Vera Zvonareva Interview - Wimbledon, June 29

Posted on June 29, 2010

Vera Zvonareva Interview
Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Q. Looking at your balance and your movements, the way you do splits quite elegantly, is this something you trained for particularly? Do you have a past as a gymnast or a dancer?

VERA ZVONAREVA: No, just actually happens naturally. I never train. I think I'm pretty flexible. I always work on my flexibility since I was a kid.

Then I think tennis is getting quicker and quicker. Sometimes when you try to chase the balls, it just comes naturally. I don't really train it.

Q. Mentally you seemed to manage the match very well. Can you talk about what you were feeling inside?

VERA ZVONAREVA: You know, I was just trying to play one point at a time. I was not looking around. I was trying to stay concentrated, keep my concentration on all the time, trying to think what I will do in my next point. That's about it.

Nothing else was bothering me around. I wasn't noticing anything around. I think that helped me a lot, because I was able to play pretty good tennis from the beginning till the end. You know, there is a couple unforced errors there and there, but I managed to, yeah, overall to play pretty even from the beginning till the end.

Q. Why were you able to do that today when maybe earlier in your career you might not have?

VERA ZVONAREVA: I don't know. I think it comes with experience. You grow up. You're more mature. You know you've been in different situations and you know how to manage them better. You know that it is important just to forget what was before and try to concentrate on the next point.

I think, uhm, right now I have learned a lot from the past, and I can do it much better now.

Q. What do you know about your semifinal opponent? Must be rather a surprise that you're not playing Venus, that you're playing Pironkova.

VERA ZVONAREVA: You know, obviously Venus is going to be always one of the favorite players here at Wimbledon. But if Tsvetana beat her today, she deserves to be in the semifinals. She played great tennis.

I played her in Moscow last year and I lost to her. I will try to remember that match. I know I was not playing my best tennis over there. I will just have to, you know, think about it a little bit and prepare myself the best I can.

I'm gonna try my best over there, just the way I was trying today, and then we will see what's going to happen.

Q. What were her strengths when you played her in Moscow?

VERA ZVONAREVA: I think she's all‑over‑the‑court player. You know, it's hard to predict what she's doing on the court. Sometimes she can slice; sometimes she can hit the ball; sometimes she can play slow; sometimes she can play fast. You never know what to expect, so you lose your rhythm. Then you start thinking maybe too much on the court.

I just know that in that match I will have to concentrate on myself and execute my game no matter what the score, no matter what she's trying to do. Just try not to look on the other side and try to concentrate on myself.

Q. You had some really strong results a while back in your career, then there were some tough results and your injury. What was it like when you were really struggling, trying to get over your injury? Did you imagine relatively quickly you'd reach the Wimbledon semifinal?

VERA ZVONAREVA: Well, you always dream about it. You always want to be there. Like I always say, I always believe in myself and I believe I can be here.

But obviously when you go through a lot of injuries in your career, it sort of puts a lot of doubts in your head. It is very difficult to come back after an injury. You lose a lot of confidence.

But, uhm, I think, I don't know, I always believed in myself. I always believed I could do it. I was just maybe frustrated that my injuries are not going away. But I know as soon as I feel hundred percent, I will be able to play good tennis again. It's just matter of time.

Because I can work hard. I can work hard every day. I believe that, you know, if you work hard, you will achieve.

Q. This was your first victory against Kim Clijsters today. What made the difference today?

VERA ZVONAREVA: Uhm, I think I was able to play one point at a time today. I was able to keep my concentration from the beginning till the end of the match. Also I'm much more experienced right now, much more mature. I think I played tactically better, and I was able to hang in there, not to pay attention to what was going on around.

Even after I lost the first set, maybe there were a couple unforced errors that could have put me back, but I was trying not to think about it. I was trying to think about what I have to do next to win the next point.

I think it helped me a lot.

Q. You are a promoter of gender equality. What have you achieved, and what are your goals with that job?

VERA ZVONAREVA: It is very important to give the same opportunities to everyone in the world. If we are lucky here, in Russia, there are so many countries, where girls, they don't have the possibilities to achieve their dreams.

And I think, uhm, us tennis players, we could be role models for the girls. No matter what they want to do in their lives, they should believe in themselves. They should believe they can achieve great things.

It's not more about of gender equality, it's more about equality for opportunities for everybody, so everyone has the same opportunities. I think our examples, where we are, we should be able to make, you know, a lot of girls around the world to believe in themselves more.

Q. You spoke about concentration. You always had your towel over your head. Is that one part of your concentration? For instance, did you see what the score was between Pironkova and Venus?

VERA ZVONAREVA: No. Like I said, nothing matters on the court besides thinking of what you're going to do next.

I think, yeah, I put the towel because it just helps me to relax and not to see what is going on around. Because in my game, I think I'm capable to do a lot of different things. For me, it's very important that my head is relaxed because then I know what I want to do in the next point.

And if you see all the things around, noticing all the scores, it just takes your concentration a little bit away, and then maybe you will make a wrong decision on the court.

And for me, if I know what I want to do, I think I'm capable of, you know, beating anyone on the other side. So for me it's very important just to keep my concentration.

Q. So you didn't know about Venus?


Q. Pironkova is one of the younger players left here. Why do you think we're not seeing more teenagers breaking through at these big tournaments?

VERA ZVONAREVA: Well, to break through as a teenager, it's very difficult. There were some great examples in the past.

But I think to be able to reach this stage of a Grand Slam, you need an experience. You need the maturity. It comes with years on the tour.

I think it is very difficult to play unbelievable tennis and reach the Grand Slam semifinal, final very early. Only few girls were able to do it. Uhm, those girls became great players.

But, yeah, I think you need that experience to be here.