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August 31, 2005

Sania Mirza

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK, S. MIRZA/M. Camerin 6-4, 1-6, 6-4


Q. Difficult conditions.

SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, but it's the same for her, too. There are no excuses. Yeah, it's tough to play when it's so humid, you know that the racquet is kind of slipping off because of the sweat. It's windy out there. You really have to keep moving for all the three sets that you're there because you have no idea till the last second where the ball is going to go. Toss is all over the place on the serve. I'm just happy I came through because I guess it's just giving me more and more practice for the bigger matches I'm hopefully going to play.

Q. How do you feel about this atmosphere?

SANIA MIRZA: I think I'm playing okay. I lost in the finals last week. It was a close final. Been playing well. I'm feeling the ball good. I guess I'm just playing the best tennis I've ever played. Just feels like I'm improving on a daily bases, whether that's physically, mentally, my game. I feel I'm improving.

Q. Are you taking it one match at a time?

SANIA MIRZA: US Open or not, you take it one match at a time. Even when I'm at Forest Hills, it's always one match at a time. You can't just jump ahead. I'm looking forward to playing Bartoli day after tomorrow. I probably have some doubles. If it's windy tomorrow, then maybe I can get used to it a bit more.

Q. Do you enjoy the atmosphere?

SANIA MIRZA: Very nice when you have people from your own country and the country you don't belong to cheering you on, so much crowd support, especially where you don't belong. I'm 30 hours away. It's great to have so many people here cheering for you, really wanting you to win. I hope that continues.

Q. Have you noticed the Indian population coming out for you?

SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, I think I'm very lucky to be an Indian considering we have Indians everywhere we go. We're just so many of us. I guess we can't miss them anywhere. Yeah, it's great to have so many people, especially since Indians weren't so much into tennis. Now that you see so many people coming out, cheering you on, it's great.

Q. How did you feel physically today in the match?

SANIA MIRZA: Well, I did start cramping a little bit again in the third set. But, I mean, I can't say I'm pain-free in my whole body. I have a few aches here and there. But, you know, I'm feeling okay. I think it's also -- you know, I guess, need a lot of fluids in my body because I cramped the other day, too, and today. It's two long matches also. I'm feeling all right. Just a bit -- a few aches here and there.

Q. A bizarre point early in the second set where you seemed to hit the ball off the frame, then turned your back on it, seemed to hurt your finger. Are you aware that the ball landed in?

SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, I know, it did land in. But I twisted my racquet. It hurt my middle finger (laughter). Yeah, it hurt my nail. It like stung me for like a couple of games. It just kept coming back. Yeah, you know, there was not much I could do because I couldn't hold the racquet any more. It was hurting me.

Q. That seemed to be the point where she started to play really well. Did that prove sort of a turning point?

SANIA MIRZA: I don't think that was a turning point because otherwise she would come out here and be 6-4 in the third. Maybe it was for the second set. I think the turning game was at 3-1 when we played a really long game. You know, I had a few chances there, kind of messed them up. But I think it's a big difference when it's 3-2 or 4-1. So that was I guess where she got her confidence.

Q. When you see a result like Muller last night, he sort of carrying his country's hopes the way you are yours, does it resonate with you? Do you take added motivation? Can you relate to him?

SANIA MIRZA: Well, you know, there are a lot of people out there who are doing that. I mean, I guess like he's from Luxembourg, he's the only guy. Beating Andy Roddick in the first round. That's something -- I guess, I don't know if it motivates me. But, you know, it's really impressive how there's so many smaller countries or third-world countries coming out now and they're having so many tennis players. I guess it just, you know, inspires a lot of people from their countries. It's amazing. He played a great game yesterday, though. I should mention that.

Q. Does it inspire you?

SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, it does, to watch people. You know, just feels that you can do it, too, like a lot of people out there who are coming out of the odds.

Q. How far ahead in the draw do you look?

SANIA MIRZA: I don't. I look at day after, I'm playing Bartoli.

Q. You don't know who you play if you win against Bartoli?

SANIA MIRZA: I do know who I play. I'm not looking at that yet.

Q. Do you regret playing doubles, given your two long singles matches?

SANIA MIRZA: I don't think so. It just gives me added more match practice, I guess. I was injured in between and I guess I need a more matches. I've not been playing doubles for the past few weeks because of my stomach. It's just a good opportunity for me to get used to a lot more conditions out there.

Q. You wore a T-shirt at Wimbledon, "Well-behaved women rarely make history." Do you believe in that?

SANIA MIRZA: I'm tired of answering that question. I wear a lot of T-shirts that say a lot of things. I don't think you should take a lot of things seriously that I wear. Let's just put it that way. It's just a T-shirt. I don't know. No, I'm not making a statement. I'm not doing anything. I can say what I want to. I don't need to wear it on my T-shirt. I think I like to be 18 sometimes, and I just like to wear some fun T-shirts once in a while.

Q. Could it be easier for you to actually play here than it is back home in India now?

SANIA MIRZA: Well, considering the amount of Indians that are here and considering the amount of support that I have, I have expectation and pressure everywhere that I play. Obviously, this match is live in India, I think, and a lot of people were watching it back home, too. Probably when I'm playing in India, it's a bit more -- lot more expectations because the people really are looking at you live, they're fascinated in a way.

Q. How big is your security guard when you are home?

SANIA MIRZA: How big is he? As in size?

Q. Do you have two people, three people?

SANIA MIRZA: No, I have just one. I have one all day and then one at night. So it's two.

Q. Have you had any experiences when you had to use the security guard?

SANIA MIRZA: Not really because I guess they're such big guys, people don't try and act funny. No, I haven't had any experiences as in people trying to jump on me. I've had some strange letters coming from a woman, some strange things happening. There are a lot of crazy people in the world. It's just better safe than sorry, I guess.

Q. Have you ever played anyone with two hands like Bartoli?

SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, think so. I have played a couple of people who play both hands. But I've never played her. I've never played Marion. It's going to be a good match.

Q. Today you seemed confident when you could hit the ball really hard, but on the slices and smashes, you were having problems.

SANIA MIRZA: Well, I just -- you know, I don't know. I was just I think being a little dumb out there because it was so windy. To hit a smash, I would hit it and I was like, "Oh, my God, what are you doing?" It was just I guess, you know, I need to avoid hitting a few smashes. I did get a smash on a very important point at 4-All. I guess, you know, it just makes me stronger every time I'm going out there. You know, I have to try out new things every time I go on court. I have to try. People shouldn't be able to read what I'm going to do every time. It's just trying to do something different.

Q. Maybe a couple of dumb smashes, but are you happy with the way you thought your way through the match?

SANIA MIRZA: To be honest, I don't think I played -- you know, I don't think I played my A game. I did play well. I mean, I played good enough to win the match. I made a few unforced errors which I don't think I should have made.

Q. You seemed to play intelligently.

SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, I guess, you know, that's what counts. When the conditions are so hard to play in, when it's so windy, I guess you need to use your brain a bit more than your power out there.

Q. What's the best part of being an 18-year-old?

SANIA MIRZA: The best part?

Q. Yes.

SANIA MIRZA: Can I say the worst part first? I answer a lot of questions. No, the best part, everything. I think I have -- I have a pretty normal life, except answering questions, so many questions all the time. You know, I try and have a normal life. Obviously, I can't go out every night. My parents have always tried to have a normal life for me. I guess just everything about being 18 is great, excepting that I cannot drive still when I go back home because my mom won't let me. Doesn't trust my driving.

Q. The way they drive in your country can be a little bit adventurous.

SANIA MIRZA: Okay. I'm not commenting on that.

Q. How long have you been dealing with press?

SANIA MIRZA: For a long time now. For a few years, four, five years I've been answering a lot of questions. It's just a lot more now.

Q. Is it in particular New York, this tournament, do you feel it's a lot more?

SANIA MIRZA: No, it's been -- it's been like that for about more than a year now. But I'm used to answering a lot of questions. I'm used to being asked a lot about my personal life, about my professional life. It's all right.

Q. How difficult was it to deal with the moonballs? Was it like going back to Junior tennis for a bit?

SANIA MIRZA: No. I think people have a misconception that when you moonball or topspin a ball, it's Junior tennis. It's also a shot in the match. I guess that's -- you know, it's a way of playing smart. When you don't let a person, not liking the moonball, you try and do that, it doesn't make you a bad player, it just makes you a smarter player at that point.

End of FastScripts….

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