INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
March 12, 2001
E. Dementieva/L. Krasnoroutskaya
Q. That's hard when your friend gets hurt.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah. But, you know, if you have some problems, you just don't go to the court, I think. If you are on the court, there is no excuse. I mean, I have also my foot problem. What can I say? I mean, she start to play very well, and I didn't expect it. She hits the ball so hard, I can say harder than Venus or Davenport. It's just bad luck for her, I think so.
Q. When did she get hurt?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: She said just today in the morning, after her practice.
Q. So you think she should have played the second set?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No. I mean, what can I think? It's up to her. But, I mean, when it was 3-1 for her, she's still playing.
Q. How did you play?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: You know, it was tough. It was our first match. The last time we practiced together, it was like in the Fed Cup, so long time ago. I mean, I didn't expect. She is a very good player. I mean, she's still young, but she hits the ball very hard.
Q. I know this is a technical question, but in Australia you were having problems with the racquet, switching to the new racquet.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Right.
Q. What did you end up doing?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: In Australia, I start to play with the Yonex racquet, then I change for another one. It was very difficult for me to choose the right racquet. Now I play with Yonex, but a different one. I mean, I'm happy with that racquet.
Q. You have to be happy with the progress your game has made over the last two tournaments from Mexico and here. You're playing much better than earlier in the year, right?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, because I played Paris and Nice, and I lost two times to Maggie Maleeva. I was a little upset. It was some problem with my confidence, with my new racquet. Now I feel better - much better.
Q. Even this match today, the way she was hitting the first few games, it looked like you were -- and your serve wasn't on. It looked like you were in for a battle. You just powered through.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, I mean, I was nervous, of course. She's younger than me, and I'm 11, she's 60, I don't know, whatever. It's very difficult. She put a lot of pressure to me.
Q. You were nervous with the idea of losing to someone below you or that she's a friend?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yes, of course, I didn't want to lost to someone from my country because I have a higher ranking. It's always difficult for me to play against someone from Russia. I lost to Likhovtseva, Panova, Petrova, also lost to Myskina.
Q. How come?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I don't know. For me, it's much easier to play someone from another country.
Q. How was the dinner last night, the awards ceremony? I saw your mom taking pictures of you. She looked pretty excited?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I think she was more happy than me. It was very nice. I'm happy to get this nomination. Like I said, I received the same one in Russia, so now I have two. I can share with my mom now.
Q. Which one are you going to keep?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: From Russia.
Q. They're both the same thing, most improved?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Same nomination, yeah.
Q. Can you talk about playing Venus, what you have to do to win?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: We played two times. She looks strong. I mean, if I will play a hundred percent of my game, I can beat her, that's for sure. I mean, now I have nothing to lose. I mean, I'm sure I'll not nervous or something like that. I will just play and try to play my best game.
Q. The two matches you played with her were two of the biggest matches of your career, the Fed Cup and --?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: It was my first match against such a Top 10 player.
Q. -- The other thing was for the Olympic gold medal.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: That's right.
Q. Two of the most important matches ever were against one opponent. Will you be thinking about something other than the match at hand or no? Do you know what I mean? The other two times you played her, there was such importance to that moment.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, it's not -- it's also very important match for me. I was in semis last year, so I want to be in semis this year, of course. It's always very interesting to play against someone who is such a great player. I can learn something. It's always a good practice for me.
Q. And you can win?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, I'll try.
Q. You said if you play 100%, you can beat her. What if she plays 100%?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: If we will play -- if I will play hundred and she will play hundred, I will beat her for sure. I'm stronger inside.
Q. You're stronger inside?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah. She's just stronger ....
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: .... physically, yeah.
Q. Do you think maybe it means more to you because of the success she had last year? If she doesn't win, it's okay?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: For who?
Q. Venus. You say you're stronger inside, meaning she doesn't need it as much, doesn't care as much?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No. I mean, why she won all her matches because, you know, she's stronger physically. I mean, now she play a lot better than last year. She has a lot of different shots. If you can see last year, she played like she has a great serve and, I don't know, forehand, and that's all. I don't know. I mean, there is nothing special. I mean, she is a girl like me. We'll see.
Q. She thought you were very nervous in the Olympic match. Is that true?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, because when I start to play, nobody expect for me to be on the final. But when I was on the final, everybody came to me and said, "Oh, you have to." Then I start to think that I can be the Olympic medalist. It was tough.
Q. Because she is so strong and she has a presence about her, do you think a lot of other players, they haven't lost before they've gone out there, but do you think that's in the back of her mind, she's so impressive?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yes, I think so. I think, yeah, she won a lot of match before somebody came on the court. That's for sure.
Q. So she intimidates people before she comes out?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I think so.
Q. What about you? Why are you not intimidated by her?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, I'm not.
Q. Why is that?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I don't know. Maybe I have to. I will try in one tournament.
Q. Are you pretty much a person who is not really afraid of anything, whether it has to do with tennis?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Afraid?
Q. Afraid or frightened of things just in day-to-day life.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: If you're talking about if I'm afraid to play against her?
Q. Your personality away from tennis.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Away, no, I'm not afraid.
Q. Afraid of things.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, not anything. Why? I don't understand.
MODERATOR: When you're not playing tennis, just in life, are you afraid of anything?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, I'm not.
Q. Some people are afraid of the dark.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, the Russian people, they don't afraid of anything.
Q. Do you have something to prove? It sounds to me like you have something to prove against her in your upcoming match because maybe you didn't play the way you should have in the Olympics, and you want to show her you can play better tennis than you did in that match.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: In the Olympics final, I was concentrate on her serve. I was like, "You have to take one of her serve." But I lost all my serve. It was no way to win. Of course, tomorrow or after tomorrow when I play, I will try to keep my serve. That's very important. If we can play tiebreak, we'll see who's going to be luckier.