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October 25, 2010

Vera Zvonareva


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. This week you can actually become world No. 1. Is that something you keep out of your head, or do you think about it sometimes?
VERA ZVONAREVA: You know, I think I'm the person who doesn't really think about statistics or anything. I think I'm just trying my best. I know that tennis is a tough game, but I'm enjoying it. I know if I do my best on the court all the time and I'm able to prepare myself to be able to go out there and perform my best, you know, the results and all the rankings, it will come.
But if I don't prepare myself the best I can and I don't play my best tennis, you know, nothing will happen. So I'm trying not to think about it. I'm just trying to concentrate on my game, trying to improve all the time, and trying to push myself to the limits. Every time I'm playing out there I'm challenging myself. That's the most important thing for me.

Q. Still, to know that you are close to being the world's best player or somewhere around that standard, does that help you in confidence and mentality?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I think overall it's great to be here in Doha among top players at the end of the year. For sure that's a great motivation to keep pushing myself even harder. I'm trying just to look forward. I'm trying to improve all the time.
Today if I'm No. 100 in the world, I will try to be 99 the next day. Today I'm No. 2, I will try to be No. 2 the next day. It's just about challenging myself.
It is great when you work hard and you see the progress in your game and you see the results. I think it's giving you even more motivation to go on the court and practice even harder.

Q. What would it mean to become No. 1? Would you hope to see that happen at this tournament. Just becoming No. 1, is it something you always dreamed of or never thought can happen? What does it mean when you hear world No. 1?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I think I'm the person who dreams big. I always dream about something big, and I always try to go for it and try to give my all.
But, you know, I cannot talk about what would it mean to me. I never been in that position and I never experienced that. Of course it is a part of the dream. I think it's part of the dream of every single tennis player to be out there.
I remember myself being a little girl and just practicing and thinking, Oh, I want to be No. 1. I want to win a Grand Slam. I want to win many tournaments.
But I understand that it is very tough. There are many great players on the other side of the net as well. All I can do is just to push myself and then, you know, at the end of the day, if I gave everything I had, I will be satisfied.
But I also know that if I do my best and prepare myself the best I can and if I play my best tennis, I can beat anyone on the other side of the net. That's what I'm going to try to do.

Q. How important do you think this week is for showcasing the women's game? It does tend to live sometimes in the shadow of the men. Is this a big week for the women to show what they can really produce?
VERA ZVONAREVA: Um, yeah. I think it is a great week for us. I think it is a very important week. You know, the best players by the end of the year, we're here to compete and try to show our best.
You know, no matter who's going to win at the end, I think everyone is going to fight very hard and everyone is going to play with their heart. You know, we've been fighting throughout the year to be in this position.
Everyone that's here is going to try to show their best, and hopefully everyone can enjoy. Hopefully we can have some great matches and show that, you know, women's tennis is very competitive, very athletic, and just a great sport overall.

Q. You had some tough matches against Caroline recently. She's the new world No. 1 without any slam. Do you think it's fair that she has this position?
VERA ZVONAREVA: Well, I think she's the most consistent player this year, so it's fair enough that she's No. 1 in the world. You know, if she wants to keep her No. 1 position, she will probably have to win Grand Slams, otherwise she will not stay in the No. 1 position for a long time.
But also I think the ranking system, it works the way it -- you know, it shows the most consistent player who's able to win lots of matches on different surfaces throughout the whole season. I think she's the one who did it the best way.
You know, I think it works both ways. It's like if somebody wins a Grand Slam, it doesn't mean you have to grant them world No. 1 ranking right away. If they did great at the Grand Slam, they still have to win more matches to get to that No. 1 position. You cannot just give them world No. 1 ranking.
The same here. She played a lot of matches, she won, and she became No. 1. To stay there, well, like I said, she will have to win Grand Slams, otherwise she won't stay there long.
But I think she deserves that position.

Q. Can you tell us something about your draw. There are two players you have been playing a couple times this summer, Wozniacki and Clijsters. Which of both players did you prefer in your group?
VERA ZVONAREVA: Well, it's a tough field for everybody. I think at the end of the year, it's the season-ending Championship, and you have to play your best tennis to beat any opponent on the other side of the net.
It doesn't really matter who's in my part of the draw. I know that I will have to concentrate on myself and I will have to go out there and play my best tennis in order to beat anyone this week.
So it doesn't matter. I will definitely enjoy the challenge. It's going to be a tough challenge against all those players. I'm going to try to enjoy my time on the court and try to produce the best tennis I can. Then we'll see what's going to happen.

Q. The WTA hosted Internet votings about who's the best looking player on court and outside of the court. You're a promoter of gender equality. What are your thoughts on votings like this?
VERA ZVONAREVA: Well, I think people watch tennis not only because of the tennis, they also watch sports because of the personalities. Athletes, like any other people, have their personalities. If you're a great athlete, people, you know, look at you and they discuss. It's not only about how you do on the court.
I think those votings, if people are interested in it, they're fine. You know, it's just everyone is different. Everyone has its own opinion. I think we bring something on the court, but off the court we want to show our personalities.
I think those votings could be just interesting for people. (Smiling.)

Q. Could you see a similar voting on the men's tour?
VERA ZVONAREVA: Well, there are similar votings on the men's tour. I think they have like gentlemen votings, best dressed player or something. I think it's just fun for public to see players outside of their, you know, match gear and doing something else besides holding the racquet and hitting tennis balls.

Q. How much have you learned from reaching a couple of Grand Slam finals, and how challenging is it to come back after losing both of them?
VERA ZVONAREVA: Well, you know, I'm just trying to look forward all the time. You know, I'm looking at it as I reached two Grand Slam finals. There are not many players that played in two Grand Slam finals this year.
So I'm trying to take the positive out of it and look forward, and just trying to make right conclusions on what I have to do to improve my game to be able to win thought those finals, if I have a chance to play in another final.
That's, I think, the most important thing. But I definitely learned a lot throughout those two Grand Slams. I learned a lot about myself and about my game. Even though I've been on the tour for many years, I think there is something new that you can learn about just yourself as a player and as a person.
I think I have that experience now that hopefully, you know, can help me to handle different situations in the future. You know, I think, like I said, I'm just trying to look forward and trying to improve and just taking all the positive things out of it.

Q. In terms of Caroline, when you face up to her, when you go against her, what's the biggest challenge? To beat her this week or any week, what do you have to bring?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I think Caroline is a very consistent player. Yeah, she plays very consistent tennis, so she doesn't have many ups and downs. You have to keep your concentration level all the way through.
So start hitting the first ball till the last ball you cannot drop the concentration. If you do, you can lose couple of points, couple of games, and it will be difficult to win the match then.
I think that's the toughest challenge when you play against her.

Q. But Wozniacki is only for the finals, I guess. In the group you have to play Kim Clijsters. Which Vera will we see, the one from New York or the one from Wimbledon?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I don't know. You know, I think it's also depends on Kim. You know, Kim played a great match in New York, and there was not much I could have done on that day. It was very difficult for me.
But I know it's going to be a tough challenge. I know I was trying to take the positive things out of the US Open, and for sure I will look back and think about what I've done wrong.
Hopefully, you know, I can prepare myself the best way. I think the preparation for the match, that's the most important thing, how I will be able to prepare myself. If I prepare myself well, I will be able to show good tennis. I think I can give very tough challenge to Kim.
But if I don't prepare myself the best and don't play very good tennis, it is going to be very difficult for me against such a great player like her. But, you know, definitely I will try to do my best. I know if I will play best tennis, I can beat anyone.
We will see what's going to happen.

Q. Given a choice, do you prefer the world No. 1 ranking or your first Grand Slam title?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I cannot make a choice. You know, I think it's two different things, I think two totally different things. I think the dream of any tennis player is to become No. 1 or win a Grand Slam.
If you're able to achieve one thing, it's a dream come true. You cannot make choices. You know, once you achieve something, you dream for something else. That's how it goes.
For now, I haven't achieved any of those things, so I will take anything and I will try my best to make it happen.

Q. I think that you are a favorite, one of the favorites. What do you think? You can win?
VERA ZVONAREVA: Well, I'm not a god. I cannot tell you right now. I cannot see what's going to happen. But I always believe in myself, and believe I can do anything. Every time I'm coming for the tournament I'm coming to win it. You know, I'm coming to try my best to win the tournament. That's what I'm going to do this week.
We'll see what's going to happen. I don't know. I cannot predict.

Q. Jelena Jankovic just described the heat as shock for her when she arrived. How is it for you? Did you have any training, practicing so far?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I think I'm a weird person, but I love heat. For me, I can go out there and practice at noon and it's not bothering me. I can spend hours on the court. I like heat. I like to play in the heat. I prefer it, even though I'm Russian. I don't know why.
For me, it's not bothering me at all.

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