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An Interview With: Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Q. Congratulations. Very long games on your serve to hold in the third set. Just what were your nerves or emotions during those?

ELENA VESNINA: Yeah, we had really long games on both of our serves. It was really difficult to win all these games, because Flavia and Martina, they start playing better. They started hitting a lot of down the lines. They kind of changed their games a little bit on our serves, so it was really important to hold that serve. On Katya's serve we change a little bit tactics on the very big game and it worked. We hold that serve, and after that it was easy, a little bit easier.

Q. First set seemed to be all Pennetta and all Hingis. You found something in the second and third sets. What did you find?

EKATERINA MAKAROVA: Well, I can say that I was so nervous at the beginning. Elena just tried to keep me up. Then after the first set we were just really fighting, fighting every point, just go for it, go for it. They have a break and we were losing with the break. But still we were just really like motivated and really wanted to...

ELENA VESNINA: Stay with them.

EKATERINA MAKAROVA: Yeah, stay with them, just keep going, keep going. We broke them a little bit.

ELENA VESNINA: Like before the match we were talking with Katya that we will have chances on their serve because they don't have big serve like Serena or Venus. They don't have that much free points on their serve. So even we were down with a break we were losing set, we were still thinking that it's not over. We could still get this break back. I think we really stick together on that tough moment, and we kind of took a risk on some points and played more aggressive than we were playing at the beginning. We kind of put pressure on them, and it worked.

Q. What does this mean to you? What does did mean to your country?

ELENA VESNINA: It means a lot to win a Grand Slam. (Smiling.)

EKATERINA MAKAROVA: Yeah, that's a great feeling. It's second Grand Slam for us. We have been in the final of the Australian Open, and actually in third set we were twice serving for a match. We were leading 5-2.

ELENA VESNINA: Same situation: 5-2 serving for the match.

EKATERINA MAKAROVA: And here -- I was serving there at 5-2 and like today, so I just really was thinking that this is not gonna happen again. So we just finish it. It's a great emotions. So happy.

ELENA VESNINA: Yeah, it's a big win for us and for our country, as well, I hope.

Q. Let's go back to that win over the Williamses. How big was that? How much of a confidence boost does that give you for the rest of the tournament? Did you feel you could beat anybody after that?

ELENA VESNINA: I saw Serena this morning in the locker room. We had lockers next to each other. I saw her and she said, Are you playing final today? I'm like, Yes. She looked straight at me in my eyes, she's like, Go for it, because you really deserve it. I was like, Ah, thank you. That win, of course, gave us confidence, because beating Serena and Venus at home with their crowd and on the big stadium when everybody was for them, it's really kind of exciting win for us.

EKATERINA MAKAROVA: And the match was so close. We were like leading 4-1 and they were leading 5-4. In the tiebreak, yeah, in the second set was 6-4, so it was so close match.

ELENA VESNINA: And very hot day.

EKATERINA MAKAROVA: Condition, yeah.

ELENA VESNINA: It was really hot.

Q. You outdrew Ashe, you know that, that day, and you were in Armstrong.

ELENA VESNINA: Yeah.

Q. What was it like playing against Hingis? With all the winning she's done in her career, she's already in the Hall of Fame, most players don't play against players in the Hall of Fame. What does that mean?

ELENA VESNINA: She's a legend. What can we say? She's a legend. We were watching her matches when we were -- she's not, I mean, old. We are not saying we were watching her matches when we were little kids. I was watching her matches and I really loved the way she was playing. She's a great champion. We lost to her in Miami final, and, I mean, I'm impressed how she was able -- you know, she didn't play so long. She came and she's competing with best teams in the world. I mean, she still has so much into her pockets, you know. She still can get so much variety and so many good shots, so many thoughts in her mind. You see that on the match. I mean, it's difficult to play against her because you know she has so much experience, she's very confident, and she won everything. Yeah, so that was really important for us to believe in ourself and don't even think we're playing against Hingis, you know.

Q. Just walking off the court, but how does this compare to the win at the French Open last year?

EKATERINA MAKAROVA: Well, this match was -- I don't want to say harder, but still three sets, you know, like more tight. French Open we were playing so many times against Errani-Vinci, and that time was first time we beat them. Here also very interesting match. I think I have especially kind of the same emotion after the match point. It's a great feeling, and it's Grand Slam. I don't know, like you want to keep this moment, you know, just right after the match point.

ELENA VESNINA: Just want to enjoy it. When we won the French Open it was our first Grand Slam, obviously. Of course we were like so super happy and exciting, and now I think it's even harder to win another title, you know, because it's not easy. You know, when you win one Grand Slam you think, Okay, it's going to be so easy for us and we are going to win another one. We are playing so god together. That's not true. We were losing with Katya like final of Australian and then French Open and Wimbledon we lost like second and third round. We were thinking, Oh, my God we are top-10 player and we are gonna play on all Grand Slams like semifinal, final, and we will have title. It's such a high competition right now women's doubles teams. Every single match is so tough. All teams practicing doubles. All teams working together. It's big prize money for doubles. Each team knows what they are going for. Of course it's a Grand Slam. Who doesn't want to win a Grand Slam? It's a dream of your life. It's just something that you will tell your kids, I don't know, about that win. (Smiling.)

Q. In the quarters and the final it seemed like you were playing crowd favorites. How much difficult is it to get the energy up when you feel you don't have the crowd to rely on? Is it about getting a connection with your box and supporters?

EKATERINA MAKAROVA: Today? Well, I think our box was screaming so loud. We heard them very much. We didn't think about actually the whole crowd, you know. It's very good that so many people left for like -- yeah, like stay at the night, you know. Because it was a late match, and actually was really enjoyable to play out there. And just thanks to our box, because they did a great job for us.

ELENA VESNINA: And in New York, I just want to add even when we play against Williams sisters, everybody was for them, but crowd was very polite. They are cheering for underdogs. You can feel it. If it's a great point, of course they will clap for you. We didn't feel like everybody was so much against us. Yeah, we feel they were more exciting when they were winning points. But still, when we had a good rally and we were winning great point, they were cheering for us, as well. So it's kind of really good energy atmosphere on the center court. You feel like crowd playing with you, you know, every single point. It's really, it feels amazing. You have so much adrenaline during the match.

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