January 8, 2013
SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES
S. KUZNETSOVA/C. Wozniacki
7‑6, 1‑6, 6‑2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. A lot of tough matches in Australia. Is that one the toughest because of the heat?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: When?
Q. Today. How does that compare with some of the very hot matches you've played in Australia in the past?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Oh, I don't know. It's been long time since I played matches anyway. I played some hot matches when they stopped my match with Serena one year; then I played 4 hours 44 against Schiavone. So just very hard to compare.
It's just different day, different battle, and you just go out there and do your best. It was just interesting. I think it shows you one more time how the tennis is right now, how players have to be fit to be able to play in the hot conditions, in the wind conditions, in anything.
We're like iron woman almost.
Q. From where you are though it must be very satisfying winning, because you battled the last few months?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, I mean, it's not only where I am, like I didn't play for six months. Still, I been lose to go Goerges, I been losing to Wozniacki, all these matches to Caroline. I was like every time I was up I had chances and I never could close that matches.
And now after the break, I don't know, I just feel fresh, I feel happy, and I feel balance on the court. I feel like I'm doing the right things when I have to do them.
Definitely I'm far away from conditions I want to be at, but I like how it looks like at the moment.
Q. When you had your knee injury, did you have surgery?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No, I didn't have surgery. I just let it go. I was two months with the crutches, how you call them, with the sticks. So then it took me quite a while to have a rehab of the muscles because the muscles, they went smaller.
But, still, I mean, it was hard times, but then it was some good times off the court because I didn't stop for ten years. I was playing every time all the Grand Slams.
Somehow I needed that break. I knew it will be very hard to come back, and it still will be. But I been working hard. I didn't have a lot of time also to prepare this season. I heard some American girls did pre‑season of ten weeks, I'm not sure, but very, very long. I had only five weeks to prepare.
I've done my best. The thing is, I'm positive and happy. And this is it, what's important for me.
Q. So you only had five weeks because that's when your knee was okay to start practicing?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, I didn't want to rush it, you know, because after Wimbledon I had this problem. I had to really take it slow to let it grow, and then I had to start slowly to rehab all the muscle and then to start move a little bit.
It's like barely like ‑‑ I didn't walk for two months, so then you have to run. First matches I've played here, I was like... It was a little bit confusing to me how to run to the ball when it goes really far because it's really different. It's makes difficult because I've never been injured.
You face some difficult times, but it's good experience if you can go through them.
Q. When is the last time you felt this mentally fresh? Before you started playing pro tour?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: (Laughter.) I don't know. I guess when I was younger and much more motivated and the tour looked to me very new and very exciting.
When you play over and over every year the same tournament, the same players, it's quite difficult. You know, if season breaks would be a little bit longer it would be much better for me on this point of view.
But still, you know, this is a game. This is what we face. You know, I'm just happy to be where I am right now.
Q. A lot players when they go out for months they will say, Oh, I didn't know how much I miss tennis. Sometimes it sounds like a cliche, but did that happen to you at some point in the last six months, that you thought there were times you were bored with the game and you hated it and now you feel like you really want to be back on court?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: You ask me because I'm going to give you an honest answer.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I know this. I can see it. I never will do anything else than give a fair answer.
I never feel sick of the game because I love tennis a lot. I have been sick from traveling. I'm like the judge now talking to you guys. I have been sick from travel and sick from staying away from home, from my family, from my friends.
But I never hated tennis. I love tennis and I enjoy tennis. I have not been missing it at all. Now I'm back, I feel fresh, and I feel like I want to play.
But I been watching matches, and I didn't really feel like I wanted to be out there.
Q. So then how did you get back onto the practice court if you didn't miss it? Did you just say, This is my job?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: What's it been, four months I been off?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: First weeks was amazing. I was like, Really? I don't have to wake up tomorrow to go to the tennis court? I love to go, I love to do this job, but sometimes it just comes over. It's too much.
Like when I've been training in Spain, it just became time that I could not do this any longer. I wanted to go home and be at home.
This was the same. I needed very good rest. When I was one months, two months, three months, I was like, Oh, I think I need to work. I need to work. I need to have a goal. Like this I had no goal. I was just relax and it was good for me, but I think the most important thing in the life is to have a goal off the court, on the court, whatever, so your life be going somewhere. If you stop having goal, your life just freezes in the same position.
So it took me time to realize that I really love tennis. I mean, I did know that I love tennis, but to feel like I really wanted to play and work. I take it really slowly, not pushing myself, not just going, You have to.
No, I just take to slow. I had one hour practice a day, and then second week a little bit more. Just really starting slowly. I felt good.
Q. So it was more the grind of the tour that was the thing you had enough of?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, just traveling every week playing matches and things not going your way and this and that, it's just too much. When you do it over ten years, it's a lot. I think it was good time for me for this injury to come.
I took it as it was. I could be disappointed and very negative, but it's a situation with me and I just take it as it is.
Q. Do you feel like this match was a turning point again to beat a top‑10 player again? Do you feel like you could get some momentum from here going into Melbourne?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Lately I just don't think about it when it's turning point and when it's not. I'm here. I'm doing the best I can. That's it. That's over here. Tomorrow is another day.
I'm doing better. I'm happy to be here, and this is the most important for me.
Q. What's your goal? You were just talking about you have to have goals in life.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, to improve every day, to find my game. As I say, it looks to me fine now. I'm looking to improve day by day, but I don't put myself goals like in numbers or whatever.
Definitely I want to be in the top. This is what I'm here for. But I don't want to put so much pressure because I don't like it. I just want to play and enjoy the game and build my game every day better and better.
With my game I can achieve anything.
Q. When you're at home in Moscow and Myskina has been retired, Dementieva is retired, obviously you know Dinara well and it looks like she might not come back, were you thinking at some time, Oh, I kind of like their lives; maybe I'll just stay home; I don't have to keep playing anymore?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I felt like I have so much under me more to do in tennis. I have so much‑‑ why do I stay at home? I will have time to stay at home after my career.
I just need time break. I feel like I love the game and I have no reasons to stop. I had the break. I love to work. I love to sweat on the court. I like to put everything to get over myself day by day when you're like in the heat where you're struggling, whatever. Just become stronger and stronger.
I didn't want to stop anyway. Myskina Myskina stop because of the baby or whatever. Dementieva stopped because she decided to stop. It takes time. My time is a not to stop yet. (Smiling.)
Q. You're a two‑time Grand Slam champion. Did you want a wildcard into here? You had to play qualifying. Did you ask for a wildcard?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I did ask, and I'm okay to play quallies. I think this worked for me. I mean, I think the most important thing in the life is to stay grounded. Doesn't matter. I had to play qually. It was weird. I tell you it was very weird to go and play quallies, but, you know, it just makes you stronger if you pass yourself.
Yeah, definitely was a little bit uncomfortable, but it made me stronger. I passed the quallies, I passed two rounds. It worked for me these three matches.
Even I've been playing the girls who should've win, but you never know you go from injury. I had to play three sets. Out of five days I had four three‑setter match, so just got me better.
This is what I really was looking for in Sydney, to get matches.
Q. What was happening in the second set today? Obviously you won the first set. In the second were you struggling with the heat before the break?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, it was very intense first set. I should have close it much earlier in the tiebreaker. I was up. I'm not sure what the score was, maybe 4‑1 or whatever.
In the second set like in the start it didn't to few well and Caroline started to play much better. I think she decided that she had nothing to lose already.
Yeah, it was very hot out there.
Q. So was it getting cool again in the break that helped you? Was it a mental break?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I understood that I just had to stay there second set and then the break would save me, help me out. I went to locker room and I just sit down there. I wanted to sit in the cool room for a little bit. They give me ice towels. They help me, like to Caroline as well and just took me time and I came and felt much better out there.
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