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April 24, 2010

Elena Dementieva

Shamil Tarpischev


E. DEMENTIEVA/B. Mattek-Sands
6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Elena, that was a more challenging match than the rankings might have indicated. Can you speak about Bethanie's play and what makes her an interesting opponent.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, I think she was going into the match very relaxed, trying to enjoy. She was playing with lots of risk. She wanted to go make some spectacular shots, going for the winners.
I mean, for me it was not easy to play because of the situation Love-1 for us. It always feels a little bit more pressure when you have to win your match. So, yeah, it's never easy.
It was pretty emotional today, especially playing the first match on this surface, it always takes some time before you get used to it, to the atmosphere, to the court.
Yeah, it was not an easy win for me today.

Q. You're only 28, but you're a veteran of Fed Cup. 26th match you played today. What does Fed Cup still mean to you personally?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I always love to play Fed Cup. It's a life experience, you know, to be on a team. I learn so much from Shamil, from the other girls. It's a great experience for me as a player, as a person as well.
I think I have so many great matches, so many great wins, playing Fed Cup, representing my country. It really gives me a lot of emotions, lots of good memories for my career in general. Every time I play in the Fed Cup, you know, I just feel like, you know, I'm very proud to represent my country and play this competition.

Q. You mentioned you learned so much from Coach Shamil. Where has he helped you the most? What is he giving you that you're not getting elsewhere?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Shamil is probably one of the most experienced captains of all time. He's captain of the Federation Cup and the Davis Cup for such a long time, so he has a great experience helping us, giving us some great advice. I think he inspired us a lot during the match, during the competition in general.
I just try to learn every day from Shamil, trying to improve my game.

Q. Elena, it seemed like you two play similar styles. She was able to match your power. You hit strong groundstrokes. Do you think she's improved since the last time you played? Do you think you play fairly similar styles?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, I think we're trying to be aggressive on the court, trying to go for the winners. I think last time we played was a clay court, so it was a completely different match. But today I think it was pretty comfortable for both of us to play this kind of game. We feel pretty solid on the baseline. She was trying to go on the net and finish some points there. But I feel pretty good with a passing shot.
Yeah, I think the way we play we can say is pretty much similar.

Q. Shamil, can you talk about how important it was for Elena to win the match today so tomorrow you go into it 1-1?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: (Through translation.) Today was pretty good. There was nothing more than we could expect or wish for.

Q. Shamil, can you also talk, Alla said she was very nervous, it was her first Fed Cup match, she had a hard time with her nerves. How were you trying to help her with that?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: (Through translation.) I have to say that she was worried because she didn't have time enough to get accustomed to the situation. She needed a couple more days. She was afraid to risk. She was afraid to play.

Q. Elena, can you look ahead to tomorrow's match against Melanie.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, I expect a tough match against Melanie. I think this kind of court suits to her game. Physically she looked pretty fit, pretty good at this match against Alla.
Yeah, tomorrow I will try to be aggressive from the beginning, try not to go to long rallies because I know she feels very comfortable on the baseline. But, yeah, I do expect a tough match against her. She's in a good shape for a moment.

Q. Melanie lives two hours from Birmingham. Definitely a home crowd for her tomorrow. What will you do tonight to mentally prepare for the fans tomorrow? Is that going to be a concern?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, for sure, I think it's a big advantage to play near your hometown and have the crowd support. Today I think we had a great atmosphere in the arena. Yeah, for us, the Russian team, it's never easy here to play in the United States.
But this is what we like about Fed Cup, that the crowd is so involved in the game. They're very emotional, a bit more than we're playing in individual tournaments. So this is fun for us.
But mentally I know that it's not going to be easy for me. They're going to support Melanie. But, yeah, I'm trying to get ready for the situation.

Q. Shamil, any chance of a different player in the number two singles match tomorrow?
CAPTAIN TARPISCHEV: (Through translation.) Tomorrow after the rehearsal, we will see. It's possible.

Q. Elena, I heard you might have been interested in doing the Locks of Love, but kind of changed your mind. Were you afraid to have your hair cut that short?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I was so ready when Liezel asked me to do. I was so ready. But my mom, she was almost crying (laughter). The whole family was like, No, don't do this.
It's hard.

Q. It will grow back, though.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I know. But it's kind of long time to wait.

Q. Elena, we're in the clay court season. How tough is it to take a break from training on the clay to play on hard for Fed Cup?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, to be honest with you, I mean, I think it's a big sacrifice for all of us who are here this week. In the middle of the clay court season to make a choice to play indoor on this surface, I don't know why they picked this kind of surface.
But, yeah, I was not able to practice on clay yet because I was trying to get ready and practice on hard, even outdoor. So, yeah, I don't think I'm going to be ready for Rome now (laughter). But what can you do?
I mean, we had for this week not so many players for Russia were able to play Fed Cup. I couldn't just say no to Shamil.

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