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2001 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

January 18, 2001

E. DEMENTIEVA/A. Glass
2-6, 7-6, 6-3

Q. Selena Roberts from New York. You had a matchpoint out there, did that take more out of you than you thought this match would? You had a tough stretch there?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, it was a tough match. She had a matchpoint, so it was tough. I think she played very well today, much better than me. I was just a little bit lucky in the second set.

Q. Sandy Harwitt from the United States. Do you feel you were able to pull this match out just because you've had some really big matches and good results lately? That is why you won?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, but you know it's tough to say. Now I'm trying to change my racquet, so from Prince to Yonex. It's a big difference, and I feel like I need more time for that.

Q. Why are you changing racquets?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: They didn't make any more, the graphite prints. And I want to play with that.

Q. How different has it been coming here? In New York you were the unseeded girl that's coming up and knocking off really good players and getting through to a semi. Here you're a seeded player. I guess with that there's a bit more expectation that you are going to win matches and not every win comes as a surprise to you. How different is that for you, that situation?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, it's different. Like today I had the feeling that I have to win today and that's why maybe I did it. But, you know, I feel good here and I'm always happy to be in Australia and play Australian Open.

Q. A lot of stuff has been written about you as being part of this, you know, new generation of players and girls that are going to come up and beat the Williams sisters and you're going to beat Martina and you've beaten Lindsay already, do you feel that as a pressure? Or at the moment do you feel that's still a long way away?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, I don't feel any pressure. I feel very comfortable, and I just try to improve my game. That's all.

Q. What about the Olympic experience? Yevgeny Kafelnikov was saying in Russia the Olympics is a bigger deal probably than winning Grand Slams. Has it been much of a change? How were you received when you came home with a medal?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I had a great experience to play and get the silver medal. It was the best moment in my life, and of course it's much important for me to be in the final in the Olympics game than be in the final Grand Slam, and there is no question. But, you know, I had a great year last year, but it's over. It's finished. Now I'm trying to concentrate on this year. And, you know, just keep going.

Q. Is it fair, though, to say that Olympic medal and results is more important?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, for me, yes.

Q. And in Russia, just with the people you think?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah. But I mean it's great for every player to play for the country, and I was very proud to be there.

Q. From a Russian point of view, that silver medal, was that the first time that you felt that you really stepped out of, say, the shadow of Anna Kournikova and became a player and people started treating you as your own person?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: You know, I didn't think about Kournikova during the Olympics game. I just -- I was thinking about my country and I was very happy to play this tournament and get this medal.

Q. Sure. But looking back now, do you feel that that has been a bit of a turning point for you and I guess the way you're perceived at home?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yeah, but there is no competition between us.

Q. Sure. But it must be hard, though. She's this sort of, you know, she's this phenomenon that goes beyond playing tennis. There must have been -- it's always a tough thing to sort of I guess grow up beneath that, so to speak, in terms -- did you not find that difficult at all?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I didn't understand.

Q. I'm just saying Anna is so larger than life because of all the stuff that goes on apart from her tennis.

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: You think it's bad?

Q. No.

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I don't think it's bad.

Q. No, it's just how it is. I just wondered what it's like to be another Russian player, and some people think a more talented Russian player that's coming up behind that.

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I mean it's good to be a Russian player. You know, we have a lot of Russian players, not only Kournikova. You can see in the main draw here, we have, I don't know, more than ten players in the main draw.

Q. Why do you think so many play Russian players in the men's and women's game have become so prominent? Is there any reason you think the players are starting to really come?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, it's difficult to say. It's just unbelievable because we have not very good condition for practice, and the life is better now but it's still not so good, you know, for playing tennis. We have a lot of problems in Russia. And it's very difficult for the young players to come to the Tour and that's tough. I don't know why we did this.

Q. Where do you spend most of your time as a tennis player?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Sorry?

Q. Where do you spend most of your time?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: In Moscow.

Q. You haven't been tempted to go and set up a base in America or somewhere --?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, I live in Moscow and I'm happy to live there. After every tournament, I come back to -- I come back home.

Q. Can you describe the facilities, where you practice? Is there one court there, two courts?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, in my club we have a lot of courts, different surface. My club is good. But, you know, for Moscow, such a big city, we have only two good tennis clubs.

Q. Is that the Spartak Club?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Spartak and Cska.

Q. You say you don't think as you continue to develop as a player that you'll be tempted to sort of seek greener pastures so to speak in terms of training facilities? You know, to move....

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, I don't want to move. No, I want to stay in Moscow.

Q. What's important to you about staying in Moscow?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I mean it's my country. I was born there. There is my family, my friends. Everything is there. For me, it's the best place I am, you know, I miss my city when I am on the Tour at the tournaments and I'm very happy to come back.

Q. Did you find it hard to understand why some Russian sports stars go and live in the States?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No. Like I said, we have not very good condition for practice. That's why. And I can understand. But for me, it's okay. I have a great club and I have a coach in Moscow. So everything is fine with me.

Q. Elena, you said it's quite tough out there to become a player. At what stage did you decide that you wanted to become a pro tennis player?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Because my mom loves tennis, that's why I'm playing tennis. And, you know --.

Q. Was there an age where you won something where you thought, "Oh, I could go on and do this for the rest of my life as a professional"?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, I don't want to play tennis for the rest of my life. But it's tough to say what I'm going to do after my tennis career. I want to change my life and do something different, but, you know, tennis, it's my life. That's what I know very well, and it's difficult to find to do time after.

Q. What do you think you can actually get out of the game? Do you agree with people when they say you can be one of these girls who's going to come up and challenge say Hingis and the Williams sisters and Davenport for the dominance of tennis?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: You know, you never know. It's difficult to say. I just try to play my game. Like today I didn't play -- I'm not happy with my game today but the result is also important. But we'll see.

Q. Can you just clear up for me, it seemed like you changed dresses during the match. Is that right?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Yes, I did.

Q. Why is that?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Because it was wet.

Q. Sweaty?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Sweat.

Q. It wasn't a fashion statement?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, it wasn't a fashion statement, no.

Q. You talked about switching the racquets before. What's been the biggest problem adjusting to the new racquet? Is it stiff or what?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, just cannot find -- this racquet, it's very heavy. I'm going to take another one for the next match because today I didn't play my game.

Q. So like last year, you've had this amazing year. Where do you want to be say this time next year? Where do you think you can be in tennis this time next year?

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Top 100.

Q. That's not very high ambition.

ELENA DEMENTIEVA: No, but it's okay. I can do it I'm sure