Wimbledon 2008 Interview: Alla Kudryavtseva, after defeating Maria Sharapova

Read on for the type of interview that Maria Sharapova would never give…

A. KUDRYAVTSEVA defeated M. Sharapova 6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: First question for Alla, please.

Q. Best day of your life?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Tennis life, yes. Tennis‑wise probably.

Q. What did you expect when you went out to play today?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Well, maybe it will sound a little too much for me, but I did expect to win. I did think about winning, not just going and playing.

And the way I warmed up I was, like, trying my best shots. Actually, everything worked. So I was like, Well, I’m in a good shape, and she doesn’t play her best tennis at the moment, so, yeah, I was thinking about winning.

Q. How much did you learn from your match at the French Open last year, up 4‑1 in the second set? How much did that help you today?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Uhm, well, definitely it helps, you know, when you know the player, when you know how she plays, you know what to expect.

Of course I watch Maria a lot on the TV, but it’s different when you’re on the other side of the court.

For sure that helped. But I think what helped more is my last year’s match with Venus Williams.

Q. How did that help?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Well, I was so close to winning, and then just, you know, played a little too passive in the end. So today I was like, There’s no way I’m going to do the same mistake again, so I went for my shots.

Q. Was it just two points from beating Venus?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Yes.

Q. What was going through your mind at that point?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Well, actually, I still remember it quite good, ’cause before today it was the biggest match of my career probably. I was up in the second set and I had some easy shots. I just decided, you know, to put them in, not risk, make a high‑percentage shot.

I ended up losing those games, that set. Then it got so close and she was playing so good. I didn’t have that much chances to win the match. I had chances to stay in the match, but not to win the match.

So, yeah, today, again, just went for my shots.

Q. Coming into the match today you said to yourself, I’m not going to do this again?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: The first couple balls I missed, and I missed a couple very long and very ugly. Then I thought, Okay, at least I go for it. Sooner or later it has to go in. It happens pretty soon, so I’m happy about it.

Q. Based on your record this year, how could you be confident you could win today? You haven’t been successful in too many tournaments.

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Thank you. It’s so nice of you to remind me about it right now (laughter).

Q. It’s reality.

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: I didn’t say I was confident I’m going to win. I said I’m going into the match thinking I have a chance to win, thinking that’s one I want to win. But obviously I wasn’t confident ‑ not even close to confident.

But I just thought, Well, I have to put myself in that frame of mind that if I have a chance I have to take it.

Q. Is there a reason you haven’t been very successful this year?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Of course. Everything happens for a reason. Yeah, I had some issues in personal life, issues with injuries. Thankfully I overcome them all. I hope, I pray I overcome them all. Yeah, hope I will come back even stronger. I mean, hope I am coming back even stronger.

Q. How significant was it, especially to beat Sharapova?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: It’s very pleasant to beat your ‑‑ you know, Maria.

Q. Why?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Why? Well, I don’t like her outfit. Can I put it this way?

Q. Sure. Do you think there’s too much made of the fashion thing with her?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Well, I liked her outfit at the French Open, so probably that’s why.

But, yeah, it’s a little too much of everything, of the same thing.

Q. What especially didn’t you like about the outfit?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Oh, c’mon. Now you’re going to take me to the fashion discussion. I’m not very good in fashion. I don’t know the trends.

Q. You just don’t like the way it looks or you don’t like the idea of all the fashion stuff?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Kind of both, yeah. Well, I mean, she experiments, and I give her credit for that. She’s brave enough to experiment. Sometimes she has good ones, sometimes not. That’s my personal opinion, again. Maybe someone will tell me I dress terribly.

Q. Did that give you motivation to beat her?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: It was one of the motivations to beat her.

Q. Do you live in Miami or in Boca? How long have you been there? Where do you train?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: I train there. I don’t have my own place in Boca. My coach lives in Boca Raton. I have a new coach, yeah. He’s, again, American.

Q. Who is the coach?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Christian Zahalka.

Q. How long have you been with him?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Since December last year. He helped me to get through a lot of things. He had a belief in me.

Q. You train in Boca at the Evert Academy, or where?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: No, at the ITA, International Tennis Academy. They’ve been very nice to me.

Q. What stage did you realize today that Maria was really off her game and she was there for the taking?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Which stage of the match?

Q. Yes.

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Well, I realized Maria is not playing that great when she double‑faulted three times. I don’t know what score that was. That was the first time I broke her, and she double‑faulted three times in the same game.

I was trying, you know, not to keep the score in my head so much ’cause it puts a lot of pressure. So, yeah, I think then I realized that she’s not at her best.

But she picked it up towards the end of the match and she started playing some really good, aggressive tennis, put more balls in the court, not overplay the shots. I think I did a good job dealing with that. I knew she gonna pick it up at some point. She always does it.

Q. The No. 1 player in the world gets pushed to two match points in the second round, and you knocked off the No. 3 seed. What does that say about the women’s game?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Well, Ana Ivanovic probably doesn’t know yet ‑‑ sorry. Let me start over.

I think Ana got a tough draw. I mean, Dechy is good on grass. You know, she was two match points down. She picked it up. She played some good tennis in the end. It’s difficult for her. You know, she never was No. 1. It’s her first tournament at being No. 1 in the world, being a Grand Slam, you know, champion.

Come on, she’s only 20 years old. I think it was difficult for her. That’s not a very easy second round.

And then, okay, I’m taking down Sharapova is a big deal for me, and I think big deal for Maria. So Russians, you know. We are Russians. We are coming up more and more.

Q. Does it speak about the depth in the game that this can happen? People say the women’s game is predictable. It hasn’t been predictable for the last two days.

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: It’s guys. They always say the women’s game is predictable. They always say you women can’t serve, you don’t go to the net, you can’t slice. No, we can do it all. We’re strong. Don’t listen to them.

Q. How well do you know Maria?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: How well? Like personally?

Q. Personally.

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Or game‑wise?

Q. Personally.

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Personally, no, I don’t know her well. I think I’m quite sure no one on the tour knows her well, because she’s not a very talkative girl and not very outgoing.

But we were ‑‑ you know, we were in the same team for Fed Cup, and I was there for the finals. I wasn’t playing, but I was there for the finals. She was pretty nice when she was on the team, but after that she started saying hello. That’s nice.

Q. What do you think she’ll make of your comments about her outfit? Will you seek her out afterwards?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Excuse me?

Q. Do you think she might take personally a bit your comments about her outfit?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: If I’m not afraid to go play her and she’s world No. 3, I’m not afraid she’s going to catch me in the dressing room and say, You know what, you said you don’t like my outfit. You were wrong. I will say, Sorry. That’s just my opinion.

Q. Your father was a champion in wrestling. Were you ever tempted to go into that instead?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: To wrestling?

Q. Yes.

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: No. I never thought about going into wrestling. In fact, me coming to tennis, I wasn’t very interested in the beginning. I actually quit when I was five, and then I came back when I was eight.

I just thought, Okay, I don’t want to sit at home. That was the motivation at first, but then I really got into the game.

No, I never thought about any other sports. I never did any other sports but tennis.

Q. What level did your father reach in wrestling?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: My father was the world champion. My father was the world champion, World Cup holder, a couple times European champion. He was good. He was great.

Q. When was that?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: ’80s.

Q. Have you ever pinned your father?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: What is “pinned”?

Q. Pinned.

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: No. I hit him once.

Q. Why did you hit him?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: You know how some bad parents, they are being abusive on the kids? Well, we are the other way around: I was very abusive on my father. He would be like on the match, watching the match, and he would be like all afraid and scared.

After the match I would cry. After the match he would come and say, Alla, it’s okay. I would go, Go away.

Q. You seemed like a pretty happy girl after you beat Maria Sharapova.

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: I was very happy. C’mon, I was like very, very happy.

Q. What did you say to yourself?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: I said, Thanks God that last forehand went in. That’s about what I said to myself.

Q. Maria said beating her probably will make your tournament. What’s your reaction to that?

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Beating her?

Q. You might not win the tournament, but beating her will make your tournament.

ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA: Well, I would definitely love to win the tournament. But, yeah, well, for sure beating her is a big deal for me. It’s a big match.



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