Don't know if this has been posted yet....
Oct. 01, 2005
“No Matter How Beautiful You Are, If You Don't Win,You're Lost”
// Yelena Dementyeva about herself, her rivals, coaches and her mother.
Over a week ago the Russian picked team won the Federation Cup, having beaten the French team on the Rolland Garros courts. The Russian leading player, Yelena Dementyeva, was interviewed by Valeria Mironova, a correspondent of the Kommersant-Sport.
What part of the match was the most difficult for you?
It's difficult to say. The entire match was a very thrilling event, whose outcome was absolutely unpredictable. Both teams were equal. Psychologically, the pair game was the most difficult. The score was 1:1 by sets. This two-day match was a real marathon.
Were your surprised when the head of your team, Shamil Tarpishchev, told you to play with Dinara Safina? You couldn't have enough rest after a difficult game against Amelie…
After I won the game against her, Tarpishchev asked me to play again in a pair. I agreed, although I was dead tired. Nastya Myskina didn't play her match at the time, that's why Tarpishchev thought that if she'd lose it would be psychologically difficult for her to play a pair game. This was why he placed Dinara Safina.
When Myskina lost to Marie Pierce and the score became 2:2, the French girls were in a more advantageous position psychologically, especially since they were supported by the spectators. How could you overcome natural nervousness?
Dinara Safina was more agitated. But she mustered strength and courage. As for me, I was so tired that there was simply no strength for worry. Besides, Tarpishchev always managed to calm us down and kept repeating that the French girls were also almost at the end of their tether.
I should add that the French tennis fans behaved very well throughout the entire two-day match. The atmopshere was quite friendly. In general, French public treats me well, perhaps because I speak French, which I studied at school. The traditional English in tennis irritates the French. When I played I felt a kind of support from the local spectators.
When the Russian team was handed the Federation Cup all its members were happy, except Anastasia Myskina. She seemed rather gloomy, didn't even smile.
Well, this is quite understandable. She lost both games, that is, she didn't help her team. On the other hand, we did win the match. We comforted her as we could. It should be remembered that without her successes we would not have been able to reach the finanls. She defeated Venus Williams who had won Wimbledon, which made it possible for us to get the upper hand in the match with the US picked team. In general, team work is based on individual successes: one wins today, anothet tomorrow.
A year ago the picture on this court was different: happy Myskina and sad Dementyeva.
You mean the Roland Garros finals.. Yes, it was a difficult time. Most probably, I was too tired and dejected and lost to Myskina at the time. Yet, I remember everything with pleasure, it was no tragedy for me, and we're great friends with Nastya. But it was the first case in our tennis history that two Russian players met in the final of the grand slam tournament. That was an unforgettable event in both my career and in that of Nastya.
Last year you reached the finals of the grand slam tournaments twice, and this year you won the Federation Cup. What season, you think, is more important and successful for you?
Both. The victory in the Federation Cup match is a long-awaited one. I have always played in our national team. But last year I wasn't in the team and the Cup was won without me. But last year was more romantic, so to say. These two finals were quite unexpected. All tennis players dream of such a thing. But it's hardly possible to reach the finals of the grand slam tournament. And we succeeded to play in two such events.
What is the atmosphere in your team? Are our girls on frendly terms with one another? I remember that last year you had frictions with Svetlana Kuznetsova. You even said you wouldn't talk to her any longer.
Yes, there was a somewhat unpleasant situiation. Tournament organizers in Belgium said that there was someone caught in using doping. Then they named the “culprits”, including Svetlana Kuznetsova and me. At a news conference Svetlana said she didn't know a thing about all this and denied everything, but didn't utter a word about other girls mentioned. In fact, she behaved as if she were alone. Meanwhile, I had to defend myself from all and sundry attacks of numerous reporters, which, naturally interfered with my training and playing. It was the time of the Australian Open. I felt angry and offended and said that I wouldn't speak with Svetlana any more.
Are you on speaking terms with her now?
I rarely see her now. She lives in Spain and I in Moscow. Our paths cross very seldom.
How is it possible for tennis players in one team to coexist and work peacefully?
It's not simple. Tennis is a sport for individuals. It's not easy to play against a person today, and support and help him tomorrow. In general, it's not easy to be part of a team, but it seems to me that we somehow manage to discard our sympathies and antipathies, and personal ambitions and display solidarity and cohesion. This is especially important in playing for the Federation Cup.
Besides, I should mention the work of the captain of our team, Shamil Tarpishchev, who is able to create a good atmosphere in the team and preserve it during important tournaments. And he can pass his calmness and positive mood on to all its members.
Last year Russian girls won three of the four grand slam tournaments, but nothing this year. Can one talk of a slump in Russian women's tennis?
Last year was really fantastic. Nobody expected such results, which are simply difficult to repeat. But I wouldn't say that this year is an unlucky one. We have managed to reach the semifinals of grand slam tournamens. Maria Sharapova has become the world's Number One and we retained the Federation Cup. So, there is no slump.
Who of the Russian girls is the most promising tennis player?
I don't really know. There are so many girls from Russia playing in any tournament, so that sometimes it seems to me that everything takes place in Moscow and I haven't gone anywhere. Many new faces appear on courts all the time, and I even don't know their names. But I have no doubt that there will be many fresh important victories. I closely follow all finals and semifinals of the grand slam tournaments and there are always someone, or even several players, from our country.
Don't you envy Maria Sharapova, who has now the laurels of he world's No1 and the top tennis beauty?
Not at all. No matter how beautiful you may be, if you don't show the best results, you're lost, no one will ever be interested in you. Such is the law of sport. As for Maria, everything is quite logical. She won Wimbledon and the world championship, having shown the best results. And she is really beautiful. All this accounts for her great popularity. Believe me, if Nastya Myskina or I become the world's Number One, the result will be the same. The main thing is to play well.
Why did you part with your coach, Olga Morozova?
I worked with her for 18 months and I liked our partnership. But the time has come when I felt that she couldn't give me more. There was no further progress. So we decided to part.
And who is your coach now?
I have no coach and train with my mother.
What about Richard Krajczek?
He agreed to give me consultations. We worked mainly on improving my serves, he was the pastmaster in this and won at Wimbledon. I should say that his was a very valuable advice and the exercises he recommended me proved very helpful.
So, you are not going to have a new coach?
I don't feel that I need one at present. Tennis tournaments are held now on clay, now on grass, now on hard, and because of this I'd rather have a person who could see what I should correct while playing on different surfaces.
As to my mother, she helps me physically, organizationally and morally. There have been many people around me, but the person closest to me has always been my mother.
Don't you think that great emotional attachment to one person, even the closest one, could be harmful, in a way?
No. Besides, I'm an independent person.
Yet, you prefer to live with your mother…
I live with my family: father, mother and brother. True, I have a flat of my own, quite near the house we live in. In general, I don't like to talk about my private life
How long do you intend to play tennis, and when will your private life become a priority?
It's difficult to say. In general, to make forecasts in sport is well-nigh impossible. I cannot say that in the year 2007, for instance, I'll quit tennis, get married and become mother. One thing I know for certain: sooner or later my sports career will end, and I'm not going to play until 30.
Are you tired carrying the burden of fame?
At first, it is indeed difficult. But in the course of the past five years I got used to this. There have been so many ups and downs in my life that I have now learnt to cope with them calmly and quietly.
Do you like to deal with the press?
Previously, I got tired of getting in touch with newsmen and TV and radio men. But then I felt that it was a way to share my views, thoughts and feelings with my fans, and also to thank them for rooting for me.
But there is a limit to my strength. For example, when we arrived in Moscow after our latest victory there were so many questions repeated all over again that I felt dead tired after saying for the umpteenth time that I was feeling fine, happy with my victory, and so on so forth.
Several days later I felt sad and sorry that everything had ended, as is always the case when one attains something long-awaited.
Russian Article as of Sep. 26, 2005