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March 17, 2007

D. HANTUCHOVA/S. Kuznetsova

6-3, 6-4

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Svetlana, please.

Q. What was your state of mind coming in? You've beaten her a lot. Were you confident? Unsure?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Before the match, I was feeling pretty well, you know. I mean, I knew the pressure was on me because I wasn't one of her favorite. But I also knew she plays well in exactly these conditions.
It was not easy, and I knew it was gonna hard, but it really didn't work for me today.

Q. What do you mean, she plays well in these conditions she's a better hot player?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No, no, no. It's not about the weather. It's about exactly this surface, you know. Like last three weeks in Doha, it was better for me and here, it's better for her. And she did pretty well, and I was not out of the gas, but it was very weird today. It was not my conditions. It was not my day.
But I give also credit. She was playing very well. And to beat her today, I had to play key moments better than I did and I forced a little bit more than I had to in the first set. When she was on the roll. It was pretty hard to stop her. I had to play a little bit better than I played.

Q. What's the difference with those two conditions, Doha and here? Can you elaborate on those.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I cannot really explain anything for the moment. I still have to think about this match a lot and what I can improve. And definitely I should dictate the game with more -- I was too far behind to win this match. I mean, conditions is not excuse. I mean, it was just better for her. But it's nothing like me to say, "Yeah, I lost because of conditions." No, not at all.
She was playing very good, all credit to her, and I have to work on some things in the future for me.

Q. Was there ever a point in the match where you felt you could turn things around or were you just playing from the line all the time?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Well, key point, I guess it was in the first set when she broke me, because I had 30-Love, and then I missed easy forehand, and -- because of going for too much. I knew I had to take the game in my hands, but I didn't do it.
And then it was another key point, and I broke her back, and I -- she was serving the game and she broke me. I think this was a key point. If it would be, it would be totally different game. But I mean, yeah, she played good game and she was on top today.

Q. How good was her level today? I mean, was that level good enough to win, like, a slam?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: It's difficult to say. I mean we both had a good week. I never felt I was playing my best tennis in the tournament. I didn't feel it. And it's hard to me to say something like that. Because to win the slam, you would have to face all top players. And, like, Justine, Amelie, they were not here this week. And then afterwards, other top players that lose early.
And, for me, not to make final would feel very low. At least I made it, you know. It's good. But still, I mean, I have to play next week, and I gonna face top players there, and it's gonna be very important for me. And, yeah, just gonna have a good rest and improve my mistakes.

Q. Do you find the conditions between here and Florida are much different?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Well, last year I played here and after Florida, like two years or three years ago. And it was hard for me. Last year, I didn't play here, so it's hard for me to compare, but I think it's pretty different ones.

Q. You both trained in the Casal/Sanchez Academy in Spain. So it was a battle between two players from this academy, and between two coaches from this academy. How much contributed to her success today, in your opinion?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Well, yeah, I mean, we train there, but she came there maybe two weeks or three weeks. She got a coach there. She been working, which improve her game. But she comes on this higher level again.
But, it's good to come here. It's very tough, but it's also very tough to stay here. So it would be the key for her, I guess, to work on. But she would know better.
But, I mean, I have not been training with her so much at the academy. We've been meeting here, and, yeah, she been working with this guy now for three weeks, which I think help her a lot. And, I mean, it's very hard to say, you know, battle between the coaches. It has nothing to do. I mean it's just players and the coaches. They help us a lot outside. Her coach is my coach.

Q. Your forehand is the weakest part of her game. How was it today?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Not lately, she been improving her forehand a lot. And I knew I had to do it differently today. I know that her forehand is improved, because to work in Spain, first thing they do is work on your forehand. And it was much better.

Q. I watched you play your opening match here. I got the feeling you didn't even want to be here. It didn't seem like you were up for that match, like you were mentally acute, you might say. Then you really came on. You seemed like you had kind of a rollercoaster of a tournament. You were up and then you were down, you were up. I don't know how you were today. Is that an accurate summation, Svetlana?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Well, you asked me this question before, that I was pretty down in my first match. And, I mean, I didn't play -- I maybe was nervous because I knew she was tough, my first opponent. It's maybe not very comfortable to play her.
But, still I was there and I was still trying, you know. Maybe, yeah, it's not 100 percent every day and today was not my day. And as I say, I have not played -- like if I would play slam, like French Open or Miami, would play seven matches or six matches. And every match, I feel improvement.
But here I played -- I didn't play really the top, top players. And I didn't really feel this improvement coming to me and just improving my tennis and playing unbelievably. I just played enough to win.
I would say my best match was against Sugiyama. But still I've been a little bit unlucky to play three match in a row in three sets -- two sets or three sets. I don't know. But I have very tough one in a row.
But it was also my mistake because I was not focused. I was not playing my game from the start. So I don't know. It's not easy to play six or seven matches, not every day you have easy ones. So I guess this is why I play so, but today was not so good for me.

Q. How far do you think you were from your best game today?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Oh, no, today was like ages.

Q. Svetlana, does this sort of take a little bit of -- the fact that you got to the final takes a little bit of pressure off you going into next week where you've got all winners points to defend?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, definitely, definitely it's easier. I mean, you know, otherwise, I always defend all the points, you know. So it's much easier to me next week.
But, still, sometimes when you win a tournament to next one, you can go two ways: you can go very confident, but then you can go without like really loose, like relaxed, like not so much, how you say, not so pumped up because you did your job.
But sometimes it's good point of losing the final. I mean, I have to find something positive in it, and so the positive thing, I still have to work. I made it to the final. Maybe not best my game, but hopefully, I will find it next week improve it. And, I mean, I did good tournament, so I'm looking forward to improving it in Miami, and I think I still got strength to do that.

Q. How has Daniela improved this match compared to previous times that you've played her?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: It's hard to say. I mean, I played very well in Doha, I guess. And I've been serving, I didn't give her chance and the ball was heavier than here. The balls here fly a lot and she plays pretty deep. Here the speed didn't hurt her that much. But then she was very consistent in her game today, and I couldn't get -- I didn't have a chance to get on top

Q. Have you set a date for your coaches to play each other?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: We were talking about this this morning. And, no, I mean, everybody forgot what we said, you know. I was like, "Yeah, we play at the academy."

And then I said, "No, they play at the academy."
And then she goes, "Yeah, but how they play, which surface?"
And everybody forgot, but we said it's on clay court, so they run a little bit so they get tired. But everybody forgot. Only me, who remembers. And normally, I'm the one who doesn't remember anything. But somehow I'm making the rules, but this is what I remember. They have to play, and I don't know the date yet (smiling).

Q. Are they fit enough or do they need a doctor to watch that match?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: We will be seeing the results, so let's see who does better treatment, me or Daniela.

Q. What will the winner get?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Oh, we didn't have thoughts about that. But to win is important, so hopefully my coach gonna recover the defeat today of my match.

Q. You almost got the whale trophy today by accident. Is that the closest you've come to getting the winner's trophy when you didn't win? Today they almost handed you the whale?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I didn't get the question. Sorry.

Q. In the presentation ceremony today, the gentleman who was handling it almost handed you the winner's trophy, the whale.

Q. Yeah.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Sorry. I was completely out of this in ceremony, so I haven't been thinking about that. But for me, I entered this tournament last moment and I didn't even thought about playing it, you know. And I think it was good decision at the end of the day, and I had a great week here, so I'm happy about it.
Somehow it comes to me very well to decide to play tournaments last week, last time, last moment, because the same happened to me last year after U.S. Open. I was like, I felt sore wrist and I was not sure to go to play Dubai, Bali, and Beijing. I decided to play, so I won both of them. And here I make it to the finals. So it can always mean very nice, very nice week, and I'm very happy about it.

Q. Why did you want to play in this tournament initially this year?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Because I thought this gonna like too much, you know, to play Doha, Dubai and Indian Wells Miami. I also wanted to play Charleston, it's very long. So I said, "Okay. I will think about Indian Wells. I will leave it up to the last moment."
And then I didn't play many tournaments like, I didn't play well in January, so I was sick, and I felt like I didn't spend my preparation. So I said here, I would like to play, and I feel like playing matches.
So it was not, like, my goal, you know, to prepare myself well for Indian Wells, and at the end of the day, I made the final. I think it's good tournament, and I really looking forward to do better next week.

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