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Old Jul 11th, 2003, 06:27 AM   #31
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Maja recently gave an interview (there are also some new pictures) at the address
article & pictures of Maja in Ljubljana

"Translation" is below:

Maja Matev˛ič: There are no friends in top tennis

Ljubljana – Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world. Thanks to Slovenian girls- Katarina Srebotnik, Tina Pisnik and Maja Matev˛ič, who are all placed in the 50 Slovenia is near the top of tennis. Maja Matev˛ič, at this time with 40. place the best ranked Slovenian player on the world tennis ranking, has preformed sucessfully at the third grand slam of the season, Wimbledon. After her return from England we took a walk through streets of Ljubljana with the friendly Maja.

You repeated your last years succes at Wimbledon. Are you satisfied with that?
For a player like me every win at the Grand slam tournament means a lot. On the other hand I missed the biggest oppurtunity for a succes at the Big four tournaments. I lost in close 3 sets against Argentinian Paola Suarez and in the next round I would play Italian Farina Elia that I have already beaten before..

You competed in doubles: female as well as mixed …
In both competitions my doubles partners got injured, with the difference that Nagyova played the match anyway. My mixed doubles partner got ijured a bit a day before the match and obviously took a day of rest because he had a men's doubles match the next day.

What dous it feel like to play at the grand slam tournament, especially at Wimbledon?
The feeling is phenomenal. Because of the tradition and because of the surface. Grass is my favourite surface and I regret there are only two tournaments on this surface. Besides there is an atmosphere these 14 days, in London and in all England people live for this spectacle. On the big tournaments there is a special atmosphere.

Why?
On the tournament with the less prize money the best players aren't there you don't even get the feeling you are playing on the highest level. In a sense you only play for points that later enable you to play Grand slams. Whan you get there you realise tennis is your job. You feel great amongst the best players in the world and your selfasteem rises.


How do you get along with the rest of the players?
Professional tennis is a cruel sport, there is practically no friendship, especially with the girls. It has happend that I have beaten an opponent that then wouldnt even say hello to me for days. It's different with guys. They go for a drink after a match lots of times.

The tennis top consists of Williams sisters and the Belgians, Justine Hennin and Kim Clijsters. Are those players even beatable?
The difference between the mentioned and the others is most of all self esteem. The Williams and Kim are in excellent phisicall and psyhologycal condition and Henin is technically the best. If Henin coud do it, I don't know why the rest wouldn't.

Maybe you?
I don't burden myself with who I beat, but it would be nice to beat those mentioned before. I have set a goal for myself at the end of the last year to reach top 20 in 2 years and everything is dedicated to this goal. Beating one of the best players in the world would help a lot for this goal.

Your tennis progress begun when you started to cooperate with Bla˛ Trupej …
Bla˛ became my coach by coincidence. I was introduced to him by a friend and we make arrangements for a few trainings.Because of the clear progress we decided to cooperate long term. He is an excellent coach. He helps me both technically and serves as a psychologist. He is a great man that finds a kind word even in defeats.

After a long time you are home again in Ljubljana
I am tired after last tournaments so a few days rest will do me good. I will be in Ljubljana for a couple of days then I'm going for a short holliday in Rome – without tennis equipment. After that I need to prepare for a fed cup meeting in Portoro˛ and all the other summer tournaments including US Open.

In Portoro˛ you will be playing the Russians that surprized everybody in Wimbledon …
After recent Russian succes many people are sceptical of our chances to advance further. We know eachother and are not afraid. All the Russian representatives play similiar tennis – flat balla. We are almost equal and I think that concentration and the »head« will decide. I have personally beaten Sharapova and Bovina before and the others are hard, but not impossible to beat. We must not forget we will be playing in front of a home crowd and we expect a fantastic support. We will do everything to keep the win at home.
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