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October 8, 2012

Mao-Xin Gong

Ze Zhang


7‑5, 4‑6, 20‑6

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  It's a pity that you lost because you lost in the super tiebreak.  Could you share with us which are the areas that you found it very difficult to deal with.
MAO-XIN GONG:  I think that their serve is more stable because at some critical points our first serves were not as good as theirs, so they were more stable than us.

Q.  In the previous interview Zhe Li said he envies you because you have a foreign coach to guide you with some tournaments and matches and also arrange some opportunities to play with other players.  Do you think that the time is ripe for you to fly solo?
ZE ZHANG:  I am very satisfied that I have such a good coach.  Talking about being solo or not, I haven't thought about that because I am treated very well and I have a lot of opportunities here.
I think if my ranking is around 100, then maybe it will be time for me to think about whether I need to fly solo or not.

Q.  How does the national team train you?  Li Zhe said there is no foreign coach and he didn't have many opportunities to play matches like you.  Can you talk about how the government is training you and giving you opportunities.
ZE ZHANG:  I've always been in the national team.  The national team hopes that we can have more opportunities to play matches.  But since everybody's ranking is different, maybe it's not easy for us to play together.
At the beginning of the year our coaches will have a look at all the possible matches.  My coach is perhaps more professional, so he knows how to choose matches.  He can choose some matches that suit me better.  In this regard, my coach is really helpful.
At my level, of course I will not play some low‑level tournaments.¬† Of course, I want to play some more high‑end, premium matches.¬† It's difficult for the national team to put all the players together in one tournament.¬† Sometimes it's difficult for us to go back to the professional team, to the national team, to play matches, but the national team has always been there.

Q.  After today's match, you will play Lu in your single's match.  How would you comment on that match?
ZE ZHANG:  Well, the China Open is over.  We're in the Shanghai Rolex Masters.  I think I'll have to be brave.
Well, for me, if I beat a great player, maybe people think that I have a lot of potential.  But for me I have to keep a low profile.  I have to focus on the match.  If I think too much, then maybe I will not be able to win the match.  So I will focus on the match.

Q.  How would you comment on your opponent?  In which areas can you pose a threat to him?
ZE ZHANG:  He is a very stable player without a lot of errors.  His skills are balanced.  So I will try to be more flexible and try to find some opportunities to beat him.

Q.  Have you imagined that you could beat him and then play Roger Federer in the following round?
ZE ZHANG:  Of course, everybody wants to win the match.  Well, not so many people can get the chance to play with Roger Federer in the second round.  But, of course, I have to win the first round.  Only after I win the first match can I have that opportunity.

Q.  You were very energetic in the match today.  Do you think you have enough energy to play singles after a doubles match today?
ZE ZHANG:  Well, for players like us, we play a lot of matches, so I don't think my physical energy will be affected.

Q.  I heard in the past your style is more defensive.  After you got a foreign coach, you began to be more offensive in your game.  And MAO-XIN GONG, I heard you had some injuries.  How is it now?
ZE ZHANG:  Before I had a foreign coach, indeed I cannot say that I'm 100% defensive, but I am pretty good at playing defensively.  When I got the coach, he changed my style a little bit to make sure that I could play with my opponent in some matches while keeping my advantages of being a defensive player.
Well, it's very hard to improve one particular skill.  I think if I am good at being defensive in the past, then being offensive is not necessary.  But now I don't think so anymore.  So the foreign coach has brought me some fresh ideas and I think it's really good.
MAO-XIN GONG:  My injuries are okay.  You can see that my backhand skill has changed a little bit.  That is to make sure that my back injury is not worsened.

Q.  You said you didn't have a lot of time to come back to China.  Could you share with us, how many months have you stayed overseas and how do you distribute your time?
ZE ZHANG:  At the beginning of the year, I went to Australia to play some matches, then Davis Cup.  I spent two months in Australia.  Then I came back and prepared for the French Open.  It was March or April, so I was in Europe and the UK for quite some time, because French Open and Wimbledon are connected to each other.  I stayed in Europe for about two months.
After that I came back to China to play the challenger tournament.  Last month, or the month before last, I came back to China to prepare for the China Open.

Q.  Will you attend the wild card competition for the Australian Open on the 15th?
MAO-XIN GONG:  Yes, we will.  Both of us will attend that competition.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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