: When a player is so young when she
wins a Grand Slam title like you were at the US Open 2004 it sometimes takes a
while until you realize what has really happened and you start losing matches.
This year, you are playing much more consistent than in 2005. What are you
doing differently this season?
Svetlana Kuznetsova: Sometimes, you have a good game, but you are in a
period were you don’t have a real idea what you’re doing. That’s what was my
problem in 2005. I still had a good serve, for example. I knew more or less
what I was doing. But when an opponent was getting used to my game, I didn’t
know what to change. I didn’t think about what I would maybe be able to do on
the court. I was maybe to afraid or so. I didn’t have the consistency. This
year it seems to be so much different. Now I know exactly what I’m going to do
in the match and what I could change if my game doesn’t work. And I’m always
fighting, of course. No matter if I’m playing good or bad.
: Can you explain what you’ve changed in
your strategy? In which aspects do you change your game on the court when it’s
Svetlana Kuznetsova: It’s hard to say. But it’s, for example, that I’m not
only hitting the ball. I’m doing angles, I can serve different types. I just
mix it up.
: Not only full speed.
Svetlana Kuznetsova: Yes. And I can come to the net, too. And it’s also
that I have learned that it’s not necessary that you play 100 % every time.
Maybe you want to keep some energy for the future.
: Would you say that the US Open-title in
2004 was a burden for you?
Svetlana Kuznetsova: Somehow yes, because I wasn’t expected to play good
at this time of the year. I played many tournaments in that season, and I
played them good. And then I was just thinking: ‘Well, it’s one Grand Slam
left, I will try to keep it up and see what happens.’ And then I was feeling so
good, I wasn’t missing any ball and won the tournament. But after that, I ran
out of gas, of course. Everyone was expecting a lot from me in the next
tournaments, but I was so tired. I was asking too much and had too much
pressure. I didn’t know how to handle pressure at that age, and maybe I did
some things wrong then. That’s why I had a tough 2005, but then I took a long break at the end of
the year because I had to clear-up thing to myself. Like what I want to do,
where I want to keep practicing. Many people wanted to help me, but I had to
take these decisions for me. I think I took the right decisions, and I’m very
happy about how everything is working now and I’m very excited about being on
the court. I think I have a great life and I can’t wish for a better.
: Did you ever think about leaving the
Academia Sánchez-Casal in Barcelona?
Svetlana Kuznetsova: No, never. I’ve been there all the time since I’m 13/14 years
old. I’m there between the tournaments and whenever I prepare myself for the
next ones because I feel it’s the best for me. It’s my base. I try to go to
Russia when possible, but I feel much more comfortable to go back to practice
in Spain. I mean, I have to prepare well, I cannot say: ‘O.k., this week I go
to Russia.’ I want to play my best at every tournament, and I want to go prepared best to every tournament.
: Who decided that you travel with one
and same coach – Stefan Ortega – now?
Svetlana Kuznetsova: I had already worked with Stefan for about a year
before, and then in 2004 I started to switch between 3, 4 coaches from the
academy: Emilio Sánchez, Sergio Casal, Ángel Himénez – who is working with
Daniela Hantuchova now, by the way – and Antonio Hernández – the ex-coach of
Arantxa. That’s one of the important decisions I was talking about earlier: I
went to Emilio and said that I wanted to travel with only one coach, which is
Stefan, because he understands me totally, I feel very comfortable with him and
I’m happy with his job.
: Are you still in contact with Arantxa
Svetlana Kuznetsova: Yes, of course, although we don’t talk that much
anymore because we both have our lives. But I know that when I need any help, I
can ask her. Arantxa is the director at a small tournament in Spain now, and
she asked me to play there next year, after Roland Garros. I might have done
it, although it would have been difficult because I must prepare for Wimbledon
at that time. But my WTA commitment group, the Gold group, isn’t allowed to
play low tournaments.
: What are you thinking about the tests
that have been made at the last tournaments, that coaching is allowed, for
Svetlana Kuznetsova: I used it in Montréal, some people like it, some
don’t. It’s right that we have to try new things in tennis, but I feel pretty
comfortable without coaching. I like to play on my own, because it depends on
me – although I have a good coach to help me out, of course (smiles). A new
thing I really like is the Hawk Eye.
: Let’s talk about the Year End
Championships (YEC) in Madrid. Does it feel special for you that the tournament
is held in Spain, although it’s not Barcelona?
Svetlana Kuznetsova: Well, I’m happy with Madrid. I don’t support this
competition between Madrid and Barcelona. I’m especially very happy that it’s
not in L.A., because it would have been so much travelling. I feel comfortable
everywhere in Spain, because I speak Spanish. Yes, I’m looking forward to play
: Has it been some extra motivation for
you to reach the YEC because it’s in Spain this time?
Svetlana Kuznetsova: Yes, I think so. At home in Russia it would be too
much pressure, but in Spain, it’s very good.
: What do you think about it that they
will have those model ball”boys” there?
Svetlana Kuznetsova: Well, it’s something different. It can be
interesting. But I’m not sure that they can really be that fast and
professional as they are models (laughs). I hope they’re not going to walk, but
: Thank you very much for the interview
and good luck.
Svetlana Kuznetsova: You’re welcome and thank you, too.