KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: «I REALLY WANT TO DEFEND MY TITLE!»
3 February 2018
– It was a really long and tough match. You lost the first set, but then came back, so what helped you to raise your game in the next two sets?
– Yes, it was a really tough match. That’s the reason why Daria is in the semifinal and it’s no surprise that she beat Caroline Wozniacki in the match before, because she is playing really great tennis. In general I knew that she is very talented, but especially this week: this surface, the environment and she is always fond of playing in front of home crowd. It was a very good match, there was very high level of intensity, quality, also a lot of movements. It was a quite long battle as well. For sure there were some ups and downs in the score, but I was just sticking to my game plan. I really tried to always be aggressive, always tried to fight. I think just a little bit of everything made the difference today. I was maybe fitter today physically. I had less downs than her. Maybe I could keep my intensity almost all the match. Also in my head I think thatI fought a bit more for it at the end of the match than her. I took some risks and it paid off. I’m happy with the win today.
– When the score was 3/2 in the third set it seemed from aside that you were a bit tired. Were you really tired or not? How did you manage to come back like that full of stamina and energy? Did you recharge your batteries somehow, so that you could win?
– I made 5/2 after, so no doubt that I was tired. The answer is in the score after it was 3/2 I made it 5/2, right? So I think that was my answer to the previous question when I was saying what I made the difference in the match. I really put a lot of intensity and I felt that she was a down in terms of intensity. Then there was just one break back 3/2. But that was a very crucial moment, where I actually stepped up physically, mentally and again in intensity. The reason why I was leading 5/2, because there were few important points very long, long games, but it made the difference. I if were down 5/2, then I would be tired I think. But it was not the case. This is when I stepped up and I was stronger, so it helped to win the match. So it’s actually the other way around.
– You have an incredible serve just like Milos Raonic. So is it your usual weapon or you can vary this serve?
– Thanks for saying that you like my serve. Yes, I think I have a great serve, but I’m not completely satisfied with it some days. Like today it was up and down, so I believe I still need to make a lot of improvements with my serve. It needs to be a very strong weapon, but I’m working on it and eventually it will be very good one day.
-What’s more difficult to win the title last year or defend it this year?
– Every tournament every year is different and every tournament is difficult. I can’t compare it. Last year I also had big wins over Mertens, Venus Williams, Vinci, Vikhlyantseva, Putintseva. And this year I’m not going to call the names, but it’s only high-quality players. So you can’t compare, but it’s high quality tennis, I’m just extremely satisfied and happy with myself to be back in the finals, because this is something very difficult to do, especially with only great players in the draw. My tournament isn’t done yet, there is one more match to play. In general it’s the most difficult knowing that the opponent I will face is also in an amazing form. Overall I think it’s exactly the same, it’s very difficult anyway.
– This year Russia is going to host the World Cup. Your brother is a professional football player. Will you follow up the football matches of the World Cup? If yes, who are you going to cheer up, taking into consideration that you are both Serbian and French as you mentioned on the previous press conferences?
– I’m very excited that the World Cup is to begin soon again. And it’s always special, because it’s happening during Wimbledon for us, so we always try to watch the matches once we finish the days. Well, I will support both teams for sure. It’s exciting to me, I have two teams to follow. I really love football and my brother is playing. As long as they don’t play against each other is fine, I’ll follow both and I’ll support both teams wishing them well. In case they play against each other then it’s a tough call for me. But, you know, I’m playing for France in tennis, so I have to say I’ll go a bit more with the French team, but only if they have to play against each other. Otherwise I will wish both of them to do great.
– This weak you play at St. Petersburg’s tournament final, while Timea Babos is playing in the final of Taipei’s City tournament. Did you practice something special in doubles top play so well in singles now – any secret at all?
– Well, there is no secret, really. I think our similarities are that we are both very hard-working girls. We really work hard every day I’m sure as many other girls as well, but it’s long term work. And, for example, when we play doubles, outside the doubles we practice a lot of fitness and a lot of singles as well, so we are not just there for doubles matches. There are many hours in a day and, of course, we get rewarded to get through doubles. For sure to win a Grand Slam title is an amazing feeling, because it’s a huge achievement and it gives you that confidence that, you know, at some point the hard work has to pay off. It’s just amazing, actually, that both of us are in the finals in singles this week in singles. It proves that first of all doubles help, and on the other hand you always have to believe that you will get back rewarded for your work.
– In the final you will play against Petra Kvitova. What can you say about her?
– The final is always a big challenge, a big test. This is a great event, especially at a Premier Series tournament, where the lineup is so strong. We are both in good shape. Everyone knows Petra, how much she can be dangerous on the court, especially indoors. This is a big challenge for me, but tomorrow will be a new day, and there will be an excellent battle.