4 February 2018

– How important is this title for your comeback?

Vera Zvonareva: It’s very exciting and pleasing to play here in Russia. The fact that I won this title is very pleasing. I gained confidence, because I didn’t have matches against high-level players for a long time. It was a good experience. I understood what things I have to work on and what I’m good at. It’s very pleasing that I had so many matches and that I won my title at home.

Timea Bacsinszky: This victory is super important! It’s a great joy. Maybe I can’t still believe it, to be honest, because 6 months ago the specialists said that I won’t be able to play tennis. Then I had the surgery and now I can play tennis again. It feels great especially to win the title. It gives me a lot of energy for the rest of the season. Energy for competing in doubles and in singles. I remain single player even when I won more doubles titles than single titles. Anyway it is the joy being on the court, competing again. It is something that is priceless for me. Thank you again, Vera.

– Vera, today you made your comeback in doubles. How is it easier to recover in doubles than in singles?

VZ: It is my first title in doubles for a long time. I played probably 7 tournaments in singles. In St. Petersburg I didn’t reckon on performing in doubles after the long break. Timea and I saw each other here and we decided to send a request for the tournament to play more matches. It’s amazing that we could beat so many high-level players. Title in doubles will gain me confidence for playing in singles. I don’t really know if I continue performing in doubles because it is difficult to play both doubles and singles. If I have the opportunity and no health problem I will probably play doubles.

– How this title in doubles will change your plans in singles?

VZ: Probably it won’t change my plans and schedule. There some difficulties with my schedule, because I don’t have the high ranking now so I have to wait WC only or play ITF tournaments. My priority now is singles. I have to focus on it. I’m sure that Timea’s priority is also singles, she will be focused on it.

TB: Doubles always help singles, it is an extra practice. Playing matches is very important to be in a good physical shape but for me now, unfortunately, making good physical shape it is a slow process. I need to strengthen my muscles. I’m planning to perform both doubles and singles. Fed Cup match is going next week. Martina Hingis, tennis legend, isn’t the part of national team, so I think that it will be useful for the team to have experienced double tennis player.

– The tennis player who just returned after serious injury will perform in today’s final [Petra Kvitova]. Who are you going to cheer for?

VZ: May the best win. I admire when athletes after terrible injury return on court. It deserves respect. I have no preferences. I just want girls to play great tennis and fans that came to see and make them satisfied.

TB: Let the best player win. I have neutral attitude about it. I’m from Switzerland so it is a good because there is no Swiss in the final.

– You were at the awarding ceremony with your daughter. How much does she realize the significance of the moment? And how did you manage to combine the responsibilities of being a mother and the participant of the tournament?

VZ: The father took care of “mother’s” duties for the whole week. They came here only yesterday, because my husband has days-off now. I don’t think my daughter realizes it now. But in fact my daughter has excellent two days, because she isn’t forced to go to sleep during the daytime. There are so many new, beautiful things here and she is allowed to touch everything, so that makes her very happy. Also she can run a lot here. Lately, if my daughter sees someone playing tennis or just a tennis ball, she yells out loud: “Mom!”. So there’s an association with me and it means she understands something already.

– How tough was it to return after rehabilitation (post-discharge adjustment)? How difficult was it to stay positive during this period? Rumors talked, you even managed film in the Swiss band video. How did you like that experience?

TB: Well, you never actually get so much time to be at home when you are a tennis player. It was forced 6 months for me. It was very long. At the beginning I was like: “well, it’s nice to be at home”, but then I was “Pooh, I might never play again”. I have to work every day on my hands. It’s hard especially when it’s my working tool. I though what if I don’t have the same feelings as before… so it was really tough. It was probably all about a lot of dedication. I was taking a car every week to Milan from Switzerland, it’s not so far, it’s 4-5 hours of driving. So a long driving there, then one time a week going to a physio and going back the same day. And this was during 10 weeks. Working, massaging all the time. I think you are doing it all the time just to recover 1 mm of flexibility. But you know if you love your job so much you would do anything to get back to where you were. I used to be injured before – I had a foot surgery. I was injured as well at the end of 2015, I broke ligament of my left knee. So I know how it is to come back from this kind of things. So I was really positive on that. I know I’m a «tough cookie», I know that I’m really determined and I worked really hard to come back. It was my strong motivation every day. Well, and I got engaged as well with my fiancée, so it was something that happened as well, which was really unexpected and I’m really lucky to have him by my side. I think it made these 6 months easier with his support and also the support of my family. I felt supported and loved during this time. I had many private small things happen to me, which was really cool. Within these 6 months I had time to enjoy those things as much as I did.

As for this video. It was fun and good experience. I’m always happy to discover something new. It wasn’t really level of Rihanna or something like that, it was just a Swiss band, but it was very fun. It’s life besides tennis and I tried to enjoy it as much as I’m enjoying being on the tennis court.

– Did you plan in advance to take your daughter with you to the court? Or was it spontaneous decision?

VZ: It was spontaneous. At this time she was just awakened up and brought to the court. And when I won, I decided to take her with me, because I missed her very much.


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