All the brouhaha over Elena's post match comments made me want to find the interview where I first thought that perhaps Elena had some sort of grudge or was loathe to give credit to Venus.
It was 2001 Indian Wells after her match with Krasnaratskaya (sp?). Elena makes a lot of comments that would be viewed as arrogant and even rude if they came from a Williams.
Q. Can you talk about playing Venus, what you have to do to win?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: We played two times. She looks strong. I mean, if I will play a hundred percent of my game, I can beat her, that's for sure. I mean, now I have nothing to lose. I mean, I'm sure I'll not nervous or something like that. I will just play and try to play my best game.
Q. The two matches you played with her were two of the biggest matches of your career, the Fed Cup and --?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: It was my first match against such a Top 10 player.
Q. -- The other thing was for the Olympic gold medal.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: That's right.
Q. Two of the most important matches ever were against one opponent. Will you be thinking about something other than the match at hand or no? Do you know what I mean? The other two times you played her, there was such importance to that moment.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, it's not -- it's also very important match for me. I was in semis last year, so I want to be in semis this year, of course. It's always very interesting to play against someone who is such a great player. I can learn something. It's always a good practice for me.
Q. And you can win?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, I'll try.
Q. You said if you play 100%, you can beat her. What if she plays 100%?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: If we will play -- if I will play hundred and she will play hundred, I will beat her for sure. I'm stronger inside.
Q. You're stronger inside?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah. She's just stronger ....
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: .... physically, yeah.
Q. Do you think maybe it means more to you because of the success she had last year? If she doesn't win, it's okay?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: For who?
Q. Venus. You say you're stronger inside, meaning she doesn't need it as much, doesn't care as much?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No. I mean, why she won all her matches because, you know, she's stronger physically. I mean, now she play a lot better than last year. She has a lot of different shots. If you can see last year, she played like she has a great serve and, I don't know, forehand, and that's all. I don't know. I mean, there is nothing special. I mean, she is a girl like me. We'll see.
Q. She thought you were very nervous in the Olympic match. Is that true?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, because when I start to play, nobody expect for me to be on the final. But when I was on the final, everybody came to me and said, "Oh, you have to." Then I start to think that I can be the Olympic medalist. It was tough.
Q. Because she is so strong and she has a presence about her, do you think a lot of other players, they haven't lost before they've gone out there, but do you think that's in the back of her mind, she's so impressive?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yes, I think so. I think, yeah, she won a lot of match before somebody came on the court. That's for sure.
Q. So she intimidates people before she comes out?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I think so.
Q. What about you? Why are you not intimidated by her?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, I'm not.
Q. Why is that?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I don't know. Maybe I have to. I will try in one tournament.
Elena really seemed to underestimate Venus's game saying "she's just stronger" as though Venus won simply because of physical strength.
In the same tournament Venus subsequently beat Dementieva 6-0, 6-3 and the following interview took place. Notice that Elena makes continual reference to how bad she (Elena) plays --something Serena gets criticised for a lot--and also starts with the match-fixing accusations:
MODERATOR: Questions for Elena.
Q. Once you got going, you played her pretty evenly. Just the difficult start.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I think we both play very bad today. I didn't expect such a bad play for Venus. I never play so bad in my life. It's looks like I think she has some injury or something. You know, she gave me so many chances, especially second set, and I didn't use it at all.
Q. You weren't satisfied with any aspect in the second set? You had a lot of winners.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: But I did so many mistakes. It wasn't just a good game.
Q. You looked like you were getting frustrated, like you could play better than you were playing. That is how you feel?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, I mean, I tried to win points like for my first or second shot. It was a wrong way. I mean, today the only thing I need to do, just keep the ball. But, like I said, I didn't expect this play from Venus. I thought she's going to hit the ball like she did hard, and she didn't.
Q. Why do you think you played so badly? Were you not mentally in the match?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah. You know, I feel a little bit tired. I just play final, and here is quarters. No, just a bad day for me, I think.
Q. Was it a strategy on Venus' part, an injury? Why did she play so differently?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I think it looks like she has some injury, I think so, yeah.
Q. So she couldn't hit it?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Like she's normally doing, yeah.
Q. Venus is serving up 3-2 in the second set. That game you had six breakpoints. You didn't get any of them. If you think you won that game, do you think you might have been able to pull this out?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, I think so. When we played in Olympic Games, I didn't have any chance, 40-Love, 40-15. Here I don't know how many times deuce or advantage for me, but I didn't take any of these chance.
Q. This was a big opportunity for you to beat her. Do you feel very disappointed that you didn't take it?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah. You know, I feel very disappointed because, I mean, the result is good, the quarters is good, but after this match I feel very bad.
Q. But looking back, did you get out of this tournament some good work that you hoped to?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, after this match I don't feel it.
Q. This match ruined the week?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I think so.
Q. When is the last time that you had a loss that was this frustrating where you had so many chances?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Like I said, I never played so bad in my life.
Q. Some people say the way to play Venus is not to pull her side to side, but hit down the center. Were you trying to do that?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, you know, I try to play just to the body. But, you know, it was difficult for me because my game is just forehand, backhand, try to move. Yeah, it's tough to play in the middle. But that's the way I have to play if I want to beat her, yeah.
Q. This is a player, especially after today, you know you could beat?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Not after this match, I don't think so (laughter).
Q. Even with all the chances you had? You said you played poorly, yet you had chances.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: After this match, the only good thing that we can say is that she's a girl and sometimes she has a bad day, too. She's not like we talked yesterday, Terminator or something.
Q. What is your schedule like now?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I'm going to Miami. I'm happy to have a bye in the first round so I can have a little break. I think I will start Friday.
Q. Anything specifically you want to work on in the next few days to prepare for Miami?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No tennis.
Q. When you take time off from tennis, what do you do?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I have to work with the press in these days, press conference, photo shoots.
Q. The whole time?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Whole time.
Q. Is this for the Russian media?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, for everybody.
Q. Any time for yourself?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Just in the nighttime, I can sleep, yeah.
Q. Any predictions on tomorrow's match between sisters?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I mean, I don't know what Richard think about it. I think he will decide who's going to win tomorrow. But it looks like Serena because I saw a little bit of this match, she play extremely well. I think she will be on the final.
Q. Do a lot of players in the locker room feel that way, that Richard decides who wins the matches?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, I don't think so. I didn't talk about it with the other players.
Q. But you have that feeling?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah.
Q. That it's a family decision?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, because I remember when they played in Lipton. If you saw this match, it was so funny.
Q. Did you feel that way about Wimbledon also?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I don't remember this match in Wimbledon. Sorry.
Q. The Lipton match, you were watching it? Were you at the site or watching it on TV?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Which one?
Q. The Lipton.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I was watching by TV.
Q. When you see the level of play, where do you put yourself on a good day? At your best, do you feel like you can play with anyone who's playing now?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I mean, yeah, I can play with anyone. The question is if I can win.
Q. You've already beaten Venus once.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: It was a long time ago.
Q. Have you ever beaten Lindsay?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yes.
Q. Did you talk to your mom about this match at all?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, I mean, she said maybe I was so concentrate, so focused on this match with Lina, I lost a lot of energy on this match. Maybe that's why today I wasn't good enough in my concentration.
Q. Do you feel that way, that you were having trouble focusing today?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, I think so. She's right.
Q. Was playing in the big stadium difficult?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, I love the stadium. It's great.
I would love to be a fly on the wall in the locker room to find out what exactly is Dementieva's problem with Venus.