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January 17, 2011

Anne Keothavong


A. KEOTHAVONG/A. Rodionova
7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How satisfying, given everything, the conditions, the opponent, is that win today?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Uhm, yeah, it's obviously a great feeling to get through today's match. And the conditions were tough. It was a lot heavier out there. It was colder than previous days through quallies. And she's an opponent I've never played before. I played her sister.
Uhm, you know, it was, uhm, an opportunity for both of us, and one I took.

Q. Different emotions here compared to your last slam where everything went belly up, and now you're hitting the ball so well, you look confident, and you're playing confidently.
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah, you know, in New York it was very different. Uhm, I think I was quite emotional after the match. Uhm, you know, I'd been on a run of, uhm, yeah, results that hadn't been going my way. And, yeah, I did consider different things.
But, you know, I'm here. I had a great off-season. I've been enjoying my tennis before. Uhm, you know, I don't know how much longer I have in the game, but I'm here just to make the most of what I've got. Uhm, whilst I'm injury-free, I just want to get out there and enjoy it.

Q. What won the argument about playing or not playing? What was the key element?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: At the time I was working with Luke Milligan. We had a good chat. It was just a case of, well, you know, it was tough for me last year coming back from injury. Uhm, you know, it's hard to find your rhythm and your confidence again. I'd had some good results, but I was quite consistent.
Uhm, but it was a case of well, you know, I still feel I can improve. You know, when it's good, it's really good and I really enjoy it. And, uhm, you know, this is a time of my life I won't have back again, so I just want to make the most of it whilst I can.

Q. What difference has Jeremy made?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Jeremy? I practiced with him quite a bit before Christmas. He was hitting with me quite a bit. We've always had a good relationship. I've always got on well with him. He still hits the ball well. You know, he's out here for BBC 5 Live and he's been watching some of my matches.
But it's always good. When I was in London before Christmas there weren't too many people around. Jeremy, I still think he has a lot to give to the game. It was good fun being on the court with him.

Q. There's a sense almost that you're striking the ball as consistently well as you have done. Do you get that sense as well?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Uhm, I actually feel like I could have hit out a bit more.

Q. Really?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: You know, it was quite tense out there. Uhm, and, you know, my next match is against Andrea Petkovic. If I don't hit out against her I've got no chance.
So tomorrow I'll go and practice, try and feel loose. It's there. I feel like I'm moving well. My body is in one piece, which is the main thing (smiling). I just want to go out there and give it the best I've got.

Q. Do you feel you're getting back to where you were when you were ranked about the 50 mark?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: It's been a long process, but I'm getting there. You know, I'm taking small steps at a time. I think after today's win I'll be back inside the top hundred. That is a nice feeling to break that barrier again.
Uhm, but like I said, you know, I still feel like I can improve, and that's what keeps me motivated. That's why I'm still playing.

Q. When you were feeling a bit down in the dumps after New York, what did you kind of assess your other options to be?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Uhm, I don't know. You know, I had a very good friend of mine who was out in New York, as well. I took some time off, spent some time with her. She put things into perspective. You know, her sister was in a hit-and-run accident and has been left brain damaged.
So, you know, I think looking at the bigger picture, the life I'm having at the moment is a pretty good one, and I should enjoy it whilst I can.

Q. Did you maybe not appreciate everything you had?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: No, I've always appreciated. You know, I've had a lot of help. The guys who helped me through my rehab, my injury, coaches who have been there to support me.
In that sense, uhm, I've had a great deal of help. It was just a case of me -- you know, I didn't want to be stuck at the challenger level. Once you've broken the top 50, nothing less, you know, is acceptable. You want to get back there.
I do feel I can get back up there. Yeah, I'm motivated for it.

Q. Were you aware that Bally was on the next court?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah. I was focused on my own match. But, obviously, yeah, you can hear the noise. I could hear the noise from, I don't know, must have been the men's match. The crowd were getting rowdy a few courts away. You can't help but hear those things when you're on the outside courts. I still had to do the job and just focus on my own match.

Q. Good you both got through.
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah, I think it's great, you know, two girls in the main draw. Both of us through the first round, and there's still more to play for.

Q. Were you aware she'd won?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Uhm, judging by the noise, yeah (laughter).

Q. The girl you played tonight, the challenge of playing someone with her temperament, how does it compare to her popular sister?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Uhm, well, they're both, you know -- they are what they are and everyone kind of knows that. How can I say this diplomatically?
I had to just focus on my own game and just leave her to whatever she wanted to do. I felt like I was very focused out there, and I felt like I handled, uhm, the situation fairly well.

Q. She had a go at one of the ball girls.
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Did she (smiling)? I'm not going to say anything.

Q. Looking ahead to your next match, you played Petkovic in Austria last year. She beat you. Do you feel you've moved on a fair bit since then, though?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah, she thumped me in Linz. Andrea is a tough opponent, but that was a few months ago, and it's a totally different matchup come Wednesday. Different conditions.
I've got a few more matches behind me now. It will be tough. I'll have to play well if I'm going to stand any chance against her.

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