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March 13, 2014

Na Li


N. LI/D. Cibulkova
6‑3, 4‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  It was a little longer than the Australian final, but you came through once again.  How did you feel?
NA LI:  Here is different than Australia.  Of course score should be different.
I think today she play more aggressive.  I think ‑‑I was feeling if I try to, how do you say, going back like a little bit she was try to step in to hit the ball.
Also I was feeling, how do you say, in the second set I think I was drop down a little bit and give her more chance.  She can get a lot of winner.  Yeah.

Q.  Is that just a loss of focus in the second set or in terms of your level dropping, or is it just it happens?
NA LI:  I think because the first game already killing me.  Finish first game I was, Finally I can sit down in the chair.  I'm like, Li Na, it's first game.  I was like, Yeah, I know.  Oh, I cannot see (smiling).
So after that game I was feeling, like, not‑‑ my mind was somewhere else, and I think drop the level so fast.

Q.  Were you happy with how you played today?
NA LI:  Hmm.  Half/half.  At least during the tournament.  I think still a little bit problem because the level cannot stay, how do you say, same level from beginning to the end.  A little bit drop, up.
So, yeah, at least I got information, so I take it.  I will improve my tennis to try to be, how do you say, try to next day.  Yeah.

Q.  Does it feel in general that the ups and downs are not as big as they used to be?
NA LI:  A little bit wave, (smiling) but not much like couple years ago.  Because right now got more experience on the court.
At least I know what I am doing or what I should do.

Q.  A couple days ago you talked about the pressure of being No. 1 seed in this kind of big tournament.  So now do you feel like you are dealing with that kind of pressure better than before?
NA LI:  Did I say that?  Did I say that?

Q.  A little bit.  Pressure of being No. 1.  Top seed, No. 1 seed.
NA LI:  A little bit (smiling).  Because everything for me is new, top seed, first time on the big tournament.
Of course, you know, everyone looking different.  Not like before if I come here, maybe like No. 6 or No. 7 seed.
But I think I am handling very well, so just continue.

Q.  Do you feel different as the top seed?  Do you feel like sort of bigger and bit of a queen at the tournament now?
LI NA.  No, I feel like I'm much friendlier, you know, (smiling).  No, joke.
No, was pretty good.  Even like practicing the fans were watching.  But I think I find more fans supporting my husband, not for me.  Even we are practicing, working out, if he hit a winner, everyone was like so happy (smiling).

Q.  Have you seen fans?  I have seen fans coming to get photos with your husband.
NA LI:  Oh, yeah?  How he can do that (smiling)?  Really?

Q.  Yeah.  He's famous.  Fans get photos with Max, too.
NA LI:  Max?  Wow.  Okay.  So Max, he should lose the weight (smiling).

Q.  More calls from China in the middle of the night.
NA LI:  Yeah, yeah.

Q.  So you win the French Open.
NA LI:  Yeah.

Q.  Everyone says, She's good.  Then you win the Australian Open.  She's really good.  What would it mean to you and to China if Li Na becomes No. 1 in the world?
NA LI:  Wow, that's mean this couple years we doing good job.
No, I would like to say we already doing good job.  If I can be in No. 1 that's mean we improve a lot, especially Peng Shuai has No. 1 in doubles.  I need to follow her.  I try to follow her.
And also I think give a lot information or, how do you say, positive way to the children.  They will see the all they can doing well, and they hope they can do the same or even better.

Q.  What do you think of the success that Peng and Su‑Wei have been able to have together?
NA LI:  As far as until now I think they pretty good.  Yeah.  At least I didn't hear anything they are fight or something (smiling).  The doubles team, you never know.  Maybe they can, how do you say, work together for one year or two year, always something between there.
But I feel these two is pretty, how do you say ‑‑I think they are know each other when they are pretty young.

Q.  Does it help you to have other players doing well?  Does it take some pressure off you in China that you know you have other players in the top too?
NA LI:  Yeah, at least I can put a picture in front of me.  She's No. 1, so after her or even focusing on her.

Q.  You wrote in your book that when you were younger, the goal was just to be the No. 1 in China and to win the national games.
NA LI:  Yeah.

Q.  At what point in your career did you suddenly start to think, Oh, maybe more than that?
NA LI:  I think until ‑‑so I was retire for two years.  When I was retire, highest ranking was like 120.  Because I try to improve that, but I cannot do it.  The ranking always around the 120.
So I say, Okay.  And also in the body I cannot stay healthy.  I say, Stop.  You cannot improve, so you just give up.
I think my book also write, because in China we say, how do you say, national game, like four year, same like Olympics.  So my team boss come to university to find me.  He say, Look, we can't have many good players.  Maybe you can help me to help our team to be better.
I was like, Are you joke?  I have two years I didn't play.  How you can ask me?  When I was young I think this is a little bit different from China and western.  I think western, the athlete they pay from their family.
But in China, you know, if I stay in team, the team will pay like coaching or traveling.
So I say, Okay.  Maybe is the time to give back, because I don't know what I can give.  So I say, Okay, I will play for my hometown to just play one tournament.  After, I will go back to university.
But I doing well, and the national team say, Oh, maybe you can come to national team.  I say, Where the hell is that?  Why?  They ask me when I was after two years retire.
So I say, Okay, maybe I should try, but I have to think too much because I have to think about if I was play I have to give up my university.  So I was depends, Okay, maybe I should give one more chance to myself and then still play.
Come to the tour, and so many western coach they are now working with me.  They say, Oh, you can be top 20, top 30.  I say, No way.  My highest ranking was 120.  Cannot be this high.
But after I was playing tournament, I improve my ranking.  I say, Maybe I have good chance to be top 20, top 30.  And now here I am.

Q.  What are you doing on nonmatch days?  What are you doing?
NA LI:  Long sleep.  Yeah.

Q.  Anything fun?
NA LI:  No.  If I am still in the tournament ‑‑are you talking in the tournament or after tournament?

Q.  In the tournament.
NA LI:  Long sleep, a little bit warming up, then back to hotel, good massage.

Q.  That's not much.
NA LI:  I am professional (smiling).

Q.  I don't know whether you know but, there is a wonderful new book out called Ping Pong Diplomacy.  Talks about pow Ping‑Pong brought your country and my country together.  It was no accident that it was planned by the top leaders, Mao, Nixon.  Are you familiar with that at all?  Have you heard about that and how Ping‑Pong brought the two countries together?
NA LI:  (Shakes head.)  (Through translation.)  Maybe they make the book tennis I will look in that (smiling).

Q.  It's table tennis.
NA LI:  Yeah, we should pass the table.

Q.  If I could just follow up, have you heard of the Chinese player, Hu Na?  Have you heard of her?
NA LI:  Long, long, long time ago.

Q.  What have you heard about her?
NA LI:  Because I heard in the American Embassy, they ask me, Did you contact or something between you and Hu Na?  I say, We only have the same first name.  No more.  I even didn't see her face to face.

Q.  Was this the American Embassy in China or where?
NA LI:  In China.  I think 15 years ago.  Yeah.

Q.  Is marriage like a doubles team?  You mentioned doubles a few moments ago.
NA LI:  Yeah.  What?  Marriage?

Q.  Is marriage like a doubles team, a doubles partnership?  You fight, sometimes you get together, sometimes you break up.
NA LI:  I think, you know, I don't know how you say in America, but in China one movie, they always say, Doesn't matter how is your choice, marriage always wrong.  So the best way just keep wrong until the end.  So I just follow that.

Q.  So is that why you don't play doubles?
NA LI:  No, I think doubles for me the court, too small, you know.

Q.  Is it like two wrongs make a right?  We have that phrase.
NA LI:  Yeah, in China we say that.  But now I only find the one wrong.  I didn't find other wrong.

Q.  Is there anybody in tennis today or in the past that you make a point to pay attention to that really inspires you, that fuels your tennis?  Is there anybody that you make sure, like I need to pay attention to this player, this athlete?  Or is it all business?  I got to do my work and focus on me.
NA LI:  No, I think tennis is, how do you say, I think it's personality about the sport.  Same like if you play on the court, you cannot put attention for opponent.  You have to think about what you have to do on the court, so more about yourself.

Q.  So next match.  Obviously you played Pennetta at the Australian Open.  Can you talk about a little bit about possibly playing Sloane Stephens.
NA LI:  Because I never play against her, so if they are play on court, I will watch some couple games to get some information.

Q.  Have you seen her play on TV before?
NA LI:  Yeah.  Yeah, I saw couple matches, but, you know, always different if you watch the TV and also in the match.
And also different opponent use different, how you say, plan.  Yeah.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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