January 12, 2010
SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES
D. SAFINA/A. Radwanska
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How did that feel?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, a little bit of slow start, but it was a start. It
was a winning start.
I mean, it's not easy to play against her. She's a top 10 player and she
plays very smart. I had a little bit, I don't know, like miss-timing
until 5-Love, but then I found my rhythm and my game.
I think it was a very solid match for me for the first match of the
Q. How come it took until Love-5 you were down? Was it the back
entirely, or the fact that you haven't played for a long time?
DINARA SAFINA: It was a little bit of everything. First it was first
match of the year. I still -- I mean, you work off-season and still
trying to find your shots, what you're able to do. So I think it was
more just finding my game.
Once it clicked it went all the way. I mean, to win basically nine games
against a top 10 player in a row, it's not easy. But I found the winning
Q. Did you have any problems with your back?
DINARA SAFINA: Oh, thanks God it's fine. I had sad end of the year last
year, but, you know, I had a big rest. I took really good care about it,
and thanks God I can play tennis now.
Q. You wanted to play Brisbane but you weren't ready. Were you worried
at any time you that wouldn't be ready to come to Australia?
DINARA SAFINA: No. I have a very good doctor and I spoke with him. He
told me of course I will be able to play in Australia.
But the question for Brisbane was it was still too early. I started just
middle of December to hit backhand, so I was not able to hit it. It
would be too short for me. Even it's one week difference, but you would
stop the preparation before already.
So I still needed one more week that I could play full and run on the
court, because I could not run on the court for a long time.
Q. Were you able to practice before? Were you able to hit the backhand
DINARA SAFINA: No. No, I was not allowed to hit backhands.
Q. Nothing at all before?
DINARA SAFINA: No, I had only the to play forehands. This was because
this was the shot that didn't you cause me any pain. Because on the
rotation on the backhand, I could not -- like in Doha, every time I
would have to turn I would see the stars.
So I could not move and I could not hit the backhands, so it was all the
day forehands. No serve, nothing.
Q. What exactly what the problem?
DINARA SAFINA: I had a bone edema on L4, L5 -- no, L5, S1.
Q. Are you getting ongoing treatment? What are you doing?
DINARA SAFINA: Now?
Q. Yeah. Are you getting ongoing treatment from a specialist?
DINARA SAFINA: I mean, I have a physio with me who my doctor recommended
to protect my back. At the moment it's under control.
Q. Normally with back problems it's a matter of getting it right and
managing it and making sure it doesn't get bad again. Is that the way it
DINARA SAFINA: No. I had inflammation in the spine, so for me it was not
about having treatments. It was about to have a rest until the edema is
gone. Because I had a very big inflammation. It was about rest, and, of
course, doing lots of exercise to stabilize my spine.
Q. Are you continuing to do those exercises to prevent it happening
DINARA SAFINA: Yeah.
Q. Given all those problems, do you feel you're going into the
Australian Open a little underdone compared to previous years?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, you know, like I came here to play some matches, to
get the rhythm. I think winning my match today helps me. I'm looking
forward for Australia.
I mean, if I was not fit I would not come here. It makes no sense if
you're not top fit to come.
Q. When you said you sort of snapped in at 5-Love down in the first set,
what happened that sort of helped you to click into your rhythm? Was it
one particular shot that suddenly made you feel comfortable or a change
in the mindset?
DINARA SAFINA: I was 5-Love down, but the only problem was I was missing
everything. Everything was flying all over the place.
So once I win a game, I'm like, Okay, let's start like this. So I just
started to play point by point, and finding my shots, finding the
angles, and then it was okay.
Luckily, I won the game at 5-4, because she had a set point. Once it
clicked, it started to be better.
Q. You must be happy the way you kept your composure when you were
struggling so much that first set.
DINARA SAFINA: I mean, it's the first match of the year. You're happy to
be back. If you start to cry in the first game of first match, then what
can happen when it's gonna be the end of the season.
So, I mean, I was Love-5 down, but I was still happy to be on the court.
And I was like, Okay. It was 20 minutes and 5-Love. Okay, at least try
to stay a little bit longer on the court.
Q. How hot do you feel it was out there?
DINARA SAFINA: It was hot. Once you play not really that you feel, but
when I finish the match, I mean, my body was I don't know, a hundred
Q. I guess that's also quite difficult if you haven't spent a lot time
in the heat coming in.
DINARA SAFINA: At least the weather somehow helped me here to go with
the jet lag, because it was not so hot. I think today is the hottest
Q. You've been here a week, haven't you?
DINARA SAFINA: Yes.
Q. How much of the women's draw does having players like Justine Henin
back, how much does it help the competition?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I think it helps to the fans. They come and see
best players in the world. You know, it just brings more excitement to
Q. What about someone like Justine, who doesn't have a ranking or a
seeding and she'll be floating around in the draw, do you think about
things like that at as a top player?
DINARA SAFINA: I mean, I see her the same way when Kim came back. I
didn't see her that she comes back, I see her top 10 player. I see
Justine the same. Still back top 10 player.
Q. In the last 18 months, you made three Grand Slam finals and reached
the No. 1 ranking. What do you think you need to do to take the next
step to win a Grand Slam?
DINARA SAFINA: First of all, to have another chance to get there. Those
three mistakes that I even all the previous finals, you know, not --
just put everything together and not to make them, first of all. Just be
myself and play my game.
I think this is the most important. Just to go out there and play.
That's it. Not thinking about this is the final and winning, losing.
Just this is another match.
Q. What do you think you learned from those matches, particularly in
Australia last year?
DINARA SAFINA: Well, I think for me the most disappointing was in French
Open. I had a very good chance to win, and I took it to -- I wanted so
badly to win, and of course I didn't allow myself to play my best. So
just to take it as another match. Of course when you play you think
final, but somehow to take it a little bit easier.
Q. Do you feel like you've become more comfortable with each time you've
been in that situation?
DINARA SAFINA: I mean, of course, you know, every time you get older you
know the things, how to deal better. So I hope I will make it.
Q. One more question about the Belgian girls. Do you think Kim and
Justine can be a danger for you at the Australian Open?
DINARA SAFINA: Of course. They're top 10 players. You take whoever from
the top 10 is dangerous. Same dangerous as they are.
Q. When you look back rat the Australian Open last year, the final
didn't go the way you wanted it to. Do you have fond memories of the
tournament, or did the disappointment of losing wipe it all away?
DINARA SAFINA: In Australia I never went to the second week, same the
what I did in Wimbledon. I never passed the second week.
So I made the final, and just one step missed. Of course it's positive.
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