M. PIERCE/E. Dementieva
3‑6, 6‑2, 6‑2
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Mary, please.
Q. How seriously were you injured at the end of the first set? You were moving incredibly well afterwards.
MARY PIERCE: Yeah, my back was bothering me from the very beginning of the match. Maybe I was compensating already for my leg that I injured in the match against Mauresmo, so I really wasn't able to serve normally. I mean, I hit a lot of double‑faults, and that's very uncharacteristic of me. I was even 10 to 20 miles per hour slower on my first serves. Just really not able to get back. I felt like there was something stuck. That's why I kept trying to pop it myself, but it wouldn't pop. Then my leg, it was something that I already injured, like I said, in my match against Mauresmo. I didn't want to walk out there today with tape around my leg. I guess I just didn't want my opponent to know that there was anything wrong with me. But, you know, after I lost the first set, I was like, "Okay, well, I need to get help," because, you know, "I can't play this way." I wasn't able to play my game. I wasn't into the match. I wasn't able to move. Just like the first quick step that I need, reaction step with my leg, it was slow because I guess I was afraid to move it really fast. I thought I could play without it, and I was advised by the physio of course to have it taped going on the court and I didn't want to, I wanted to try without it. So, you know, when I lost the first set, I said, "Okay, I just need to get help." That's when I called for the trainer to come out on the court. You know, she treated my back and taped my leg up. The treatment on my back helped, I felt like I could move back when I served so it automatically made a difference when I served. My serves were starting to go in, they were starting to go harder. Then the tape around my leg definitely helped, support the muscle, helped me to be able to move better. I guess not worry about injuring it worse and trying to compensate and, you know, play around it, I guess. So that freed my mind from that as well, and I was able to run out there.
Q. You said you didn't want to give her a psychological edge seeing the tape.
MARY PIERCE: Right.
Q. Did you notice that the break, injury time‑out, had an opposite effect on her?
MARY PIERCE: Well, you know, at that point when I lost the first set, I said, "You know what, I don't really care if I have the tape or not, if she's going to see it or not. If I need that to help me play better and run, then I need it." She's going to know there's something wrong with my leg, but if it's going to help me play better, then that's more important.
Q. I mean did you notice her ‑‑
MARY PIERCE: Oh, after the break she didn't play as well. She started making more mistakes. Her serves weren't as hard. She served really great in the first set, was playing unbelievable. She played a lot better than I thought she was going to play, hitting the ball hard from both sides, moving very fast, serving really well and returning well. And then I think ‑‑ I know also from experience that it is difficult, it can be difficult to play against someone who is injured, your opponent who is injured, because you start thinking, "I have better chances to win," or you try to make the player move more, like she tried to hit a dropshot and she missed it. Sometimes it isn't easier to play against a player you know is injured.
Q. Almost all of Elena's questions were about the length of your time‑out. On TV they said it was 12 minutes. Her questions were whether you had used gamesmanship. Are you aware there would have been a controversy? Is that fair in your mind or unfair?
MARY PIERCE: You know, I really don't look at things like that. I know that I have a certain amount of time that I'm allowed to have, and I'm allowed to call a trainer. When she came out, I said, "Look, my back and my leg are hurting. Am I allowed to have two injury time‑outs right now together? Do I need to do one and then another one?" She said, "No, you can have them both now." I said, "Well, I might as well get them both done now and get it out of the way." I even had more ‑‑ the trainer could have come out like three more times if I needed it during the match, but I didn't need it anymore so...
Q. So to you, there was no gamesmanship, like trying to halt the ‑‑
MARY PIERCE: No.
Q. ‑‑ the pace of play to slow her up at all?
MARY PIERCE: No, no, not at all. I mean, I'm 30 years old. I've been on the tour 17 years. I don't believe in that. I don't think that that will make a difference, you know. I believe at this level where we're playing, we're all very good players, we're all very mentally strong. I had injuries that I needed to attend to to help me. I was hoping that would help, that I could play better, and it did. I just needed to do what I needed to do for my body and that was really it.
Q. Elena said 12 minutes was the longest break she ever had to face of everyone and it was difficult to deal with. If you were on the other side of that, would it be difficult for you to deal with?
MARY PIERCE: You know, I don't know. I really didn't know how long. I didn't time it. I didn't know it was 12 minutes, 5 minutes, 20 minutes, whatever. We just took the time that we needed and we were allowed to have to treatment me. You know, the same thing goes for me. I'm laying down on a court, I'm standing up getting my leg taped, I'm not able to sit down and rest, maybe visualize, breathe, hit a few balls, jump around, stretch, you know. I'm constantly with the trainer talking about what she's doing and what's helping and all that kind of stuff. So it's a long time as well for me to be out of play as well.
Q. But the momentum changed almost immediately.
MARY PIERCE: I think she won the first game of the second set.
MARY PIERCE: So I wouldn't say that changed a lot, you know. She could have ‑‑ she could have, you know ‑‑ I don't think so. She won the first game, so I don't really think so. I think it helped me a lot physically, and that made a difference.
Q. Does it bother you that she would be crying about that?
MARY PIERCE: Not at all.
Q. I mean, she spent several minutes talking about it. You don't feel it takes away from your accomplishment?
MARY PIERCE: Not at all. We even played a third set so she had a whole set if she wanted to get back into it. I don't look at things that way. I would never do anything towards another player, uhm, you know, in that kind of a way, you know. I have too much respect for myself, for the game and for the person that I'm playing with, and for the fans and everything, so...
Q. If the break did cause a change in momentum, I mean, that's basically her fault, then, for not being able to deal with it?
MARY PIERCE: I don't really ‑‑ you know, I don't really look at things that way. And, you know, I've had opponents that have taken injury breaks as well, and maybe they were injured, maybe they weren't. That's part of the game. Everybody gets injured. There are time‑outs for certain reasons. Some players go to the bathroom. Some change their clothes. You know, I think Elena went and changed her clothes after I won the second set, you know, so it's part of the game. It happens all the time.
Q. Did you consider having the time‑out earlier in the set?
MARY PIERCE: Well, I was hoping that I could get through without having to do that, and I wasn't able to, so...
Q. Are you concerned about the injuries for tomorrow?
MARY PIERCE: No.
Q. What will you do to prepare?
MARY PIERCE: No, no. You know, I'm just gonna get good treatment, have some good food, try to sleep early, have a good rest and just, you know, just get a lot of good treatment and get prepared.
Q. You played the Open so many times and never got past the quarterfinals. Why have you had such trouble here in the past and what has changed?
MARY PIERCE: Well, I think, you know, I've been asked that question a few times and I've always said that New York is a very busy city, it's very stressful, I guess, for me, you know. There's just a lot going on. There's a lot of cars, a lot of noise. It's just the air doesn't seem as clean as what I'm used to. Smells and pollution. Just all kinds of stuff always going on. I'm really used to just calm, you know, relax, being in, like, country or where it's, you know, not a lot going on. That's kind of things that I like, you know. And so I think in the past it was just kind of difficult for me to just play my best in this environment. And I feel that the difference this year for me is, uhm, you know, obviously with the experience and myself probably of course maturing and learning to deal with things in a different way and knowing myself better. And so just trying to find out how I can be in this city but still have that peace and the quiet and calmness that I need.
Q. The women's play in this event began in 1887. You're the first French woman in the history of the tournament to reach the final. What does that mean to you?
MARY PIERCE: Oh, that's really neat. That's really cool. I did not know that. That's very special. I'm proud of that.
Q. What would it mean to you at this point in your career if you were to win tomorrow?
MARY PIERCE: Oh, my gosh, that would just be unbelievable (laughing). It would just be amazing. It would really be amazing.
Q. Nowadays, how much percent of the time do you live in France as opposed to the United States?
MARY PIERCE: Uhm, I don't know. It's hard to say exactly how much because I travel so much during the year. I consider Paris my base as far as training, you know. That's where my physical trainer is. I train with him whenever I'm not playing tournaments. And then, you know, I come to Florida where I have a place there and train. Whenever I have tournaments in the States, I'll go there like the week before, a week in between tournaments and stuff like that. So it's kind of a little bit everywhere.
Q. You consider yourself a little bit of an American or what?
MARY PIERCE: Oh, yeah, definitely. I mean, I have a mix of French, American and Canadian in me. I lived a lot of my life in America, enjoy the lifestyle, kind of. But there are definitely things that I miss. You know, when I'm here, I miss things from France; when I'm in France, I miss things from the States. I feel a little bit of both.
Q. Ten, twelve years ago, would you have thought you would have made it to the US Open final by now?
MARY PIERCE: I don't know. I thought ‑‑ I was hoping probably hoping sooner, but... I don't know.
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