- like kids, you know, they go to school and they have so many friends, you know. I come to Moscow -- it's good now. I have two, three friends, but there was a moment there was nobody. You come home and you just -- you sit at home, and there's nothing else to do.
So now I start to create friends, you know. It's not easy, because you can meet many fake people, and especially now when you're higher ranked, you know, so many friends are going to be there. Like friends, you know.
So this kind of -- because when you grow up from school, then you know they're really friends. So I think this, just hang around and just play the games. These things I think I missed.

Q. Do you think you can have real friendships on the tennis tour? Do you find that some of them are also fake?
DINARA SAFINA: There is no friendship, you know. As I always say, we're colleagues. Of course we talk to each other, but for sure you cannot say to the girl how you feel, you know, that something is bothering you. Maybe today you woke up on the wrong foot.
I don't know, maybe somebody -- maybe a phone call. I mean, I had in Australia before the match and they told me my grandfather died. To whom can I go and cry except my team? My brother I can go, but if I tell to one of the players, what's she going to go and talk to the opponent, you know, she's feeling bad. Her grandfather just died.
So these things are tough, you know. But like this you always can call on the phone, call and to say like -- and to cry on your calls.

Q. That was your mother's father or father's father?
DINARA SAFINA: My father's father.

Q. Were you close to him?
DINARA SAFINA: I mean, yeah, very close, you know. It's -- it was -- they didn't told me, actually, and it was strange. I was sitting at the table, and suddenly my manager comes and says, you know, I'm sorry, your grandfather died. It was already like two weeks ago and I had no idea because my parents didn't want me -- because I was playing the tournament.
I really was shocked. Then I called my parents and I was like, Is it true? Because it was like in the relaxing way. And they said, Yeah, it happened, you know. I was glad that I just saw him before I left Australia.
Because when I came from off-season, I was like, Well, I want to see my grandfather. And it's like -- I guess at least I saw him, and...

Q. So your manager said that just before the final or...
DINARA SAFINA: No, it was before my match against Kanepi.

Q. That must have been difficult to bring that all the way through, huh? You still managed to win?
DINARA SAFINA: But then you just -- I mean, he was 90 years old, so it was already -- you start to feel like, okay, one day it can come, you know. You always wish they can live forever, everybody.
Then I just said, Okay, I try to win this match for him. Actually, I wanted to win the tournament for him. Pity I lost in the final.

Q. What did he do for a job, your grandfather?
DINARA SAFINA: He was in the World War, actually. And after that, I mean, it's -- when I started to grow up, he was already retired. So he didn't do anything, you know.
But he was just so much into the tennis, you know. My grandmother, his wife, passed away, and he was really down. My mom said like once, Just live for the grandkids, you know. They still need you. It was in the great moment that my brother started to play good.
Suddenly he went so much into the tennis, and whenever I would go, he was like, Work hard, come on -- everything. It was like -- it was really amazing support that he was giving.
I mean, by the age 90, he would still like be so much. He would call my father and ask, What's going on? Why's he losing?
My mom is like, No problem. Everything okay. He was really like so into it.

Q. Because your brother was so popular and famous as you were growing up, was that added pressure for you to succeed, or was it an asset for you that you had that brother, or can you comment on that?
PLAYER NAME: Well, let's say in my case, you know, I was -- I always wanted to become something myself. So for me, of course, it was a pressure, you know. Brother is playing great. You know, I walk around and the people like, Oh, you're little sister of Marat, and I didn't have the result. It was some kind of pressure.
I always feel like I want to do something better, and I feel like I can be better than I am at that time, you know, than I was.
And for me, I would say it was pressure, because I was really pushing myself to do every time better.

Q. How much stronger do you think you became growing up by the fact that everything was on tennis, you had to work for tennis, you had to get up and practice, and there wasn't the friends growing up and regular school and all that? Has that in one sense made you very strong, very tough?
DINARA SAFINA: Strong? From other hand, you know, when you enjoy more life, it gets easier. Maybe if I had friends, I would hang around more, and I would not be so disappointing every time I would lose a match, because like this you give 100%. I mean, I was giving everything what I have, and I'm still giving everything what I have into the tennis.
So like this is more disappointing. You lose, and you're like, God, like I give everything and I'm losing, and this was like hurting me.
I don't know. It's two points. From other hand if I had other life, I would enjoy more and maybe I would take the loses easier. But this always keeping me, pushing always harder. So I don't know.

Q. So what about your next match, then? Azarenka?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, it's, you know -- we played three times last year. I won three times. She's playing her best tennis. I think she's playing great.
You know, I really want to play against her, and, you know, to show my best. We'll see who's going to end up stronger tomorrow.

Q. Are you able to keep No. 1, the No. 1 ranking in the back of your mind or is it right here now?
DINARA SAFINA: I always try to focus. You know, it has to come, it comes. If I deserve to be there, I will be there. Doesn't matter comes this week, next week, or during the year.
The same I think by Jankovic, every time she was playing last year, any time she had could get No. 1, and she was every time losing that match. But then it came.
So I always say with hard work and giving 100%, whenever it comes, if it has to come. It come. So I'm not trying to really focus on it.

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