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Monday, 10 July 2017
16:00 PM BST

Svetlana Kuznetsova: Fourth round

Svetlana Kuznetsova speaks to the media after the 6-2, 6-4 win against Agnieszka Radwanska

Q. It's been 10 years since you made the Wimbledon quarterfinals. Has it felt this long? How do you explain how you're playing?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, I mean, when you look at the statistics, it's amazing. But I felt like I have been there, so it's just another quarterfinals, it's another gonna be competitive match, so I'm just looking forward to it.

Q. You must be delighted. You're really on top of it and didn't let her get in any control.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, I was thinking in whole match, even like in the second set, that I was in control. I felt like I was dictating. I could control. I struggled a little bit with my returns in the second set. I felt like I could break her a little bit earlier. But, you know, she was doing better than first set, and I start to get a little bit tight. It's normal these things happen. I'm pretty pleased with my performance.

Q. Later in the first set in the first two games, you were down 40-Love and you won, and then in the second set you were up 40-15, made two errors, she came back to deuce. Then you went with the big first serves. How important were those two first games so that you could build more confidence and cruise the rest of the first set?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, I mean, first game was huge. She was 40-Love on her serve. Then I broke her and hold my serve. That was definitely huge. It's a lot of importance on the first games on each set, so I got confident and I start to play good, and I was just in control all the time.

Q. You have been playing some excellent tennis for about two years now, but it's been since I think 2014 Roland Garros that you have broken through to reach a quarterfinal in a major. Does that feel special to you right now?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: It felt great for me. It felt great for me to get into Championships. I felt like I have been playing so much better this year and I felt so much confidence, but I was a little bit tired because the ending was crazy for me. I played five events in like five weeks, three different continents. I was struggling in January and February.

So I skip Doha, Dubai, stuff like that. I had to. It was risky from my side, but I had to because I don't want to play without passion and without will.

Now I feel great again. I'm happy I took the decision, and now I'm just really pleased and happy with my performance.

Q. When people doubt you and they say they don't pick you to go too far, what effect does that have on your mentality and motivation?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Look, I have been a while out here, and I have seen it all, and since I was kid they told me I'm never gonna be nowhere in the top.

So I'm used to that thing. It doesn't matter. You know, the importance is to understand that opinions don't matter. The matter is your game and you believe in yourself.

Coming to Wimbledon, I didn't have any press before the tournament. I'm, like, why don't I have? And then I was, like, okay I had too much of it in French Open, too much pressure. And I felt better here. And I think it's better I'm just looking forward. I feel better, I feel more free.

It actually helped me, you know, and I don't care if people don't believe. It's their choice.

Q. Before the tournament many people said it was wide open. What are your thoughts about that now and your own chances?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Well, for me, I take each match step by step. It's very difficult for me. Each opponent is extremely tough, and I'm respectful to each girl. I think we deserve to be here. If you're in quarterfinals of Grand Slam you made something to work. It's not free. You know, they don't give you presents to be in quarterfinals. You've got to deserve and take your opportunities.

That it's no Maria, no Serena, yes, there's no heavy names up there, but each one of us done a lot to be here.

Q. In Paris you said that because you love that tournament so much and there is so much pressure, maybe it got to you and maybe not. But here, how does it feel? It feels like you're cruising and a bit under the radar.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, I don't care about -- you know, I don't pay any fines to go over speed. The thing is I just enjoy, I really enjoy, and I really mean it and I have fun.

That's great, you know. I do the job I love. I play great. I feel in good shape, so that's, I think, the most important things.

Q. Your record against Muguruza is 3-1 in her favor. You have never played on grass. With your experience, I know she's learning and getting better, but do you feel you can really make a difference because of that experience against her?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I think we learn every day. Not only her. I learn. Everybody learn. Martina Navratilova still learning things. It's life and we cannot know everything. I don't know.

I'm just looking forward to play her. We practice sometimes on grass. I don't want to call it best or worst surface on everybody. You never know, because me with age I start to play better on grass. It's gonna be very tough match.

Q. You have played Radwanska many times. Was it an easy one, this one, or a tough battle?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: It's never easy, the battles. It's not for free. It's never easy. In the end it was very close. First set I played great. When I play great, I feel I'm in control, so it was very difficult match.

Q. What was the most difficult in terms of playing Radwanska?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: She see very well the court, and she use my power to move me around, and she kind of reads my shots.

Q. Do you think it's unfair that the Centre Court and Court 1 are seeing more men's matches? High-ranking female players are playing on outside courts?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I have not played on Court 1 and Centre Court whole tournament. This is not my call. But some matches I thought, like yesterday, I didn't deserve to play on Court 12, but I did play there, and I don't know, I guess it's not for me to decide. For me is to play. So I just want to focus on my job.

Q. You have been on tour for a long time. Have you seen a difference in the amount of data and information you get after matches? And do you use all that, the percentages and the stats? Are you a player who likes to use that number crunching?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: You know what? I have not watched any single match of mine maybe last year or two years, you know. It's strange, no? But I don't. My coach try to push me, and I say, Yes, yes, I will, I will. And I want to, but I cannot. I don't know somehow.

My coach does watch all this and use this data a lot. He tells me, and I really believe, because we feel each other very well towards our work, and I trust him completely. It's like my second eyes.

He's believing in me so big, and I trust him what he tells me, so he use the data.

Q. You leave all that to him?

Q. You earlier said, if I understood correctly, that you weren't getting all that much attention early on, but it made you feel more free. Could you talk about that feeling? What does that mean to you?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: You see, the thing is when we go to the press room and you guys make us think and answer questions, we don't want to think about it. You know, I just want to go out there and play and don't talk to nobody.

But I understand it's a part of my job to go and do press conference and talk to you. I enjoy talking, all right? But it's still things I don't want to think about it.

So with age, with experience, I'm just trying to, after press, I go and it's kind of delete the disc, and I forget about it. I just go on a clean path and I just want to play and not think about it all.

Like, I'm not watching the draws. I'm not thinking about other girls. I'm just thinking about myself and this is what works the best for me. So the less press I do, less other thoughts I get. That's why it's easier.

But of course I understand that I need to do press, and I need to increase all these things. But it's like balance, you see.

Q. So you think sometimes press, interacting with the press and answering questions triggers things with players that they start maybe thinking about certain issues?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, I think, yes. I think press hurts a lot of players. I understand what we have to deliver to the world and people have to know, our fans have to know, you guys have to do your job, and you guys all do great. We appreciate your help. But it's difficult, and this is where pressure starts to get you, you know.

Many players -- and I caught myself many times thinking, okay, if I will do that, what would they write? What would they say? It's already start of the end, you see. These things you better not to do, not to think.

Even like Maria when -- I read somewhere or I don't know where I know, she said when doping thing happen to her, she disconnected all social media. She didn't read anything. It really gets to your mind. The things are not real. What people see from their side, the fans, or they don't know whole story.

And it's no way an athlete comes here and tells you everything what's going on with the athlete, because it's not possible because you cannot be so vulnerable to the world, you see? You've got to be protected to yourself. People cannot know your weaknesses, your problems, stuff like that.

So it's really hard to find the balance and tell new stuff to be polite and sincere and quite open.

Q. Aga treats you like a friend. Do you also treat her like a great friend? Do you have some relationship with each other?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I respect Agnieszka and we are very nice outside of the court. I know she's the kind of person never do wrong or bad or being disrespectful off the court. I'm the same way. So I think we have big respect for each other. And, yeah, I mean, we are always really polite even during the match. We are very respectful to each other. It's great to have somebody like that in the locker room.

Q. But she also said that you are really nice girl off the court and on the court. Do you spend some time with each other or you just say, hi, and you just go?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No, we talk a lot in the locker rooms. It's not like we are going to go dinner, but if we go to players party, I don't mind sharing table with her because it's always fun and we talk a lot of things.

We are like professionals. It's really hard to be really close friends or something off the court. We have our teams and stuff like that, and we are pretty separate, but then we don't mind talking and sharing some gossip or whatever.

Q. I know you said that it's not your call in terms of scheduling, and that's what all players say, but in terms of if we look at it from an abstract way with the women's game, you have Kerber, Muguruza, you, Aga, Halep, Azarenka, and none of these matches were on Centre or Court 1. What I want to ask you is do you think that the women's game is being given the best chance possible to show its best product on the main courts?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: You see, it's difficult, because now I don't -- again, I don't start to look and say, Oh, this girl played and I did not. So I'm not sure who played on Centre Court these days. I was just playing my match, my court, whatever number was it.

But, for example, Konta, I know she's been playing Centre Court. She deserve. It's England. They have to put their product here. People know Konta . They don't know Radwanska, Kuznetsova, you see, with all respect to our names and even we have been here ages. So Konta is good.

Then the rest is really hard for me to judge. I do believe top 10 players should be playing on centre courts if they are high ranked.

Q. Are you surprised that Ostapenko hasn't played on Court 1 or Centre, bearing in mind she is French Open champion?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: So many champions of Grand Slams in the draw. You cannot judge by French Open. I won French Open. Muguruza won French Open. You cannot do like that, you see.

And we didn't get our best courts, but it's okay. I mean, it's not a big deal. As long as I survive along the draw for me, that's fine.

Q. Given what you have accomplished, the majors, and you're probably already qualified for the Hall of Fame, what is the level of respect that you think you deserve from the public and from your fellow players? And what is the level of respect you think you get?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I think I have an amazing respect from my players, from our players. I feel totally respectful, because I'm great with all the players. I respect each girl, because we do the hard job and we travel all over the world.

I feel respected by my achievements, and I know people ready for my matches and I see how girls fight. They know they have to play their best to beat me. But of course I think I should get more from the fans and from the press. But, you see, there is not many things in life which you say everything is fair, fair, fair, fair. No, there are some things which are unfair. And I'm accepting that. You know, I cannot change it. I try to do more for that, for the press and stuff like this.

But if not, it's okay. You see, my work doesn't change so much. From my side, I don't want to be so famous. For me, I'm all right, because I don't want to be recognized when I go out and I live my life. I like to be also quiet.

But it's difficult to say. I'm okay with everything. I'm just happy.

Q. Do you always get to travel with your dog? When and if you do, is it a better experience for you on the tour?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I travel with him more to the States because he's my emotional support animal. He's like service dog. And for me it's much better. Like in order to get this paper to be emotional support, I have to talk to the psychologist and say why do I need the dog? And I explain that I'm tennis player and I feel very lonely on the road and I'm depressed many times. It's all true, because it's really hard mental thing.

My dog let me relax. You know, we are all humans. You want like this or you don't -- still, people around you that would judge you a little bit in order you win or you lose. If you lose, your team go a little bit like sad. If you win, happy. My dog is always happy. Always the same. He's next to me.

For me, it's something which brings me an amazing amount of support. So that's it. I would travel with him more. If I would be Roger Federer, I would get private jet everywhere and travel with my dog, but you see it cannot happen.

Q. So not here at Wimbledon?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No, no, no, not here. It's also complicated. I have to have somebody to sit with him, because he doesn't stay by himself. He hates it, so he start peeing everywhere (smiling).

So, yes. But I really do miss him. I hope to bring him to States.

Q. Can you Skype with your dog?

Q. There is such a long history of players who love dogs. Just talk about that. Is it just having a steady influence, win or loss? It doesn't matter? You're all over the place and it gives you an anchor?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I guess, each one of us is different. You know, I was, since childhood, I love dogs. I always said, Dad, can we have dogs? He said, No dogs at home. We always just had guard dogs. I was taking care of them all the time when I was younger.

When I bought dog, I remember I was in the treatment in my house in Barcelona, and my dad came to visit. He doesn't come often. He's, like, Oh, that's the dog of your physio, right? I'm like, No, no.

Come on. My daughter is not so stupid to buy the dog. I'm like, Okay, okay.

So then when the physio left and he see me with the dog, he's, like, No way. So he been continuously e-mailing me all the time about getting dog out, not to travel with the dog. You're not gonna have boyfriend because the boy going to be stinky and stuff like this. I was, like, No way. It's my dog. I gotta have a dog. It's my decision.

Q. And the breed and name of your dog?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Well, the breed is American bully. It's American breed, which about 30 years ago, it's modified, gen modified dog, because it's aggression out of the gene. It's kind of Staffordshire terrier with pit bull, this breed. He's extremely kind. If I travel, I have to carry him because he's afraid of everything. He weighs like 23 kilos. Looks really strange, me carrying the dog, but anyway, yeah. I look like his emotional support.

Q. And the name?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Doncha (phonetic), like "sweet."

Q. Your relationship with Carlos, seems that you guys get along great. I was just wondering, how important has he been in the kind of phase you're in right now where you're happy on the court and happy on the tour?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Huge. Huge, because not only by coach. I always said the coach has to be really good psychologist and really have connection with the player. Maybe with another player he won't go, you know, wouldn't work out. Me maybe with another coach it won't work out.

It took time for us to realize how close we are and how we understand each other and respect. And we do get fights sometimes and stuff like this, because we are very close. He's like brother to me. It's great to travel all the world and have somebody close. It's really difficult to have relationship on the road, because you kind of travel and that person has to leave the job or whatever it is or wait home, which is really difficult mentally, and have somebody -- you cannot bring your friends all the time over. And to have a friend as a coach and somebody who understands and gets you, it's very important.

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