B. MATTEK SANDS def. A. Parra Santonja
2-6, 7-6, 6-3
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS
Q. 2 6, 1 3. Cutting it a little close there?
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS: Yeah, actually, I didn't even know it was that bad. No, she's a tough one to play. I played her last year in New Haven. Obviously it was on hardcourt. She was hurting me with her out wide serves and forehand down the line. She was liking to go down the line; whereas a lot of players go crosscourt.
So she was catching me out there, but I wasn't feeling my returns in the first or a lot of the second set. The last game, return game, I felt my returns finally. Returns are my biggest strength I think. It's one of the biggest strengths of my game.
I just wasn't quite feeling it. But, you know, you have days like that. I've lost a lot of matches where if I'm not playing so well I kind of lose those. I was really determined, even though I wasn't feeling 100%, to really fight and come back in this match.
Q. You're the highest ranked American woman player here. Very possibly you could be the No. 1 player coming out of Wimbledon. What would that mean to you?
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS: Um, it would be huge. But when you think of American tennis, you think of No. 1 in the world. So it's not I don't think I'm officially the No. 1 player until I can get top 10. That's my goal.
Obviously I was close to being seed here, which was actually my next goal, was to get seeded at a slam.
But it's big shoes to fill. I think American tennis has always been on top, so still have a little ways to go. I'm doing the best I can, so...
Q. What is it about Paris. You're 8 1 in Paris this year, including doubles.
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS: Hey, I'll take that stat. I don't know. I like it here a lot. I really I can't say that when I first came here I didn't really like it that much. But every year I've come to Paris I've loved it more and more. We have our favorite spots to eat, our favorite places to go.
I've done a lot of cool things since I've been here. I was at Moulin Rouge a couple nights ago. It's really been a lot of fun in Paris every time I've come.
Q. Justin said in Estoril there was a come to Jesus moment when you lost in the first round.
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS: Yeah.
Q. He said you really had to figure out a way not to beat yourself. What was that internal conversation like?
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS: The biggest thing after my loss in Estoril, which you know, I played a girl who plays very funky again. It was one of those times I wasn't feeling 100% and I lost the match, and I really wasn't happy with how I played.
So after that loss, I sat down and defined my game. I said, I'm going to play this way whether I win or lose or whether I'm winning or losing in a match, I should say. I'm not going to second guess myself.
I think once I wrote it down, and even though there's been matches I've been down, missing my shots, I really believe in my game right now.
Q. Speaking of Americans, technically speaking in the last few years we have not done too well here, men and women. Serena I guess was the last to win in 2002. Is it because we don't play on the clay a lot or you don't like it? What do you get, the whole feeling of where the Americans aren't faring better.
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS: Um, I don't know. Personally, I actually like clay. I mean, I really think the key is learning how to move on it. Once you can do that...
I mean, even today, I think the clay is playing pretty fast right now. The balls are going past. So I think aggressive game styles, you can do it on the clay.
You've still got to be patient, but I can still be aggressive, and that's how I've been winning my matches on the clay. I don't know that that stereotype is really 100% true.
I don't know. It's tough to say why the Americans haven't done well. I don't know if it's in their head. You know, it's tough, because you do, you play a Spanish player, you play an Italian player, and they play on clay all the time. I don't know if that's kind of psyching themselves out before they even get out on the court.
I tell them to just go for it. At this point, you really got nothing to lose on the clay, so...
Q. You've lost some really tough three setters in the slams over the last year or so. Were you thinking about that today?
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS: That's funny you say that. Right after the match I saw Justin. He brought they kind of said, Got pretty tight there in the second. You came close. I thought about my Australian Open three set match that I lost.
I was like, I am not doing that again. I am going to win this match. For me it was mental, because a lot of times I like to feel good when I win. I like to hit winners.
Today I had to grind. I mean, I had to fight it. I was missing shots, missing balls. She was hitting awkward shots for me.
It was just like, Okay, I'm playing at 50%; I just have to fight every point. Just forget about the last one, no matter how bad the miss was, whatever. I'm going to win in match.
Q. You have been hearing about being the top American for about a month now coming in here. Did you feel yourself pressing a little bit with the feeling and the pressure being Bethanie, the No. 1 American playing in Paris?
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS: No. You know what, I've come to at this point in my career, being 26, it's needless pressure. I mean, I can only do the best I can.
And for me, I get the most frustrated when I'm not playing up to my own expectations, because those are the only ones that really count for myself. I've really tried to stay true to that, because you can get caught up with, Okay, No. 1 American. I want this sponsor. If I can only get to quarters I can get this. It's too much.
That's why I said after Estoril I have my game plan, and that's it. That's how I'm going to play. That's all I can do.
Q. They're using new balls here this year. Some people have complained about them. Some say they don't notice a difference.
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS: They're new. Interesting. Okay. Actually, in the locker room a lot of the girls have said they're coming in with a lot of shoulder issues. They say the balls are pretty hard. I think it kind of translates to they're going fast through the air. I don't mind that. I actually like it if it's face paced.
We've actually switched balls the last few tournaments. We were Dunlop; Italy it was heavy, fluffy balls. Here I think they are harder.
But it's something that you kind of got to for me, you just got to play. You got to figure it out at some point. Your opponent's dealings with it too, whether they like it or not. You got to figure it out.
Q. Are they different enough they can affect the way a match goes?
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS: I think if players let it. I mean, it's still got yellow felt. It's really you know, does it weigh a couple grams different? Maybe.
But, um, you know, we're professionals. We should be able to get used to stuff. I mean, would I like it if we had more of the same balls throughout the clay court season? I think that would be optimal. I think that would help a lot of all the players, I think.
You know, switching balls here and there definitely leads to some injuries for sure. It could sway a match. If gets in somebody's head enough, for sure.
Q. You said that you sat down and wrote I guess or defined your game. First of all, what did you write? And second of all, was that like writing a personal ad?
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS: I know, yeah. I wanted to stay specific with things that I would do every single match no matter what. You know, you can change strategies, you can change stuff like that. That's going to be depending on who I play, how I feel, what surface, et cetera.
It took me a while, too. It was like getting to the core of my game. I have an aggressive game. I'm looking to take time away from my opponents. I'm looking to take balls on the rise, go into net, cut off angles, and take returns on the rise.
Q. Blonde hair, green eyes...
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS: Long walks on the beach. I don't mind. My husband just walked in, so X that one out.
Q. So Lepchenko or Flavia. Talk about them. You just beat Flavia. I don't know if you've played Lepchenko.
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS: I played her a while ago, a couple years ago at Amelia Island.
Q. Ponte Vedra?
BETHANIE MATTEK SANDS: Same thing, same tournament. Last I checked, it was 3 All in the third, so Flavia has got a little fight on her hands. You know, Varvara is tough. She's lefty; she really has funky strokes; she puts a lot of spin on the ball.
I am kind of lucky, my coach is lefty, so I can get a little bit of practice in the next couple days.
But Flavia is a grinder. We had a tough three set match in Rome that ended at like 1:30 in the morning. You know, it always will be a tough match with her. I think against either one, you know, I'm feeling confident in my game.
I am sticking to my core. Whoever I play, we just adjust a couple things, whether it's pick on the forehand, pick on the backhand, second serve is weak. That's what we go over before the match. Whoever it is, I'm pretty much playing the same way.