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Old Apr 2nd, 2006, 06:08 PM   #91
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S. KUZNETSOVA/M. Sharapova
6-4, 6-3

An interview with:

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Svetlana, you had an extremely difficult draw here the last 11 days, and you were fortunate to get a walkover from one of the players, but still five players in the top 50. Do you feel like playing all those tough matches helped you get ready for a difficult final?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, definitely. Lately, if I see my year, I been prepared so well. I worked so hard in preseason and coming to all these events, I played Dubai, I played Doha. I had Dubai and Doha, also the hardest draw was possible. I had Amelie, I had Martina, I had Amelie again, and I had Justine. I had all the time tough draw, you know, and I had to play very well to go through this one.

Yeah, I mean, the match against Hingis, it was the key for me I guess because I had matchpoints against. I was watching the DVD, and I had this volley which I usually would miss, and I didn't do that. I mean, it was a key, you know, to get more confidence and each match to get more and more. Of course the match of Patty, like she withdrew, help me little bit. Next day to play after three-setter, it would be tough. But, still, I was well-prepared, I was fit to play.

Today was tough match. I think I held it well.

Q. You mentioned confidence. It seemed that with every shot that she missed, with every big forehand you made, you seemed to gain that confidence. Can you talk a little bit about that.

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, the game, what I feel now on the court when I play, I feel pretty confident, you know, because I just -- before, I think I was trying to hit the ball overhard (sic), you know. Now I'm just playing like half of my power and the ball seems to go pretty fast, so I am pretty excited about that.

I am just -- sometimes I think why I have to hit it hard, so I just put less pressure on me and I put the ball back and it's pretty hard to opponent to play.

I give lots of spin to the ball so it's bounce pretty high and it's hard to hit it back to me. For sure it's very hard to give Maria shots back. When I see she miss, it gives me more motivation to put more balls back. I can defend well, and I can hit my forehand pretty hard enough.

Q. 5-3 in the first set, it looked like you were going to let her back in, played a loose game there. Were you concerned at that point that you better tighten it up or else it was going to get away from you?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, it was tough. But this is what I didn't want to happen to me. I didn't want to stop in the match and think, "What's gonna happen?" No, it's already past. The moment, it's over. I don't have to concentrate it, I don't have to let myself miss a forehand again and just keep going.

I knew I broke her and I broke her again, and I was wanted just to stay every ball in the match and give my best and see what I can have out there.

Q. Can you tell that she was getting frustrated at not being able to make certain shots?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, I'm not -- I was not trying to look at her, you know. Whatever, I mean -- I'm feeling the game, I feel that she doesn't make so many shots, she cannot make me winners because I move pretty well and I put the ball pretty long back. So I was happy with that.

I could make my return pretty long enough so she cannot attack me, and then I can attack her. This is what definitely she doesn't like.

So I was concerned about making my game out of hers.

Q. It looked like the crowd was very supportive of you. Can you talk about the atmosphere of the match.

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, for me, it's a bit unusual, you know, you play Maria and you have crowd behind you. Of course I was trying to get best of it, you know. I was trying just to focus and to give it to me more energy.

But, I mean, whatever crowd feels, it's big pleasure to play here in NASDAQ. Of course I felt amazing that crowd goes with me.

Q. Why do you think they were? Why do you think the crowd was so firmly in your corner?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I don't want to get into that (smiling). I mean, I guess I played good match against Martina, and I played very good strokes against Amelie (smiling).

I guess I have not -- I heard a lot about match in semifinals. This is what everybody want to hear (laughter). I didn't -- I cannot say anything about that because I was just having my Japanese night and I didn't watch anything.

Q. You went swimming, right?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I didn't go to swimming pool because it was too cold. I don't know. I guess just Tatiana had a bad injury, and I guess she was fighting very hard, and I hope she recovers well. I guess public wanted her to make it through because she was a big fighter on the court.

Q. You had a headache in the second set? What do you think caused that? Did it have anything to do with that plane circling and circling and circling?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: (Laughing). This is a good one.

I saw -- I was playing the first set and this flight was pretty annoying, you know. But what I wanted, just to be there and to give my best. I knew if I would think about flights, about birds - when I was kid, I was thinking about birds and I never won a match. I knew I got to go and I got to play.

I heard that Maria didn't like it and I didn't want to get into it, you know. I also didn't. Then umpire said I think after the first set that the flight gonna stop. I didn't understand anything what she was saying. I said, "Excuse me, can you repeat to me." She just said it was gonna be over, the flight. So I was happy about this.

But I was just trying to get myself not to lose my concentration.

Q. You were living in Spain a long time. Do you know Spanish?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yes.

Q. That's why many people like you, you know.

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, you know, I mean, I heard lots of people talk that I yell "Vamos" instead of whatever in Russian. You know, I just yell whatever I feel. I can yell both languages, even English. I don't consider me living in Spain. I train in Spain, and I live in Russia. I love Russia. But also I have people treating me very well in Spain. I'm very happy to train there. But if I would have chance to train in Russia, I also would stay.

Q. Championship point, you're ready to serve, crowd is cheering. How did you feel? It has been a while since you were in that situation.

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: You know what I'm thinking now about crowd, about championship point, about serving, I finish the US Open also with an ace from second serve. Today I think somebody told me I also finish the match with an ace, but I didn't realize it. I was just playing one more point. I knew it was important. I wanted to take my time before the serve to focus on the movement because I change my serve in the preseason. So every time I serve, I have to be very focused on my movements.

I was just trying to focus on next point.

Q. What did you change in your serve?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Uhm, how explain with English. I just put my back leg back and then I come together, you know, so I can push off and jump. But I still have lots of things to change in this serve. I do it slowly.

Q. What about your feelings here, your nerves before the match? How were you feeling?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I been nervous, because I'm not -- but I was pretty much better than I felt like before finals, like before US Open. I mean, US Open is bigger but I was much more nervous.

Here, I was -- I knew I just gonna go out there and I just gonna do to my best. If I won't be able to attack, I would go run behind, or I can and defend. Whatever was happening to me today, it was okay. I just wanted to be there and just to give my best and I wanted this trophy badly.

Q. Considering the ups and downs you had, what you went through at the end of last year, are you surprised you won a tournament of this magnitude so quickly?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No, I'm not. I would say maybe one year yes, but no, I'm not. I put in lots of work in December, I had one month and a half of I been on the courts day and night. I been on my own, I was thinking what I want to do. Then I started to look at the people who play, and people have been out from the tour and they come back and they win many tournaments, and I think I can do it, too.

I was just working with psychologists, I was working on myself, with many doctors, with people. I was just playing my matches, and I see if I play the right game I can make it. I'm just very excited about that. I hope to improve every match in more tournaments.

Q. You had at the French last year two matchpoints on Henin-Hardenne. You didn't get them. Did that weigh on you for a long time?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: It was hard because it didn't happen to me first time. I had the same thing the year before against Myskina. I had also two matchpoints and she won the trophy. Next year I come back and I have Henin and I again have two matchpoints and I miss like this my forehand, and again she is in the final. I lost to good players and I had to take positive out of this.

No, I don't think it would -- it took me out. I had many things what happened to me in 2004. But I don't think either of them let me down. I just lost my (rhythm?), I guess, my confidence. Then I start losing. I get injuries. Doctors wanted to make me surgery of my shoulder. I had big problems before US Open on my back. I mean, everything a little bit, it just changed my way.

Q. This is a very emotional victory for you, after two years building on the US Open. A lot of players would take time off and savor the moment and enjoy it, but you are signed in to play Amelia Island. Why do you want to go play immediately again?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Well, I didn't plan like to win this tournament and then to go. But I did it after US Open, after I won, and I always gonna be the same. If I commit myself to do one thing, I gonna do it.

Now I'm not tired. I mean, I didn't play so many matches. Yeah, it's tournament, seven matches, but it's two weeks. I had one day singles, one day doubles. When I practice in the club, I practice three, four hours a day and I spend less time than this. Of course it was more energy and then nerves. But I guess I get tomorrow day off and then I gonna start training on the green clay.

I think it's possible to make everything. I'm just enjoying my winning stroke (sic), why wouldn't I keep playing? I'm happy, I'm looking forward. I never play this tournament so I'm very excited to go there.

Q. Do you think the best of you is to come? Do you think we've seen the best of you, or the best of you is in the future?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No, if I would think so, I would quit tennis right now. No, no way.

I'm very happy about that I am playing. Even today's match, I don't think I played very good match at all. I could have played so much more inside of court, I could have make -- I could have hit my ball much longer and move her more around. I see so many possibilities to work on.

So I just hope I can make myself work harder and to spend more time on court working on my strokes and during my matches and improve.

Q. Do you do any bicycling now, or are you sick of it?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I was talking to Amelie maybe to go bike in December, but not really enjoying the bike, you know. I find it's boring. I don't know. I need just some sport, to play some game, to be competitive, you know, not against the watch. I just want to compete with somebody like play the game or something. No, I'm not doing bike at all.

Q. Looking at the rest of the year, which of the Grand Slam tournaments do you think offers you the best chance of winning one?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I don't know. I guess my dream would always be Roland Garros. I won the Open. I love Australian Open, I love Wimbledon, but Roland Garros especially, it's Paris. It's, I don't know, city of love. It's very nice place to be. I hope one day I can make it.

Q. You are one year older than Maria, but not a lot older. When is the first time you became aware of her?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: You know, now in tennis, you know, I feel very old, you know. I am 20. Really. I am 20 and I feel so bad saying I'm old but, you know, now I don't want to think about this. Just everybody who goes out there is professional tour and everybody playing the same levels, whoever age is.

Q. Do you remember Maria, or did you know her only after you turned pro?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: You know, first time I saw Maria, now I remember it pretty well because it was here, it was in Juniors Orange Bowl. I played - in Juniors I was not so good. Under-16, under-18. Maria was not in Russia and she was in States, no. I came to play Orange Bowl. I think I made final this year, I lost to Zvonareva.

One day I heard just somebody talk so much about Maria Sharapova, new Russian. I went just to see a few games and I saw her playing. This was first time I saw her.

Q. Maria continues to grow. She's 6'2" now. Do you think this is affecting her motion on the court?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Maybe it's -- I don't know. I didn't talk to her ever about this or to her doctors.

Q. You see her on the court.

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: It helps her to serve better also. If I would have chair under my leg, I would serve like 100 kilometers more stronger. But definitely it has some advantages and some disadvantage.

She's not great movement on the court but she has very long hands, arms, and it helps her to play the ball very flat. The fast surface suits her a lot, like grass court and indoors. It suits her game. Clay, she's not gonna be the favorite one to play, but what everybody has.

Q. Maria gets so much attention. Do you feel you're in her shadow? You've won the same number of Slams she has. What is that like for you?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: You know, I can see differently because she's not getting attention of -- I mean, she's great player. She be No. 1. I mean, I have all respect for her. It's not about who won more Slams or something. It's also one part of it.

But she won also lots of tournaments. She been a long time in top 5 or whatever, I mean, in ranking. I think she get more attention of the commercials, of things out of the court. But this is what everybody life is, you know. Maybe I wouldn't be able, you know, just to spend two, three hours in photo shoot, maybe it's not for me.

I never think about. Sometimes it's just a bit sad because many players, you know, would get a little bit more attention. But, you know, the way it goes, it comes to you.

I just very happy with myself, the way I play. I'm not looking much to her side. I hope she will be happy with her career and what she does out of the court. I'm just working on myself, my game, and I'm improving and getting closer to the top. Let's see how I can make it.

Q. Did you have any messages from other players before the final saying, "Great to see you back"?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I had a message after the final of Amelie. This, I was pretty excited about because, I mean, I didn't feel very great winning her, you know. But, I mean, we pretty close because we play doubles together. I been following her. I left Australia and I was texting her that "well done," I text her when she won Paris. I was pretty, you know, trying to help her. Now I'm very happy to get message from her.

I also get the message from Elena Likhovtseva. She's good friend of mine. Like wishing me good luck in the final.

Not other players as I know - sorry. Alicia Molik, my mate. Yeah, from her definitely.

I would like just -- I hope, guys, everybody will be happy, I don't know if you know, but she's coming back. She plays -- she may play Rome, Berlin. I mean, I'm pretty excited about this. I'm very happy for her. Hope it will go well.

Q. Did you do anything interesting in Miami other than tennis? Did you have any time to do anything?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No, not really. Not as I remember. I went once to cinema and this was my biggest move in Miami.

But, I mean, I didn't have any time. Usually I would love to go shopping in the States, you know, because in Spain or in Russia we don't have so many things in these prices. But I am not sad about this, I am pretty happy to have this trophy with me and to play my game and to win this tournament.

Q. You're apparently an iPod person. Did you have a special bit of music you played this morning?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I would love them to ask me what I would love to hear during warm-up. But I love this song which they had when they present me. I was so excited they put it because they put it in the match before I guess when I played Hingis. It's something about, "I'm so excited, I gonna like it," or whatever (laughing).

I was pretty pumped. I love this song. But the one they put on Maria, I didn't like it that much. I mean, I love the music. I hope one day we can have like in basketball match the same thing on this music. I think this will be great for crowd, for tennis and for everything.
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Old Apr 6th, 2006, 01:02 PM   #92
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Kuznetsova on an up cycle

By Bud Collins | April 2, 2006

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Most kids want a bicycle. A little Russian girl in St. Petersburg named Svetlana Kuznetsova had so many of them that she could have opened a bicycle shop.

Bikes ran -- or, shall we say, rolled -- in the family. Both her mother and father were world champion cyclists, and continue as prominent coaches.


But it turned out that the wheels on which Svetlana has taken triumphant spins across the planet are the kind that fit into sneakers. You could feel folks in the sun-baked gathering of 12,555 at Crandon Park yesterday thinking, ''Great wheels on that kid Kuznetsova!"

While the phalanx of courtside photographers concentrated on her foe, magazine cover girl Maria Sharapova, Kuznetsova was concentrating her own shots -- particularly a brightly clicking forehand -- on the places where Sharapova wasn't.

Though the legs of the 6-foot-2-inch Sharapova are more famous, the sturdy wheels of Kuznetsova carried the afternoon in an unexpected result: Kuznetsova across the finish line, 6-4, 6-3, in 90 minutes.

This Nasdaq-100 Open championship collision was the ninth intramural Russian final since the women from Tolstoy's land began making war peacefully in the game of tennis. Both had won majors in 2004 (Sharapova, Wimbledon; Kuznetsova, the US Open) but life has gone better for Sharapova, who is No. 4.

Sharapova, winner of seven titles since Wimbledon, was riding an 11-match streak, a recent victor at Indian Wells; Kuznetsova tumbled to No. 18 in 2005, and came in here at No. 14. Her drought following US Open success has included just one title (a minor, Bali), shoulder and back injuries, and a crisis of confidence.

She had trouble closing.

''I had 2 match points against Anastasia Myskina at the French Open in 2004, but missed," said Kuznetsova. ''She went on to be champion. Same in Paris last year. Against Justine Henin-Hardenne, 2 match points. I miss close shots, and she becomes champion.

''Now here, I have a match point against Martina Hingis, and I make a good volley. Before that, in the third-set tiebreaker, she had one against me. I saved it."

Not even a new bike under the Christmas tree would make somebody feel as great.

''The match against Hingis was a key to get more confidence," she said.

Bikes were all over the place when she was growing up.

''We traveled all the time, to championships," she said. ''What I saw then was only bikes. I did some races when I was 10 and the other girls were 17. I loved to do it, but then one day, suddenly, my dad said, 'You got to do something else.' He sent me to play tennis, and in the end I decided to play tennis by my own."

So they shipped her to Spain to train, and now she thinks of cycling as ''boring."

''Yes, I speak Spanish, and I think people in the crowd liked it when I would say, 'Vamos!' to get myself going," she said.

Kuznetsova thought a lot of people were backing her, reacting to the bad press Sharapova got for her behavior in the semis. Sharapova's opponent, Russian-born Tatiana Golovin, fell, tearing ligaments in an ankle during the tense third set. While Golovin, weeping in pain, was attended by a trainer, Sharapova turned her back, offering no sympathy.

Often hitting on the run, Kuznetsova broke down Sharapova's forehand with her own, and jumped to a 3-1 lead.

''She was hitting winners all over, and I couldn't get my feet moving the way I wanted," said Sharapova. ''She was hitting big shots that made me try to hit bigger, and there were mistakes."

Down, 2-5, Sharapova struggled through five deuces and a set point, staying alive in the set at 5-3. Whereupon she broke Kuznetsova with a brilliantly angled two-fisted backhand. However, Kuznetsova's confidence surged. She pierced Sharapova with one of those rare goodies -- a drop shot -- and a ripping forehand, coupled with two errors for the set.

Once more the 20-year-old new champ bounded ahead, to 4-1, then 5-2. Shrieking Sharapova, more toned down than usual, did issue one very loud quote -- ''Aye-yie-yie!" -- in stretching desperately for a ball that took Kuznetsova to match point at 5-3, 40-15. Kuznetsova took no chances with this match point -- she belted her fourth ace down the middle. ''I did that, too, when I won the US Open [over Elena Dementieva]. Ace on match point."

Kuznetsova's dash through the tournament to $533,350 left footprints on a tough cast: No. 46 Vera Zvonareva; No. 24 Hingis; No. 23 Ai Sugiyama; No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo; No. 4 Sharapova. The run raised her to No. 10, and restored pride.

Sharapova, loser of the 2005 final to Kim Clijsters, probably wishes Kuznetsova had stayed on the bike.
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Old Apr 13th, 2006, 05:31 PM   #93
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Kuznetsova overwhelms Shaughnessy
FAMILY CIRCLE CUP

It took Svetlana Kuznetsova barely 51 minutes Wednesday to dismiss any notions that her right hip would be a concern in this Family Circle Cup. And then the fourth-seeded Russian walked into the post-match interview room with a bag of ice taped to her right elbow.

"The balls on clay are harder, they're heavier," she said. "I don't know. I'm going to get treatment, and hopefully it's going to get better."

It might have been sore from the whipping she put on wild card Meghann Shaughnessy, who was simply overwhelmed in a 6-0, 6-1 loss. Kuznetsova, who strained the adductor muscle in her right hip in a tournament last week at Amelia Island, Fla., barely needed to move Wednesday as she pounded one winner after another past her opponent.

The muscular former U.S. Open champ could run when she needed to, attacking the net at one point in the second set for a deft drop shot that froze Shaughnessy in the backcourt. But for most of the match, she just waited on her opponent to make mistakes.

"She made me look a little bit better," Kuznetsova said sheepishly.

"I was just holding my game, giving balls back, and seeing what she could do. I didn't try to go for winners. I was very comfortable hitting the ball. I didn't play for three days, so it's hard to go out there. It was a surprising result. I guess I was consistent."

Shaughnessy, an American ranked No. 84 in the world, reached the third round last week at Amelia, where she lost to eventual champion Nadia Petrova. Wednesday, she took just 11 points off Kuznetsova in the first set, and 16 in the second.

"There's not too much to say about that match," Shaughnessy said. "Obviously, she's a great player. She's been playing great tennis lately, and has a great power game. At the same time, I didn't do much to stop it."

Kuznetsova, a 20-year-old Russian ranked 10th, improved to 20-5 on the season and won for the 10th time in her last 11 matches. Wednesday, the only signs of her old hip injury were a bandage wrapped around her right thigh and a few stretches late in the second set. Her dominating performance belied the real worry she felt over her ability to play in the event.

"When I played last week, I was in doubt for this week so much. I had no idea. I played well in Miami and did all right in Amelia. My injury wasn't serious, but I couldn't play on it, and I said, OK, I'm going to wait, because I also didn't want to hurt myself either, because pretty important tournaments are coming up, like Grand Slams and stuff," she said.

"I had to make sure. I had lots of doubts in my head. I spent a few days waiting, doubting, do I stay or go? How does my hip feel? How does my body feel? It was pretty hard to stay fit in my head, to stay comfortable. You get confidence going out on the court. I'm like, whoa, I'm not so bad, you know? I can still hit this ball."

So, the hip seems fine. Now, what about that elbow?

"I don't know," she said. "I'll have to go to the doctor, I guess."
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Old May 6th, 2006, 04:15 PM   #94
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Kuznetsova ousts Venus in J&S Cup quarters
Williams downed in straight sets; Clijsters advances to face Dementieva

The Associated Press
Updated: 7:53 p.m. ET May 5, 2006

Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Venus Williams 6-4, 6-2 Friday, and top-seeded Kim Clijsters downed Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the semifinals of the J&S Cup.

Kuznetsova next plays Anna Chakvetadze of Russia, who beat Ana Ivanovic of Serbia-Montenegro 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Clijsters will play Elena Dementieva of Russia, who dropped the first set against Polish teenager Agnieszka Radwanska before cruising to a 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 win.

The 13th-ranked Williams played only her fourth match since the Australian Open, sitting out nearly four months with a strained right elbow.

“I think the key of the game was consistency,” Kuznetsova said. “I wanted to attack. I was focusing to put as many balls back as I could, and sometimes she made easy mistakes.”

The 10th-ranked Kuznetsova traded breaks with Williams early in the first set on clay. Serving at 5-4, Williams wasted five game points before netting a backhand and knocking a forehand long to give Kuznetsova the set.

Williams’s poor play continued in the next set.

Trailing 1-0 in the second, Williams double faulted to give the Russian a break point, then hit a two-handed forehand long. The break was all Kuznetsova, a J&S finalist the past two years, would end up needing.

Williams, who overcame leg cramps to beat Martina Hingis in three sets on Thursday, said her legs weren’t an issue against Kuznetsova.

“I felt fine to be honest,” Williams said. “I felt like I could get to the balls, but also I think that on clay you have to have the mind set of really working your feet and getting to the balls. Sometimes I felt like I was still playing a little bit hard court.”
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 04:27 PM   #95
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Kuznetsova feels relieved having won a Grand Slam title

Web posted at: 8/21/2006 1:52:25



MONTREAL • For Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova, a tennis career without a Grand Slam triumph is like a crown minus the jewels. The Russian says if she were to end her career without a Grand Slam win, she would have felt dissatisfied with her overall achievements. However, Kuznetsova is spared of such an agony. Thanks to her triumph at the US Open 2004, the Russian is a proud member of the Grand Slam title-winning elite!

With less than 10 days to go before the start of the US Open 2006 — the year’s fourth and final Grand Slam - Kuznetsova is brimming with confidence after scoring three wins out of four matches at the $1.3m Rogers Cup in Montreal this week. Kuznetsova lost to Martina Hingis in the quarter-finals on Friday, but not before putting up a real fight. Well rested after a prolonged break of nearly two months, Kuznetsova is all geared up to launch a fresh assault on her rivals at the US Open 2006.

Here are excerpts from an interview with Kuznetsova in Montreal:

Can you describe your feelings when you won your first Grand Slam?

It is tough to describe such a feeling because I was only 18 years of age when I won the tournament for the first time. Of course, I was very happy to have won, but I couldn’t really understand the importance of it. If it were to happen now, I would value it more than I did before. However, looking back at my win, I feel very relieved that I have a Grand Slam title under my belt. For me, it is important to finish my career knowing that I have achieved a few goals. And winning a Grand Slam was one of my career goals. The victory in 2004 gave me the confidence that I needed while playing on the Tour. I am trying very hard to win more Grand Slam titles.

Are you satisfied with your game and current form?

Of course, I am satisfied with my game and form. However, I know I can improve my game further. I am a perfectionist. You can see me trying all the time. I am always keen to perfect my performance. I missed a few easy shots in my last match against Hingis, a couple of easy forehands which went waste. I will try to ensure that I don’t make the same mistakes again. I need to clean up a few bad shots from my game so that I don’t hit balls over the net frequently. I think I have played well so far.

How do you feel about your chances in the remaining part of the season?

I don’t want to think too much about how I play in the remaining part of the season. I feel in pretty good shape, but I know I need to win some matches before thinking of winning the big tournaments because I was out of action for about a month and half. But I am very happy with the way I have been playing of late. I am just looking at my next match at each event.

There’s has been a lot of talk of coaches coming onto court. What are your feelings?

When we were voting on the new scheme (of whether coaches could come out to help players or not), I said yes. It’s a new thing in the game and I feel it is good to try out new things to make our sport more interesting. Now that we have this rule in place, the players can make use of it. I have been playing tennis since I was 14 years old. I am now 21. It has been seven years and I have never called a coach onto the court. It feels a bit different to make that call (to seek coach’s help on the court). Right now I don’t feel the need to call my coach. But if I felt I need to talk to my coach, I’ll call him up.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 06:09 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veronika
Kuznetsova feels relieved having won a Grand Slam title

Web posted at: 8/21/2006 1:52:25



MONTREAL • For Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova, a tennis career without a Grand Slam triumph is like a crown minus the jewels. The Russian says if she were to end her career without a Grand Slam win, she would have felt dissatisfied with her overall achievements. However, Kuznetsova is spared of such an agony. Thanks to her triumph at the US Open 2004, the Russian is a proud member of the Grand Slam title-winning elite!

With less than 10 days to go before the start of the US Open 2006 — the year’s fourth and final Grand Slam - Kuznetsova is brimming with confidence after scoring three wins out of four matches at the $1.3m Rogers Cup in Montreal this week. Kuznetsova lost to Martina Hingis in the quarter-finals on Friday, but not before putting up a real fight. Well rested after a prolonged break of nearly two months, Kuznetsova is all geared up to launch a fresh assault on her rivals at the US Open 2006.

Here are excerpts from an interview with Kuznetsova in Montreal:

Can you describe your feelings when you won your first Grand Slam?

It is tough to describe such a feeling because I was only 18 years of age when I won the tournament for the first time. Of course, I was very happy to have won, but I couldn’t really understand the importance of it. If it were to happen now, I would value it more than I did before. However, looking back at my win, I feel very relieved that I have a Grand Slam title under my belt. For me, it is important to finish my career knowing that I have achieved a few goals. And winning a Grand Slam was one of my career goals. The victory in 2004 gave me the confidence that I needed while playing on the Tour. I am trying very hard to win more Grand Slam titles.

Are you satisfied with your game and current form?

Of course, I am satisfied with my game and form. However, I know I can improve my game further. I am a perfectionist. You can see me trying all the time. I am always keen to perfect my performance. I missed a few easy shots in my last match against Hingis, a couple of easy forehands which went waste. I will try to ensure that I don’t make the same mistakes again. I need to clean up a few bad shots from my game so that I don’t hit balls over the net frequently. I think I have played well so far.

How do you feel about your chances in the remaining part of the season?

I don’t want to think too much about how I play in the remaining part of the season. I feel in pretty good shape, but I know I need to win some matches before thinking of winning the big tournaments because I was out of action for about a month and half. But I am very happy with the way I have been playing of late. I am just looking at my next match at each event.

There’s has been a lot of talk of coaches coming onto court. What are your feelings?

When we were voting on the new scheme (of whether coaches could come out to help players or not), I said yes. It’s a new thing in the game and I feel it is good to try out new things to make our sport more interesting. Now that we have this rule in place, the players can make use of it. I have been playing tennis since I was 14 years old. I am now 21. It has been seven years and I have never called a coach onto the court. It feels a bit different to make that call (to seek coach’s help on the court). Right now I don’t feel the need to call my coach. But if I felt I need to talk to my coach, I’ll call him up.
That's just too funny!

How does she expect to win any matches? Hitting straight through the net maybe? lol
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 10:50 PM   #97
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I love this thread, some things are really funny, like this:

Q. You had a headache in the second set? What do you think caused that? Did it have anything to do with that plane circling and circling and circling?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: (Laughing). This is a good one.

I saw -- I was playing the first set and this flight was pretty annoying, you know. But what I wanted, just to be there and to give my best. I knew if I would think about flights, about birds - when I was kid, I was thinking about birds and I never won a match. I knew I got to go and I got to play.

Why did she thinks about birds during a match??
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 11:00 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by Hybrid_Theory


I love this thread, some things are really funny, like this:

Q. You had a headache in the second set? What do you think caused that? Did it have anything to do with that plane circling and circling and circling?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: (Laughing). This is a good one.

I saw -- I was playing the first set and this flight was pretty annoying, you know. But what I wanted, just to be there and to give my best. I knew if I would think about flights, about birds - when I was kid, I was thinking about birds and I never won a match. I knew I got to go and I got to play.

Why did she thinks about birds during a match??


I don't think she quite has the english yet for what she wants to say. But I think we get what she's meaning - you need to concentrate!

I've got a cheek though because my Russian is non existant!

I think we are all spoiled by all the girls who have such good english. It's nice for things to get lost in translation sometimes because it gives us all a laugh.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 11:40 PM   #99
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What an absolutely superb thread! Well done everybody who has made this! I have so enjoyed reading everything. I love Sveta's interviews...she doesn't hold much back, she just tells what is in her heart! I think there is not another player on the Tour as open as her! Keep up the good work!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 01:40 PM   #100
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I love reading Sveta's interviews as well,they're always funny.It's probably because of her english is not very good as Scots KIm Fan pointed ( although I wish my russian was just as good as her english or spanish ) or it's maybe lost in the translation.But overall Sveta herself is a funny girl,when I look at her off-court photos or hear her in interviews she sounds that way

One more article I found today:

Russian rolls
By: Sherman Cain, Journal Inquirer
08/22/2006

NEW HAVEN - First Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova got mad. Then she got even. Then she left American Jill Craybas in her wake.

Kuznetsova, the No. 5 seed and the No. 7 player on the WTA Tour, lost the first set to Craybas 7-6 on Centre Court at the Connecticut Tennis Center on Monday night.
"In the first set, I played one of the worst sets of the season," Kuznetsova said. "I had to fight a lot and I didn't want to lose."
Kuznetsova rallied with a fury. She won the final two sets 6-1, 6-1 to advance to a second-round meeting today with Tatiana Golovin of France.
"You have bad days sometimes, you know, and I'm very happy I got through," Kuznetsova said. "The rallies were long and it was a very hard match. It was tough because it was just one of those bad days when you just couldn't do anything right."
Craybas, a Providence native now living in Huntington Beach, Calif., couldn't stay in the match after Kuznetsova turned it up a notch.
"The whole second and third sets she was more aggressive and I never adapted my game," Craybas admitted. "She was being more aggressive and putting a lot more pressure on my serve."
The New England native had the crowd in her corner, but in the end, talent won out.
"I don't think I realize how many people know I'm from Rhode Island until I play close to home," Craybas said. "I think I showed people I can compete with anybody, which gives me a lot of confidence."
Slipping into darkness
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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 04:47 PM   #101
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In French Tennis Magazine this month there's a very good interview with Sveta

http://www.tennismagazine.fr/accueil.asp

I can't find the interview online so if you have a little patience I'll scan and upload it here and translate it
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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 08:27 PM   #102
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Ok,here's the translation of the interview.Please,excuse my english that it's sometimes difficult Anyway I think you'll understand. Enjoy it

Tennis Magazine Interview: Svetlana Kuznetsova

Among the russian players who've played the main roles in the last 2 years,she's not the most popular one,but Svetlana Kuznetsova's prize list could be, in the end,richer than Maria Sharapova's,Anastassia Myskina's or Elena Dementieva's.Only 21,the St.Petersbourg champion has already a Grand Slam title in her account -2004 US Open- and let's not forget her finalist place this year's Roland Garros,that came just after her thundering victory in Miami's hard courts where she never let a chance to Amélie Mauresmo and Maria Sharapova.What can you do against such a forehand,one of the most lethal weapons in women's tour...In this interview that took place in New York before flying to Bali and Pekin where she would claim the title each time, shy Svetlana talks a little bit more about her ambitions and remembers her road,specially her spanish period that has built-up her technique and mentality.She also calls up her bond to Paris "the city of love" as she calls it,and her friendship with Amélie Mauresmo,her regular doubles partner.A couple that has already reached some success,she tells us the funny recipe to win...

Tennis Magazine: Even if you were already one of the distinguished players during the last seasons, winning US Open in 2004, French crowd barely knew you before you reached the Roland Garros final this year.What memory do you have of that lost final vs Justine Hénin?

Svetlana Kuznetsova: It was a very beautiful fortnight and at the same time a big effort to get until that final. Even if I have to acknowledge that Justine played very good that day,I could not produce my best tennis.I let her play and that was the story from the beginning to the end.Yes,no doubt,I lacked experience in front of a player that has plenty of it.I'm very sorry about it because Roland Garros is very close to my heart and because it was always the main goal in my career.I love this stadium and I love Paris that is a city I love beyond anything else.So next year maybe...

TM: Was it easy to forget about that defeat and move on to something else?
SK: No (smiles) I was not satisfied of the loss and I think I was not in my best shape at Roland Garros.Globally I could have played better.I got to the finals playing with my heart.But this defeat was not as cruel as the ones in 1/8 in the last 2 years here.In 2004 I had a matchpoint against Anastassia Myskina that went on to win the tournament and in 2005,I had 2 matchpoints against Justine that also went on to win.It was not funny,no (smiles)

TM: How did these defeats change you?
SK:First,it was important for me not to lose in 1/8 this year.I wanted to pass that hurdle and it was difficult to get past Schiavone.To win this match was a liberation for me.Then,psycholigically things were easier.Against Myskina and Justine I lost mentally.And these 2 defeats showed me I had to work this facet of my game.In my mind, I let go and I needed to overcome this.

TM:We'll talk later about the work you did to to strenghten your mentality.But let's keep with Roland Garros.In Miami, you said you wanted to go far in Paris because,as you said "it's the city of love"...
SK: (laughs) Yes,Paris,in my eyes is the city of love.I always have felt very good in Paris.First I adore,yes I adore french language (smiles).I like its sound.It's difficult to explain why we love a person or a place.It's my feeling.And I'm feeling more and more at ease there,but that's also true everywhere else.Before I was shy, tight,I didn't appreciate the chance I have to travel.I stayed into my shell.I didn't go out.Now,it's different.I take advantage of it and this is the case in Paris.As I am more open now,I feel better the city atmosphere and I like it (smiles).But this is true since I played juniors.And I love to walk along the alleys of Roland Garros,where nobody or very few people recognised me until now.This year I stopped by Yannick Noah stand to buy the t-shirt of his association.

TM:Is there a place in Paris that you appreciate more than anywhere else and are you tempted to learn this language that you find so melodious?
SK:I love to walk along the Champs Elysées where I stay in the hotel every year.I wanted to learn french,but I found it it's impossible when you travel all the time.In tour,I have practically no chance to talk french.Press conferences are mostly in english.It's Russian and spanish,as I speak spanish fluently.

TM: You have another specific bond with France,more concretely with Amélie Mauresmo that is one of your best friends on tour and your doubles partner.How was this friendship born?
SK:I was at the origin of it.Despite my shyness,I went to her and asked her to play doubles with me.I thought it would be interesting.For me,doubles is a good training for singles,but it's not worth it if I don't have fun with my partner.And that's the case with Amélie,that has become a friend of mine.We talk mostly about things on court but also outside.Yes,we laugh a lot (smiles). And,above all,we respect each other.Even if I'm a shy person,I'm open to anyone who comes to talk to me.Amélie needs time to trust anyone.It's the case between us.

TM: What was the secret of your partnership,that was even finalist at Wimbledon 2005?
SK:Easy to sum it up.The more we joke,the better we play.The more we get serious,the worst we play.And it's true (laughs)

TM:Even if you beat Amélie easily this year,how do you see her accession to top?
SK:I only believe in work.If you give your all during training sessions and if your talent allows you to,then God will reward you.I'm so happy for her because what she achieved was not obvious.I would like to say it's "easy" to win a Grand Slam tournament when you are very young,as I did in 2004.You are aware of it.You are not conscient.Amélie was very aware what she was going through because her career had started long ago and because everybody teased her with this first victory that never came.She felt pressure.She overcame it.Bravo to her.

TM:Amélie Mauresmo is world n.1 and all the tennis observers think you have the game to do so.Do you have that goal no matter what?
SK:I want to get to it,but it's not a fixation.It's a daily work.To get to it,I'll need to win more Grand Slam titles,as Amélie did this year.But yes,I know it's in my racket strings.

TM: You have already a Grand Slam title,won here,at US Open.What is your memory of that unexpected victory that surprised everybody,including yourself?
SK:Everything happened as in a dream that lasted 2 weeks.I was winning match after match.In SF,I was 6/1,2/1 behind and break for Lindsay Davenport who got hurt and then I reverse the situation.My memory of the final against Elena is that I was not missing a ball that day.I was hitting hard,harder and harder and everything was in.It was a funny sensation to reach that level of play for such an occasion.But as I said previously I was not really conscient of it at that time.

TM: Not conscient but surprised...
SK:Very surprised,indeed.But as Myskina and Maria had just won at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, I was telling myself since some weeks ago that it was possible.

TM: Instead of carrying you,that victory had the opposite effect on you.In 2005 you suffered some upsets as the one at US Open where you lost the first round...
SK:When I talk about this very black period,I'm even more motivated to face the future.It was a hard lesson to learn,but it will help me during all my career.I made mistakes.I was not lucky as I was seriously injured at my shoulder and back.The experience at last year's US Open was devastating.To be the title holder and to lose the first match,that was cruel.It was not defeat itself that bothred me,it was the way as I accepted it on court.I completely broke up under pressure,under the weight of the event.

TM: What were the mistakes you made?
SK: I played too much after my US Open victory.Week after week,and defeats came.It was a viscious circle and I couldn't get out of it.I lost my confidence.And then there was this pressure,all these commentaries that I would be number 1.And I must nor forget that there was all these people around me,everyone had different oppinions as the way I should play my career.I was a little lost because I wanted to get everyone satisfied,I wanted to make everyone happy.

TM:How did you get out of it?
SK: At the end of 2005,during a month and a half,I deeply reflected.And I took some decisions for my professional life and my private life.I needed to have a direction and to assume my choices on my own.Even if I was wrong.I needed to play for me and not for other people.By now,it works.When I won US Open I was only a kid.I won and I was happy.But it was more difficult than that.I remember an interview of Marat Safin some weeks after his victory at US Open.He also was not ready to assimilate such an event.

TM: To live better on tour,you chose to work with a psychologist,is that right?
SK:Yes,but that's private and I don't really want to talk about it.I really needed to appreciate my life.I wanted to decide my life.I didn't need anymore other people to dictate me what I had to do.In 2006,I wanted to enjoy again on court,that was not the case in 2005.And I am somebody who has problems with routine.When I practise,I only look forward to something: to compete.Before I was too dissipated.I also needed to change that.

TM:At the end of last year,besides that personal reflexion,you worked very hard on court...
SK:As hard as I'd never done before.I was on court night and day.I had some doubts about me.But my victory in Miami where I beat Martina,Amélie and Maria showed me fast that I had done the right choices and I was on the good way.

TM:We can not talk about your career without going back to your beginnings and without talking about your family and how you were immersed in cycling world.Could you talk briefly about your family history?
SK: My parents were race cyclists.In fact,my father was my mother's coach and that's how they met.My mother was the champion (smiles).She was 6 times sprint world champion under the name of Tsareva and stablished 20 world records.But at the time it was not an olympic sport for women.Later.my brother Nikolay took over and won a silver medal at Olympics in Atlanta in 1996.

TM:The question that comes to mind is:why did you not follow the family tradition?
SK:My father declared I had to do something else.Even if I also tried,around 4 when I was at my grandparents' place in Sebastopol.It was my grand father who learn me to cycle because my parents were too busy with my mother's career.In St Petersbourg I was all the time with boys at the cycling tracks.Then my father said I had to think about another sport.And as a joke,he said tennis was very good because it was a sport where you could win a lot of money (smiles)

TM: It was your mother who followed your beginnings...
SK: She was with me at tournaments.But she was never my coach.This said,I was still always surrounded by cyclists as my father kept living with the team he coached.So I was with cyclist night and day (smiles).I watched them train like crazy.I got up at 7.00 to go running with them.I played football with them on sundays.Even if they were afraif of my father that was a severe coach,they considered me as their little sister.They knew I would not report anything of what they talked about my father (smiles).

TMo you still practise cycling?
SK:No.Only at gymnasium (smiles).I always thought that cycling was a very solitary sport.Tennis allows me to better let out the combative aspect of my personality.

TM: At 14,you left for Spain.Why?
SK:My father got a proposition to coach his team in Spain.So we settled at Tortosa,a city between Valencia and Barcelona.As there were not satisfactory facilities at Tortosa,that was a small city,I went to the Casal-Sanchez academy in Barcelona.

TM:Where did you live then?
SK:With a family in Barcelona and my mother,that stayed in Tortosa,came to pick me up on weekends.This family only speaked spanish so I had to learn the language fast otherwise I would not have had any chance to suceed.And then I started to play good tennis,to get good results.So my parents accepted that I stayed in Spain.To reach the Orange BOwn finals - I lost to Zvonareva- was my first important result.

TM:And it was in Barcelona that you met Arantxa SAnchez that became some kind of mentor for you when you first started at pro tour...
SK:Yes,she was the first one that accepted to play doubles with me.It was in 2002 I think.I travelled with her a lot.She always believed in me and that was the reason why I immediately thanked her when I won US Open.Even if I don't see her so often anymore,I know I can count on her for an advice or help.Martina Navratilova also gave me self-confidence chosing me as her doubles partner.It happened one day I was in Barcelona.Emilio Sanchez,Arantxa's brother,gave me the phone and he told me someone wanted to talk with me.It was Martina.At first,I didn't want to answer because I was too impressed and I told Emilio to tell her I was not here.But he insisted.And I took the phone shaking to learn she wanted to play with me.

TM: What did you learn from her?
SK:She gave me self-confidence because I lacked of it.It's important to see that such a great person believes in you when you doubt yourself.

TMo you feel as Russian as Spanish?
SK:I think my personality is a mix between the two cultures.If I am more open with people,it's because of my spanish experience because Russians can be so closed sometimes (smiles).Closed but not unpleasant (smiles).A Russian can be very nice one day and very hostile the next day,a humour question.Spanish are more "consistent" when it comes to emotions.

TM:When we look at you on tour,we can see indeed that you are a very friendly person...
SK:On court,I'm very competitive and I forget about feelings (smiles). Amélie,for instance,is my friend,but I want to beat her when I face her on court.In front of her I will never show my fist or my happiness if I win.I stay reserved.After matchs,I talk to everybody who wants to talk to me.No problems.This said,I should be more careful.Sometimes,I talk too much,I don't pay attention to the people who are with me (smiles).

TM:You have this peculiarity that you like journalists' company and interviews,that most players dont like...
SK: If I find the interview interesting,I let myself go (smiles).I sometimes get into complex explanations and I forget what was the question! I like communication because I am a communicative person.Also I like people to know who I am (smiles).

TM:You are settled in Spain where you train most of the time.Talk to us about your city,St Petersbourg...
SK:First,I don't go there often.I go there when I'm on holidays.I relax my soul there (smiles). It's more pleasant than Moscow that's a very nervous city,moving all the time.At St Petersbourg,I visit museums,I go out to clubs (smiles).

TM: Is St Petersbourg as romantic as Paris?
SK:No,at St Petersbourg,it's too cold.In Paris there's always this electricity in the air no matter the season.Well,I'd like to correct something I said: I live at St Petersbourg and I train in Barcelona.That's it,that's how I see things.

TM:As you just talked about cold,it seems like you love to practise snowboard.Isn't it too dangerous?
SK:Indeed I went with some friends to practise it to the french Alps.No,it's not dangerous because I never fall (smiles).I like speed's adrenaline.I also like to drive fast.But I have to be careful because of all those radars in Spain and I've been fined several times.Yes,if I could,I would drive much faster...
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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 09:05 PM   #103
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Great aritcle thanks veronika
And your english was fine, no need to worry
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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 09:38 PM   #104
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Aww, thanks! goodrep to come, but I have to rush off to a meeting.

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Old Oct 20th, 2006, 10:02 PM   #105
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The scans so you can see the original article if you like to









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