Even with the loss you played well at the beginning. How do you evaluate your game?
I think we played a high quality match. Belinda likes to play indoors. I like this surface less. But I improve my game on indoor hard courts. I made everything I could. I am satisfied with my game. She is playing great now, she is a top-5 player. She played better than me. My serve today wasn’t good enough. And I didn’t have clear plan how to play at the key points.
Who is in your team now, whom you requested on court during changeovers?
Javier, my coach, who used to work with David Ferrer. I have two coaches, who will switch during this year: one is the Argentinean, another one is the Spaniard. I also have a physio and fitness coach in my team. Sometimes they travel with me.
What are your next plans? Do you have any tournaments with higher priority?
Every tournament is really important. I need to earn more points. I don’t think I will receive a wild card in Dubai. And I won’t play qualification. I’ve got a wild card to Doha and I also will play in Miami. Hope I also will play for the National team.
You had problems with getting an American visa last year. How is the situation now?
I’ve got it for a long period, so it’s ok.
There was information on your social media about psychological project you will take part in. Could you please give us more details?
I’m a co-founder of this project. It’s still in preparatory phase. I will let you know when it will be close to start. It’s the project where people can get psychological support.
How do you like the support of the St. Petersburg crowd and why didn’t you come here every year?
I really liked the support, and when I played here for the first time, and now. As a child, I did not have such positive feelings. They told me that nothing will work out. It was strange to come back and play here again. In the past, I had injuries, somewhere we didn’t come to any agreements, and there were different reasons why I didn’t play.
If we talk about tournaments in St. Petersburg when you were very young, what are your memories?
I had positive moments, I was the first in St. Petersburg when I was 12 years old. It’s so funny to remember it now. I remember when I won the first money here: 230 dollars. I sent part of the money to my grandmother. Negative moments are probably associated with the coaches. I was distracted and they always scolded me. But in St. Petersburg I won a lot, and then I came to Moscow and always lost.
There were no players except you in St. Petersburg who made it to the first hundred in the ranking. Do you have any explanation? Maybe it is because there are no talents or because they didn’t leave like you did?
I do not think there are no talents. We have to completely immerse ourselves into this question, and not to give a superficial answer. It’s really hard to break through. I am talking not only about St. Petersburg, but in general. Look, all the guys who are now at the top positions in the ranking from Russia, everyone has left. The climate is not the same. Again, there are no coaches that would bring the player to a first-class level.
Svetlana, what are your plans after your retirement?
I can’t answer this question; I just don’t want to make any promise. I can’t say that I won’t be coach for sure, because I might become. And I want to share my experience with people. But I also want to develop in other areas, on which I didn’t have enough time while being a player. I want to pursue my psychological project. People need this support.
Have you ever thought about getting specialized psychological education?
If you choose something to do you need to do it properly. There are a lot of people who dedicated all their lives to psychology. They know much more than me in this area. I just want to help people. May be there will be some sponsors, somebody will help, and I will agree.
Do you have a dream to open your own tennis school or academy in St. Petersburg?
My father has such a dream and he tells me about it all the time. He already has Sports Palace and hotel. But still, just imagine, we have this Palace, what’s next? Where will we hire coaches for it? And this is really important. We will see.
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The tournament WTA St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2020 takes place at “SIBUR ARENA” from 10 to 16 February. The tournament is supported by the title sponsor “Gazprom export”.