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March 23, 2011

Bethanie Mattek-Sands


B. MATTEK-SANDS/S. Arvidsson
6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is it difficult, the pressure to be the first American player in action?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Not really. I mean, there's a lot of good players out there right now. Obviously my ranking right now is 40. I'm looking to move up. I think today actually will help me a little bit, even because I lost first round last year.
No, you know, I'm working on my game. I know I can beat good players. And I just have to do that. I have a tough match next round. I just go forward. I like playing top players. It's a good challenge for me, and I like challenges. I like to see where my game is at. I stick to my game plan. That's it.

Q. What do you think went well for you today.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I was aggressive today. You know, I actually talked to Nadia a little bit. She played her in Indian Wells. Only thing she said was we had these 20-ball rallies all day long.
I thought, you know what? I'm going to be aggressive. I'm going to take the ball on the rise. It worked today. It wasn't like I hit a lot of winners today. That's kind of my game, I take risks off returns. Second serve return I was way inside the court.
So, you know, that was my game plan.

Q. How do you prepare your match against Caroline?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Same thing. I mean, I'm a big advocate of playing my game. She's obviously had a great year. She gets a lot of balls back. She's just coming off a win at Indian Wells, so she's gonna be confident. She's No. 1 in the world, so, you know, I think it will be cool.
I'm excited to play her. I haven't played her for a couple of years now, and I'll be ready for a fight. She gets a lot of balls back, long rallies, and she'll never give up, never give any free points. You have to earn everything. You have to be really mentally focused to play against her.

Q. Players often don't get to play the world No. 1, especially in their own country. How important will the crowd involvement be?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Hopefully I can get a little bit of the crowd behind me. Obviously that's something that always helps, you know, just being actually living in Coconut Grove for a while, living down here, training on the Key.
My family is from Boca. They'll be down here too. It's cool. I think I feel like I'm at home.

Q. She's known for being one of the most mentally tough players on tour. Is there a different way to play a match against someone who is so in it mentally?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: You know, it's just -- it's tough. You just gotta expect it. You just gotta go into the match knowing you're not going to get free points.
After knowing that, you're going to grind every point. For me, I'll stick to my same game plan. I'm gonna play aggressive. Obviously I have to pick my chances wisely. She gets a lot of balls back. She sees the ball really early, so she gets to a lot of balls.
It will be a tough match, but I'm looking forward to it.

Q. We hear that in Flemish Kim Clijsters made a comment that she'd be reluctant to go to Japan because of the radiation, and maybe China. Do you have any of those feelings?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: First and foremost, you know, my thoughts and prayers are with the people in Japan right now. Obviously they're under -- tennis is pretty minuscule compared to what they're going through. It's tough. I don't know the exact facts on what is there.
You know, you can't always trust what you just hear on CNN or Fox or whatever. So I'm gonna wait to make my decision until I get some more facts on that. Obviously the tour stands on it. They're there for the health of the players. That's the most important thing.
As of right now, I just have to wait till I get more facts.

Q. What do you recall from your last match against Caroline in Rome two years ago?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: It was a couple years ago. I remember it was freezing in Rome. We were playing at night, and it had rained or something. We got on really late.
But it was -- I don't remember the score or anything. I know it was a tough match. I mean, she's a great player. She was playing well then. I know she hadn't broken top 10 yet at that point. We grinded it out. It's a different surface. It was red clay and this is hard court.
I think this surface will suit my game a little bit better. But like I said, she's a tough player. I haven't played her for a couple years. She's only gotten better since then. She has a lot of confidence now. I do too, so I'm looking forward to it.

Q. What has she added to her game since then?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: You know what? I actually think she's gotten more aggressive since then. I think even before she'd hit more high balls. Now I think she's coming to net a little bit more, taking shots on the rise, being more aggressive.
I think that's won her a lot of points on top of her great defensive skills.

Q. How will you be celebrating?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: My family is here. Obviously they're in Boca. We're going to go do something easy. I'm going to go on a race car drive right now. Going to the Miami Speedway, race some cars. I'm kind of excited, actually.

Q. Have you done that before?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: No, actually, I haven't. There's a school in Phoenix, as well, Bondurant. I've always want to do it. I haven't been able to do it. It's something -- I like going fast. If we can do it legally on the racetrack, it's better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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