M. SHARAPOVA/N. Petrova
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.
Q. You've had a lot of tough battles with Maria before, most significantly at the '05 US Open in the quarters. Where does this rank in terms of disappointments for you and in terms of having chances and not being able to capitalize on them?
NADIA PETROVA: Yeah, that's true. It's been another tough match, and, you know,she really showed, even though she has been out for a while, she's willing to compete till the end. I'm disappointed with me, because I just didn't finish it off when I had everything in my hands.
Q. It was a very close match. You played very well for long stretches. What do you think made the difference in the end?
NADIA PETROVA: Basically just not going for it, not taking my chances, you know. That's what I have to change if I want to become a better player, if I want to go up again and win the tournaments and the titles. What I want is the Grand Slam. I just have to go for my shots without any doubts.
Q. How do you think she played, and did it seem like she was not up to 100% coming off the time that she's had away and the shoulder injury?
NADIA PETROVA: Well, she didn't have enough matches obviously this year. She just played a tournament before French, but she really showed that she's a real champion and once again how she fought till the end, and she really went for her shots.
All I can say, you know, there was little, what I felt like, she wasn't really moving fast, fast enough, but it is obviously quite difficult on clay.
Q. You were up a break two different times in the third set. Did you get nervous or just tighten up or what happened?
NADIA PETROVA: Well, she served well at those important points. She didn't give me any chance to start the points, and, you know, she put me in a difficult situation right away. So, at the other hand, maybe I start thinking a little bit already ahead all the time instead of staying in the present and focus on each point.
Q. Was there ever a moment when you forgot or you could forget that this was a former world No. 1, or was it always in the back of your mind that this was the former top player in the world?
NADIA PETROVA: Well, in the beginning, it definitely was. But then the longer the match went on, I just start being really more thinking of the game instead of who's on the other side. That's it.
Q. Do you always suspect she could show flashes of that brilliance?
NADIA PETROVA: She did. She came out with amazing shots, and still, you can feel, you know, that even ‑‑ I mean, the confidence and the power behind the shots.
Q. Do you feel like your game is still improving, the physical part of your game, or is this the, you know, competitive, the mental aspect of it, what you still need to work the most on?
NADIA PETROVA: I would say both. I would say both. I think I need to get fitter, and I didn't have that chance yet because of my foot injury, so now I'm just trying to play my matches to gain the confidence. I know the confidence is coming from being fit. The fitter I'll become, more believe I will have in my game.
Q. Are you still feeling any effects of the fitness time you lost last winter when you had meningitis?
NADIA PETROVA: Well, the doctors said I will not be able to play until summer, and I recovered pretty good, pretty fast. I tried to play the Australian. Probably even though I don't feel much of a difference, but neurologically, I'm still a little behind.
Q. What about Safina? Do you think she's playing better tennis this year as compared to last year?
NADIA PETROVA: Oh, yeah, she's definitely playing best tennis of her life, and she really prove it in last couple of tournaments,winning back‑to‑back, very confident. For me, she's the favorite to win this one.
Q. What did your coach say to you after today's match?
NADIA PETROVA: Well, what can I say? He was a bit disappointed. Even though I know I played good tennis, it was a very interesting match probably to watch, but as he said, I had it. I didn't take it.