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March 22, 2009

Vera Zvonareva


V. ZVONAREVA/A. Ivanovic
7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. She said in the end you were more mentally tough, and that's what it took out there. Do you agree with that? Because of the wind and everything.
VERA ZVONAREVA: Well, yeah, you know, I wasn't paying attention to what was going on on the other side. I was trying to concentrate on myself. After a couple of games I knew that the conditions are very difficult and it's not going to probably change today and I have to fight for every point, I have to adjust my game.
I think I did pretty well. You know, I was trying to -- even though I had some mistakes and some frustrating points with the wind, I was still trying to put as many balls as I can in the court. It was very important today to try to stay, try to concentrate, try to keep my serves, serve percentage as high as possible.
Yeah, I think probably, you know, I was fighting for every point no matter what. Even if I was down Love-40 in the game I was playing for it. Maybe I was a little bit better at doing that today than Ana.

Q. Your thoughts, emotions, feelings at the moment, having won your biggest title?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I think, I mean, it's amazing. It's a great feeling to win such a big event, and I think I'm still a little bit into the match, halls into this crazy wind, and I'm still a little not realizing it.
But definitely, I mean, tomorrow I would look back, I would say, Yeah, I mean, I did a great job.

Q. You've been a very, very good player for seven years now, but it took this long to win a title this size. Can you talk a little bit about the journey and really deep down how much it means to you?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I think it means a lot, because I've been close to such a big titles quite a few times last year in the past. But now I was able to win it, and I was, I don't know, playing tough opponents throughout the whole tournament.
It feels great that I was able to win every single match. I think it will help a lot in the future to be able to know what it takes to win those, you know, long, like, two-weeks' events. Because before, I think it was tough for me to stay in the tournament when I played tough opponents back to back, two, three matches in a row. I think I wouldn't be able to handle it, to go fourth, fifth, and sixth match like this.
I think now I'm much more mature, and I'm able to do it, to play and stay concentrated so many matches in a row.

Q. There are so many good Russian women. Do you ever feel in your own country that you have to struggle to get attention because there's so many others?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I don't know. It depends what attention you want to get. I think we're all quite known in our country. But of course there are lots of Russian players, and of course they get lots of attention as well.
I don't really pay attention to what's going on around them. Just, you know, trying to play good tennis and try to work hard and improve.

Q. Is there a Russian player that you aspired to play like when you were younger?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I think Yevgeny Kafelnikov. I used to love to watch him play. He obviously was one of the biggest Russian athletes.

Q. If you look at your peer group, Myskina, Kuznetsova, and then Maria comes later, then Dementieva is doing well. Why do you think they were able to win the big titles before you were, give that your ability level is very close to theirs, if not as close?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I don't know what that happens. You never know what's going to happen. Elena Dementieva, everyone was approaching her a few years back that she's probably the best player who never won the title. Then she ended up -- I don't know how many she has now. A lot.
So you never know how your career will turn around. But like I said, I think I'm more experienced and mature right now, and I'm more ready for this at the moment. Maybe I wasn't ready for this kind of title a few years ago.

Q. Any plans to celebrate before heading to Miami?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I have no idea yet, but I will probably go to LA, and then I'll catch a flight from there. So hopefully I can maybe get a nice dinner somewhere over there. (laughter.)

Q. Can you talk about this tournament and, you know, why it's such a big one to win? What it means to players and to you?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I think it's very big. I've been watching this tournament since I was a kid, you know. It's been on TV back home since, I don't know, so many years. It's basically one of the biggest events after the major, yeah.
So I think it means a lot to everyone who is able to win it, because you have to beat so many top players on the way to get the title.

Q. Do you think you can talk about using this tournament as a basis for future confidence, future runs at the Slams? Do you think you can get to a Slam final in the near future?
VERA ZVONAREVA: Well, the future will show what I can do in the Slams, but it will definitely give me more experience. I will definitely know better how I have to prepare myself for these big matches, and to prepare myself to be able to play back-to-back matches against top players throughout not only, like, three-, four-day period, but throughout two weeks. Hopefully it can help me in the Slams.

Q. Before today, what was the most bizarre, toughest conditions you've played in before today?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I think I've played before in a similar condition in Doha. It was the tournament in Doha. Not the Championships, but the one in February. I think we also had a sand storm over there. It had been very bad for a few days. Actually, I made finals over there, so...

Q. Have you ever been aced on the second serve which you couldn't reach before?

Q. Were you aced on a second serve, or did I get...
VERA ZVONAREVA: Oh, well, yeah. I'm sure I got aced on the second serve before, but I'm not sure if it was ace that I couldn't actually get in front of me.

Q. Was the wind here worse than Doha, to you?
VERA ZVONAREVA: It's different. You feel like it's, like, swirling around inside. I felt like Doha, the wind was more like one direction maybe. It was easier to handle. The balls were heavier over there, so it was a little bit easier to control.
I felt like here the ball's much lighter, so it's more difficult to control the ball in the windy conditions.

Q. What's it feel like to suddenly be $700,000 richer? (laughter.)
VERA ZVONAREVA: I don't know. I don't really think about it.

Q. You don't think about $700,000?
VERA ZVONAREVA: No, not really. (laughter.)
You know, once you go out there on the court, you try to fight -- I have been doing this for 15 years, and I'm working hard. You know, every day working very, very hard for it. For me, the most important thing is to be able to go out there and execute my game to be able to prove that I can do it, to be able to show what kind of tennis I can play.
It's not only -- it's mostly for myself, because I'm capable of -- I know I'm capable of doing it. It's just today I had to go on the court and prove it.
I think it's much more important to me than the $700,000.

Q. But you will cash the check?
VERA ZVONAREVA: Yeah, I will. (laughter.) Why not?

Q. Can you talk about what Sam brought you in terms of your tennis and your confidence?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I think Sam supports me a lot. For the past three years he was a great support and he taught me a lot. He has his own view on my game. I think he really knows me as a person well, so he really knows what to tell me and how to make me go out there and produce my best tennis.
So I think it's very important.

Q. You played at a high level in singles this week, but you also played a high level of doubles to win the doubles title. Can you talk about the whole week, playing singles and doubles, how difficult it was, or did it help you in singles this week?
VERA ZVONAREVA: It was very difficult. It was -- after two, three rounds it's okay, but after you reaching the semifinal, it makes it very difficult.
I was lucky I was able to play one match a day, most of the times one match a day, one single, one double, so it helped.
But like I don't think I will be playing doubles next week in Miami, because I think it's going to be just too much for me.

Q. With all the great education you're getting, when you're done with your tennis, do you want a career outside of tennis?
VERA ZVONAREVA: Yeah, for sure. I think I would like to be involved in different things. I like to explore things. I like to learn. I like to -- like I go to school. I like to study. I like to try to do different things after my career for sure.

Q. A few years ago when you were weren't playing well, you would get frustrated, you would cry tears of frustration. After great victory like this, do you allow yourself tears of happiness?
VERA ZVONAREVA: You know, I think that most people think that sometimes I cry on the court, but I don't. I just let the emotions out. You just let everything, you just let yourself relax, and that's it. That's how it goes.
It can happen when you're happy, when you're upset, any time. You just let the emotions out, and that's about it.
Most of the people take it as a frustration, and I think it's a biggest mistake. I think it's your emotions, and you let them out then it helps you to be better in the next hour or next moment. You get better.
People think when you break a racquet, you're frustrated and you can't play after that anymore. I don't think it's right. Maybe some players, they can't, but some players let their emotions out and then they feel much better and are able to concentrate on what they have to do.

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