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March 12, 2011

Dinara Safina


D. SAFINA/D. Hantuchova
7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Best win you've had in a long time? Must feel good, huh?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, definitely feels good. Like I said, every win is important. I was trying very hard and fighting. She had two set points in the first set. I pulled them out, and then I started to play a little bit better.
I'm really happy with the win today.

Q. Looked like you were confident at least in the second set and hit your shots, which is good.
DINARA SAFINA: Well, at least I think I started to serve a little bit better. That was a big advantage for me, because I start to put more first serves in, and then I could dominate the point.
And on the returns, I was just waiting for the right chance, because she was serving also pretty good, so it was tough for me. But I was patient and waiting for the chance.

Q. When you had that ball, it was out by that much and she hit a net cord.

Q. You must have been thinking, This is not my day.
DINARA SAFINA: Well, it comes like this sometimes. Like I said, everything I'm trying just doesn't go. Last time it was 5-4 and 15-Love for me, and I make a big serve and she touches again the net and the ball passes and I had easy shot. She guesses the side.
So sometimes you think. But at 15-40, I had two second services she missed, so then I think, Okay, maybe if I keep fighting it's gonna turn my way.

Q. Would it be premature to suggest that you now should be considered a championship factor in women's tennis?

Q. Do you feel that you're in the title chase, so to speak, that you could perhaps win this tournament?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, don't talk so far. It's my third win this year. You're talking about winning the title. Let me still like enjoy this win today. I think I'm not playing tomorrow, so I have time to work on my shots.
Next round is really tough one. It's Samantha; she's playing some great tennis. I'm not looking that far. I just want to concentrate on the next opponent.

Q. When you left Australia, you were frustrated with how you played and how things went. Were you sure that in a month, maybe two months if you kept working hard, that your tennis would come back?
DINARA SAFINA: Sure. You're never sure. You never know. But I was believing, you know. I still think that there is still much more work to do for me to come back, you know.
You know, like I said, with each win it gives me a little bit of inspiration, like come on, keep believing. Because after Australia there was a moment I came to Moscow for the Fed Cup. I said to my mom, I said, I'm retiring. I said, I don't want any more of this. I really honestly said, because for me it was tough, because I knew that I'm gonna start from the next week with a new coach.
And, like, it was a moment that was going in my mind, like, Will I be back? So things got -- you know, there is a saying, you know: Never give up; you know.

Q. What did your mother say to you when you said that to her?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I mean, for her she said, like, Come on; be positive. I said, It's not about positive or negative. It's just like -- it's, like I was not happy being on the court anymore.
So for me, it was tough, you know, because I love the sport. And once you're not enjoying it, you struggle, you know. Like this, like when you have some bad moments, like your head's falling down. But when you're believing, you're like, Okay, it's not my day. I'm just gonna keep working hard.
So I change it around to practice, and really like David, he was really positive every time, because there were moments in the practice I would go down. He's like, Come on; keep it up; let's work hard. I mean, thanks God it's paying off.

Q. Have you ever dealt with anything like that before where you've been that far down that you felt like it wasn't fun anymore?
DINARA SAFINA: I was down, but not that down, you know. I was down, but still my ranking was 20. I would be like it was two years ago in 2008, also, Australian Open. I lost to qualifier. I mean, she's a good player, but it was a tough moment for me, and then things suddenly turned everything my way.
Now my rank was 115, and then you think; like, Okay, you start to do things like this, you don't get in. I'm not getting in here, not there, wildcard. I mean, you still don't know if they gonna give you wildcard or not.
So that was a moment they say, Okay, let's play quallies. I said, Whew, yeah, I will have to play quallies or go to a smaller tournament. But it was a little bit shocking experience, you know. Like sometimes you ask for the wildcard and they say, like, Okay, we will let you know. And it's never letting you know. So...

Q. Could you talk a little bit about the tough moment you went through after the French Open? Your loss to Kimiko Date? You mentioned it was a tough loss in your career.
DINARA SAFINA: Well, it was a tough loss because I really enjoyed playing in Paris, and like I've been up in the third set and I lost the match. It was tough moment for me.
But honestly, I think this last year and the beginning of this year was really -- was not the nicest experience, but I guess it will make me stronger. Because, you know, also you making two months offseason and you're coming and you're picking up the games.

Q. If you could go back over the past stretch and change one thing, what would you change?
DINARA SAFINA: I think I would -- after the injury, I would take more time and come back. I think I came back a little bit too early. That was my mistake. I think I should have maybe not to play Stuttgart or Madrid and just to go to French and really to practice.
I think this was a little bit of my mistake. Or even I would say not to play anymore last year, because it was -- and I never had chance to get ready, because it was all about my back. Like how do I feel? How I wake up?
I mean, I play two tournaments, and then I injured again my back before Wimbledon. So at that moment, I think I should have really stopped and, you know, take time to recover full and to come back maybe end of the season, but not rushing it.
I was rushing. I wanted to play, and then end up in the worst situation. So this was my worst mistake.

Q. To change topics a little bit, you have not always had wonderful relationship interactions with Serena, but what are your thoughts on what she's going through now and her being sidelined with a serious condition?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, definitely, you know, you never wish anybody like being with health, you know. You always -- you wish -- I mean, the health. That's why the guys you ask me, What is my goals? There is no goals. It's to be healthy.
I mean, at the end of the day, when I broke my back in Australia, what was the goal? I mean, I could not walk and breathe, so I had to stop to inhale and then I had to keep on walking.
The same, I guess, for her. She would say that, Gosh, I wish -- I would do everything just to get healthy.
So this is the point, I think. So, I mean, for her surely fast recovery. You know, you cannot play with the health.

Q. You talked about before not discussing tennis with your mother. But it seems like this time you went to her when you weren't feeling good and talked to her, not just about personal things but about tennis, too. Can you talk a bit about that?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, that moment I felt like she was the person who knows me, you know. That I could really speak it out what I have deep inside, and that was the thing for her.
I knew it would also hurt her, but that was -- I said, I cannot keep it anymore inside. So I went to her. Then I think she was the closest one for me.

Q. Are you kind of hesitant to talk to other players in a situation like that? I mean, you're competitors, but you're kind of all in the same boat.
DINARA SAFINA: I don't think this is the right thing to discuss with other players. I don't think they will tell me, Continue.

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