Interview with Sania Mirza
Q. When you're not really controlling the ball like you want to, the balls are going out in a big match, does that bother you? What's going through your mind at those times?
I think, first of all, we need to... hold on one second. Sorry about that. First of all, I think we need to start thinking that every tennis player is human and we all make errors in every match that I play. I don't know what you mean by not controlling the ball when you want to, I guess we all make errors, forced or unforced. It does irritate you sometimes, yeah, but that's the way tennis goes. You can't hit every ball perfectly.
Q. Being a bit more positive, are you very happy to be as far as you are in another Grand Slam?
Yeah. Obviously. I mean, every round of a Grand Slam is very important, especially fourth round at the US Open. I'm, you know I just came here thinking I wanted to win one round and won three. I'm very happy about it.
Q. How far do you think you can go?
I don't want to think anything because I just want to, you know, have fun out there. I have a big match against I don't know who yet, but I'm looking forward to it.
Q. 45 winners to only 4 from Bartoli which is a pretty good statistic. That's what they're saying?
I don't know about that.
Q. She's a hard hitter. Did you feel you were dictating most of the match?
I did play much better than I have in the past two matches, and I still feel that I could have done a bit better, you know, I probably could have finished the first set a bit earlier than I did. But, I mean, you know, she's a very different kind of player. You have to think. She makes you think what you have to do. She hits the ball pretty cleanly. But you have to play smart tennis out there. I think I, uhm, I don't know about the winner count, though, but I did hit quite a lot of winners. I'm happy about the way I played.
Q. Was this last match good practice for your next round, like Sharapova?
I think we still have to wait if Sharapova is winning or not. Every match that you play out there is a good preparation. I've played a lot of sets already. Yeah, she was, it was good practice for me. I'm not sure when I'm going to play my next round, but I'm hitting the ball much better than I have been..
Q. Are you surprised with how fast you climbed the rankings in the past year?
It was quite fast. I'm not sure if I was surprised. But, you know, I don't know. It just kept you know, I was just enjoying the moment, I guess. It just kept happening. I never surprise myself. I always believed I could do it. It was just a question of when I could do it, and I guess it was sooner rather than later.
Q. What were the reasons for your sudden breakthrough?
I don't know. I think I've just, you know, some training, I think I worked on a few weaknesses that I thought I had. Especially my fitness, you know, I've been injured. I was injured for about almost three months this year. Apart from that I think I've had a great year. It's just that I guess I'm just playing like the best tennis I ever have.
Q. If you play Maria, it might be on Ashe stadium, probably at night. Will it be the biggest match of your career?
I don't know. It will be one of the biggest matches of my career. You know, I think I played Wimbledon Centre Court. It's definitely going to be one of the biggest matches in my career, but hopefully I'll have the crowd there again. I mean, it's great. It's the biggest stadium in, you know, in all the Grand Slams, so I'm actually very excited.
Q. How much of a test will it be for you mentally trying to keep your nerves and being able to play your game without letting the occasion overwhelm you?
Just give me time. Let this sink in, come on. Don't hurry up (smiling). I don't know. I mean, you know, I really I am not even thinking about it right now. I just want to enjoy this moment right now. Then when I'm gonna go out there, I don't think I'll be you know, I don't think I'll be intimidated but, you know, it's obviously a very big match for me. So let's see.
Q. Have you met Sharapova at all?
No, not at all. I've seen her around since the Juniors and, you know, here. But only three, four years, but I never played her or met her.
Q. How do you feel your game matches up with hers?
I don't know (laughing). I think we both hit the ball pretty hard, so that's one similarity I see. The others, I think we should wait and watch.
Q. Do you analyze your rivals before playing them?
I think everyone does. You kind of have to have a game plan before you go on court, whether you played them or not, doesn't matter. So you just have to, you know, do it's just the question of how you execute it when you go out there. We all have game plans when we go out. I had a game plan today and it worked so...
Q. What was going through your mind when you finished the match? You're in the fourth round of the US Open, and an Indian hasn't been there.
That's not what I think every time I step on court, that an Indian never did this, an Indian never did that. I'm just there because I just want to be there. I'm happy, I'm starting something. I'm not thinking who did it or who's gonna do it. Nothing. What was I thinking? I was actually absolutely blank. I was just enjoying the moment. I loved playing out there, loved playing for the people. They all seemed pretty happy by the performance, so I just loved being out there.
Q. Are you impressed that Sharapova was able to win Wimbledon by 17 and get to the No. 1 ranking by 18?
I mean, obviously, I think the whole world is impressed. 17 to win Wimbledon, it's absolutely great. She's been she's obviously a very, very good player. You know, it's great to come out. She had a history, she came from Russia, stuff like that. So it's really good.
Q. Can you just talk a little bit about yourself, about your growth curve and getting to where you want to. You're a little older than she is, but you obviously grew up under different circumstances?
Yeah, I mean, you know, when you come out from a country like India or one of those countries, it's obviously much tougher for you because I guess now, if there are people starting tennis now, it's easier because the facilities are improving. But at that time, I mean, I played in clay courts where it was almost, you know there were almost craters on the court. I twisted my ankle about a dozen times a day. So the first time I got coaching outside India was last year, and, I mean, whatever I did to last year was playing in India, so I don't think it would be that bad. But, you know, it's obviously I just started going for swimming and just started playing tennis just for the fun. I never thought it would be this professional. But after a certain point, yes, we did.
Q. People are curious about your Tshirt. Why didn't you wear the ones with the sayings on them? It's hard to tell what today's says. Can you tell us?
(Laughing). I think I've said this enough, a number of times, but oh, my God, this is the last time I'm going to wear a Tshirt in a press conference that says something. It's no big deal. I'm 18 years old. Give me a break. I'm just trying to have some fun here. I'm bored of the stripes or checks or the lines. It's nothing. I always say if I have to make a statement or say something, I can speak, I don't have to wear it. I can always tell people what I want to.
Q. Is Sharapova secretly someone you want to measure yourself against?
Secretly? No, never. I mean, she's obviously the younger one out there who's world No. 1, so I still have nothing to lose if I'm going to play her. There's obviously no pressure on me. I don't think a lot of people expect me to win. So I never really wanted to play her, but, I mean, she's one of the players I haven't played on the circuit ever, so that will be interesting.
Q. You made such a quick rise this past year. Do you remember the last time you walked on court and you were intimidated by your opponent?
I think when I played Serena in Australia I was a bit nervous, to be honest. Actually, that was the beginning of everything to happen. I played, you know it was just that I woke up and I couldn't sleep the night before because I was going to play her.
I guess once you're on the circuit all the time, you kind of get used to seeing them around and playing against them. So I don't think a lot of people intimidate me now.
Q. Will you be able to draw on this experience for this match against Maria?
Yeah, I've played on big stadiums before. I've played in front of big crowds. So, you know, all that just counts and all that experience that you get from playing in those matches and, you know, playing on all those big courts, it just pays off, like hopefully it will in a couple of days.
Q. Can you tell us, how big of a thrill was it for you to win a title in your home town?
Winning a WTA is great, and I guess winning it at home was just the icing on the cake for me. You know, just in front of my family, friends, in front of all the fans, in front of my country, it was actually my hometown. So it was just amazing. I think there was a lot of pressure, even though I was you know, I was the last one to get in the main draw, but there was a lot of pressure. People didn't expect me to lose. I'm just glad I stood up to their expectations.
Q. Have you met Sachin Tend Ulkar?
Yes, he actually gifted me a car.
Q. A car?
Yeah, after I won the junior Wimbledon doubles.
Q. His nickname is Little Master?