India's No.1 player Sania Mirza won her second round match against Swiss teenager Timea Bac- Zinsky 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.
Transcript of her interview after her 2nd round match at Australian Open 2008.
Q. You got off to a great start and then the match tightened up. How do you assess the game, from your point of view?
SANIA MIRZA: I think, yeah, I think I was playing very well. In the
first set obviously I wasn't really giving her chances, and I started
off by winning about six points in a row. So obviously, you know, I
wanted to get up there and everything.
In the second set it
was fine till about 4‑All, 40‑30. I was serving and I think I made a
double fault, if I'm not mistaken, or it was a bad miss or something.
And suddenly, we're all quality players, and if you let someone in... I
think I played a couple of bad games, maybe a lapse of concentration or
I think in the third set, she was there. She was in
the match till the end. And I think I was just stronger a bit mentally.
I hung in there very well.
I mean, the third set was fine. I
really can't say. You have tight nerves and all that, so I can't really
say I played a bad third set. Yeah, I could have played a couple of
good games in the middle of the second set, maybe gone up 4‑2, maybe
gone up 5‑3 or something, and things would have been a bit different.
Q. Did she improve a great deal in those second two sets or did you drop off a little?
SANIA MIRZA: I think a bit of both. I did ‑‑ like I said, it was only a
matter of a couple of games where I dropped off, and then I was trying
to get back, but then she had this confidence happening.
‑‑ yeah, she did start playing a lot better. You know, in the beginning
she was missing a lot of tape. I mean, on the backhand is a very hard
shot. She hits it very hard and very flat. And she kept hitting it on
the tape. And then suddenly when she ‑‑ obviously, when you get
confidence, all those tapes start coming in.
I think that's
exactly what happened. And then after that, she was in the match. And I
kind of let her in in a couple of games where I should have tightened
up instead of, you know, maybe gotten a couple more first serves in or
something like that.
Q. Seemed like you were playing a little bit conservative in that third set?
SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, because, I mean, there was no point. It was windy to
start off with, and the wind kept picking up. As the match went on, it
kept getting windier. And it wasn't like it was wind from one side to
another; it was swirling around. It was not easy conditions to play in.
It's not really ‑‑ I know it's my game to just go for it and go
for my shots, but I think at the end of the day that's something I'm
trying to improve on, is to be smarter while playing in these
conditions. When a player you're playing has nothing to lose, you know,
you're expected to win, and she's already come back from 6‑1, won the
set, and up 3‑1, I think it won't be the smartest thing to just hit
your way through it.
And I had to try to work my points. And I
think that's what I did. I played a solid game at 3‑2. I think that's
where everything changed. I came to the net a little bit. I had to take
a chance, hit an inside‑out backhand on the first serve return. I had
to take those chances. But I think on the whole, I played a solid third
set, like, you know, at least from 3‑1. Obviously in the first four
games, she's not really ‑‑ she started serving much better, she started
hitting a lot harder and a lot deeper with my accuracy.
Q. It's a different position for you now the last couple of Slams where
you're going in seeded as a favorite mentally because you're actually
expected to be winning those matches?
SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, of
course. I think it's much harder because when you're the better player
on paper, I think of course you're expected to win by everyone, but
even the other person you're playing, she's just coming in thinking,
Right, I just have to go for my shots. If I get them, I get them.
And here I am playing third set with someone who's 31 in the world, or
if not I think, you know, she's like, Yeah, well, I had a good
tournament. I qualified and made second round.
That's just a
mental way to look at it. But I think it's very good for me right now
to come through matches like this, because I just stayed mentally
tough. And I think winning a 7‑5 in the third against anyone, you have
to be mentally very tough.
So I'm just happy that I came through.
Q. Do you approach the next match in any different way?
SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, I'm just going to go for it. I have nothing to lose.
I'm very excited, actually, to play Venus. I think the last time I
played her was in Stanford a couple years ago, and I haven't played her
since. And obviously I feel like I'm playing well, and I'm playing
better tennis than I was a couple of years ago. And so is she. But, you
know, it's ‑‑ yeah, I'm very excited to play her, and rest up tomorrow.
Q. Venus said she expected you to be very aggressive. She said you're an aggressive type of player.
SANIA MIRZA: Well, it's not a secret anymore. I think everyone knows
that by now, that I like to go for it. And I think she was surprised
that I was not as aggressive. So I think it's a given because ‑‑ yeah,
I've been on the circuit long enough for people to know what's good and
what's not good in my game, relatively.
Q. You must be very encouraged the way you started this season.
SANIA MIRZA: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I lost a couple of very close
three‑setters at the Hopman Cup. I wanted to come through those,
obviously, because I think it's always good to win three‑set matches.
For your confidence mentally and physically, as well, you feel like you
become stronger. But, yeah, I think third round of the first Slam is
not a bad start to the season. I feel good. And I won a couple of
matches last week in Hobart, as well.
Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. I play Fed Cup, get a lot of matches in there next week after here.
Q. This is sort of a long time since you played her. It was 2005. Can
you bring something else to the table now because she's not only
powerful, Venus, but she's fast. Her defensive game is good. The
offense is there.
SANIA MIRZA: She's one of the best
players in the world. I think it's ‑‑ to be honest with you, I think
it's ‑‑ you can't really pick and say, Right, so this is her weakness
and this is what I'm going to attack. In my match today, I would say,
Right, every time I'm under pressure, I'm going to hit to her forehand,
and there's more chance of her missing her forehand than her backhand.
Can't really do that with Venus.
And I think the key for me is
going to try and stay aggressive. Because if I let someone like that,
like Venus, who is a very overpowering person on the court, you know,
let them take charge, then I'm going to have no chance. So I think my
‑‑ my first aim, I mean, I'm not even thinking about the match yet, but
the first thing that I'm thinking about is that I want to try and get a
good start again.
I mean, the first couple of games, not try and
go down 3‑Lve or 4‑Love or 5‑Love; just try and get on the board and
try and get a good start.
Q. Do you have to
establish your forehand against her? Like today, your opponent was
playing your backhand, backhand, backhand, and you were consistent
enough. Against Venus, if you don't have the big weapon, it might be a
little more problematic.
SANIA MIRZA: Of course. Of
course. I'm going to try and have to run around a lot more balls.
Obviously I have to use my forehand a lot more. But, you know, I mean,
everyone has weaknesses. And I'm sure Venus does, too.
let's hope ‑‑ I mean, I haven't played her, like you said, in a couple
of years now. So to be honest, I'm just looking forward to the match.
I'm very excited to play her. She's a great girl. We were just talking
when I went inside.
So, yeah, she's ‑‑ I'm just excited to
play her. Probably play on a big court and in front of a big crowd.
Three years ago when it all started I played Serena and now I'm playing
Venus in the third round, so...
Q. You were
talking the other day about trying to maintain focus because of
everything happening, and you did a decent job last couple days. If you
go out on a big court against Venus, that's pretty critical, too. You
have to put everything behind you?
SANIA MIRZA: I think at
the end of the day when you go out on the court, yeah, it's great to
play ‑‑ if you play on Rod Laver, it's great we're playing in front of
so many people. I think at the end of the day, when you go out on the
court, it's you, the ball and the opponent. You really don't care who
else is sitting, who else is watching.
You have to ‑‑ I mean,
I think that's ‑‑ I think I'm very pleased by winning a match like this
today because of the fact that, you know, because a lot has been
happening in the last couple of weeks off the court. And I just feel ‑‑
I was mentally still strong enough to come through a match like that. I
mean, I was down 3‑1, 30‑All. You know, I could have just said, You
know, I'm just mentally not there. It would have been a good excuse
even for myself. But I didn't want to do that. I wanted to come
through. And I proved to myself that I'm mentally strong enough to do
So I've done it a couple of matches, and hopefully I can continue to do that.