Top Seeds Meet the Media
By Curt Janka
CARLSBAD, California â€“ The top seeds for the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open sat down, answered questions and laughed with the media at the Lacosta ResortÂ just north of San Diego. The high seeds enjoy a later start at the event so the players were all very relaxed and candid with their answers. In addition to what their goals are for the summer, Tennis Panorama News asked each player if they were planning on entering mixed doubles at the 2012 Olympics.
The 2010 finalist is back with hopes to go one step further than she did last year. When asked how important the tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open are in preparing for the slam, she said, â€œI want to win every match. Itâ€™s not just to warm up for the Open. There are a lot of points to win between now and then.â€
Radwanska says sheâ€™s really looking forward to the Olympics and would love to play singles, doubles and mixed if possible, but hasnâ€™t lined up a mixed partner yet. Of course, sheâ€™d love to play doubles with her sister, Ursula â€œif their rankings allow for it at the time.â€
She had fun playing golf here last year but noted that because part of the course was under construction, she might not get the chance to swing a club this year.
Seeded fifth this week, Ivanovic is waiting to play the winner of the match between Jelena Dokic and Ayumi Morita. Morita beat Ivanovic in straight sets last week in Stanford. Asked whether sheâ€™d prefer to play Dokic or get another crack at Morita, Ivanovic said emphatically, â€œDefinitely Morita, to get some revenge. That was a hard loss last week.â€ However, losing early in Stanford did give Ivanovic the opportunity to come down to San Diego early and start training which she thinks will help her at this event. â€œThe conditions down here are very different. Itâ€™s hotter and very humid.â€
She doesnâ€™t have specific goals in mind for the summer, just to keep trying to execute the things she is working on in practice. â€œIf I do that, the results will come.â€
Ivanovic revealed she has also been trying to eliminate gluten from her diet, like compatriot Novak Djokovic. â€œI try to eat rice before matches and avoid pasta and bread.â€
She is excited to be playing with Nenad Zimonjic in mixed doubles at the next Olympics. Sheâ€™d love to play all three tennis events at the Olympics, but doesnâ€™t know yet whether sheâ€™ll play womenâ€™s doubles. She will, however, be playing doubles with her friend, Andrea Petkovic, next week.
The top seed says she feels â€œat homeâ€ here in San Diego. Sheâ€™s played this tournament many times and has some great memories. Asked about the marathon match she played here against Anastasia Myskina in 2004, she said â€œit seems like yesterday.â€
Zvonareva said that because she feels so comfortable here and because of the way the site is set up, she feels like she gets to watch more matches here than at other events. She couldnâ€™t say who sheâ€™d like to see play this week, but sheâ€™d just â€œsee how the week goes.â€
While the Olympics is something Zvonareva is looking forward to, she couldnâ€™t say who she would play mixed doubles with or if sheâ€™d even get to play mixed. â€œThatâ€™s up to the captain to decide.â€ She said sheâ€™ll do her best to prepare for singles and hopes to be selected to play doubles or mixed doubles when the time comes.
The second seed is enjoying a great year. Asked what she thinks about Serena Williams coming back from injury to win last week in Stanford, she said â€œThere are two kinds of confidence. Serena was born with it. In my case, I had to work to get the confidence.â€
She hasnâ€™t come to San Diego with any new dances. She said she â€œhas to wait for inspiration to hit her. It hasnâ€™t hit yet but it usually does just in time.â€
Fellow German, Julia Goerges is a potential quarterfinal opponent and friend. Petkovic says that, along with Sabina Lisicki, the three have a â€œhealthy competitivenessâ€ between them. When one does well, it inspires one of the others to do well. She says itâ€™s always a little awkward to play friends in tournaments, but that is part of being a professional.
Asked who she would like to play mixed doubles with at the Olympics, she smiled and said, â€œI donâ€™t know yet. Iâ€™d have to see all the photos and decide which one is cuter.â€
Playing in a nearby ProAm event, Martina Hingis stopped by. She was quickly hounded by questions about the reports that she would play mixed doubles with Roger Federer at the Olympics. â€œNo decisions have been made yetâ€ she said. â€œItâ€™s more up to Roger, but there are a lot of ifs.â€ She wouldnâ€™t rule it out, but insisted that it most likely wouldnâ€™t happen.
She said while she was encouraged by how well she played against Serena Williams recently in World Team Tennis, but was not making any comeback plans for singles. â€œDoubles is more on my mind,â€ she said only when pressed.
Hingis is currently touring the U.S. and Canada promoting clothing by Tonic. She said she approached them after wearing the clothes for yoga and fitness. She has been meeting with the designer at Tonic to provide input on a Martina Hingis branded line of tennis clothes by the company to launch in the Spring of 2012.
Asked if she could give any advice to Caroline Wozniacki, Hingis said â€œshe has to be more in chargeâ€ adding that the womenâ€™s tour is so deep now that you need a weapon to win the quarters, semis and a final at a Slam.