Elena Vesnina: “I badly want to reach the Top10!”

>Elena Vesnina: “I badly want to reach the Top10!”
2 February 2017

Q: How did you manage to turn the tide? And what was wrong in the first set?

Е.V: In the first set I was trying to play really aggressive, close to the lines and was a little bit in a hurry. Playing against Alize you should be very patient and be ready for long rallies. In the first set I was making the wrong decisions during the rallies, I was trying to hit hard from the very first ball and I was playing too risky a game while it would have been much wiser to simply return the ball to the opponent. After I lost the first set I required to see my coach Andrey Chesnokov and he told me right away I should change my spin and stop targeting the lines, be more patient and add variety to my serve. I wasn’t really happy with my serve as I didn’t manage to win a game in the first set. It is not typical of me. I was a little bit surprised. But I kept on fighting and I changed my tactics and Alize wasn’t ready for that. Towards the end I felt better the angles and made her run from corner to corner, and the match went my way… I’m glad I could win in the end.

Q: Your previous match against Alize Cornet was a thriller. How can you describe this one?

Е.V: Yeah, the last time we played (in Brisbane) was definitely a thriller. This time around we spent less than three hours on court. Today’s match lasted 2 hours. We always play tough matches with her, I can’t remember we ever played in straight sets. Every time we have a fight, a see-saw match. I’m happy I managed to win. In Brisbane I was up in the set 4/1, 0:30 on her serve and she saved the match and won 7/6 in the third set. Today when the score was 5/1, and I was serving for the match she showed her character, she played well in a couple of rallies and was pretty close to turn the tide. If I hadn’t served well three times in a row who knows what result might have been. Maybe the same as in Brisbane.

Q: You are in top-20, are you following your ranking?

Е.V: Honestly, over the course of all these years I play on the tour, I am always asked about my ranking points but I never know, I don’t know even how many points I got in Australia. And I have no idea. Everything is changing, in some place you score 100 points, in some other places 140. I never follow my ranking. I know I am #16 in the world and I have a goal to reach – to crack the Top10. I badly want it, but I understand these 6 steps which separate me from the Top10 are going to be hard to climb. It’s gonna be the toughest steps in my career. Now I’d like to show high-quality tennis. If everything goes well and I really earn it, I will attain this goal and get into Top10.

Q: Your next opponent is the winner of the match Dominika Cibulkova v. Donna Vekic , who would you prefer to play?

Е. V: No one. They are both good opponents. With Donna we haven’t been playing for several years. She is young and talented, she showed some good results at the beginning of her career. I was a little bit surprise about her low ranking because she plays well and has a high potential. Dominika Cibulkova had a great season she is in tennis elite Top5, she is a tough opponent, for sure. I am going to prepare before the match to come up with the right strategy and I will watch their match.

Q: Now you are a seeded player at most tournaments, do you feel any advantages because of that?

Е.V: It depends. Sometimes to be seeded is not really so good, for example, the top 4 seeds get a bye and start playing from clean slate against the opponent who has already played a match and got used to everything. And I should prepare before the match well as everyone know I am a Top20 player right now and they know I have had some good results. They all want to beat me. Obviously, I do the same when I play against someone who is Top5 or Top10. You need some extra mental power for such matches. You should stay focused and be ready to fight.

Q: Are you surprised that Venus William is out?

Е.V: As I have just said, she had a bye and she missed the R1 as a top seed. And her first match was against a tough opponent – Kristina Mladenovic. She is a young, talented players and it’s not her first top-10 or top-20 win. That is why she is not easy to play in R2. I am a little bit surprised that Kristina won in straight sets, but I suppose Venus just didn’t manage to recover after the Australian Open. She spent two unbelievable weeks there. It was a titanic body burden. Throw in the flight from Australia and the acclimatization. She deserves respect for coming here and playing in the tournament.

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