Day 9 - Paola Suarez interview
Tuesday, June 1, 2004
Q. You are the first Argentinian player in the semifinals. Others may follow. Why do you think the Argentinian players are doing so well?
PAOLA SUAREZ: I think when we came here, everybody have like a wish to play good here, you know, because it's our surface, you know. The clay, it's where we -- I mean, we play better. You know, we feel like we play better.
But, yeah, this year, it's unbelievable. The guys are four in quarterfinals, and I hope all the four can win.
Q. Do you consider yourself introverted and crazy person? As a player, what are you, crazy or introverted?
PAOLA SUAREZ: No, I think on the court I'm quiet, you know. I'm okay. Sometimes I'm a little bit crazy on the court. You know, I'm yelling too much. But depends if I'm nervous or if I'm calm.
But I think I'm fine. I mean, yeah, I not -- I'm okay on the court.
Q. You're well-known as a doubles player. Is there a reason that you're doing so well in the singles? Have you changed anything?
PAOLA SUAREZ: Yeah, I think the doubles help a lot to me. In doubles we play a lot of finals and we play on center court and we play many finals of Grand Slams. That give me experience, you know.
I think help a lot to me, yeah, the doubles.
Q. Were you surprised that your opponent didn't do that many winners today?
PAOLA SUAREZ: Yeah. Yeah, I think she was a little bit tight, you know, and nervous. I don't know. I mean, I didn't play like angles, you know. I play most of the balls to the middle of the court because she likes when I play angles, you know. And I think she couldn't get the key to try to play winners from there, you know.
I think the most important thing, I think she was tight, like really tight, you know, like tough for her, too much nervous.
Q. Do you think the conditions were much better for you than her? The court was slippery, and she's very tall with long legs. Maybe it's not that easy for her, for her footwork. Do you think it was easier for you to get into that match?
PAOLA SUAREZ: I mean, I think because of this reason, it's tough for both of us, you know, because she hit very fast and I have to run, you know. I mean, she doesn't move a lot, you know, because already aggressive. And me, I have to run.
But I think the conditions was better for me because the court was heavy, you know, and she doesn't like to play many balls. That's why, I think, that's more -- it was better for me, you know, because is slippery, because was heavy the court.
Q. Being in the semifinal with a chance maybe to play against Amelie Mauresmo, will you bring some good memories from two years ago?
PAOLA SUAREZ: Yeah, I remember, yeah, to play Amelie. Yeah, and I have good relation with her. I saw her in the locker room. I hope she can win. And will be a nice experience.
I mean, for me will be nice experience, doesn't matter if I play Amelie or Dementieva. Just to play the semifinal in a Grand Slam, I'm so happy.
If I play Amelie, I have all the crowd against me (laughter). No, it will be fine, yeah.
Q. The Argentinian men have had such a great tournament. You are the lone Argentinian woman to advance this far. Do you think women's tennis in Argentina is getting the attention it deserves and should be getting?
PAOLA SUAREZ: Yeah, I think it's equal for men's and woman. We have young players like Dulko. She was close to be in fourth round here. I think she's going to play really good and she going to stay for sure in some quarters or semifinals of Grand Slams.
But yeah, men's and women's, I think they are equal, yeah. I'm happy.
Q. Getting this far in a tournament like this certainly entails a lot of sacrifices along the way - the training, long hours, the travel. What do you feel like you've really given up to advance to where you are right now?
PAOLA SUAREZ: Too many things. I mean, yeah, for me was really hard to be here, you know. I mean, I have to work a lot, practicing a lot, you know. I'm not the talent player, you know, like to play easy. Was hard work, you know, me and my coach and everybody.
Economic was tough for me, too, you know, because I didn't have the sponsor or the things. And for me this is a dream. I mean, you know, it's like three years before or whatever, the doubles was a dream. Everybody wants to be the No. 1. I'm happy that I can overcome all these things. Like I'm happy to be here with all these sacrifice, you know. I enjoy more.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.
Q. You are going to have everything on your side. Your ranking is going to improve to No. 9.
PAOLA SUAREZ: I didn't really know. That's a very good piece of news. This semifinal for me, that's really great. It's a Grand Slam tournament. Of course, I always have great hopes.
This year finally things have gone really well. Also in doubles. I'm really very happy. I'm so pleased, I can't really tell you how pleased I am.
Q. You seem to be very confident on the court. You're very efficient in the way you hit the ball. You really look like you know what you're doing. It's like you had a pre-set strategy and you managed to put it into play.
PAOLA SUAREZ: Yeah, we spoke with Danny. It was a very difficult match. We spoke about the technical side of the match. I could play much better than during the last match where I was very tense. I was able to put in place my strategy. I needed four winners to win the game. I was feeling very calm, very relaxed.
Q. In her press conference, Sharapova congratulated you and said that she thinks that you really stand a good chance. She also said that the weather was easier for you than for her because she felt that the court was very heavy.
PAOLA SUAREZ: Yeah, that's exactly what I said. I thought the weather really helped me because she is an aggressive player. The ball was very heavy. That made things harder for her. Well, that's the weather, isn't it? It helped me.
Q. What are you going to do to get your best results at a Grand Slam tournament? You're in the semifinal. How are you going to prepare?
PAOLA SUAREZ: Well, I'm going to do the same I do every day. I'm going to get a massage, try to relax, try to rest, then there will be the dinner. I'll just try to relax and spend some time with my family, with the group, so things just remain as usual, and see if I can go further in this tournament.
Q. You're very used to being with champions.
PAOLA SUAREZ: Yes, I'm extremely happy.
Q. You were talking about the sacrifices you've had to make to get here. What does this represent? You've had to fight, make sacrifices to come to the semifinal, to be Top 10. What goes through your mind right now?
PAOLA SUAREZ: Well, I'm extremely pleased. I also think about my family. It's the first time also that my brother and mother have come here. They've come together. It's the first time they have come together and they can share this time with me. My father is in Buenos Aires, but he'll also be watching the matches.
Sometimes I really would like to thank God for these wonderful moments.
Q. Can you talk about the sacrifices?
PAOLA SUAREZ: Lots of things I've had to give up. As a teenager, all I did was play tennis. For example, I couldn't go out with my friends, weddings that I couldn't attend of very good friends because I was away playing. So really when you travel, you miss lots of things. You miss out on lots of things.
But this is what I get in exchange.
Q. A few years ago at the French Open, you were thinking about continuing with your career or not when you lost to Mary-Jo Fernandez. Did you have time to think about all that, to see how things can change really?
PAOLA SUAREZ: Yes, it's incredible. As time goes on, you think about what happened in the past. Of course, there were many things, what you just mentioned, but also having my family with me, my coach with me saying, "Go on," encouraging me. There are lots of things that made it possible for me to be here today.
Also I was strong and I managed to overcome all the obstacles on my way.
Q. Now you're going to the semifinals, you might be playing against Amelie. You have a mental edge, don't you, because you beat her in the last match in 2002? >
PAOLA SUAREZ: No, I think each match is different. Each match is different. Amelie has been playing very well. She won two tournaments in a row. She has lots of confidence. Amelie still has to play the quarterfinals against Dementieva, remember.
But, no, I don't think I had a mental edge. On the contrary, I'll just have to play the match.
Q. A while ago you were talking about your coach. You said 14 years with Daniel. What are the qualities of a coach that makes it possible to be so long with him and what did he bring to you in terms of your work?
PAOLA SUAREZ: Well, he started with me when I was 14. I was just a young girl. He also had a goal with me. Well, we have also had two or three times when we didn't get on so well, but we have worked very well. Sometimes he was my father almost, and he was my psychiatrist sometimes. Especially when I was a teenager, I spoke to him about lots of things that had nothing to do with tennis just to make sure when I come on court, I'm really feeling well.
Obviously, there's the tactics and all the rest. He helped me a lot. My family also helped me a lot. I think they are the people that I really like to thank for being here today.
Q. You were more a doubles player. Now you're playing singles. Is it the beginning of a new career as a player in singles? >
PAOLA SUAREZ: Well, yeah, two years ago already I started having better results in singles. Now, having achieved this objective, being in a semifinal of a Grand Slam tournament is extremely important because, as I was saying, everybody sees me as a doubles player rather than a singles player.
But over the past years, I've been amongst the Top 30. So it's true that very often I'm seen as a doubles player, and people don't see what I do as a singles player. Being here in the semifinals, I think that will help people also perceive me as a singles player.