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October 11, 2011

Ze Zhang


6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Chinese, please.

Q. Your match with Stepanek today, what was your biggest shortcoming?
ZE ZHANG: Experience. I'm not as experienced. I was too much in a hurry. He was more steady in his performance and also strategy.

Q. In the second set you played very well. He broke your serve, but you broke back. The victory was determined at the end of that set, so today you broke the trend. In the past Chinese players made it to the second round, but this year there are none. Is this because of poor luck or you faced very strong opponents?
ZE ZHANG: In my match, I still had some opportunities. But I came here from Beijing. I had a lot of confidence and I wanted to win. But I gave myself too much pressure. I told myself I was sure to win.
He was a better player. His ranking is higher and I didn't play very well in the game.

Q. People are talking about the disparity between the female and male performances in China.
ZE ZHANG: You mean the gap? We still have a gap. We're not as professional as some international players. They know what to do before the match, what to do after the match. But sometimes we are not as professional. We need guidance from our coaches.

Q. What do you need to do?
ZE ZHANG: We need to participate in more important games like this, watch others play. If you play more, you will know what to do yourself.

Q. Last week there was criticism of the Chinese players. It was mentioned to prepare for the London Olympics there will be more input for the tennis players. In what areas has the Tennis Association of China given you more support?
ZE ZHANG: More opportunities to compete abroad. We have more opportunities to compete abroad. Also there will be more competition in China. There will be more competition worth over 15,000 points. If there are more games, we'll get more points and our rankings will be higher.

Q. You have a foreign coach. You mentioned the Chinese players are not integrated into the top players' group. Can your foreign coach tell you more about what to do before or after the match?
ZE ZHANG: That's what I learned from the coach. He tells me what to do before and after the match.

Q. So is there anything new that he has told you that you didn't know before?
ZE ZHANG: Just now I wanted to have a shower after the game. He told me I need to relax first. We talked about the process of the game. Without him in the past, I would go directly to the locker room and do whatever I wanted.

Q. China's male players lose their heart if they lose games and get excited after winning. Now with this coach, can he help to coordinate you in terms of your mentality?
ZE ZHANG: Yes. In the past when I lost, I would be in dismay, would be very unhappy. Now my coach encourages me. He tells me we should look forward, we still have opportunities to win more competitions.

Q. In the second set it was 3-3. In the seventh game I think your emotion was a factor. You kicked the ball.
ZE ZHANG: I wanted to win this match very much. If I win this, I will go to the Australian Open next year, so I wanted to win. But the opponent had a service break on me so I wanted to give a vent to myself.

Q. After today what plans do you have looking forward?
ZE ZHANG: In one week or two weeks there will be a competition in Nanjing, then I will play in Australia.

Q. Your ranking improved after the last week. Do you feel different because of this change?
ZE ZHANG: Our ranking is not very high, but my ranking is the highest in China. This gives me a lot of confidence. In the future, this confidence will help me.

Q. This time next year do you have any goals in terms of your ranking?
ZE ZHANG: I will try to do my best in every game. If I can do that, my ranking will be higher. I always want to do better.

Q. Do you want to be a pioneer in China for future generations?
ZE ZHANG: I have very high goals. I don't want to stay at this ranking forever.

Q. You said you thought you could win this game before the game started. What is the source of your confidence?
ZE ZHANG: My confidence came from my performance in China's Tennis Cup. I competed well against Tsonga. My opponent today is older than me. Maybe he doesn't have the same stamina, but I'm less experienced.
Anyway, my mentality isn't good. I can also say I'm too nervous, I wanted to win too much.

Q. You became impatient?
ZE ZHANG: Yes, a little. The opponent had a very unique way of playing. He overcame me.

Q. Can you talk about the competition environment in China. Sometimes in countries if one player plays well, other players will play better. What about the environment of competition in China?
ZE ZHANG: We have very good competition in China. We want some individuals to become top players first and then they will try to bring the home team up.

Q. You mentioned if you play well in this Masters 1000, you will go to the Australian Open. Because of this match today you will need to work harder next year. Where can you reach your goal, in the French Open or the US Open?
ZE ZHANG: I hope I can reach my goal as soon as possible after the French Open. After that I hope my ranking can go to 200.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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