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June 30, 2009

Dinara Safina


D. SAFINA/S. Lisicki
6-7, 6-4, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. At Rome this year when you played Zheng Jie you came back from 5-2 down to win 7-5, but you came off court upset saying, Sometimes I go out on court and it's like someone else playing. It was frustrating for you. Do you still feel like that at times?

Q. Sorry, not a very easy question. How is your knee?
DINARA SAFINA: Knee is great.
No, I would say sometimes I don't do the things that I have to. Like even if I'm doubting or something, but I still have to do it. And it was a little bit disappointing because yesterday was a good match, and today again I had a very slow start, like I'm playing half of my tennis until I'm not down, and then I start to play better.
So this is -- that's what I getting disappointing. That's why I don't start from the beginning the way I was ending yesterday match. Like I was hitting the ball, again today I starting again slow start. I let her to play, instead of from the first point starting to dictate myself.

Q. After the way the French Open ended, what are your thoughts on the accomplishment of getting this far here?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I never got so far, so whenever I win the match I'm really happy. But, you know, I'm enjoying, taking one match at a time, and at the moment it's working.

Q. What are your thoughts on facing Venus and the challenge that that presents for you?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, definitely this is her best surface. She loves playing here in Wimbledon. You know, I just want to go out there. I have nothing to lose. You know, go out there, play the way I can play. You know, I played her in Rome and I beat her in Rome.
So I know what she's doing. I know her weapons. I have my weapons. So I just want to go out there, play my best, and let's see.

Q. Why do you think she's so difficult on grass and how does that make for a different type of match than when you did beat her?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, just a little bit different here. It's -- I don't know. I never play her on grass, so I don't know exactly what is different. But I don't know. Now actually on the baseline it's already like a clay court playing, because there is no grass anymore, so...
Maybe because it's faster, but I don't know. I want to play her on grass and see what's different, then after the match I can say.

Q. Another Grand Slam semifinal. Do you feel like you're not getting the respect you deserve?
DINARA SAFINA: I guess now the people cannot say why I'm not No. 1 without Grand Slam title. It's true. I mean, all four Grand Slams I been in semis, so I think it's something impressive.

Q. You had a slow start today. Obviously that will be dangerous in your next match against Venus, no?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, definitely. Especially with her you cannot have a slow start because here it is so fast. So I have to really go on court pumped from the first point.

Q. Are you working specifically on the mental side of your game?
DINARA SAFINA: If I would work, I would not serve 250 double-faults today, (laughter) because it's just my brain sometimes doesn't do the things that I have to do.

Q. It took Marat maybe a career to sort of become comfortable and like grass. Can you maybe say you've condensed that learning curve into one tournament?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, he did it by the age of 28, and I do it by the age of 23. So I do it earlier.
Actually, I think, yeah, I can play on grass. Because before it was fighting on grass, but now actually I don't even fight anymore against the grass. I'm enjoying it.

Q. Your mother and Richard Williams have achieved the same thing: bringing two children to No. 1. Have they ever met or compared the systems?
DINARA SAFINA: No, not really. No, they didn't met.

Q. Have you ever compared your story to the one of the Williams sisters, two siblings being so successful?
DINARA SAFINA: Not really that I compare. Okay, they have a little bit different. At the moment they still have both of them Grand Slams. I'm still learning. I'm still there. I still have room to improve.

Q. Even though you're the No. 1, can you go into this match with really not much to lose, considering Venus' record here and her success?
DINARA SAFINA: Let's say don't misunderstand that I have nothing to lose because I am playing her. No, because let's say she likes playing here on grass. I want just to go out there and play my best tennis.
I cannot go on court thinking I lost already. No, definitely I think I have a chance there. And, you know, I know what I have to do on the court, and I want to do it next match.

Q. Did your brother ever tell you anything about Wimbledon before you'd played here?

Q. Were you satisfied today playing Lisicki instead of the tennis player Wozniacki?
DINARA SAFINA: On the other hand I beat Wozniacki in Rome, and Lisicki I lost. Of course, I wanted the revenge. It's not easy playing her here on grass because she has a good game. I'm still happy that I beat her.

Q. Did you appreciate the fact that she came out for the last two games injured?
DINARA SAFINA: I don't know exactly what she had in injury, so I don't know exactly what she had.

Q. How does your level of confidence right now compare with when you started the tournament?
DINARA SAFINA: Okay, my first tournament on grass didn't end up very good. I had again disappointing loss against Tanasugarn. But here, yeah, no, I came here and just said like, Okay, I take one match at a time.
You know, every day I was improving and improving. I think I'm getting better and better playing here.

Q. Where did these 15 double-faults come from?
DINARA SAFINA: 15? I thought it was much more (smiling).
Yeah, I don't know. Sometimes even I don't know what I'm doing with my serve. I mean, yesterday's match I'm serving the whole third set very good. Suddenly I warm up, I'm serving good, everything good, and suddenly I come and just... I think for the serve, it's not me there serving.
Because there I say like, Okay, go down, go up, do this. Then I toss the ball and I'm already by the fence running. I am just escaping the serve.

Q. Don't you think it's strange that this happens mostly to the Russians? The Russian girls are very strong, but Kournikova was able to do 25 double-faults, Dementieva 20 and even more; you today 15. How do you explain it?
DINARA SAFINA: By me, just that I go away from the serve. Okay, I start the serve, but I don't end up the shot. I'm going away. That's why I'm serving double-faults. I'm not finishing the serve. It's kind of technical.
But I don't know what's exactly there, what problems.

Q. How would you compare the mental challenge of facing somebody that maybe you're not supposed to beat versus somebody you are supposed to beat?
DINARA SAFINA: I didn't get.

Q. You're now playing somebody that most people think is the favorite, Venus Williams. Up until now you've played many players who you're expected to beat. How is that different for you?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, it's just really to go out there. It's 50/50 match. You know, enjoy and play the best, because I know to beat her I have to play my best tennis.
So just to go out there and, you know, do what I can do.

Q. What do you mean a 50/50 match?
DINARA SAFINA: Like this. If I play my best and she plays the best, it's 50/50 who gonna win the match. I don't think if I play my best tennis and she plays the best tennis that she's the favorite. I think I still have a chance.

End of FastScripts

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