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Old Jan 14th, 2006, 08:36 AM   #76
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2006 MEDIBANK INTERNATIONAL
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

January 11, 2006

S. KUZNETSOVA/A. Ivanovic
7-6, 6-3

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Svetlana, please.

Q. You had a sort of disappointing year last year after winning the US Open the previous year. How is your game coming together this season?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Uhm, you know, sometimes when you don't expect this jump, you know, big jump, I didn't expect it 2004, so it been too much for me. I put too much pressure on myself and I didn't know how to deal with everything, you know. I have not been so much mature. To hold it in last year, I had to learn a lot. I had lots of downs and not much ups. So I just took my time after the season ended. I practice for two month, get prepared myself to be fit and to play again my tennis and my game, and so far it's been working out well for me and I'm pretty happy with my performance.

Q. Was it just a mental thing, or had you done some physical changes or technical changes to your game this year?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, definitely I improve my game. I mean, the game is growing every day. You know, everybody improving each day because everybody practicing, so you need to improve also. I had to work a lot outside and inside of the court. I'm still working, I still have lots of work to do, you know. I'm not even close to my top shape, you know. Yeah, I worked everywhere.

Q. Last year when you came to Australia, you got caught up in that doping thing with the Belgian thing. Did that have an effect on you last year? It obviously upset you, but is that a thing that sort of contributed to the pressure on you?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I think this moment I was strong enough, you know. When you know that you are innocent in something, you're not getting -- I mean, it definitely was hard, you know. It's hard to come on the court and one day you have three people watching you practicing, another day you don't see a space where there is someone not standing. Everybody was there watching, thinking that I was guilty or thinking whatever. I appreciate the support of all my friends who was next to me and who was sure that I was innocent. I mean, sometimes happens with the players, this stuff. I couldn't do anything to give it back to this man who did it, you know, so it was disappointing for me. But it was one of the things what happened. It started the year like this, and then I had so many more disappointing things like injuries, like problems out of the court and stuff. I mean, I had lots of stuff. But I don't want to even talk about it or think, but I had lots of stuff to go through and I went through it. Now I'm happy. I'm looking forward to play tennis and enjoy the game.

Q. The Australian Open being a hard court, I mean, do you see that as a tournament that should suit your style of game?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, sure, I think I can adjust my game to every surface. I'm very happy and excited about it. I'm not any more playing, you know, just to get results and stuff. Of course it's goals, results, but I'm enjoying the game because it's the game. You not just gonna hit hard and see; I want to come to the net, I want to slice, I want to change the game so it's be interesting for people to watch and enjoying for me to play, you know, and tough to opponents. So, yeah, definitely I think my game suits the Australian Open because I won the US Open and, I mean, it's similar. It's not grass and hard or clay and hard. It's both hard courts. And I think I'm fit enough to stay in this weather so...

Q. The Australian Open is the only major that a Russian woman hasn't won yet. Is there any reason for that? Is it the heat, is it the time of year, or is it just bad luck?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I guess it's gonna come one day, I mean, because Russian players still improving, you know. We gonna dominate in 2004; 2005 not so much. I mean, I think it's just mention of time maybe, or maybe never win; I don't know. You know, any Grand Slam like Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open, you guys say like Russian woman won, but we are all different. What makes us same just is we have same flag and we fight for our flag. You know, maybe like, I don't know. I definitely think it's gonna happen. But, I mean, you never know. But, I mean, we have chances to make it there also.

Q. What are your expectations for the Australian Open next week?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: It's going to be the interesting week. I think it's much stronger field than last year because everybody's back and everybody playing very well. Justine showed against Hingis that she's in good shape. Williams sisters is back. Clijsters. Everybody. I mean, Davenport, Amelie. So many players, and toughest ones. So the strongest one gonna win, so I think it's gonna be very interesting event.

Q. Is there one that stands out more than others to beat?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Excuse me?

Q. Is there someone among all those who is the one to beat?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I think for the moment is Kim is in the best shape, because she's playing pretty well. But, I mean, you know how it's tennis, you never know what's going to happen. So I think it's just gonna be very good event to watch.

Q. How much have you been doing before Australia until now to prepare yourself?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I had some days off after last year. You know, lots of people been saying I have to take lots of time off, you know, to rest my mind. I didn't think so. I couldn't stay out of working, you know. I just have so much energy, and I understood after four days that I have to do something. So I get out in the court of fitness and I been working hard, I been making sure I can perform with my fitness and with my game for this year, you know. Of course in the end I been working so much so was a little boring, enough working, and I was looking so much forward to play at tournaments, to play game, to win matches again, you know. You really understand -- so much time away from the tournaments, you really understand how bad you want to play and how much you can enjoy out there. This is like your life. This is what I live for for the moment. I don't have nothing else. I been going crazy at my house, like, "What I gonna do?" You know, to learn something is not what I want. It's not what I love to do. I just love to play tennis, and I love to be out there to compete against best players. So this is what I'm working for.

Q. Do you think it's important for you to start well this year in Australia?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, for sure. For sure it's very important because like this I get confident, I get some points, and I have a good seed in the next tournaments and I'm really looking forward to play good game and win some matches.

Q. Where do you spend your time off? Do you go to Russia?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I didn't go to Russia. I took time and I just spent in Spain because it's the best place for me to prepare with tennis. If maybe I want to have time off, I have to go somewhere else. But for work, I have to stay in Spain. I really understand that because I have best possibilities for me - best courts, climate. I have place to stayy there and very comfortable. If I want to have time to rest, I have time to stay away. Maybe I go somewhere else, but neither to Russia. Because I love Russia, to be there, but after this it's very hard for me because it's too much press. Like this, I feel like 300 in WTA because nobody knows me, I'm just alone, you know. Because in Russia it's a bit crazy.

Q. What was the key in the match against Ana today?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: The key was fighting, run every ball, because I been down 5-4 and 40-Love and she been serving. She's very good player. I played her last week. I think I getting to know better her game. I think here it was much harder to beat her because with the wind, because it suits her game much more than mine because she plays flat. This surface for me, who hit stronger it's easier to play. So, I mean, Ana plays much more flat than I do, so for her it's a bit -- it suits her game more than mine. But the key was serving well and just trying to attack, not to go back.

End of FastScripts….

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