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Shahar Peer Second Round Press Conference

Indian Wells, CA, USA

March 13, 2010

S. PEER/B. Mattek Sands
6-2, 6-3

An interview with:
THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

 Q.  How did it go out there today?
 SHAHAR PEER:  Pretty good.  I haven't played for three weeks, so it's a good start, and I'm happy the way I played.
 It was really windy in the second set, so I'm happy I could manage and finish it.  And I think I was playing aggressive and playing good, so I'm happy for my performance.

 Q.  When was the three weeks off?
 SHAHAR PEER:  It was two weeks at home, and by the time you start here it's already Saturday, so my last match was three weeks ago.

 Q.  So it was a planned...
 SHAHAR PEER:  Actually not.  I was planning to play in Monterrey before, after Dubai, but it was too much for my foot.  I felt I needed a little bit of time off because I was a playing a lot and my foot was not perfect.  So I decide today skip that tournament.

 Q.  Was it purely physical or also just maybe some emotional exhaustion from Dubai?
 SHAHAR PEER:  I'm sure it's all together, you know.  It's not only about Dubai.  It's been a very long beginning of the year, which is good.  I played a lot of matches, including also Fed Cup.
 So I got to    after Dubai I was three weeks without a day off, because I played Fed Cup every day two matches and then in Paris and then in Dubai, so it's a good reason why my body was exhausted.

 Q.  Can you talk a little bit about the Dubai experience for you?  Obviously you had a great tournament, but what was it like?  What was security like?  I know you were restricted...
 SHAHAR PEER:  I like to say it was an interesting experience for me, because I never experienced this kind of situation, and I'm sure none of the girls.  The only one who did experience is Andy Ram last year.
 I think it was really was good for me, because, I mean, I took it on the positive side.  I was managing to take it to my advantage.  I got a lot, a lot of security.  I was on my own hotel.  Half of the floor was closed.  You know, 24/7 security cards; I had my own courts, you can call it.
 I didn't see anything besides Court No. 1 and my locker room, which I had my own locker room.  I never saw the stadium, never saw any players except going on the court, even my doubles partner.  Never saw the players' lounge.  The food would come to me, the physio would come to me, the press would come to me, so it was pretty cool.

 Q.  Maybe this is a formula for all your tournaments.  (laughter.)
 SHAHAR PEER:  Yeah, they have a joke already in Israel that because I played so good in Auckland with all these, how you call, protests, and also in Dubai, so they need to send maybe few protesting people to protest against me and maybe a lot of security, and that's how I do well.  But I hope I can break it.

 Q.  The joke aside   it's a good joke -- but do you think in a way that gave you a little extra motivation or a little more focus in some way?
 SHAHAR PEER:  I'm sure.  I mean, if you look back, I had one of the toughest draws actually playing Wickmayer first round.  She's one of the hottest tour now on the tour, you know.
 And then beating a girl that played the final the year before, beating Li Na after that just played semifinal; beating Wozniacki after losing two times against her, No. 3 in the world and first seeded; and then losing to Venus eventually.
 So I really had a tough draw, and I think I was very motivated to do well.  Because I didn't want to just come there and say, Hello, I'm here, and going back home.
 You know, I think I did succeed with that.

 Q.  I mean, you've had all these experiences, and then with Andy, in other words, the situation which wasn't as bad as yours last year in Dubai and then in Gothenburg, very tough situation, and then to have to go down to Chile after the terrible quake there, do you have any thoughts about that?
 SHAHAR PEER:  Me, Chile?

 Q.  No, no, I'm talking about Andy Ram.
 SHAHAR PEER:  So what do you want me to answer?

 Q.  I want to ask you if you had any thoughts of all the things that he had to go through.
 SHAHAR PEER:  I think it's not -- I mean, it's not a question for me.  If you want, you can ask him.  I'm sorry.  I don't know.  You have to ask him.  I don't want to -- I cannot answer for him.

 Q.  It sounds like you felt this experience there was special because you had a lot of special treatment, but did you feel a little bit like a prisoner when you were there, as well?
 SHAHAR PEER:  I mean, I'm sure you could look at this, at that side.  But I think I have something special in me that when something is against me, I take it to my advantage.
 You know, I heard that all the girls were talking about it like, How come she's doing so well?  I mean, we don't even see her.  All the girls here were like, Well done in Dubai.  We haven't seen you for a second event.
 I mean, you could see that, because few times I couldn't even go for breakfast.  I mean, I would eat only in the hotel, and few times they would make me do even room service.  So even to go out of the room was difficult.
 So I did get a nice room so I can, you know, feel comfortable being there.  But, you know, like I said, I think I took it to the good side, and that's why I was doing well.

 Q.  Considering also what you had to go through, do you think that they should have a tournament in Dubai?  I mean, what if there were five Israelis?  It would be complicated to run an event with that kind of security.
 SHAHAR PEER:  Yeah, I mean, it's their choice of doing a tournament or not.  It's one of the biggest tournaments, and I know a lot of girls enjoy this tournament.  For me, it was first time playing, so of course I want them to do it again because I played a semifinal there and beating a lot of good players.
 So, I mean, for me it was fine, you know.  Obviously after this, what happened, you know, they say no Israelis anymore, so I don't know what's going to happen.  It's still a year to come.
 But, you know, as long as I feel comfortable there and I feel not afraid and they take care nice of me    because I will tell you the truth, the people who was taking care of me were amazing.  Like we become friends with them, and they really let me feel like I'm at home and not like under pressure or whatever.

 Q.  Like your body guards or whatever?
 SHAHAR PEER:  Yeah, yeah.  They were really, really nice.

 Q.  Was there any negative experience, on the court or otherwise, while you were there?
 SHAHAR PEER:  Actually, not at all.  I mean nothing.  I mean, I really got the best treatment as I could.
 I mean, I knew where I'm coming.  You know, they told me, You're going to play only on Court 1; you gonna have this and this security; you're gonna have your own locker room; have your own hotel.
 So I knew where I'm coming.  I mean, it's a little bit of a shock, and I'm happy my dad was with me there because it's hard to take it by your own experience.  But I mean, I didn't feel any negative experience there.

 Q.  You said many times that you certainly don't want to get involved in politics, but in some way, do you think this whole experience as an Israeli woman playing there, do you think in some way it could help a little bit?
 SHAHAR PEER:  Yeah, I mean, I do want to get involved when it's on the positive side.  I don't want to get involved when I need to say what are my politics' opinion or whatever.
 Because I'm here just to play tennis.  And if whatever happened that I've been there and Andy was there, could make it to the good side and the positive side, so then I'm really happy.  That's the main goal, you know, that you should not be involved in any sport and politic.

 Q.  And the positive side is just peoples coming together and having a warmer feeling for each other, more connection?
 SHAHAR PEER:  Yeah, it is.
 I mean, that we're all human being, and we can get along with each other.  We're not enemies.  I mean, they were nice to me; I've been nice to them.  You know, we can go through that.

 Q.  What is the future of tennis in Israel?
 SHAHAR PEER:  Not very good.  (laughter.)
 It's terrible even.  No, I don't know.  I don't see anyone coming, really.  Even when we really dig in, there is one girl that they are talking about or that she's pretty good.
 But other than that, I don't really know about anybody that is really coming up.

 Q.  My partner, Dr. Gideon Ariel is from Israel.  In the research center, every time he comes back from Israel, I ask him about the tennis development programs.

 Q.  He said they're very difficult to locate.
 SHAHAR PEER:  I mean, it's not difficult.  I think they're not doing the right things and they're concentrating on fighting between the tennis center and the federation, which we're a small country and it doesn't make sense.
 So as long as they're going to fight about, I mean, stupid   sorry for saying stupid -- things, we're not going to have any players.
Because I become a player by going my way.  My parents would take me to the best coaches in Israel, and not by being with one of the sides.  And as long as they're going this way, it's not going to happen.

 Q.  Were you able to talk with Andy, maybe joke that even though he was first, you did a little bit better than he did in Dubai?
 SHAHAR PEER:  Yeah, after he lost last year, he told me it was his worst loss like feeling.  He tried his best, and he lost like 10 8 in the super tiebreak.  It was, you know, one of his bad loss.  You know, he really wanted to win.
 So I'm sure he was happy when I was doing well.

 Q.  Can you talk about your next match?

 Q.  Can you help me out?  I didn't see the draw.
 SHAHAR PEER:  I don't even know who my next match is.

 Q.  You play Pennetta.
 SHAHAR PEER:  Yeah, she's a tough player, obviously.  She's playing really well.  It's not going to be easy, for sure.  But all the players here are good, and you can see there are a lot of surprises already on the first two days.  So gonna have to play good to win, that's for sure.

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