Anastasia, how do you like the tournament, can you say anything about it already? Have you probably already tried out the court?
Yes, of course, because I have to play tomorrow. I tried the court for the first time last night, I played on center court. I’ve been waiting long enough to play, because after all, it’s different from year to year. But, in general, it’s not my first year here – I know what to expect from the courts. And the tournament itself is very good, the organization is always at the highest level, it’s always nice to come back here, so I’m looking forward to the start.
Maybe you have already managed to watch some matches here this year? The occupancy rate of the arena is 50% and yesterday there were spectators, you could have felt the support.
Well, I haven’t been in the stands yet – I’ve only watched it on TV. Honestly, while watching matches on TV it is very difficult to get a feel for the atmosphere, but it’s still nice to hear the reaction of the audience. I want as many spectators, fans, and as much support as possible. It’s always much nicer to play like that.
Do you like it better when people cheer for you? Or do you prefer to play against the crowd like Daniil (Medvedev)?
I don’t even know. It depends on the situation, on the mood, on the score. It happens that sometimes I need to shake myself up, make myself angry. And then I hit myself, and I need a shot in the arm. So, it depends.
How was the recovery from the coronavirus going, can we say that you are already in optimal shape?
Still getting on top of it, getting on top… But, unfortunately the disease is taking its toll. I somehow underestimated it, I guess. But I try not to think about it and approach the process as positively as possible. It’s a process. Besides, it’s the beginning of the year, it’s such a working moment, so I try not to focus too much on it. Thanks God at least I feel physically better already. This is the most important thing. So I’m still trying to gain momentum.
Do you keep an eye on the performances of our Olympians in Beijing? And do you think the spectators will come at least to the finals of this tennis tournament?
I was hoping here that they would come to watch the first round, and you’re talking about the final! Well, of course they will come to the final, I think. How not to come to the final?! Then why come at all?! But I hope that there will be a lot of spectators and fans from the very first round. And of course I’m following the Olympics. Although, how to say, I’m watching… When I have the opportunity, I watch some sports – what they show and something online, via Instagram. Again, I repeat, I like snowboarding. And I also saw today that our figure skaters won gold in the team competition. In general, I try to follow the events at the Olympics as much as possible.
You recently said that if you had achieved earlier the results you achieved last season, then you probably would not have played and would have ended your career. What supported you morally all these years and helped to preserve this fire, this spark – both then and now?
Because there is always a feeling of dissatisfaction, a feeling that there is always not enough of something, I want more and more. And, of course, for a tennis player, I think the most important thing is a Grand Slam, an Olympic medal. That’s why I’ve been going for it all this time. At some point, I already lost my faith somewhere. You think: well, probably it will never come true… I want to make the most out of my career and I want to win everything as much as possible, if there is an opportunity. And somehow that’s what drives me, probably. It’s a feeling that you want more. And why not, why not try?