Jun 3rd, 2012, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Re: Varvara Lepchenko
nice post-match interview with Varvara
Q. You look tired. I think we know why.
I was running here.
Q. Well, talk a little bit about the match, about the struggle just to serve it out and what got you through it.
I don't really know. I don't really know. Just I was fighting till the end. I was trying to stay with Francesca the whole time. She played amazing.
I mean, it's her court, you know. I knew that she's not gonna give it for free. I had to work really hard, and I did.
Q. I couldn't find a profile of you in the book, of the WTA. I mean, what's wrong with that? Could you tell us something that is not in the book, please.
I don't know. I don't know what to tell you, because I keep a low profile. (Smiling.) That's why they don't have me in there.
But I started out as 128, and that's why they didn't. At the beginning of the year, my ranking was 128.
Q. But about you, because, you know, for someone who doesn't know you for a European and some of them say you went from Russia to the States and...
Yeah, thank you.
Q. Sorry. I'm precise as you are, but, anyhow, to know a little bit, if you can tell us.
I was born and raised in Uzbekistan, Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. When I was 15 years old I went to play juniors in United States and also Sunshine Cup, if you ever heard of that tournament.
So after we arrive ‑‑ it was me, my dad, and my sister came a week later. After we arrived to the United States, we didn't come back, because there was no future for me, no future for my career, no ‑‑ I wouldn't be able to make it as far as I am right now if I was back in Uzbekistan.
Q. You tweeted after the match a message to Patrick McEnroe thanking him for always believing in you and everything. Can you talk about ‑‑ and you just alluded to it ‑‑ how he and the USTA have helped you come along.
Last year they, you know ‑‑ I had like a group of coaches coming and watching me. We were working really hard. I was almost dying, like right now (smiling).
They just told me, You got to believe in you. You have great strokes, great potential. If you worked as hard as you work right now, you will get ‑‑ you will reach top 50, you know.
After I played Australian Open I lost three tight sets to Hantuchova, and I went back and I was very hungry for more because I knew that I didn't finish that match.
We had a conversation with Patrick. He said, We need more women in the second week of Grand Slams.
I said, You know what? I'm going to work even harder. Hopefully you'll see me in the second week.
They, you know ‑‑ just the whole team has been believing in me so much and giving me inspirational quotes all the time, saying I can do it. And being there, always, you know, they fighting for me and they given me coaches, they given me everything that I need.
I'm just really lucky that it turned out to be New York and turned out to be that team. And I don't know if I could have done that without them.
Q. You played her, a very tough match, not so long ago. And she hasn't had a great season, but it seems like whenever she gets to Paris she really raises her level. What does it mean to beat her here? What kind of a struggle were you expecting going in?
Honestly, it was two completely different matches when I played her in Madrid and here. In Madrid she was missing so much and making easy errors, and here she started out amazing. I was like, oh, now I know why she won a Grand Slam. I mean, she was playing unbelievable.
I had to really pull it together and stay very aggressive and fight. Till the very end, I didn't know if I'm gonna win, but I kept believing in myself. I kept thinking, okay, this is, you know ‑‑ this is gonna be over soon for me, but something deep inside of me still was like, no, you can do it, you can do it.
Till the very end I wasn't sure if I'm gonna pull out that or not.
I'm so happy to be through.
Q. You and Sloane Stephens have pretty different paths, but you're the last two American women, which not a lot of us would have predicted coming into this tournament.
Yeah, you know, it's always unexpected. I mean, I didn't even expect it. I mean, I just worked hard and tried to believe in myself. I'm just ‑‑ you know, I'm a fighter for a life and in real life and on the tennis court.
You know, I just needed to do the proper things, to reach my potential.
Sloane is playing well, so, I mean, she's a completely different player than me, so I don't know what to tell you on that.
Q. I'm guessing Allentown, Pennsylvania, is not necessarily very well known in Tashkent. I'm wondering if you could tell us how you wound up in Allentown. Do you still have family in Uzbekistan, or did people come with you to the States?
My mom, she couldn't arrive right away, because there is rules, certain rules at the immigration, so I haven't seen her for four years, once I moved to the United States.
And then once we got approved with our case, she was able to join again by the immigration laws.
Then after that, how I ended up there, there was a challenger, a 25K, USTA challenger. I played that one, and there was a lady who was in charge of housing. She was super nice. Her name is Shari Butz.
Me and my dad, we didn't have enough money to rent an apartment, so we were struggling, going from one place to another. She said, Listen, I know you guys are all the time on the road. If you ever need a place to stay, you can come and stay with me, because she had a huge house and had, like, a lot of room in it. So she said ‑‑ she became like my mom. She was with me at the time when my mom wasn't there.
And then she organized pretty much everything for me. She set up a club for me to practice in. It was at no charge.
When my mom arrived after four years, we rented an apartment. I started to do better and started to make more money, and I was able to rent an apartment.
And now my whole family, my sister lives in Washington, D.C., and my mom stays back in Allentown. My dad also is there. While I'm practicing in New York, on weekends I go back to Allentown to relax, because it's more relaxing sort of place, but I also like to go out in New York, also. (Smiling).
Q. I'd like to know, Varvara means something? Is it a common name in Uzbekistan? Does it have any meaning, your first name? And, second, also, what were your parents doing when they were back in Uzbekistan before they went to the United States and how could you afford the trip if they weren't rich, as you said?
Well, first one I forgot. Oh, Varvara. I don't know if it means anything, but I know my dad, his grandma, she loved him so much that he ‑‑you know, he named me that, Varvara. Her name was Varvara, as well. I think it's a Greek name. It's very rare. It's not very common in Uzbekistan or in Russia. You won't see many Varvaras.
Then the second one, my mom was an accountant back ‑‑ they both graduated from the universities. My mom is in math and my dad was an engineer.
So my mom was an accountant, and my dad was coaching me. He played not professionally. He, you know, he was coaching me. He continued coaching me back there and in U.S. Then he still coaches me on the road, but, you know, I have a big team.
Q. The team? You're always talking about the team. What is the team? Who are in the team?
It's a huge team. I mean, obviously my dad, Patrick McEnroe, Jorgé Todero. Jay Gooding, Jay Devashetty, Bret Waltz. I mean, those are the USTA. Then my dad. By the rules they can't coach me on the road because I have my dad. But my dad is ‑‑ he's a coach, but he's also a big support of me. So I have someone very close that I can talk to and everything.
My mom stays back in Allentown, and she doesn't travel that much, but she's also part of my team.
Q. Can we just find the name of the mother and the father?
Peter Lepchenko and Larisa Lepchenko.
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