March 11, 2006 ELENA DEMENTIEVA
6-4, 3-6, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Elena, please.
Q. How about the match?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, that was the first time I play against her. I've never seen her before, and, you know, I know she's from Belarus, but it looks like -- she plays like a perfect clay court Spanish player, I mean lots of speed and everything back. And sometimes during the match, I just had a feeling I'm playing against the ball, and, yeah, I think it was a tough match, and she was playing everything back.
Q. You improved your serve. What did you do? How did that happen?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: You sound shocked. I was working on my serve, you know, and I was trying to increase the speed of the serve and just find the rate and find the motion. I think my first serve improved a lot. I have to work on my second one still, but it looks better to me.
Q. Elena, you're one of the top players that's had a chance to play Martina Hingis so far. Can you talk a little bit about her level, and I think you were also maybe one of the last people to play her before she retired.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, I was the last one, so when she said she's coming back, I was like "Well, I have to play one more time," and we actually did. We play in Tokyo in the final, which was very special to me to play against her in the final. I think she plays -- it's unbelievable how well she play after three years out of competition. And, you know, it's really amazing and she -- I think she has more power and she has, you know, solid game for the moment. And I just -- you know, I don't think that anyone else could do this, you know, after three years.
Q. In terms of that, can you talk about how, the things that she does, the looks that she gives you on the court, the different types of shots she gives you to react to, that maybe not too many people on the tour are doing these days, different angles, different dropshots, change of pace, she has a different way of playing the game.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, definitely she has a different way to play. She has a very smart, intelligent game. You know, she's almost like Roger Federer. She's -- you know, she's perfect, maybe not as powerful as Williams sisters, but she use everything she needs during the match and she see clearly the ball, the situation. She can change her technique, you know, tactic during the match and that makes -- that make her, you know, so difficult to play with.
You know, for me, it's just the best player to watch and to learn something for myself because by watching her it looks like everything is so easy. You know, you don't have to work so hard, you don't have to run so hard, you know, you just have to make right decision during the match, and the match will be match, you know, much faster.
Q. Does it make her even more effective that no one else or few people play that way?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I think it's great, you know, that we have such a smart player in the tour, and I think it's great for the fans. It's great for us. For me, it's always interesting. It's always, you know, a great experience to play against Martina. And we have -- sorry -- because you have to think.
(Cell phone went off.) Exception for Sony Erickson.
THE MODERATOR: There you go.
Q. I had to turn my off. Who's calling? Is it your mom?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No.
Q. Is it a boy? How cute? So it's fun for you to play her, but I think a lot of players don't see it as open-minded as you. They don't think it's too much fun because they're used to the pounding, the same game, you know?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Like I said, for me, it's a great experience, you know. And I feel like playing with her, I can increase my level of the game and, yeah, I can learn a lot. And, you know, I was watching her in the semi finals, you know, against Sharapova. She was playing so smart, you know. Maria was trying to overpower her and she was using her speed and, you know, the match was, you know, like 6-2, 6-3, so easy.
So it's a great way to see, you know, what she can provide against, you know, such a good player. So she can give me -- you know, by watching her, I can find some good, you know, advice, some good decision.
Q. So, Elena, with all the admiration you just gave Hingis, how special was it to beat her in the final?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: It was very special. You know, that was my fifth time in Tokyo, and I never had such a -- you know, I never had a good result by playing on this grass carpet. And to be in the final and playing against Martina one more time, you know, and you know what, you know I think she was in great shape, but, you know, all the experience that I had before playing against her, I beat her a couple of times, I think it's really helped me in the final, because I knew what to expect. I know how well she can be? I was -- remember the last match we played in Filderstadt when she decided to quit, you know, and I think that really helped me in Tokyo.
Q. With so much power in the women's game, can a player like Martina be a top 10, be a top 5 player, do you think?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: You know, with all the results that she got, you know, from this year - she was playing three sets against Kim Clijsters, she beat Sharapova, one of the most powerful for the moment - and, you know, I think she can be top 10 for sure. I think she has -- she has a game to do it.
Q. You've been asked a lot of questions about Martina Hingis. What about your opponent today Anastasiya Yakimova, what about her future? She's only 19. I thought she put up a heck of a fight?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: She was playing very well. Like I said, I had a feeling I'm playing against the world. She was playing every single ball back to me, and she was moving great, you know, and, you know, so much speed. It's actually unusual. I mean, I know players from Russia, from Belarussia. They have -- you know, they have, I would say, the same type of game, you know. They like to play flat, you know. They like to stay aggressive of during the match. She was so defensive. She was so patient on the court, waiting for my mistakes, and I mean, she was playing the whole match, so -- you know, so consistent, I think.
Q. Do you think she's got a good future?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: It's hard to say. It's going to be very tough to play against her on clay courts, for sure.
Q. Did your game frustrate you?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, you know, I know that I'm always have problems playing my first rounds, so for me, it's like no matter how I play, I have to go through this one. I know if I can pass the first one, I play better and better. So for me, it's always difficult. But it's always important to win a first match.
Q. What kind of chance are you giving yourself now to win this tournament?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: After three hours playing?
Q. I think you have an excellent chance Mauresmo is not here, Pierce is not here, the number of contenders would seem limited.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I think that when you're winning 6-Love, 6-Love your first round like Lindsay Davenport, you can think about, you know, playing in the final. And, you know, but with my game to -- you know, I really have to focus on my game and play my, you know, next round.
Q. Elena, why did you win today?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Sorry.
Q. Were did you win today?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Why? Because I want it.
Q. Because you what?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Because I want it so badly.
Q. As difficult an opponent as she was, what got you through?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I don't know. I was fighting, you know, and I was running, as well. And I don't know, I just -- I think I lost my concentration the second set when I was 6-4, 2-Love for me, and then it was difficult to put everything together and start to fight again in the third set. But, you know, I was trying to be positive, trying to be aggressive with her but it was difficult because I had to go to the net, which is not my favorite thing to do, and, you know, I feel that's the thing I really have to work on.
Q. Do you wear the calypso pants out of necessity? Did you borrow pants from Rafael Nadal?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Rafael didn't help me this time, you know. Okay. Thank you.
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter....
Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there
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