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Michelle Larcher de Brito second round

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Michelle Larcher de Brito speaks to the media following her win over No.3 seed Maria Sharapova.

Q. What are your overriding emotions right now?
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: I'm really excited. I really can't believe it. It's a little bit of shock and excitement.
I'm just really happy I got through that match. It was a really great win for me. I'm feeling really excited.

Q. How did you find the court conditions out there today?
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: It was quite slippery. From what I felt, there was like dead grass on the top, and that made it quite slippery.
But I just tried to be more careful, 'cause I got injured before already with my knee. I was out for three months. So I definitely try to be extra careful.

Q. How did you feel closing it out when she was off court for a while? What were you thinking?
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: Nothing. I just tried to stay as focused as possible. I hit more serves, tried to stay pumped up, tried to stay focused and concentrate.

Q. You were able not to think then?
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: No, I was thinking (laughter).
I was just pumping myself up anyway, even though she wasn't there. I was just trying to stay focused because, I mean, a match like that, you have to be 100% focused, and that's what I tried to do.

Q. Can you talk about the five match points you needed to close out the match.
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: That was really nerve‑wracking. I just try to stay calm. I just gave it my all. It was 5‑4. If I would have lost, it would have been 5‑All. If it would have been 5‑All, it would have been tough to get back up again because she was serving and she was serving really well.
I kind of thought, Now or never. I tried to stay calm, even though it's hard sometimes. I just gave it my all, like I always do, and it turned out good.

Q. For the last few points, I think there were two times where the ball was already out. Did you not see it? Did you not want to challenge?
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: My balls were out?

Q. Her balls were out and you didn't challenge.
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: No, I didn't see it. I was like so focused. You know, I was just so into the match, these things, I don't think about these things. They kind of pass through me. When the point is over, I'm just thinking of the next one.
I didn't realize it, no.

Q. Today was probably the greatest day of your career, I guess. Can you tell us when instead it was a bad moment, the worst moment? You had some problems in the past. Everyone was waiting for you to come out.
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: Yeah, like, when I was 16, when I was in the top 100, when I was there, everybody was comparing me to like Martina Hingis, you know, expecting me to win a Grand Slam at that age.
But that doesn't happen anymore, winning Grand Slams so young. Tennis is so competitive now and so hard, it's hard to stay there. Also with all the restrictions from the WTA, I was only allowed to play I think eight tournaments a year. It was hard for me to stay in the top 100. When I had points, I couldn't defend them because I was only playing maybe one or two tournaments a month. And before you didn't have those restrictions.
So it was hard for me to stay in the top 100. Obviously my results didn't go so good for a while. But it was hard to stay there 'cause I was restricted to tournaments.
But, yeah, I mean, a lot of people expected a lot from me. But, you know, I just tried to stay there and kept going, and now I'm here again, and I hope to just keep doing well for the rest of the year.

Q. Sharapova is the latest big name to exit. How do you think you can go in this tournament? What's realistic for you?
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: I don't know. You know, I just take it one match at a time. I don't like to get ahead of myself. I don't like to think semifinals. I've always taken it one match at a time, one tournament at a time. I just want to keep going and keep doing my best. I want to do as well as I can do, not get ahead of myself.

Q. Your mom and dad have been by your side a long time.
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my parents.

Q. You talk about trying to keep your focus out there. When she was falling, I think three times, how did that affect you?
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: It didn't affect me. You know, it's never a good thing when a player falls. I know, I can relate, because I fell and I got injured pretty badly.
I mean, fortunately she didn't get injured badly because she managed to finish the match. But it's never nice when a player falls. You know, you don't want to wish bad on anybody. So I'm just glad that she's okay and didn't get a serious injury.

Q. In the early stages of your career, there was a lot of focus and criticism on your grunt. Did that affect you in your development? Was it a distraction at all?
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: Yeah, I mean, it wasn't fair, I guess, 'cause people blew it way out of proportion. But it's behind me. I don't want to talk about it anymore. It's over and done with. It's already an old topic, the grunting. People keep going on and on about it.
I'm not the only one. Many top players that we know and love grunt.
Yeah, I mean, they criticize me pretty badly. I don't want to make excuses, you know. I try to hang in there. I try to keep my ranking as low and possible, not let that stuff get to me.
But I'm here again, and I think I'm top 100 now again. I just try to stay focused, ignore the media, focus on my tennis.

Q. Is that something you've cut down on?
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: No, I haven't cut down on anything. I'm the player I was when I was 16, and I got to the third round of the French.

Q. Maria is coming from the same tennis school like you. Was it an advantage for you because it was easier for you to play the match because you know Maria quite well? Do you compare your game with her?
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: No. Honestly I don't know Maria that well. Obviously, I know her because she's a great tennis player. I've watched her play on TV many times.
But I really personally don't know her. This is the first time I played with her. It was the first time that I've competed with her.

Q. But somebody helps you to make a tactic for this match?
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: No. I mean, my father's my coach. Me and him, we just said, Do my best. I came from qualifying. Second round already. No. 3 in the world, I just got to do my best. Got nothing to lose because I've already done so well. That's what I did. I just gave it my all.

Q. You got nothing to lose versus Sharapova. You may have something to lose with Knapp. You played against her in qualifying. How much more difficult is going to be now after this big upset?
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: I remember it was a really tough match with Knapp. It was quite a while ago. I just remember it was quite a close match. She's a tough player.
You know, whatever happens for now here, I'm just going to be happy with the result and move forward from here and try and keep up with the good results and just try my best. Whatever happens, I cannot be disappointed, you know. I just got to stay happy and just keep this motivation and confidence into my next tournament.

Q. Seeing the upward track you were on when you were 16, wondering where you've been, what was keeping you back? Was there a simple explanation for that?
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: No, I mean, I'm not one of those players who is going to make up excuses like I was sick or injured, none of that. I just simply wasn't playing well. I had no motivation.
I'm just lucky that I had my parents next to me, supporting me, helping me to keep going. It was really tough for me at one stage. The only people I had left was my mom, my dad, my brothers. They were the only ones there for me supporting me through this really tough time. Now they're here with me again when I'm succeeding.
Yeah, I mean, I'm not going to lie. I did drop off the radar a little bit. That's just why it makes the wins that much more sweeter. Makes me happier that I'm here. I'm really grateful to have such a wonderful family that supported me through all these years.

Q. How can you explain to us that you had no motivation?
MICHELLE LARCHER de BRITO: You know, yeah, like my tennis did drop a little bit. I don't know, I just went to tournaments losing, losing.
If you lose enough times, you think, What am I doing? That's where my family stepped in and helped me get pumped up. I've been working extra extra hard in these practices, giving 120% in practices. My dad really pushed me a lot. He really helped me a lot, like, pick up again.
You know, I don't have enough things to say about my father because he helped me a lot. Yeah, it's easy to lose motivation. But with these wins, it's definitely going to help.


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