Interview: Daniela Hantuchova (d. Wickmayer)
Q. Welcome back.
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Thank you.
Q. Can you kind of talk about that match? It just seemed like a lot of ebbs and flows to that match.
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, I mean, you know, first match is never easy, especially it was kind of a little bit windy and I felt I didn't have much control on my shots to start with.
I just kept fighting, kept fighting. This is a special place for me, so you just don't want to lose. I always try to fight it a little bit extra here.
Q. Can you talk about that the 6-5 game? She had the two break points. Can you talk about what was going through your mind?
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, that's what I was thinking: This is my place and I just don't want to leave. It definitely helped me that I was playing here.
Q. In the tiebreaker, seemed like you started to just take control.
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Yeah, in tiebreaker I was very confident. I felt like I needed to be focused on the first few points, and once I was 5-1-up I was pretty confident.
Q. What's different with her from the other two times you've played her? I know you've beaten her in straight sets the last two times, but not easy straight sets.
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Today it was very difficult for me, different conditions. In the Fed Cup obviously I had the crowd behind me. It was much easier. She's a good player. She hits the ball pretty hard. But I always felt I had my chances. I just had to be a little bit more patient.
Q. Looks like they've been keeping you pretty busy here at the tournament with autograph signings and the unveiling of the trophy. Can you talk about the demands on your time?
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Here, I'm glad to help with anything. The people are so nice to me. If it's the organizers or the fans, they really make me feel at home. Anything I can help to promote the tournament, it's always a pleasure for me.
Q. You've won this tournament twice before, in '02 and '07. What is it about the desert that brings out your best tennis?
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: I don't know. It's just a whole atmosphere. I'm so relaxed here, and at the same time very focused. There are no distractions. I come here, I practice hard, I go back to the hotel, and go to play golf sometimes. It's just very, very focused.
And even things I have to do for the tournament doesn't seem that it's taking any energy from me. So, you know, whatever I do here, I just seem to really enjoy it the whole time.
Q. What have the demands on your time been like since Sports Illustrated? Obviously that's a very high profile thing to be in. Has that changed your life a lot or at all?
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: No, absolutely not. I wouldn't change things like this that can change my life. I'm still the same person, I still got the same people around me, my family. I'm still same the same happy.
It was just a great, great, I mean, time for me there. It was an experience I will never forget. I was very proud to be part of that, and it was a lot of fun.
Q. When you talk about your career outside the court. Obviously you've modeled in a few magazines. You know, what kind of boundaries do you have to have when you model so it doesn't interfere with your tennis?
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Well, for example, this one was great. It was during my off-season in December, so it didn't interfere with anything. I made sure that even when I was there for those five days I still kept practicing. I always make sure that it doesn't interfere with my tennis at all.
And if it does, I try to try to cut down the things to minimum. But this was a thing that basically you can't say no to. I mean, it was such an honor. Yeah, it's just about finding the balance with all the things.
Q. You know, a couple years ago when Anna was on the tour, she got a lot of attention, some of it good, some of it bad. Do you ever kind of look at her career and then like just apply those to your experiences?
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Well, I think it's just important to know what you want. Probably for her the priority was more the off-court stuff, where maybe from her I tried to not do the same mistake and tried to really focus on my tennis and make sure that's where all my priorities are.
But at the same time, I really admire her for everything she did for tennis. She, I think, brought a lot to the game, and she was very good for the sport.
Q. Is that a hard thing to resist? Because obviously, you know, you go for five days. I'm sure you made quite a bit of money, more than a lot of tournaments. Is that kind of tough?
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: You know, I have been on the tour for 10 years, so I do really know what I want. Like I said, many, many times it's about winning matches and giving my best efforts on the court.
What comes off the court doesn't really matter to me. Like I said before, it doesn't really change my life. Doesn't make me more happy or less.
It's just part of what I do. Yeah, sometimes it's nice to do these things, but overall, tennis is what I live for.
Q. Can you talk about the next round? I forgot who you're playing next.
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Cetkovska. She beat Dementieva today, so it's going to be a tough match. Obviously she's playing very well. Again, I think I'm going to focus on my game and give it my best shot.
Q. Did you have a chance to watch much of that match today?
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: A little bit. I was just preparing for my match, so I didn't -- I tried not to think about it too much. Just really focused on today's match. Yeah, I saw a few points.
Q. Have you played against her before?
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: No.
Q. Anything that you saw of her game that might concern you or depress you?
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA: Not really. My coach was watching it anyway, so I'm sure he will give me good input.
IT'S BEEN A LONG WAY MY FRIEND