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Vesnina: the Kremlin Cup would be the icing on the cake
For the Olympic champion Elena Vesnina VTB Kremlin Cup will be the first tournament on Russian soil after an incredible triumph in Rio de Janeiro. She told in an interview to the Championship about the state in which the 19th racket of the world approached the competition and what plans she has for the rest of the season.
- Elena, in what mood did you come to Moscow?
- With the very best. It is very pleasant to be at home, to prepare for the Kremlin Cup home tournament. There are always special feelings here. Of course, it is very difficult for many Russian tennis players to play here, because the increased public attention is added. When you appear in Moscow, a bunch of problems are immediately superimposed, again the notorious traffic jams interfere, some postponed cases emerge abruptly - everything usually accumulates just for the week of the Kremlin Cup. Therefore, the preparation here is very hectic, but the courts are already ready, so we are training, preparing.
And I hope to play well.
- You had a bad Asian series of tournaments before that ... What is the reason?
- I got sick a week before my trip to Asia. More precisely, I took off from Wuhan, flew to Beijing - there I got sick again - my throat, I felt very bad, weakness. To be honest, there was no strength at all. I had to force myself to work and train, because it was emotionally in this Asian series that I felt completely devastated. Of course, now is the end of the season, there is not much energy left, I played a huge number of matches. A lot of emotions were spent. And now at home, in Moscow, I want to somehow additionally motivate myself, because there is the last breakthrough, the last three tournaments. And then there will be a well-deserved vacation (smiles) .
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Sensational Wimbledon semi-finalist Elena Vesnina - about her success, the importance of doubles and the expectations of the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
- We talked with you in July before you leave for America. How difficult emotionally was this period for you?
- Yes, this period was very difficult. First we played in Montreal, won a tournament there with Katya [Makarova]. Then we had a crazy trip to Rio. We got there with difficulty, but then there was a great week in Brazil - the most memorable week of our lives. After that, we immediately went to America, we had a tournament in New Haven, where we played a few matches alone, then there was the US Open semi-final in pairs, and I still had the third round of singles. By the way, this year it was very hot in New York, and these difficult weather conditions were sucking out additional strength from us, already, one might say, nothing at that moment (laughs) . I really want to have a little rest, because I feel a state of exhaustion.
- You thoroughly prepared for the Olympics and did your best there. Can you convey your feelings in Rio when onwas this long-awaited moment of victory?
- Looking now at the photos after the final, Katya and I cannot believe that we were jumping there like a kangaroo - such was a great joy. To be honest, I don't remember anything, just at that moment there was a feeling of some incredible happiness. I wanted to hug the whole world, as if all emotions burst out, because all that week we were very concentrated with Katya - we knew why we had come there, we knew that it would be very difficult. There were a lot of factors that, let's say, did not help this victory, but we were still so concentrated and collected that, apparently, after the final matchball we simply burst out.
- I would like to clarify one detail. It is clear that the main goal for you was to perform in pairs and, which is very important, you achieved this goal. Nevertheless, you were still announced for the mixed. What didn't work out there in the end?
- Theoretically, we could play with someone, but by the time the mixed started, all the boys had already flown away from there. And Kuznetsov, and Donskoy, and Gabashvili, and the coach of the team Igor Kunitsyn.
As soon as they lost, they all got up on the same day and left. And the next day, it turned out that Rafa had withdrawn, and a vacancy appeared in the grid.
- This year you successfully completed the single grids of the Grand Slam tournaments. Everywhere there were several stages, and at Wimbledon they showed a crazy result - the semifinals. How did you manage to find this secret of performing at major competitions?
- I will honestly tell you: 50% of success on Grand Slam is the net. It is so indeed. You can be well seeded and in great shape, but you will end up, like Katya Makarova, on Serena Williams in the first round of the US Open, and that's all. It is very important to roll into the tournament on Grand Slam, because everyone is doing their best at 100%, everyone has some crazy motivation. Anything can happen - you can hit an injured player or someone who is not in very good shape at that moment. And you can get on the one who just plays phenomenally that day. I lost last year in the first round of Wimbledon to Jankovic - 8:10 in the third set, a year before that I lost [in the second round] to Strytsova, who then even reached the quarterfinals. That is, I want to say that even if I had some not very successful results on the Grand Slam, I rarely lost to such an opponent who could be called a passing one. Last year, I was very unlucky in the grids: even when I played well, my opponent played even better. It was very important at that moment not to break down, because you understand that you are playing, training, but still the result is not obtained. And, of course, Wimbledon 2016 turned out to be both magical and well-deserved, because before that I had several fourth rounds of the Grand Slam, there were also third rounds, and there were victories over dozens of players. But it was not possible to reach exactly tThis high stage is the semi-final. And at Wimbledon finally everything worked out, plus I really like the coverage - on the grass I have always had good results. There should be a lot of factors - and your good shape, and your psychological state, and your grid. After all, I was at Wimbledon unseasoned and could easily hit anyone in the first circle. And I got a girl from qualification - Pazhek. This is also not a weak grid, but it gives you a chance to enter the tournament and believe in yourself. Plus, before that I played a tournament on the grass in Eastbourne, I already had several victories.
- When you returned home as an Olympic champion, you felt increased attention. How did you manage to cope with the glory that has befallen you?
- Of course, it took a lot of effort. People were happy, congratulated, thanked, and, naturally, it was very pleasant. At the Sochi airport I was met by 400 people - I did not expect this at all. There were many meetings, interviews - TV, press. Of course, this takes a lot of effort. And I can honestly tell you that during that week I gave more than I gave all the time. Maybe because of this, my immunity was sharply weakened, I even had thoughts of skipping the Asian series altogether, because I flew to Beijing with a temperature and could not do anything about it, because it rose on the day of departure. There was a hope that in China I would come to my senses, but in Asia this is just impossible - there is dirty air, the ecology is terrible, and there I began to feel even worse. As I said, there is little strength left now, the body is at its limit, so you try to save yourself somehow,
rest a little more, sleep a little more.
Vesnina: there will be victories - there will be a rating
Elena Vesnina - about taking off in the rating, playing in qualifying, the status of a veteran of the Russian national team and how to beat Victoria Azarenka.
- What would you like to show at the current tournament? What is your goal?
- I would like to win the Kremlin Cup. This is a wonderful tournament, these are the traditions of our Russian tennis, all our great tennis players began with it, and I always wanted to perform here as best as possible. It would be very difficult to win, of course, but you must always set the highest goals for yourself, not be afraid and try to go towards this victory. It would be like a cherry on the cake if you win this tournament (smiles) . True, then there will be Singapore and Zhuhai.