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June 13, 2011

Vera Zvonareva


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How are you feeling about your form on grass?
VERA ZVONAREVA: It is very difficult to assess my form yet. I haven't played any matches yet, and I have my first match tomorrow so then we will see.
But I came here a little bit earlier. I had few days to practice, and I'm enjoying my time on the grass so far.

Q. I mean, with all the attention on the Williams sisters this week, I mean, are you sort of enjoying being one of the higher seeds but maybe having a little bit less focus on you?
VERA ZVONAREVA: Well, I think Serena and Venus, they deserve the attention they get, because they're great champions. You know, I don't really pay attention to what is going on around the court.
I always try to focus on what is going on on the court, always try to focus on my game and always try to prepare myself the best I can so I can play my best tennis. That's all I'm thinking about.

Q. Stepping away from this tournament, you have just been Istanbul, I believe, regarding the championships. How was that and what are you looking forward to there?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I think it was a great opportunity for us to get together and see the site and meet organizers. I think they're doing a great job, and it is a great honor for us to take the championships to a new place to promote tennis in a new region.
I think WTA, together with Turkish Tennis Federation, are doing a great job in promoting that, and I think it is great for us to, yeah, to play there at the end of the year. Hopefully, you know, we can show the best we can and hopefully we can, you know, make a difference in the region and a lot of people will, you know, fall in love with tennis there.

Q. You were in Doha for a few years while the championships were there. Did you see sort of a progression during that time in just the interest in tennis for women?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I think we've seen some progress along the way. I have seen a lot of younger kids playing tennis.
First year when we came there they didn't have a lot of groups, and now we've seen a little bit more activity at the tennis academy. I think we've seen a lot more girls also playing tennis there.
Before I think the sport was mostly for guys. You know, tennis is a beautiful sport. It is the sport that is beautiful for girls and guys, and I think it's great for them to watch us play over there.
I don't know if, you know, we helped. Hopefully we helped a little bit to promote the tennis in that region, but I definitely -- I definitely have seen a lot of improvement.

Q. How do you feel about your draw? You're playing the young British girl who is so excited about playing you. She said it's a great experience. How do you feel?
VERA ZVONAREVA: Yeah, for sure it is always, you know, a good experience for me to be back on the grass courts. And especially playing against Heather, she's a young player, we never played against each other before, so it's going to be a tough challenge.
I think she's been progressing really well since last year, and, you know, also she will be playing in front of her home crowd.
You know, I think it's going to be tough challenge, but I always like those challenges and I'm excited about it. We will see how it goes. It will be my first match on the grass, and I will try to enjoy myself no matter what.

Q. How many times have you played Serena? Because I notice if you both win you'll meet each other in the next round.
VERA ZVONAREVA: I never look at the draw. I never know -- I just try to focus on my first match and that's it.
I know my first match is very tough one, so I'm trying to, you know, to prepare myself the best I can for that one.

Q. Is it important for women's tennis to have Venus and Serena back?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I think it's great for women's tennis to have those great champions. They have done a lot for women's tennis. They have done a lot -- not only for tennis; for women's sport in general.
I think it's great. It is always great to have them on the other side of the net, because you know, that you are playing against a great champion. You can always enjoy your matches against them, and I think they bring excitement. They bring a lot of attention, and overall it's -- yeah, it's great.

Q. How important is this week for you, bearing in mind that it's Wimbledon next week?
VERA ZVONAREVA: It is -- well, it is an important tournament. You always want to play a few matches before you head into the Grand Slams, especially since we didn't have a long break after French Open and I didn't get the chance to play in the other tournament on the grass.
So I will definitely take this week as a good preparation for Wimbledon and, you know, already, you know, trying to focus and build my game so I can perform the best I can the next week. But also, I want to try to play good tennis this week, as well.

Q. When you were growing up, I mean, how big in your mind was Wimbledon compared to, say, the other slams as a goal and a dream to work towards?
VERA ZVONAREVA: I think Wimbledon is a dream of everyone. I think it is a great event with lots of traditions and just -- you know, when you come there and you go inside the stadium, you feel all that history, and, you know, that's where tennis started.
That tennis is the game that I love, and tennis is the game that I played since I'm six years old. So definitely, for me, Wimbledon, it was something special. The first time I ever came, I never participated in junior event at Wimbledon, and the first time I came there I was already a professional. It was overall a great experience for me. I just realized that I was a part of the tennis history, and it meant a lot to me.

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