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June 24, 2011

Elena Baltacha


S. PENG/E. Baltacha
4-6, 6-2, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. 4-2 up third set, you must have thought you were in with a good chance.
ELENA BALTACHA: Yeah, definitely. But, you know, from the first point, we were going for it, and it was a really good match. And, yeah, I had an opportunity. But, you know, that's the way it is sometimes.
But, you know, there's just so many positives because for me, you know, the most exciting thing has been that I've been performing better and better on a week-to-week basis. So for me, playing good tennis like today, it didn't feel like a surprise.
It felt like, okay, things are becoming to feel a bit more normal now, because I am performing solidly week after week.
Yeah, it's disappointing, of course, you know, 4-2, 4-3. But, you know, my tennis is up there. I'm getting better all the time. I think the other exciting thing for me, as well - and this is why I'm not really disappointed - is because I know that I'll go away and I'll earn points kind of elsewhere. I know that I'll kind of keep this going, keep this momentum going. Whereas in the past, I think this was a great time for me to pick up points.

Q. What particularly pleased you about your performance? Some of your returning was great.
ELENA BALTACHA: Yeah, definitely. I probably didn't serve the best, but I served big when it was key, like, points. And the serve is definitely getting better. That's the other thing that really excites me. I've been serving good again on a week-to-week basis, match after match.
Returning, yeah, I was returning really solidly. Not all the time, but I felt I was dictating a lot as well in the points. I didn't feel like her pace fazed me. I felt really part of it the whole time.
I know I keep going back to the week-to-week thing, but I feel like I'm performing more like that on a week-to-week basis.

Q. Where do you think this improvement can lead you?
ELENA BALTACHA: Well, I can't give a number or ranking or anything like that. It's just I have to keep doing it, you know, keep believing, keep knowing I'm getting better, which I am, keep trying to improve on my weaknesses, which there's still a few there, and then you never know what can happen.

Q. As the more senior figure in British women's tennis, what is your sense of the improved quality that we've seen from Laura and Heather this week?
ELENA BALTACHA: Look, they're the next two that are coming up. Laura's got a good game. Heather's got a good game, as well. They're very kind of separate in a way, where one plays one way, the other plays another way. But they're both very good players. They're going to get better.

Q. In terms of their match temperament, how do you think that's developing?
ELENA BALTACHA: Yeah, look, they're juniors, they're still very young. That will keep getting better, as well.

Q. Do you feel you're playing your best tennis ever?
ELENA BALTACHA: Yeah. Yeah, I really do feel that. I think that I'm playing the best that I ever have in my whole career. But, you know, what's really exciting is that I haven't fully peaked yet. I feel like I can still improve on areas.
I think the serve can still get better. I think decision-making can still get better. I think, as well, like tactically-wise, as well, I can get even stronger, which is definitely coming now. I think today that showed. But there's still areas that I can get better at.

Q. Do you think you're close to reaching your peak?
ELENA BALTACHA: Uhm, I don't know. Do you know what? I don't know, 'cause there's still areas that I can get better at. So you just keep going until you can't.

Q. Were you able to totally blank out the Laura Robson and Sharapova noise?
ELENA BALTACHA: I heard a little bit, but I think that was probably coming from the big screen. But, you know, the fans were unbelievable, the people there that were supporting. They were so loud. It was really nice to be part of that.
So the grunting, it didn't really affect me much, so...

Q. Laura proved herself well against Sharapova. How good do you think she can become?
ELENA BALTACHA: Yeah, I think as long as Laura keeps moving in the right direction, as well, keeps her nose down, you know, keeps working very hard, you just don't know. She's very, very talented.

Q. As British No. 1, wouldn't it have been nice to be on Centre Court or No. 1?
ELENA BALTACHA: Do you know what? For me, I've always said that a court is a court. So it doesn't matter whether it was Centre Court, Court 1. Whatever court they would have put me on, I was ready to do battle. For me, a court is a court.

Q. You had deuce in the final game. Were you worried at all when you stopped then? What was going through your head at that point?
ELENA BALTACHA: In the last game?

Q. Yes.
ELENA BALTACHA: Because of all the deuces?

Q. Yes.
ELENA BALTACHA: I think because the whole match we were just playing really good tennis. I mean, at no stage did I think, I'm done. I just played full every point, really stayed strong, really believed in it, really went for it. It was just unfortunate that I lost that in the third.

Q. After a lot of points you would turn and face the outer court. Was that just to collect your thoughts?
ELENA BALTACHA: Yeah, yeah. I mean, yeah, it's to kind of say to myself a few kind of key words that I've been working on just to regain my composure. Once I turn around, I'm ready to go again.

Q. What are those key words?
ELENA BALTACHA: I can't tell you, can I? They won't be really key anymore, would they, to be honest (smiling).

Q. Have you been doing that for a while?
ELENA BALTACHA: Yeah, I have, yeah. I've kind of tried different things. But that's the best way that would work for me, so...

Q. How did that come about? Were you advised to do that?
ELENA BALTACHA: We actually started doing it in practice. We did a few things. Like I say, we did try a few other things. But that was the best way. That kind of helped me. That was the best thing for me, so...

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