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June 21, 2011

Anne Keothavong


6-2, 6-4


Q. Must have been nice to get back to winning ways at Wimbledon.
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah, you know, it wasn't an easy match out there. You're playing another British player. It was a match where really she had nothing to lose and, you know, I was the one who, yeah, was expected to win. All the pressure's on me.
You know, it was a tough match, but I'm glad I came through it. And, yeah, I have another opportunity to play again this week.

Q. Serve was quite big at the start. How was it coping with how fast she was serving?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah, you know, I played her a few weeks ago. She has got a very big first serve. You know, she's got quite a role game at the moment. I've just been joking about it. After the match we were kind of laughing. I was kind of laughing anyway, because some of the serves I hit, I didn't really want to look at the speed gun. It was a bit embarrassing.
Yeah, she's got a big serve. And it was tough initially. But, uhm, you know, that's her strength, yeah.

Q. Second round for the third time. You're up against a top-10 seed again. Do you feel you're unlucky with the draw?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: No, not at all. Every match here is a tough match. Petra is no different. I played her before the French Open, and it was in her hometown where I was actually leading in the first set. We had a good match there. It was on clay. But, you know, her game is more suited to grass.
She's going to be tough. But I feel like in the next match I'll be able to be a bit more relaxed and just swing out a bit more.

Q. As the match developed, you seemed to be really enjoying it again after quite a tough few months.
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah, uhm, you know, this year's been up and down for me. Like I said before, that's a really difficult match for me to play, not only because it's here at Wimbledon, back on the same court where I lost the match last year where I was up in the final set, but also, you know, playing another British player who's a good friend.
You know, it's hard because of the pressures. But, uhm, I'm just pleased to get through it.

Q. You know as well as anyone what it's like for British players to come here, the expectations. Is there anything that you've learned over the years how to prepare for this? Is there anything you did differently this year?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Uhm, I don't think there's any kind of right way to go about it. Every year's a different year. It doesn't get any easier.
I mean, as you get older, you become more experienced and learn to handle certain things in a better way. You know, the nerves are still there because it's a big tournament. It's a place where, as a British player, of course you want to do well.
So, yeah, it doesn't get any easier from that point of view.

Q. Have you done anything differently this year?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: There are certain things. I'm constantly trying to work on different things and improve. But, you know, you've got to try different things. You don't know necessarily whether it's the right way or the wrong way. You can only go out there. The only thing you can guarantee is giving it your absolute best when you're out on the court.
You can work on forehands and backhands all day long, but when you're out there on the court and you get tight and nervy, it counts for nothing and you've just got to find a way.

Q. Was it like stepping back into a nightmare again going back onto that court?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Not quite a nightmare. I wouldn't put it like that. Obviously it's nice to kind of banish the memories I have of last year on that and replace it with other ones. I made it a point of sitting on the other side of the umpire's chair. I had friends and family seated in different places. So it was, yeah, different.

Q. Did you sense, because of everybody going out in the first round last year, did you feel that put a lot more pressure on you given that you were expected to win?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah. You know, it's a match where I have nothing to gain really apart from some extra points on the computer to help my ranking, you know, because everyone expects me to win that match. I expect to win that match. I'm playing another British player who's younger; not as experienced, not as highly ranked.
So, yeah, you know, the expectations are there. So for me I'm just pleased just to get through it. I didn't lose my serve today. You know, despite how I feel about how I served, I didn't lose a serve. It's a match I won in two straight sets.

Q. What did you think when you saw the order of play and saw the court you were on?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Just laughed.

Q. It didn't concern you, didn't make you think, Oh, no, not again?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: No. Apart from the fact that I wanted to sit on the other side of the umpire's chair, that was all.

Q. Katie was talking yesterday about the financial pressures when you're outside the top 100. It's made her consider a future in the past and it's making her do so now. A win like that must really reinvigorate you after having similar feelings yourself after Australia?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Uhm, yeah, I guess, you know, it has been a tough year. It's been up and down for me. I've had some good wins, but I've had some terrible losses this year.
But, you know, I'm at the stage in my career where I just want to go out there and give it my best. If it's good enough on the day, great. If it's not, too bad; you know, you move on.
But this is a life that I'm not going to have forever. I don't know how long I've got in this game. Injuries play a part. You know, you have different priorities as you get older. So from my point of view, you know, I had to go out there as if it was my last Wimbledon. There's no guarantee that I'll be back again next year.
For me, I just want to know that I've given it everything when I do hang up my racquets. I'll be able to live with that.

Q. You're working with Jeremy now, who had to shoulder the British thing pre-Tim and Greg. Has he been a help getting your mind right for Wimbledon?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah. You know, it's not just about Wimbledon. It's also about the months ahead. I've really enjoyed working with him. I have a lot of respect for him for what he's achieved in the game, also.
You know, we bounce ideas off each other. I think we've got a good relationship. He's someone I can learn a lot from.

Q. Do you think because of what you've been through over the last couple of years with injuries and form, things like that, do you think if you might have lost today, that could have possibly been your last time here?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Uhm, you know, it didn't really cross my mind about losing today's match. It was quite clear the standard of tennis wasn't super high, but I think that's because of what's on the line, the expectations. It was never going to be a pretty match.
But, you know, losing wasn't something that crossed my mind. I knew that if I put in an average performance, it was going to be good enough today.

Q. You'll go into Petra full of confidence in a couple days' time?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: It's a match I'm just looking forward to, completely different pressures compared to today's match. I can look at it from a different angle, you know. Obviously she's a lot higher ranked. She's got a big game.
But, you know, we had a good match a couple of weeks ago when we last played. So, you know, I'm just looking forward to going out there and, again, giving it my all, and we'll see what happens on the day.

Q. It's always good to see your brother James around at the same tournaments. Do you ever have chats regarding each other's matches?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: No, I haven't yet. I haven't seen him at all the last couple days. We've just been sending each other a few messages. We're a very tight-knit family and we're supportive of each other's careers, what the other does.
It's nice to know not just him but other members of my family have my best interests, as well. He's got to focus on his job and I'm doing what I'm doing.

Q. The British men in particular are coming from a lot of stick in the recent past. Can you tell us briefly what you think the state of the game is as far as British women are concerned?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Over the last few years we've had a few girls crack the top 100, and myself and Bali crack the top 50. We have younger players who are coming through.
Nothing happens overnight in the game of tennis. It's a work in progress. You can't just switch it on just like that. Your career doesn't just revolve around Wimbledon. It's 52 weeks of the year where you've got to work day in, day out, and put yourself on the line.
But I do think we're in a healthier situation than when I was a teenager growing up. I think the younger girls, you know, the next generation of players, have everything. They've got all to play for.

Q. We don't actually have any girl players in the ITF top 100 juniors. Are you saying there are others out there perhaps that we don't know about or aren't on the radar?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah, I think so. I do think there are girls who are committed to the sport who are a work in progress. I don't think we should read too much into ITF junior tournaments because, you know, it's not a priority for the Spanish juniors. It never has been. Look how many Spanish girls you've got in the top 100 who are doing well. I don't think any of those girls really did anything in junior tennis. So I don't think that's something you necessarily have to look too much into.
Even myself and Bali at juniors, we didn't play a hell of a lot. The way the game is going, people grow at different rates, physically, mentally. You've just got to judge people once they get on the senior tour.

Q. Is it an ambition of yours to play in the Olympics here next year?
ANNE KEOTHAVONG: Yeah, the Olympics right now seem so far away. But if I do have an opportunity, if I'm fit and healthy and I'm still playing, then of course. That's one of the things in my career I haven't been part of.
Playing Fed Cup for Great Britain is one of the highlights of my career, something I'm really proud of. You know, competing for Great Britain in the Olympics for me would just be the icing on the cake.

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