Re: Mirjana's 2014 Summer Campaign
Here's her interview at U.S. open today
An Interview With: Mirjana Lucic-Baroni
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Q. Well, it's a loss, but does the event itself seem like a win for you in your career?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Yeah, I mean, this has been a great two weeks, the best so far since I can remember for a long time. Yeah, obviously right now I'm really disappointed. She's a really tough player to play. Today I felt like I ran out of gas a little bit. Yeah, it's tough to win against her at that way.
Q. Seemed like the knee wraps didn't feel very good.
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: No, on 4-3 I hit a return and felt a little pain. It was bothering me and I tried to tape it, but the tape wasn't really comfortable. So I took it off.
Q. The statistics are so skewed that you had so many, over 70 unforced errors, and she had 10. Are you frustrated by those errors or are you happy that you went for your...
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: I'm frustrated. It was way too much. I knew I was going for too much. It was really difficult to play because it was very windy day, also. That kind of played, I feel, a huge role today. It was really difficult to time the balls, especially on her ball and her serve. It comes so slow and it kind of floats in the air. Yeah, I mean, I wanted to keep going for the ball and keep playing aggressive, but, yeah, I just missed too much.
Q. How do you explain it can be one set like the first one, then the second, and the third, they are completely opposite?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Okay.
Q. How do you explain it?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Well, if you have watched tennis for many years, that's kind of, yeah, unfair question. You can see it in every match. You could ask for the same her last match with Venus. I mean, how it can happen. It happens. Momentum shifts. You play a little better, and then it shifts the other way. You help it by playing a little worse. That's kind of what happened today. Unfortunately I had a game point second game of the third set and I mishit a ball. The wind took a ball away from me and I mishit very wide. Instead of 1-All, I lost that game. It's love-2, and then kind of just rolling downhill from there, unfortunately. Unfortunately, it happens.
Q. Do you think on the fifth game, which was 18 points - you were still fighting, of course -do you think it could have changed something?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Yeah, absolutely. I was fighting hard. I think I'm living proof here these last two weeks that it's never over. I have come back so many times here, just here, from 5-2 down in the third or in the first and set points and everything. So it's never over. I always fight. It's just, yeah.
Q. Your last name is also Italian. You married an Italian. Do you speak some Italian?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: I understand a little bit. I don't really speak much. But, yeah, I understand.
Q. Do you have any sort of relationship with Errani?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: No, not really.
Q. Never talk?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: No.
Q. In some way, does this Open seem like a startover point for you in your career?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Maybe not a startover. I mean, I don't think -- that wouldn't be fair to me to say that, but it's been definitely sort of another successful tournament that I haven't had in a really long time. Just gives me even more motivation to keep working even harder, yeah, to continue. I'm very motivated to have a great offseason, to work hardest I have ever worked, and have another great year next year.
Q. Can you remember winning, the last time you won six matches in a row?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: It's been a little while. It's been a little while. Today I felt like my body just wasn't willing to -- it wasn't willing, but it just kind of broke down a little everywhere. I have blisters, tapes, pain everywhere in my body, so I burned out a little bit today.
Q. You won in the juniors here. Seems like not many people go on to win the adult event. Why do you think that is?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Well, I mean, Martina did, from what I remember, Hingis. Whatever happened with me happened. It's difficult. I don't really know the question. I mean, winning a juniors is obviously one big step ahead, moving in the right direction, but it's not really that easy to win a Grand Slam, you know. May not happen for everybody.
Q. Do you think it helps to have won a juniors?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: I think so. Yeah, absolutely. I think junior competition is very important. I think it was for me, too. To play your peers, your age, to learn the pressure situations and being favored, being seeded or what have you, I think it's very important. Because later when you come to this stage I think it's easier to deal with pressures because you already used to it sort of.
Q. 17 years ago at age 15 you win your first tournament you ever played. Singles, doubles. Excitement ahead of you. Compare the excitement back then to the excitement that is returned right now.
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Oh, it's so much more now. I mean, back then was so normal for me. I think maybe people around me were excited because, you know, some didn't know me. I was just beginning. But for me it was so normal. I was used to coming from juniors and winning, so it really wasn't a big deal. It was sort of natural progression as far as I was concerned. But now is, yeah, I am super excited. Now it feels sort of like the first time for me.
Q. You accomplished beyond what the books, what the gurus of the game may have forecasted last week. How much personal pride and satisfaction are you able to savor from that?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Oh, so much. When I started again playing I started with the smallest tournaments, qualifying of 25,000s. Yeah, I didn't get any help whatsoever of any kind, you know. No wildcards, no nothing. So I really take a lot of pride in fighting. I think it shows my character a lot, fighting and playing smart tournaments.
Q. Makes you tougher?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Absolutely. Absolutely. I feel like I earned my way here. Even here, you know, fighting through qualifying. Everything I have done so far I absolutely earned it, and I'm very proud of it.
Q. When did you return? What tournament did you return to tennis?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: I think it was 2008, I believe. Actually in 2008 I think I played three or four, and then 2009 I returned full year.
Q. But in 2008 where did you play? Can you recall?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: I'm not sure. I can't remember what was my first tournament (smiling).
Q. But it was a low...
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Yeah, I was starting with a very low, yes, yes.
Q. I know that your husband owns a restaurant; is that true?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: A couple, yeah.
Q. Where about?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: In Sarasota.
Q. Do you ever help him in the restaurant? Do you ever go there? I'm not asking if you're a waitress, but cook or whatever, you know.
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: No, no, no. Cooking, we actually do cook a lot together. I have never done it in his restaurant, but that's actually sort of like going to be my future career. I would love to have a cooking show, a cookbook. My sister is president of a publishing company. She's been pushing me to have a book out already, because cooking is one of my passions. So definitely I will be involved with that in the future. Yeah.
Q. What will you do next?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Next tournament?
Q. Next tournaments or resting or what is your next plan?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Well, I'm planning to play next week in Quebec. Right away I'm going to go home, rest a couple of days, and then prepare and going to indoor tournament, which is a great tournament. I like it. Hopefully continue to do well.
Q. Can you tell us something about Errani? What you think about her game, if you were a bit surprised the way she played, or you weren't at all?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: I mean, you know, she's a great player, obviously. Has been there for a long time. She fights very well. You know, all the credit to her today, I have to say. Yeah, I wish her all the best.
Q. Technically something? You said her service was slow. Did you...
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: You want me to say something I really don't want to say because you want to write something fun, but I'm not going to do that.
Q. Why not?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Because I'm a fair competitor. She plays the way she plays and she fights well. You know, she had five winners in the whole match and missed maybe three balls. You know, she runs and she fights hard. That's the way it is. I wish her good luck. Respect.
Q. Will you keep following the tournament now? Who do you think are the favorites to win?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: I love watching it on TV. It's going to be very hard not to, but I really want to switch the TV off, see my niece, and relax a few days. Who knows who's going to win? I mean, it's tough to say. It's really tough to say. There's going to be so many good matches. Yeah, right now, at least for the next couple of days, I don't want to see another tennis ball being hit since I'm not in anymore (smiling).
Q. Another answer about Errani. I'm trying.
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: No problem.
Q. She has to play the winner of Wozniacki and Sharapova. With their kind of game, do you think it's much better for her to play Wozniacki than Sharapova or not?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Obviously. Yeah, I mean, again, even if she plays Sharapova, you know, she's a very difficult opponent. Days like today where it's very windy are going to favor Sara. Maria is a hard hitter kind of like me and she's going to go for her shots. If she's playing really well, Sara is not going to be able to do much. If she's making 70 unforced errors like I did today, she may get away with a win, yes.
Q. What is your plan after Quebec? Do you think you're going to the Asia series?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Well, a lot has changed this week. My ranking was still a little bit low to get into some of the tournaments, so I'm not sure. I may ask if they have any wildcards and see if I can get in a few. I still don't know. I have to see.
Q. Why now get back to tennis? I mean, you started in 2008, but there was so much bad things going on. You still love tennis; is that right?
MIRJANA LUCIC-BARONI: Absolutely. Why now? I mean, I have been playing all these years. It's just that I haven't had a lot of great success lately. I mean, I have been playing. I have been fighting and battling through. I have been waiting for this, you know, playing good tennis and having good results like I have the last two weeks. This is what it's about for me. Not a billion dollars can compare to the feelings I felt in the last two weeks fighting back and beating Halep and winning all my matches here, fighting from the dead basically, no money can buy that ever.