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June 23, 2009

Dinara Safina


D. SAFINA/L. Dominguez Lino
7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: We have Dinara Safina for you. Questions, please.

Q. You've come really close before, but do you think Wimbledon this year will be your first Grand Slam win?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, it's still too far to speak. You know, just first week and I just played my first match. So, you know, I always take one match at a time. You know, every match I can improve. I won today, so I'll try to play my next match better.
I'll take one step at a time, and let's see how far I can get this time.

Q. You mentioned after the match you have a knee injury. Can you give us more details about how long that's bothered you, what exactly the problem is?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I have a tendonitis on my knee. It's been bothering me already since April, since clay court season. On some tournaments, I'm playing just on Voltaren, because like it's so painful to go on the knee on the serve.
And it been okay. And then since I came on grass -- French Open was perfect. The whole tournament I played fine. Started last week already in Holland because of grass. It's softer, so I have to push more. It's been bothering me. I started to take again Voltaren.
Today I had to take one more than during the match because at one moment I just could not go down anymore on my knee it was so painful.
But I had a treatment here, a physio. So, I mean, hopefully I can play. It's nothing that's killing me.

Q. You're not worried that you may have to pull out?
DINARA SAFINA: No, no. This is too far to speak about it. No, no.

Q. She gave you a match. Everybody thought it would be over in half an hour, but she gave you a match.
DINARA SAFINA: Yeah, actually I play her also a couple of times, and every time I had an easy match. I played against her on the clay courts where it's her surface.
Yeah, I think I had to take much more my opportunities, because she always gave a chance. But I was not stepping in enough, and also I had so many easy volleys that I had to kill them and I just played them. She played them a little bit too soft.
I think she also played some great tennis. She was mixing it up well. I think she did play some great match today.

Q. What did you learn most from your experience at the end of the French Open?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, it was disappointing, that loss really. Stepped in on the court and I knew I had a good chance, but I just -- you know, this wanting to win a Grand Slam, it took over me.
Instead of just focusing on the match, what exactly I have to do, I went on the court just not to lose because I wanted so badly to win.
Hopefully next match I can -- I know it's not easy to take like just to go out there and have fun and play. It's not easy, because you know it's a Grand Slam and it's a last match and of course you want to win.
But somehow to let it go, to just to focus more on my game than on result of the match.

Q. There were times during that match when you were looking to your coach and he was looking to you. What was going on there, and how do you try to channel that into maybe less pressure than it seemed to be during that final?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I mean, he cannot say anything once he's up there. He told me enough what I had to do during the match and before the match, so I knew what I had to do. I saw the opportunities, but I just was not -- the emotions that took it over, so I was not able to deal with it.

Q. None of us have been in that moment to win a major. When you say you have to let go, how can you let go?
DINARA SAFINA: I mean, this is next step that I have to do. I mean, I cannot control win or lose. I can control my game. Nobody knows once you step on the court you gonna win today or gonna lose. You're trying to do your best to win.
You know, like me, I will fight till the end. I will try to win the match. But I went on the court with too much just not to lose instead of thinking like, Okay, what I have to do point by point, step by step. I was already thinking too much like not to lose, so I went already with the wrong thinking on the court.

Q. Have you looked at a tape of that match?
DINARA SAFINA: No (smiling).

Q. Will you ever?
DINARA SAFINA: Maybe after a while I will look, but too disappointing for me.

Q. So is your job kind of to forget it or to remember it and change it for the next time?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I would say it's point of two. I can also say that I have to forget it, because, uhm, that's not the way I want to play, like this.
But from the other hand, I can remember what I did wrong and, you know, like to not do it anymore. Like I know like I lost last year final in the French Open, and I did the same this year. Exactly the same mistake I did. I was before the match already, the day before I was already stressed. I had to learn from the last year.
So God knows, maybe third time I will be... you know until I didn't hit my head against the wall and say, Okay, God. It's nothing. It's another match. It's a final. But first I think what I have to do.

Q. If I have it right, you have a brother who is pretty good at this game. If had you to summarize in a word, what makes Marat such a special guy?
DINARA SAFINA: I think he's -- let's say, he is how he is. He is honest and he doesn't hide anything. Like he is natural person. Like he's not fake. Like he is how he is, on the court, off the court. He is not a style like walking that nobody can touch to get to him.
No, he will help anybody and he's friendly and easygoing, I would say.

Q. Where did that come from? Was that always there, or something that he's learned over the years?
DINARA SAFINA: I think I would say we are both like this. I also pretty open and honest. You know, I think it comes with education. You know, it's how you grow up. These things you learn by the kid how to be.
You know, you cannot learn with 20 years and saying like, Okay, somebody comes for the help, you need to help this person. No. When you grow up, you learn these things. If somebody, you know, if like some older person comes to you, you have to have respect to him. You cannot be mean. You learn this as a kid.
But from the other hand, he has like this charisma, like humor. You cannot learn this. Either you have it or you don't have it. So I think these things he has.

Q. This is his final Wimbledon. How many racquets do you think he will break this year?
DINARA SAFINA: He's set down, so I don't know if he has already broke racquet. I haven't even watched one point from him, sorry .

Q. Everybody is kind of waiting for you to get your first Grand Slam title. What, for you, would it mean to have the first Grand Slam title?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, it's my other dream, you know. My dream was to become No. 1 as a kid. And now like, you know, to hold a trophy from the Grand Slam, so it's another my big dream.
So maybe that's why. I know that I have a potential. I know that I have everything to have it. So that somehow I need to put this everything together the last match.

Q. About your coach, can you describe what you might have been working on with him to lessen the pressure? It did look so tense, even in your body language, when you were communicating with him during that final.
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I don't know. I think he knows me better than anybody else. I would say he knows me better than my mom, and he sees me playing like this.
He just looks and he's like, How you can be like so tight? I mean, he understands everything. He played himself.
Or like he knows exactly what I have to do, and suddenly I'm not doing this or I'm playing completely the opposite game from what he's telling me. He says, I just don't know what to tell you when you're doing completely the wrong thing.
I'm looking at you like French Open. He told me, Be aggressive. Hit this ball there and there. Finish the point. I'm playing completely opposite. He says, I sit there and I'm hopeless, because you're doing completely opposite thing from what you know how to do.

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