Excerpts from All Access: Family Circle Cup 2011

Written By: achangeofends - Apr• 07•11

By now, you’ve probably read about my discussion with Nadia Petrova at the Family Circle Cup All Access Hour. It seems to have become quite popular over the past couple of days. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I got Nadia to open up about her on court fashion choices and it wasn’t pretty, much like the outfits. To be honest, this was certainly the most entertaining conversation I had at the All Access Hour on Monday, but I did have four other conversations. Here are some clips from my All Access experience.

Sam Stosur

Q. You won this tournament last year and then you went on to make the finals at Roland Garros, does that add any pressure this year?

A. Um, no.

Q. Being defending champion?

A. Oh, I mean, sure, obviously that gets said when you are the defending champion. I mean, but it’s one of these things that I think you can look at it and think of it all as pressure all the time and yeah, maybe it’s sometimes easier said than done, but at the end of the day, I’d rather be coming here as defending champion than the loser first round. So it’s, I guess it’s one of these things that you just have to deal with play and all because you won the tournament last year doesn’t mean you’re going to walk into the final again this year. So you’ve got to take every match as it comes and play everyone on its merits.

Q. You said on your website that this is your favorite tournament to play. Is there a reason for that, other than that you won last year?

A. Oh, I enjoyed this tournament even before I won, when I was losing first and second round. Overall all it has to be one of the most player friendly tournaments I think there is on tour, and Eleanor and Bob make it very easy for all of us here. As for Charleston, I really love the city. I mean, if I was going to live somewhere in the States that wasn’t Tampa right now, I’d probably choose here. I really love the city. Everyone’s really nice and it’s always a good week. I came here a week ago. I had nowhere to go after Miami, so I came here. I wouldn’t go to too many tournaments a week before I have to play (laughs).

Jelena Jankovic

Q. Some people were surprised by your choice, for Andrei to be your coach. How did that happen? How did you decide that?

A. I was going through some options. Obviously, you know, when you are looking for new coach there are times when you like somebody then that person doesn’t want to travel. It’s really not easy to find a coach who can really be with you fulltime on the road, who’s going to dedicate all his time to you and really be focused on the work. A lot of them, either they cannot travel or their already under the contract or there’s something, so it’s really difficult. But I think I made a pretty good choice. It’s just the beginning of the relationship, we just started working with each other so it’s pretty new and fresh, so we’re going to see how things are going to work out.

Q. You had a great stretch between winning Indian Wells and then [your performance at] the French Open. Going into that part of the season, clearly Indian Wells already happened, but do you feel any kind of extra pressure, defending points?

A. I don’t really think about defending points. I’m just thinking about gaining some new ones. Not even gaining new ones, I’m thinking about playing my game, my tennis. Like I said, I’ve been working really hard on my game on the practice court and I really want to show that in the matches and really, you know, play my tennis and have fun competing, because I love competing. I miss that a lot because I was injured, I really couldn’t move. I couldn’t really train so I really miss that. For like 6 months of last year, for the second part of the season, I can’t really do it so I was really struggling, you know, really disappointed with myself that I couldn’t do it. There were some times when I really, I felt like I would never be able to play good, you know, be good again. Because, my ankle was really, I have pain, even now I sometimes I have some pains here and there but it’s fine because I can still go out and play so I’m really grateful. Now maybe I appreciate the things a lot more and I try to have fun on the court because when I was younger I was kind of thinking, you sometimes take things for granted. You’re just like, ‘Ok, I was No. 1 in the world, it’s ok.’ Then you get injured and things start going downhill and you’re like, ‘wow, I didn’t appreciate it when I was there.’ I thought it was so easy and it was normal to be up there, but it’s really not. So now, you think in a different way. It’s a learning experience and you’re just learning and you’re getting more mature and more experienced as you’re getting older obviously.

Shahar Peer

Q. Being from Israel, you really don’t have many pro players in the Top 100. Actually, there’s no one but you in the To p 100. Do you find that hard at all on tour, or do you like kind of being the center of attention?

A. Um, I got used to it actually because, I mean when I came up there were a few, two more girls on the tour, but they already retired because they were much older. But, I got used to it and there is one more girl, she’s like 180. (Yawn) Sorry. The wind, you know. I don’t know, it makes me feel…So, I enjoy. I wish there were more Israelis, that would help the tennis in the country, but there is nothing I can do about it.

Q. So when you’re on tour, do you stay mostly with your team or do you have other friends?

A. Yeah, I mean I do have friends but it’s not like going out for dinner, that is more with my team, with my family, with the travel. That’s the part that obviously I would prefer to have somebody from Israel because it would make it easier.

Q. And, you’re not travelling with a coach at the moment?

A. I do. Now I do, yes.

Q. Who’s coaching you?

A. I started, it’s a bit of a trial and I hope it will keep going, with Harold Salomon. Yeah, so he’s here with me this week and we’ll see how it goes.

Q. When did that start?

A. After Miami. I mean, after I lost the tournament there, so it’s like…

Q. Brand new.

A. Yeah. A week.

Q. Alright, so it’s the first tournament you guys are doing.

Q. Your WTA profile says that you love visiting the US. What are some of your favorite places?

A. I like all US, but my favorite I think is New York. I really enjoy that city and I like it a lot.

Q. What are your favorite things to do when you have an off day?

A. Anywhere, you mean?

Q. In New York, let’s say.

A. I mean, obviously I like to go shopping and just go around. All the energy there, I like it, it’s very, I really enjoy that place.

Marion Bartoli

Q. You had such a successful run at Indian Wells, do you ever feel like, when you make the final or you win a tournament, that the next week is kind of a letdown? Like, you have to start all over again.

A. It’s a new start. Definitely every single week is a new start. What is difficult between Indian Wells and Miami is it’s a very short time period you have to get it back together before you start the other one. It’s so different. You have to fly from coast to coast and it’s very humid in Miami. I feel like really the fatigue kind of hits me as, the more I was staying in Miami, the more fatigue I was feeling. For the first few days, you’re kind of on the road from being in the final, a big success. You’re kind of dealing with even the fatigue, but then you start to play the first match and you start to play the second and on the third.

Q. So it’s kind of a delayed reaction? Like you didn’t feel so bad when you got there and then it just hits you one day?

A. Yeah. No that’s, that definitely was tough, but I will learn from it. It’s ok.

For a more cohesive wrap up, check out my article at TennisGrandstand.

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