August 25, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How did you feel out there today? I'm just wondering if you felt a
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, you know, really it's very hard not to think
about the Olympic Games, you know, and very difficult to refocus and
just to get ready, you know, for the Open, because it's ‑‑ still, I
mean, all my thinking is there in Beijing.
Yesterday I was trying to go to sleep, but, I mean, I couldn't go
because I was watching, you know, the closing ceremony, and, you know,
my mind is still there.
I was trying to, you know, to stay focused as possible as I could, and
the court was not easy. I think the first round is never easy.
Q. When did you arrive from Beijing?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I arrived on Wednesday because I went home for one
day. I was there without my mom, so I wanted to celebrate it with my
family a little bit and to see my friends and just come back to my
tennis club and do a little celebration there. I came here on Wednesday.
Q. So what type of reception did you get at home from your family and
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Oh, it was very, very nice, you know. It was a lot of
people in the airport. A very nice welcome back, and lots of flowers,
you know. It was very special moment.
Q. With your countrymen out, rotator cuff injuries, the Olympics, but
winning the US Open, would that be important from an American business
perspective to get the endorsements from certain watch companies and
other major corporations that other tennis players have been getting up
to this point?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, you know, since I was a little girl I was never
‑‑ it was never a goal to me to get big endorsements, you know. I was
always dreaming about winning Olympic Games, you know, winning something
big, and, you know, play well for my country. So this is so much
important to me.
Well, I know that tennis isn't over yet, that's why I'm here. I like to
play in New York. In the beginning of my career I played the first
semifinals here, so I love to play here.
Just try to continue to play well. But the biggest goal for the year was
Beijing, and I did it as best as I could.
Q. Once you are able to refocus, how do you think that experience will
help you in big events like Grand Slams?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, it was quite an experience, you know. We played
six matches in a row in Beijing, and, I mean, best players in the world
were competing there. It was big challenge for me, and a lot of
confidence for sure after this big win.
So it just ‑‑ right now it's a matter of, you know, umm, how fresh I can
stay, you know, for this tournament. Just want to take some rest, you
know, and make sure that I don't practice as much as I did in Beijing. I
need to save some energy for this tournament.
But I feel good.
Q. Do you feel like more of a winner?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Oh, I mean, it's ‑‑ I don't think ‑‑ I mean, I don't
think that far. I just want to take one match at a time.
Q. How important was that for you mentally with the pressure you put on
yourself? You're saying all year Beijing is it for me. This is the
important thing. Then to actually go into the final and win the match.
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, actually, I think the experience of my first
Olympic final in Sydney eight years ago really helped me this time,
because I did not feel this pressure at all. I was so focused. I was
thinking about every single point.
And I mean, all these matches against Dinara this year, especially
losing in French Open, you know, when I had a match point, I was ‑‑ I
didn't exactly know what to do. I was staying aggressive and I didn't
wait for the mistake. I was doing the whole thing, you know, the whole
So it was important for me. Yeah, I mean, without that experience,
probably I wouldn't be able to do this.
Q. Serena Williams said on Saturday that when she was a little girl
growing up that she had so many dreams of winning Wimbledon, winning the
French Open, winning the Australian Open, the US Open, winning a lot of
tournaments, Grand Slams. She said she never really dreamed of being an
Olympic champion. That wasn't part of the plan. Obviously she won gold
in doubles. She said it was kind of a special feeling, one that she
hadn't really thought of as a little girl. When you were growing up, I
mean, I'm sure you dreamed of Grand Slam titles, but did you ever dream
also? Was Olympic gold always something that you dreamed of?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, in Russia, if you stop anyone in the street and
ask what is a Grand Slam, I don't think many people can tell you what is
this. But everyone knows what ‑‑ I mean, Olympic Games. There is nothing
bigger. There is nothing more important than Olympic Games for an
athlete, for a sportsperson.
So I was watching a lot, I was dreaming a lot, and for me, that was once
again the biggest goal for this year.
All my preparation, you know, from the beginning of the year, you know,
was playing singles only because I wanted to make sure I saved some
energy for the start. I didn't playing any of the tournaments, you know,
in the summer that I like to play, you know, in the US Open Series. I
didn't play any of them. In Montreal only.
But I was getting ready. For me, this is the biggest, biggest event.
Q. Have things changed in Russia with so many wonderful Russian tennis
players? You know, there has been such great results in the last five,
six years. Have things changed since you were a very young girl growing
up in terms of regarding Grand Slam tournaments?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, for sure, tennis is getting bigger and bigger in
Russia and very popular right now. We got so many great results in the
last few years, and for sure a lot of people are involved in tennis.
They watch a lot, and this is one of the most popular sports in the
Q. Is there a fatigue factor? This has to be a letdown after the
Olympics. Is there mental and physical letdown?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: I don't know what is the best, you know, to be a
little bit tired but very comfortable and very positive, or, you know,
just to be fresh and not to play in the Olympic Games.
So I don't know what's the best, so... It's just another challenge, and
we'll see if I can handle it.
Q. You have a chance to be No. 1 at the end of this tournament, and
there are several players in the same position. Why doesn't anyone want
to keep No. 1 in women's tennis?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Because Justine is not here anymore. (laughter.)
Q. What's your explanation for how open it is?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, I think we don't have a player who can be very
consistent during the year. I mean, it's been ups and downs and some
great matches, great performances from a lot of players, from top 10,
but we never had anything like Justine who was able to, you know, win
every single tournament that she was playing.
So maybe that's the...
Q. Prior to winning the Olympics, you were perhaps a player that could
go deep in a tournament, semifinals and finals, but hadn't won that big
tournament yet. Now that you won the Olympics, do you feel weight has
been lifted from your shoulders, maybe you can play with a little less
pressure on the court?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, you know, people just come to me and say, Oh,
I'm happy for you. You're always losing in the final. It's so great that
you finally win something big.
But I never thought about this in that way, you know. I was thinking
that it was a great experience in French Open, US Open. I didn't think
it's such a bad results to be in the final of a Grand Slam.
It just took me a long, you know, a lot of time. It was a long way, you
know, to the big win. But without this experience I wouldn't be able to
do this, so it's just my way.
Q. What makes a tournament important? Is it the money? Is it the crowd?
Is it the dream of the players? What is the most important?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: Well, I think it's a very special feeling when you
play for your country. I just feel like I'm playing so much better when
I'm playing Fed Cup, when I'm playing Olympic Games. From the beginning
I was playing so much better. I don't know why. Just gives you so much
extra energy, extra power, and you're just so focused, so positive.
Just really want to do something good for your country, and that's what
makes you feel stronger on the court.
Q. What have you done with the gold medal? Are you sleeping with it?
ELENA DEMENTIEVA: (laughter.)
No, I'm ‑‑ actually it's at home in Moscow. But, yeah, I mean, I was
holding it for three days, and it was like, make sure it's not a dream.
Just ‑‑ it's real.
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