Google Down the Line!: SHE SAID/SHE SAID: Wimbledon Day Eight

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

SHE SAID/SHE SAID: Wimbledon Day Eight

Q. What memories do you have of Wimbledon growing up?

TSVETANA PIRONKOVA: Wimbledon has always been, you know, like a religion to me. And I don't think it's just for me. I think it's for all of the players.

Q. Why do you say that?

TSVETANA PIRONKOVA: Because Wimbledon is the first tournament. It's the oldest tournament. Growing up, every player is looking at Wimbledon. They say, One day I want to play there. That's like a dream.

Q. So when you think of yourself out there in the women's semifinals on Thursday, what is your reaction?

TSVETANA PIRONKOVA: Well, you know, honestly I still cannot believe that I reached the semifinals. This is truly like a dream to me, and I will try to enjoy it as much as I can.

Q. Do you think you have more to offer in the semifinal?

TSVETANA PIRONKOVA: I really hope that I have more to offer. I'll just try to do all the right things: to rest well, to prepare well for the next match. I'll just try to do my best and we'll see what happens.

Q. When you won yesterday, you said you felt you've been trying to play too many perfect shots, not settling for good shots. Was that something that affected you today at all?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I don't remember saying that. But, you know, I think a lot of those approach shots I was missing because I felt like I got a short ball literally every point.

I just felt, you know, you have to have the mentality on the short ball to hit the approach and be ready for the volley. And I felt like I didn't slow myself down enough, and I just kept trying to hit too good of a ‑‑ you know, you have to not want to win the point, especially when the ball's bouncing low.

On the grass, the bounce isn't always true, so you have to adjust your shot. I think I just let things start going too fast.

Q. Losses and wins both can be either triumphs of the emotions, mentality, technique, or strategy. Which would you say was most responsible today?

VENUS WILLIAMS: All (laughter.) Like I said, you know, I didn't bring my best tennis today. And sometimes, like I said, you really have to live in the moment. I got too caught up in the mistakes I was making instead of just letting it go and moving on.

I expect a lot from myself, especially at this tournament. When I missed a few shots, I think I just kind of, you know, maybe was a little too hard on myself.

Usually I stay, you know, for the most part, pretty positive. But, you know, yeah.

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. What are the biggest things you think you need to work on between now and the Open?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Obviously what I always want to work on is my serve, and, you know, making sure that I get a higher first‑serve percentage.

But when you play girls who hit the ball hard, and especially women's tennis these days, everybody hits the ball hard and flat and deep.

I think I have the habit of probably not finishing my service motion to a full end because as soon as I land with my first foot, I'm already pushing back to be ready for that next shot.

So you have to make a choice. You want to be ready, you know, maybe a little bit later for the next shot because you want to have a higher percentage of serve. I'm really trying to work on that.

Obviously, you know, in practice it's going well. In matches, it's your habits that come back at the most important moments in the match.

Q. How do you feel about your next opponent, Kvitova?

SERENA WILLIAMS: She's a good player. I mean, I've actually thought she would get through in the early rounds. I'm not surprised that I'm playing her.

She is lefty. She's really, really good.

Q. What made you think she'd get through?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, early in the tournament, I saw her playing a couple rounds and I was like, Wow, she's doing really well. She was just hitting the ball so clean.

Obviously, when she beat Wozniacki I wasn't surprised, because I just saw how well she was doing and how well she was playing.

She's a really tough player, especially on grass.

Q. When you beat Azarenka 6‑0 in the second set, she said, I think Petra, that girl, played the best tennis of her life. Do you feel like you can play that kind of level all the time?

PETRA KVITOVA: So, yeah, I think so. I play now very well, my best tennis in my life, my career. But it's very, very hard to stay on this level. So I have to be focused for each match, for each point.

Yeah, we will see what will be in the future.

Q. The future is against Serena, who has won 12 Grand Slam titles. She has a lot of experience. She's very good on grass. How do you go into that match and play your best and not get so nervous playing on the big court against her?

PETRA KVITOVA: So, yeah, she is very good player, and she won here I don't know how many times. I lost against her in the Australian Open. So it was very quick.

But, yeah, I'm not favorite, so I can play just my game and just play and enjoy. So we will see.

Q. Do you think you can win the tournament here? Do you think you can be Wimbledon champion?

PETRA KVITOVA: No, I don't think. I don't think so, no (laughter.)

Q. Why not?

PETRA KVITOVA: So maybe it's two matches. But, yeah, maybe I can lose in the Serena. I don't know what I can tell. I don't think so, yeah.

Q. Martina, obviously with your skill level and with Anna, you could go into the main draw and be competitive.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: No, not me. She could be. Me, there's no way. I mean, I'm not ready for that at all.

Q. Why not just do it?

MARTINA HINGIS: No, I don't think we would be.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: You could for sure.

MARTINA HINGIS: I haven't played that much in the last three years. For me it's less time being away. It's only three years. But still, I mean, you have to commit. The commitment is totally different.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Different mental commitment also.

MARTINA HINGIS: Being on the tour full‑time, you can't pop up and say, I'm going to come back and win Grand Slams, even if you have a great partner.

It's great fun to be out there again with Anna. We had some great times. We're sharing some good time again. Totally different ballgame.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: For me it would be impossible really physically to be on the tour. It even bothers me a little bit playing like today. I mean, it wasn't strenuous match. It was quite fun and giggly. I'm sure I'm going to feel it tomorrow and I'll be sore. Even to prepare for the specific tournament, the last two months, I've had to have therapy, like real therapy, every day for an hour, hour and a half.

This is just for kind of the fun matches. I would have to live in the trainer's room for three hours every day. I have five different things wrong with my back from two herniated discs.

MARTINA HINGIS: It's a good day off tomorrow.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: From two herniated discs to four cracks that I have. The right side is smaller than the left side.

MARTINA HINGIS: I don't want to hear it.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: All kinds of weird stuff.

Q. What was the trainer coming on today for?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: (Holding her hand up.)

Q. What is it?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: It's a blister that's like bleeding.


ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Really, that's it? Suddenly when I'm older, I'm enjoying the press conferences (laughter). I thought we were just getting started.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]

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