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Alisa Kleybanova Quarterfinals Press Conference

Indian Wells, CA, USA

March 18, 2010

J. JANKOVIC/A. Kleybanova
 
6-4, 6-4
 
An interview with:
 
ALISA KLEYBANOVA
 
THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

 Q.  Tournament's over, but it's been a great run.  What have you taking from this experience to get into the quarterfinals?
 ALISA KLEYBANOVA:  Well, you know, I'm really happy that I got so far this week.  It's been really a long, tough matches for me.  I think the most important is that I've been really fighting a lot, and I played some good matches here.  It's always experience.
 The more you stay out there playing matches, competing, you definitely get more experience, more confidence.  So I think to have so many matches already during of the beginning of the year, it's very good.
 If I can keep up like that, you know, without injuries, and if I can keep up with this tennis, with this attitude, with this, you know, like fighting spirit, I think I can really have some good results.
 I'm looking quite positive for the next tournaments.

 Q.  Over the last couple of months, your ranking has been rising steadily.  Is there one thing that you can kind of, pinpoint, that's been the cause of that?  Is it your fitness?  Your increased foot speed?  What do you think has been the main ingredient?
 ALISA KLEYBANOVA:  Well, it's all together.  Because more you practice, more you work hard, more stronger you get, it's more mentally stronger you get because you feel more confidence in the court.  You feel like you can do more.
 Once you start playing matches and you start winning tough matches, you feel better, obviously.  You prove to yourself that you can do    you can stay out there.  You can fight, you can run, you can, you know, do many things.
 And, of course, winning is helping you to believe even more.  So I think this is like    it's just when everything comes pretty much together.

 Q.  The Russians speak very good English, and the people from the United States don't speak good Russian.  Do you have a tutor?  Do the Russian tennis players have a tutor?
 ALISA KLEYBANOVA:  Well, I think it's because wherever we go out from Russia, we speak English.  So, you know, obviously the people from States, when they travel, they speak always English.  They don't have to speak Russian.  I think that's why, you know.
 When you travel for more than 10 years and you have to talk English all the time, you know, sometimes we have problems speaking Russian when we're back home.  We start talking with accent.
 You know, we're so used to speak English, especially when you have so many tournaments in the States.  You have to stay couple months of the year here.  Well, I guess we practice a lot of English.

 Q.  Do you and Pavlyuchenkova feel like you're the younger generation than maybe trying to take over from the older generation of Russians?  Do you feel a bond with her at all?
 ALISA KLEYBANOVA:  Well, we're good friends.  We practice together sometimes, we've been in the Fed Cup team together.
 I'm happy that we're actually together coming up, because, you know, there are so many good Russians still on top of us and not so many young ones coming.  You know, they are still there, the elite group, and I'm happy that she's the one to join me to go forward, because it's always better to have more from our country, you know.
 Of course we compete against each other, you know.  Obviously we have a competition between us when you have so many Russian players.  You always want to be better than the others.
 But it's nice to feel something in the back, you know, with someone that it's also good and you can go forward in a tournaments.  And also, I mean, she's a great player.  She's a very nice person, as well.  She's a nice girl.
 You know, I'm really happy that we can be there together.

 Q.  Has any of the older generations of Russians, any one of them, been particularly helpful to you?
 ALISA KLEYBANOVA:  Well, I mean, helpful in which sense?  Like helping me to play better?  No.  (laughter.)
 But, you know, I mean, I'm really good friends with Svetlana, with Elena Dementieva, couple other girls.  But it's a lot of competition.  It's difficult to be like all of us and being close friends together, because, you know, we all    one is doing better than the other one in the tournaments, you know.  It's always difficult when you have so many good players from one country.
 But anyways, I think more stronger we are, more players are strong from our country, it's more difficult for the others, because obviously they have a lot of pressure from our side.  All the girls from our country right now are playing so strong.
 So, you know, it's whatever.  If you're from Russia, when you go out on the court, everybody's a bit like, you know, expecting something great from you.
 So I think it's better if we have more young players coming up which can compete against the top level.

 Q.  Your game has been called unorthodox by Tracy Austin, but very successful for you.  What do you have to say about that?
 ALISA KLEYBANOVA:  Well, you know, I know that.  I've been told couple times already during this week that my game is a bit strange, you know, more strange than the others.
Well, you know, I don't really try to make it so different.  It's just the way I am, you know.
 I've been playing like this, with this style, for many, many years since I'm a junior.  I'm working now with my coach Julian Vespan since already almost five years.  He just saw something in me that he decide we're not going to change, we just going to keep going.
 If it's successful and it's good, if this style is matching me how I am physically and mentally, we just gonna keep improving it, and make, you know, my game, my style, more, you know, offensive.  And some strange parts of my game, to make it the strongest part, you know, to bring a lot of difficulty to the others.
 So, you know, I would say that I accept that it's different than the others, but I enjoy.  Because, you know, if you try to do something, you know, if you try to change it, if you try to do it, you know, more like the others or put something perfect, it's not you anymore.
 So once you're just yourself on the court and it's bringing you to success, you can win like this, you just have to be out there and be yourself, you know.
 I know that sometimes people say, you know, how does she hit certain shot with this technique?  It's impossible to put in the court.  But if you feel good with it and you make it work better than the others, why do you have to change, you know?  You just have to keep going, keep improving, and make it your, you know, your weapons.

 Q.  I want to ask you about your English still.  I'm very envious of you, because my English is not good enough, as you can tell.  So I was wondering, your English skill, if you can speak good English, do you think you can feel very comfortable on the tour in terms of like confidence level if you can speak good English, you can be very comfortable on the tour and you can make friends?
 ALISA KLEYBANOVA:  Yeah.  Well, it's important if you can speak well fluently, because, you know, it's not just being out on the court and playing tennis all day long.  You have to talk.  You have to communicate a lot.  Once you're out from the court, you have to communicate somehow.
 It's not just hitting the balls there.  It's many, many hours in the day we have to talk to our friends, to the press, to the many -- you know, to the sponsors, to many people.  I mean, even to the fans you have to talk.
 We are doing blogs; we are doing many things outside from the court.  It's important, because more    you know, better you speak, more relaxed you feel, you can express yourself better.  And of course you feel much better when the people can understand really well what you want to say.
 Because if you have troubles talking, it's difficult, because sometimes we want to say something and you don't find good words for that.
 But many years traveling helped that, of course.  But I think most of the players, like me, they've been starting English before starting to go on tour, because it's difficult.  If you don't talk at all, it's tough to pick it up so quickly.
 So, you know, all of us, we went to school.  Maybe some players for sure took some private lessons.  But then when you have some base and you start traveling, it's obviously much easier to pick up everything.  A lot of girls on tour speak very well.
 We try to help each other sometimes, especially from one country.  You know, we always support.  So, you know, more we speak English, more    of course much better we feel on the tour.  I mean, we can communicate each other.  It's much easier.

 Q.  Could you explain, you are the only one on the tour who turns the head down when you hit the shot, doesn't matter forehand, backhand, or serve.  Why do you do that?
 ALISA KLEYBANOVA:  You're asking me why do I that?  My coach is asking for five years already why I do that?  He has stopped because there is no answer to that.  (laughter.)
 I mean, my mother was my coach for almost 10 years before I started to work with Julian.  I mean, obviously in 10 years she tried to change it, but it was impossible, I guess, because I still keep doing that.  I don't even think about it.
 When I go on the court, I just see the ball, I just see my opponent, and I see the court.  That's the most important things.
 I know that my head is doing many strange things during the match when I play.  But sometimes it's unhelpful, I accept; but sometimes it works, so I don't know.  I mean, it's really tough.  It's just    it's coming by itself, and that's probably something    you know, one of the things when you do on the court not technically, it's just how you feel, you know.
If you feel in certain movement to put the ball in the spot, in the right spot, you have to do that movement, you do it, you know.
 It's just, you know, many times when I play I follow the intuition, I follow the feelings.  I don't follow the perfect technique.
 So, you know, if it's working, then I go for it.       

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