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Monday June 20 , 2011


Li Na's interview before the start of Wimbledon 2011

By LadyDragon

LONDON.--( You must be very confident, even though it's a different surface from Paris coming into Wimbledon. Two slams this year, and you've been in both finals.

NA LI: Of course confident, but different surface. So it's another - how you say - just another tournament because Paris is over.

Now I just focused on the Wimbledon, yeah.

Q. Have you had time to reflect about being a Grand Slam champion? Do you feel different? After two weeks, what has gone through your mind about that?

NA LI: No, just the next day wake up. I was asking my husband it's real or fake, you know, because I still didn't believe. But after I take three days off and then try to come back to the tennis court again.

I mean, I just win a tournament, so now I would like to do the same like before: just focus every tournament, try the best at tennis, yeah.

Q. When we saw you at the end of the French you said you hadn't talked to your mother. Did she end up watching it? What did she have to say to you?

NA LI: No, after match she just send me the text message. She ask when I was back. I say, After Wimbledon, and then she never send me back again, so... (Laughter.)

Q. So did she watch?

NA LI: I think she know I win the tournament. I don't know if even she know how big tournament is. I didn't ask her.

Q. You have not been back to China?

NA LI: No.

Q. Do you have an idea of the reaction back in China? Quite a few people watched you apparently. Are you aware of any reaction in China to your success?

NA LI: After Paris I stay in Europe. I know if I back to China people will be crazy. So, you know, now is Wimbledon. I mean, if I didn't do well maybe they forget me already, so...

So I think need to take the time, and then, yeah.

Q. Do you feel more pressure coming into this Wimbledon than in the past because you're now coming having won the French Open, having been in the two Grand Slam finals this year?

NA LI: No. I mean, of course was a little bit pressure, but I like it. That can improve you a lot. Yeah, I mean, you win the French Open, doesn't mean anything you can do well in Wimbledon. Change of surface. Totally different.

So what I say before: French is over. So I don't think about what I'm doing. I thinking about what I should have to do, yeah.

Q. Did you do anything special to celebrate, buy yourself a special present?

NA LI: Yeah, after final I just have dinner with the China consulate in Paris and. Next day I was fly to Munich. Nothing special. You know, just sleep, eat, totally rest.

Q. No special present or anything?

NA LI: Not yet.

Q. Do you know what you want?

NA LI: I'll think about, you know, if I do well in Wimbledon so I can ask my husband, yeah.

Q. How about a diamond ring?

NA LI: I think diamond ring only I can get one time, right? (Laughter.)

Q. On Tuesday you have this match against Alla. Tell us what you think of her as a player? You played her in Beijing. What is she like?

NA LI: What is she like?

Q. What is she like to play against?

NA LI: No, is totally different. I play her Beijing, is hard court. So in grass court everything can happen. Of course, now opponents see you different.

I'm sure is tough match. But, yeah, I wish I can win the match.

Q. What are the tricky elements of her? What makes her difficult to play?

NA LI: I mean, I don't even think about what the opponent play looks like. I just needs focus on my tennis on the court.

Q. You reached the quarterfinals here last year. Clearly you're quite good at playing on grass as well. Do you expect to do better this year than the quarterfinals?

NA LI: I mean, of course. I always like to do better than last year. But, you know, I mean, every player's tough. Of course I have a lot of tough match.

But right now I just think about round by round. I'm not think about far away, yeah.

Q. You've played a few Wimbledons now. Can I ask you what are your impressions of London, this country, whether you have a special routine you go through, how much you've seen of London and the surrounding area?

NA LI: I didn't want to say that, but I was see London like zero, you know. I mean, I know you always traveling all over the world, but always like tennis court, hotel, airport.

We are players, so we have to focus on tournament, of course. You know, after tournament, just go back to home or prepare for next tournament.

Until now I didn't even see London, so I hope I can have time to see this year.

Q. Anywhere you particularly want to see?

NA LI: The matches start Monday, so I don't want to think about what I should see. I have to think about what I should play on the court.

Q. Even though you are focusing on this tournament, how important is it for you to realize that back home people are inspired by your victory, they talk about the sport being rejuvenated in China?

NA LI: So, yeah, I mean, right now I couldn't imagine if I go back what happen. It's tough to say. I can answer after I'm back to London.

Q. What would it mean to you in 10 years' time if there were 10 Chinese women in the top 30 and people say it began with Li Na, she opened the door to Chinese tennis?

NA LI: I mean, I don't think it's mean for China, but for me it just like dream come true. I think was a little bit improve tennis in China, because right now I think more children, they saw match. They think about, Okay, maybe someday I can do the same or even better than her.

I think now the children have more confident to play professional tennis.

Q. Does your modesty forbid you from saying that you can win Wimbledon?

NA LI: I can't or I can?

Q. That you can.

NA LI: I wish I can also.

Q. You've been through this before because you've been a Wimbledon junior champion - actually you still are. Did that change the whole idea of tennis in China, or do you think your last victory is actually even more important?

NA LI: I mean, tennis in China last so many years, of course now I think now is change little bit. I think tennis now in China got bigger and bigger, yeah. But I don't know how much improve. For sure, improve a little bit.

Q. What is the biggest difference about your feeling about tennis and about your game as a result of winning the French Open?

NA LI: Experience. I mean, it's not only one thing can say was total different. I mean, I was come to tour many years, so, you know, just keep the experience and try to never give up.

Q. On that subject, you are 28, 29 now.

NA LI: Yes, 29.

Q. You look 21.

NA LI: Thank you. (Laughter.)

Q. Why do you think now you have become so good? Obviously in the ladies' game they're 21, 22, 23. What is it that made you a champion at the age of 29, do you think?

NA LI: I think Asia player is different than Western. Also you can see right now in the top player, like maybe not like before always like young player come to the top. I think now even more physical and also strong in the mind and also more experience. So everything have to be together.

But I think for the young player, I mean, they're not so strong like not say us, yeah.




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