Williams sisters win Aussie doubles title

Australia Tennis Open

Seeded 10th Serena and Venus Williams won their eighth Grand Slam women’s doubles title Friday, beating Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and Japan’s Ai Sugiyama 6-3, 6-3 in the doubles final at the Australian Open.

“I’d like to thank Serena for being the best partner,” Venus Williams, 28, said. “I wouldn’t want to play with anyone else. She’s amazing.”

The Williams sisters now have three Australian Open doubles titles, having previously won here in 2001 and 2003.

013009 friday /info-photo via Australian Open / Getty Images


Australian Open – Schedule of Play – Friday

Rod Laver Arena 15:00 Start
Women’s Doubles – Finals
Daniela Hantuchova(SVK)[9] / Ai Sugiyama(JPN)[9]
Serena Williams(USA)[10] / Venus Williams(USA)[10]

Mixed Doubles – Semifinals
Iveta Benesova(CZE) / Lukas Dlouhy(CZE)
Sania Mirza(IND) / Mahesh Bhupathi(IND)

Not Before:19:30
Men’s Singles – Semifinals
Rafael Nadal(ESP)[1]  vs Fernando Verdasco(ESP)[14]

Federer interview after the match against Roddick


Q. How did you right the match, and what was the key to the win?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I had a great start. That helped a lot. I mean, I thought that I played really solid out there tonight. I thought level was high throughout the match.

I had a couple good games where I served really well in the first set, and that gave me a lot of confidence going into the second one. I was moving well and getting a lot of balls back and making it difficult for Andy to get the upper hand from the baseline. That was kind of what I was hoping for.

Q. You had more aces than Andy, so you must have been pleased with the service game.

ROGER FEDERER: It’s happened before that I served more aces than him. I thought tonight ‑‑ he still got a lot of service winners. They don’t show, but he got a ton of those. That’s frustrating as well, like the aces.

No, I mean, I served well when I had to. So many times at 30‑All I came up with big aces, and that saved me from a lot of trouble, which was good, because Andy was returning well and playing aggressive.

Q. Is there any chance of getting one of your towels?

ROGER FEDERER: No. We don’t have that many. They’re for my friends. I don’t know you. But good try.

Q. You’re getting to be a master of the challenges as well.

ROGER FEDERER: You need bad linespeople. They got to help you out.

Q. You had two on successive shots.

ROGER FEDERER: There was some really bad calls from the linespeople. The umpire missed them as well. I guess tonight is one of those nights you’re happy there is a challenge system in place.

Q. Back in another Grand Slam final. It’s a great start to the year for you, and so different, I suppose, than the feeling here last year.

ROGER FEDERER: Like I said on the court, I think I played well throughout the tournament last year as well, you know. Just kind of came up short against Novak. I thought he played a fantastic match against me. He was the aggressive one. He was serving his spots so well that night that he kind of made that difficult.

Even maybe if I would have been in perfect shape, you know, I think he deserved to win last year. I struggled maybe a bit. Maybe the draw was a bit better for me this year playing Andy in the semis who I have such a great record against.

I do feel better mentally. I’m obviously more healthy so I can focus on playing well. I’m really pleased about my performance so far in the tournament. The draw was difficult and dangerous if you look back on who I had to play.

Q. Last year you said you had created a monster of expectations. Has that faded for you given how you played in the year since, or do you still feel that weight?

ROGER FEDERER: A little bit. I’m still surprised how quickly the mood swings with the media, with the fans, with everybody.

If I lose a set or two sets against Berdych, everybody is like, Oh, my God, he’s not the same anymore. And then you beat Del Potro and everything is back to normal. It’s just not the way it’s supposed to be, I don’t think.

You don’t lose your edge that quickly. It’s just not possible. I know I’m playing well. I feel good. I know sometimes you can always run into a player that’s hot and you can lose. I’ve been able to control my opponents, and definitely got close against Berdych.

I still think I fought hard and deserved the victory in the end. Came up with two great victories now against Del Potro and Roddick, and usually that’s when I start playing my best: Towards the end of the tournament. I think this is where you should judge a great player.

Q. Rafa is the best player in the world at the moment. It’s fair to say you’d pretty much rather play him in the final?

ROGER FEDERER: Depending what you look for. I’d like to play Fernando because he’s never played a Grand Slam final before. I have an edge there. Playing Rafa is obviously, you know, more exciting because of the history we have playing in so many Grand Slam finals.

Him being the best player in the world at the moment, it would make it a very intriguing match.

Q. When you said you were able to control your opponents, what was the game plan tonight?

ROGER FEDERER: Tonight, I mean, there was not that much of a game plan. Against maybe other players here it’s more about, Let’s get the return back and then let’s see what you can create. Concentrate on your serving so you always maybe get off to a good start, 15‑Love, or you get the first shot and you can be aggressive.

So that’s what it’s about with Andy. It’s a game that comes down to a few shots here and there, and then you hope you come up with a good passing shot when you have to. That’s my game plan, and it’s worked well.

Q. When it was 5‑2 in the first set and the chair engaged with Roddick, how did you cope with that?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I’m used to Andy’s attitude on court. He’s got a great attitude. He has a lot of energy and he always likes to talk to the crowd, make jokes, talk to the umpire. He’s a funny guy. I like Andy. We go way back. I enjoy those moments more than they disturb me, really.

Q. What sort of advantage have you got being the first through? You got the extra time now to maybe see the other game.

ROGER FEDERER: That’s an advantage you mean?

Q. Do you think it’s an advantage?

ROGER FEDERER: Not if Rafa comes through. He’s had pretty simple straightforward matches. He’s as tough as they come. Fernando looks fit, too. He had a five‑set against Murray, but four sets against Tsonga at night. He’s into the thing. He might be more mentally drained because of the pressure.

I don’t think it’s going to come down to fitness on the final day.

Q. You obviously heard the criticism after the Berdych match. Do you get motivated by the swings you’re talking about?

ROGER FEDERER: I don’t think that it’s criticism, just opinions. Everybody can have an opinion and everybody can say what they feel like. I know I didn’t play the perfect match, otherwise I would have been able to beat him more easily.

But I can take criticism, no problem, any day.

Q. You’re obviously very proud of what you achieved. How does it feel to be on the verge of some other new achievements?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I didn’t know I reached my 18th finals in a Grand Slam. I’m very happy and proud about that. Like my consecutive semifinals I was also able to achieve. Shows how long I’ve been able to keep it up and stay in good shape, stay healthy.

That’s really key for success really, at the highest of levels. It’s nice to be at the same level as Ivan Lendl and the same as Pete in terms of Grand Slam wins. I hope I can win the next one, too.

Q. Do you have any of those sort of things in your mind when you came into the start of year?

ROGER FEDERER: No. More maybe kind of the thing starting the year well at Australian Open, winning maybe potentially your first French, getting Wimbledon back after the epic I had with Rafa there, and then winning my sixth at the US Open.

That’s kind of what’s in my mind. And then with good play at the ATP events, at the Masters Series, which I didn’t play great last year in, I hope to pick up few of those to get my No. 1 ranking back. That’s my mindset going into a new season.

Q. What was the key for you to play well early in the season at this Australian Open? What do you think is the key for you to play well here?

ROGER FEDERER: I don’t think there’s a real secret to playing well in the beginning of the season, to be honest. You go out there and try hard. You know, I mean, I’ve had ‑‑ I always make sure I have two to three buildups during the year, not just one in the off‑season.

I usually take one in February and one after Wimbledon and then one at the end of the season. So I basically have three buildups of two, three weeks where I can work really, really hard.

For me, in a way, the season never stops. It’s just ongoing. I start playing some tournaments, you know, having not played for maybe sometimes five, six weeks. So I go through that occasionally. A new season means, Okay, let’s go from zero maybe, but not a whole a lot of change to my mind.

Q. Before you mentioned the fact that sometimes the media puts you too much down.

ROGER FEDERER: I didn’t say only you guys. There’s many people.

Q. Then sometimes too much up if you win easily. Most of us make a lot of noise about the fact that you could equalize the record of Pete Sampras.

ROGER FEDERER: I’m thankful.

Q. But there was somebody called Rod Laver who couldn’t play twenty Slams in five years, and Rosewall didn’t play 11 years, so 44 Slams. So, you see, press sometimes emphasizes something. What’s your reaction thinking about Laver and Rosewall and your record and Sampras?

ROGER FEDERER: I’m very well aware of the problems the old generation of Laver and Rosewall and all those players faced. That’s why I always said I’m one of the players who’s most thankful to them of what they’ve done for us. Look where prize money is today and the great sites we have.

Now there’s even more money being pumped into the Australian Open. That’s all thanks to them for not playing a lot of money and missing out on twenty Grand Slams. Back then, nobody knew what tennis was going to become, so it was also easier to say no to those kind of things.

Probably never quite know who was the greatest of all‑time in tennis, and I think that’s quite intriguing as well. Of course, if somebody goes off and wins 35 Grand Slams then you made your point as a player.

But, still, I think it’s fantastic that they named the center court after Rod Laver who did so much for tennis. Yeah, I mean, 14 is more ‑‑ the new generation, the Open era, I could maybe become the greatest of all‑time of that era, but never of all‑time.

I’m very well aware of that. I think it’s an incredible opportunity to do well.

Q. Did Andy throw any new look at you today? There’s been a lot of talk about his footwork improving. Can you empathize with a player who’s trying to get better in mid‑career?

ROGER FEDERER: I thought he played a bit more aggressive with his backhand. I think he already tried to do that against me in Miami. Played a bit more flat, so the ball goes through a little bit more.

I really think he improved the returns. The second serves he takes more easily. I have the feeling he’s improved at the net. He’s a bit better mover. Before he didn’t run a whole lot for dropshots. Today I didn’t play 25 dropshots, but I still felt he was running for every ball. He wasn’t always doing that. That’s also a big key to his game.

012909 thursday /info-photo via Australian Open / Getty Images

Roddick interview after the match against Federer


Q. First time Roger ever out‑aced you in a tournament.

ANDY RODDICK: In a tournament?

Q. Sixteen aces.


Q. That set the tone for you in this match.

ANDY RODDICK: I mean, Roger served great tonight. Yeah, I mean, that was more of a statement than a question. So I agree with you.

Q. How much, then, did the umpire’s decisions affect you today?

ANDY RODDICK: No, it didn’t at all.

Q. It looked like you were throwing everything you could at him in the third set. Were you feeling at that stage that you were getting better as it went along?

ANDY RODDICK: Let’s not kid ourselves. You’re down two sets to him and scraping, trying to survive. I hit the ball pretty well. If you look at his stats for the match, both of us had pretty good stats. You know, he just came up with shots when he needed to. That’s what he does.

Q. Pretty simply, seemed almost impossible to break him tonight.

ANDY RODDICK: He served great. For some reason he seems to serve pretty well. I think it was up around maybe over 70% first serves, which is just high for him. He’s not really up in that area a lot. So when he does that, it makes it pretty tough.

Q. What positives do you take away from the tournament?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, a lot of positives. I did a lot of good things. Hit the ball pretty well and, you know, there’s a whole laundry list of positives. Overall, I think it was a good event.

Q. Is it fair to say you’ve got a lot to work on but a lot to look forward to, do you think, for the rest of the year?

ANDY RODDICK: I sure hope so. Hopefully I can build on this a little bit. If I can keep my form through the first couple weeks here and from Doha and here, you know, should have a better year than the last couple.

Q. Can you speak to how different it is to try to get better at 25 or 26 than it is to get better at 18 and 19?

ANDY RODDICK: I think at 18 and 19 it just kind of happens. It’s like a natural kind of progression. You grow into your body. At 25, 26 you got to try to get creative any way you can and analyze, and be a little bit more self‑aware about what you can try to do.

I think at 25, 26, for a lot of people, it’s tough to kind of get the motivation and kind of keep going and keep at it. But, you know, as long as I decide to play this game, I’m going to do what I can to try to improve out there. There’s no reason for me not to.

Q. Also, one of the few situations you haven’t played Roger in is Davis Cup. I know it’s still a couple months off. Do you think that will have a different feel for you after all these matches with him?

ANDY RODDICK: I don’t know. It’s going to be ‑‑ you know, Davis Cup always feels a little bit different. I’m not sure how ‑‑ that is probably the one event where you don’t think of Roger when you kind of think of it.

So I’m sure it’ll be a little bit different, but, you know, he’s still Roger. I’m looking forward to it, though.

Q. In terms of patterns of play, do you view this as progress for yourself?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I don’t know. The thing about Roger is you can know where to go, and you can still come out on the bad end of it sometimes. So that’s where it differs from a lot of people.

A lot of people you know exactly what have to do and the majority of the time you execute it, you’re going to come out on the good end it of. That part is a little bit frustrating at times.

Overall, it was an okay match. He just beat me. It’s plain and simple.

Q. You know Pete. What do you think it means to tennis history if Roger gets to 14?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, it’s ‑‑ I think when Pete did it, I was a part of that one, too. I think when he did it in ’02, everyone was saying how kind of lofty of an achievement it was. I don’t know if we thought we would see it any time soon. Little did we know he was going to start it the next year and go after it.

I mean, that’s for you guys to do. It feels like two different ‑‑ it’s like my childhood was Pete, and now it’s kind of my grown life is Roger. It’s different, because you view Pete in kind of this ‑‑ I don’t know how to put it.

I guess Roger is a contemporary of mine which didn’t lessen the affect. I see Pete and Andre and I still get a little jittery. It’s crazy to think it’s come full circle and the magnitude of the numbers he’s accomplished, it’s pretty scary if you sit down and look at them and go through what it takes to accomplish that.

Q. You probably played him more than anyone in recent years. The talent he has, does it astound you how good he remains? He still has this remarkable ability to play the game at the level he plays it.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, the thing ‑‑ I don’t know if time is going to affect it much because he plays pretty effortlessly. He moves pretty effortlessly. Seemed like he didn’t have to work as much either. Just kind of goes out there and in practice you see him swat some balls around and it kind of works. So that definitely saves his body over the long haul.

Yeah, I mean, I’m not going say anything new or revolutionary here by saying how talented and what an incredible player he is.

Q. Do you feel like he has so many options that even when you’re playing well he’s going to come up with something else?

ANDY RODDICK: He’s certainly capable of coming up with something. It’s not just me. He’s capable of hitting some shots that a lot of guys aren’t capable of hitting. Yeah, I guess. Yeah.

Q. How would you see a final between either Nadal and Verdasco and him? Who do you think might win?

ANDY RODDICK: It is a tougher matchup for Roger against Rafa just because the ball is coming in from a different angle. He’s coming ‑‑ the forehand’s going away from his backhand a little bit as opposed to kind of coming in. It makes it a completely different dynamic.

Rafa has been playing great here as well. It’s tough to pick much between them. I think if Roger serves the way he did tonight it’s going to be real tough for anybody to beat him. If it’s down in the 55 where someone is getting looks at second serves, who knows? I mean, it’s tough to pick much between the two.

I’m excited to see it, though. One thing that’s probably not going to get talked about much is Roger, he enjoys playing at night. Seems like he sees the ball pretty big at night. I think that’s a factor that needs to be at least thought of or discussed.

Q. It’s a long season obviously. People talk about the top four guys a lot: Murray, Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer. Does this tournament change that equation do, you think, or just wait and see?

ANDY RODDICK: No, not yet. Last I checked, they’re still going to be 1 through 4 when this tournament is done.

Q. Just to Roger’s serve, is it very hard to read, or is it he just spots it and places it so well?

ANDY RODDICK: That’s not an either/or question there. It’s tough to read and he hits his spots.

Q. When it was 5‑2 in the first set, the umpire or chair engaged you when you carried on, and he said neither you nor him were going to win here. That didn’t affect you at all?


Q. When it was 5‑2 in the first set.

ANDY RODDICK: I was already down two breaks in that set.

Q. I get that.

ANDY RODDICK: Then get it.

Q. It was an unusual stage for the chair to engage you and carry on a dialogue after two breakpoints went against you.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, what do you want from me? The guy made a judgment call. I didn’t agree with the judgment call. I made it known. I asked pointed questions that when he answered them they completely contradicted what he said before. What do you want me to say?

Q. Well, I guess you didn’t beat yourself here, you were beaten by a better player.

ANDY RODDICK: Have you been here for the entire press conference?

Q. Yes.

ANDY RODDICK: I feel like I’ve gotten that point across.

Q. You handled that quite well. I’m impressed.

ANDY RODDICK: Thank you. You make a lot of statements and don’t ask any questions.

012909 thursday /info-photo via Australian Open / Getty Images

Federer stops Roddick


Roger Federer has put on another masterful performance at Australian Open 2009, breezing past American Andy Roddick 6-2 7-5 7-5 to progress to his fourth final in six years at Melbourne Park.

Federer said he had no preference for who he faced on Sunday night, saying there were positives in playing either Spaniard.

“I’d like to play Fernando because he’s never played a Grand Slam final before. I have an edge there,” he said.

“Playing Rafa is obviously, you know, more exciting because of the history we have playing in so many Grand Slam finals. [With] him being the best player in the world at the moment, it would make it a very intriguing match.”

In the final, Federer will play the winner of Friday night’s semifinal between world No. 1 Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco

Quick facts
Federer served 16 aces to Roddick’s eight, and had no double faults while landing his first serve at 66 per cent
The Swiss hit 51 winners to Roddick’s 38, and had 15 unforced errors to Roddick’s 18
Federer converted four of his 13 break point chances, while Roddick was 0-for-3 on break point opportunities

012909 thursday /info-photo via Australian Open / Getty Images

Safina interview after the match against Zvonareva


Q. What was the key to your win today? What do you think you did better than she did?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, I think I was more aggressive today than previous matches. I think I was going a little bit more for my shots than she was going, and I was just really taking all my chances that I had today.

Q. Was it an ideal match to go into a final?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, I think first set was really, I would say perfect. Second set, I had chances to break her like Love‑15 I had ‑‑ 15‑30, there I had to be a little bit more dominate.

Still, I think I played a very good game at 5‑6 down on her serve, and then I played a solid tiebreak to win the second set.

Q. How much of this do you owe to Justine Henin? Since you beat her last year, you’ve become a whole new player.

DINARA SAFINA: I don’t know. Not only Justine I beat, but that tournament in Berlin just turned me completely around. After that tournament I became different player, so I don’t know if it’s Justine or all other players that I beat to win the title.

Q. But still, that victory, I think, gave you the confidence that you perhaps lacked before.

DINARA SAFINA: Actually, I don’t know. Before the tournament started I saw the draw and I said, I really want to play against Justine. I don’t know why, but I believe I could beat her that day.

When I won, I guess it’s the first win I win against No. 1 in the world. Then I beat another great players and that gave me so much confidence that now I can not only play one match, but like three, four against top players and still to beat them.

Q. Here you are where she was five years ago, and you pushed her into retirement.

DINARA SAFINA: Well, I don’t think it was me. I think it was also some kind of her decision.

Q. In that same tournament you also beat Serena Williams. Do you think that will help you going into the final?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, you know, it was a clay court. Now it’s completely different. I don’t know if we’re going to play with the roof open, closed. So let’s see what’s gonna be on Saturday.

So let’s see how it’s gonna be the conditions. It’s different tournament. It’s not only that I played her in Berlin, I played two more times against her. I hope I will use ‑‑ the mistakes that I did after, I will not use it next time.

Q. Do you think at the US Open and the Championships when you played her, you just weren’t physically or mentally prepared for it?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, those two tournaments it’s tough to judge, because playing US Open and Masters, especially Masters, I was just not ready to play at all. I was dead completely. There was nothing inside of me anymore.

And also, US Open, coming after winning two tournaments in a row, playing final at Beijing, that took so much energy out of me. When I got there, I was just not ready to play.

So now it’s different. It’s beginning of the season. It’s another tournament. Just looking forward for my next challenge.

Q. In all the matches so far you’ve been the higher seed and probably the favorite. Is it going to be easier on you to play a final against someone who is seeded higher and has won a lot of majors already?

DINARA SAFINA: I will just take it as another match. Today I can say I really played against my opponent and not against myself.

Q. A lot of errors today. Do you put that down to the aggression that you were talking about?

DINARA SAFINA: A lot of errors?

Q. Yeah, 41 unforced errors. Do you put that down to the aggressive style that you put into winning the game?

DINARA SAFINA: Yeah, today I think I was much more aggressive than my other matches. At least I was going for something. If I was missing, at least it was a winner shot. But it’s not like I was pushing and the ball was flying.

So it was completely different game today.

Q. Serena lost the last three times to Dementieva. You had lost the last three times to Zvonareva. How do you explain how everything changed? You think it’s a reason or coincidence?

DINARA SAFINA: I think it’s coincidence. I don’t know what was the matches against Serena and Dementieva. But, yeah, I lost to Zvonareva three times last year.

But this is another year. I was pretty comfortable feeling today on the court. I was really feeling good today playing.

Q. What would it mean to you to be a Grand Slam champion for the first time?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, it would be amazing, you know, to have the same trophy as my brother have. It’ll be a dream comes true.

Q. Saturday night is a long way away. What will you do in between times?

DINARA SAFINA: Not much. You know, now it’s already 7:10. I still have to do some press. Maybe I’ll go back to the hotel and watch a movie. Tomorrow I will practice and try to take it as easy as I can and just enjoy, to relax.

Q. Do you get nervous at all?

DINARA SAFINA: Still too early.

Q. When you play Serena, how hard is it not to play against her reputation, given that she tends to raise her level and play great in Grand Slam finals?

DINARA SAFINA: I never played against her in Grand Slam final, so let’s see how it’s gonna be on Saturday.

Q. If you would have the choice, would you prefer to play with the roof open or closed? Does that make any difference to you?

DINARA SAFINA: No, closed. It’s impossible to walk outside.

Q. But it’s going to be Saturday night.

DINARA SAFINA: Oh, Saturday night? Whatever.

Q. Doesn’t make any difference to the game? Svetlana said, for instance, that it was a huge advantage for Serena to play kind of indoors because of her serve.

DINARA SAFINA: Well, for her it was different because they started the match with the open roof and then they closed the roof. Then it’s difficult maybe to adjust. Somebody maybe adjusts faster and someone slower.

But if you start the match open or close, the roof, I don’t know.

Q. Where would you have to improve today, if anywhere, to win on Saturday night?

DINARA SAFINA: I don’t know. I think I beat player who has been playing some very solid tennis for the end of the season and since the beginning of the year. I mean, she win all the matches easy here to get to the semifinal and I beat her pretty solid today. I think it was a great match today.

Q. We are too far ahead, of course, but when Marat won his first Grand Slam he had some chilled vodka brought in. I’m just wondering what your preferred celebration beverage might be if that happens.

DINARA SAFINA: What did he brought?

Q. Vodka.

DINARA SAFINA: I’m not drinking any alcohol. The most you will see me drinking is some pure water.

Q. Afterwards? If you won?

DINARA SAFINA: I don’t drink so much. Maximum I can drink is maybe glass of wine. I don’t drink any alcohol.

Q. When your brother won here and the US Open, it was a big celebration in your parents’ house, I imagine. What about you? Would they celebrate in the same way, or a little less because they’re getting used to the triumph of your brother? And do you think they expect more from your brother or from yourself?

DINARA SAFINA: I don’t know. Well, I guess we gonna ‑‑ because my brother is also gonna be in Moscow, so I guess we gonna you have a big dinner together and enjoy the day.

Well, and me, I will leave soon because I will have another tournament coming up, Dubai, and back to train.

Q. My question was if you think they expected more of him or you to win, and it would make a difference for them?

DINARA SAFINA: I don’t think so. Success is success. I don’t know if they expect more from me or from my brother. It’s a Grand Slam. I don’t know. I was not in the position, so when I will be, I will tell you who is more celebration, when Marat won or I won.

Q. If you think back to earlier in the week when you were so angry with yourself after the Cornet match, can you actually believe now that you got to the final?

DINARA SAFINA: Yeah, because I always knew that I’m playing, but I’m not using all my potential that I have. I’m playing with them, but it was not exactly that I was playing with them. I was not aggressive and I was waiting kind of for their mistakes and not using all of my shots. I always knew that this day had to come. Finally I just step in and play my game.

I guess today was the day that I really like was dominant on the court and I just played the game that I know to play and not being passive on the court.

Q. Are you planning to bring one day a bunch of boyfriends to cheer for you?

DINARA SAFINA: No, I’m not this kind of person. No, no.

012909 thursday /info-photo via Australian Open / Getty Images

Zvonareva interview after the match against Safina


Q. Looked like a very tight match. What was the difference between your game and Dinara’s?

VERA ZVONAREVA: I think Dinara was more consistent today than I was. I think she did serve better than I did, so it made the difference.

Q. There were a lot of breakpoints and breaks. Was it difficult out there?

VERA ZVONAREVA: Yeah, I think it was very difficult. I think the conditions were totally different from previous matches. I think I’m a player who needs lots of time to get used to the conditions.

I really felt it was a little bit faster. I felt like, well, we were playing indoors, so it was different. I couldn’t really find my rhythm.

I felt like I was ‑‑ the level of my game was a little bit back, like in the beginning of the tournament.

Q. Your first Grand Slam semifinal. Looking forward, what do you take out of today’s match and the tournament generally?

VERA ZVONAREVA: There is always something to take out of my matches, and especially such an experience as the semifinal of a Grand Slam. I’m sure there are lots of things to take out. It’s just too close from the match right now. I’m still a little bit in the match.

For sure I will take some ‑‑ there are probably some bad things about my match today, but there are probably some good things from this tournament. I’m looking forward for the next one.

Q. Do you prefer the indoor conditions to the outdoor conditions?

VERA ZVONAREVA: I think I’m an all‑surface, all‑court player. I really can play anywhere. I’m a player, like I said, who needs time to adjust to the new conditions.

I would prefer to play a match or two ‑‑ I could never play my best tennis in the first match of the tournament. It’s impossible, probably like lots of other players. So I felt like I was a little bit off the rhythm today, and it was a little bit different for me.

But, well, the same conditions for both of us. Well, that’s it.

Q. Did you have a chance to practice indoors before your match today?

VERA ZVONAREVA: I jumped on the Rod Laver for like ten minutes. I got the chance ten minutes today a little bit. Otherwise, no chance.

I had to warm up a little bit in the bubble in the indoor courts. It’s obviously a very big difference.

Q. Looking back on this tournament, are you satisfied with your performance?

VERA ZVONAREVA: Well, if you look at it overall, it’s my first Grand Slam semifinal. I should be satisfied. Like I said, there are so many things I wish I could have done in this match. I really felt that the level of tennis that I was able to show even in the previous match was much, much better. So I’m a little bit disappointed about that.

But, well, I’m looking forward to the next tournament.

Q. When you were talking about different things you could have done, do you think, for example, maybe slice shots because she doesn’t like that very much?

VERA ZVONAREVA: You know, I think I knew what I had to do, but I think we were playing quite fast and aggressive tennis today. It was very difficult to execute those shots. The moments I really felt like I was making the wrong decisions, I would realize it during the shot, but it is already too late to change it.

I really felt there were moments and there were some points where I had chances and I didn’t make the right shots.

So today, compared to maybe my previous match where I was making the right decisions in the right time.

Q. What about your game do you think could improve and see you in more Grand Slam semifinals or perhaps moving on to finals in the future?

VERA ZVONAREVA: I hope. But I’m going to work, because I think everyone is working very hard and everyone is improving. That’s what I have to do. I think there are lots of things that I can improve.

But I’m pretty confident. I believe in myself. Every time I’m coming for the tournament, I’m coming to win it. Obviously doesn’t happen all the time. I just need to keep up the good work.

Q. No Fed Cup for you next week?

VERA ZVONAREVA: I don’t think so, no.

012909 thursday /info-photo via Australian Open / Getty Images