Dinara Safina Interview - US Open, Sept 3Posted on September 3, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Are you pleased with the way you played today?
DINARA SAFINA: Oh, yeah. I think today maybe I can say finally I'm happy with myself, the way I played, because really I did what I had to do. I was aggressive on the court. I was following the balls every time. I think it was today finally I played my game.
Q. You're going to face somebody with the name Williams in the next round. We don't know which one. Neither one of them have lost a set in this tournament. Your thoughts on playing either Venus or Serena?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, it's going to be a big match. You know, they're both playing good. I don't know. I just want to focus again on myself and to give my 100% and see who's going to be stronger.
Q. You had an opportunity to play Serena on a number of occasions. You haven't played Venus, have you?
DINARA SAFINA: Never.
Q. What does she bring to a tennis match that is unique? I mean, what's unique about playing her?
DINARA SAFINA: Serena?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, she's, first of all, great fighter, except that she's very dominant on the court. She tries to be as much aggressive as she can be. She obviously likes to put pressure on the players, so that's why it makes her a very tough opponent.
Q. I was talking to Nick Bollettieri, who has worked with both Venus and Serena the other day, and he says one of the distinctive things about them ‑ and it came from their father ‑ they were trained at a very young age that there's no such thing as a ball that is out of play. It's simply is not out of play. You must go get it. I mean, did you sense that playing Serena? Obviously you haven't played Venus. But Serena?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, of course, Serena, she always tries to ‑‑ she fights till the last ‑‑ until the ball bounce two times on her side. She moves very good, and she can hit the ball from any position on the court very hard.
So with her, you really have to be focused until I like I say, the ball bounce two times or she misses or you hit clearly a winner.
So that's why, with her, you know, you have to be alert every time.
Q. How much have you watched of Venus? You can't speak from the perspective of having played her. How much have you watched her? What do you think about the way she plays?
DINARA SAFINA: Maybe the only time I watched it was, like, really that I would watch on TV, it was in China when she played against two Chinese, because I knew the winner of us was playing against them.
So I was waiting for my match and they were playing, so kind of I was doing both things at the same time. I was watching them.
But not really that I would watch specific to see what she likes, what she doesn't like. I would just see what to expect from the player.
Q. Do you feel mentally fresh now? Are you able to put aside being tired?
DINARA SAFINA: Honestly, yes, I feel really like ‑‑ already yesterday I was practicing, and I had already a smile on the face. I was like, Okay, now I can play and move.
I think it was ‑‑ sometimes it comes this moment in the body that ‑‑ especially I had like tough match against Bacsinszky.
Next day I had day off, and then to play again I was ‑‑ because it was not easy matches. It was like more mentally that I had to pull the match again being down.
Then with Ahn it was not easy to come back. Then yesterday it was okay. I had to do what I had to do. I pulled these two matches, so now I can get only better so that slowly I'm getting back.
Q. So now that you have the experience this summer, when you get to this stage of the tournament, you almost see that the body's not so important anymore. It's more in the mind.
DINARA SAFINA: Yes. Most of the time the mind controls, but sometimes even the mind gets very tired of pushing every time yourself. So then this comes the moments that you really, like you say you don't care anymore.
But now I feel ‑‑ I'm feeling better.
Q. Do you think there might come a point in the semifinals ‑ obviously you'll play Serena or Venus, so the crowd will be with them ‑ where you'll feel nerves, or are you past that point now?
DINARA SAFINA: After being in China playing two times Chinese?
Q. It will never be like that again.
DINARA SAFINA: And also being in Israel, playing Israeli, it was even worse. So I think so. I guess. I mean, I hope the people will also cheer for me.
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