Sports / Tennis

Transcript of Li Na's Jan 23 post-match press conference

( Updated: 2014-01-23 15:51

Q. How was the match today?

LI NA: How was the match? Pretty good. At least I win the match, so...

Yeah, I think beginning of the match I play very well. Second set was a little bit tight because I was feeling, yeah, one set in target. Is more like pretty feeling one feet already in the final.

But I think she play well today. So, yeah.

Q. 12 years difference in age. Do you think the experience helped you?

LI NA: I think about maybe she can play another 12 years. Of course she got more chance. She's young. She hit ball well. I think for sure she can be very good player.

Q. The second set could have gone either way. A few tight service games for both of you. What were you telling yourself?

LI NA: I mean, I still has a lot of chance for every game. I still have like breakpoint, game point, but I didn't catch that.

So, yeah, when she's broken my serve, I say, Okay, let me just try to play point by point because the match still have to continue. Yeah.

Q. You've had such good results over the past four years. Does it feel easy at this point going out there for a Grand Slam semifinal?

LI NA: No, is not easy. Really is not easy. If you want to be in the semis you have to win at least five matches. Also especially in the Grand Slam never has an easy match.

Especially like today, match point, she was hit the ball in the net. I was like, Okay, now, this one, this one, more important one. Really tight end of the match.

But I was play I don't know how many times for semis, so I got more experience.

Q. Less nervous than your first one?

LI NA: Of course nervous. Doesn't matter how many semis you play. If you play semis, still nervous because is the semis.

Q. How do you feel about going into another Australian Open final having been there before? What do you learn from those times to this time?

LI NA: I think is the third time, so pretty close to the trophy. Yeah, at least I try to not falling down this time, because last year in the final I think I play well but I only can say unlucky because falling down twice.

At least I try enjoy and staying healthy.

Q. Are you surprised, as some of us are, that Cibulkova is now winning 6 1, 4 0 versus Radwanska?

LI NA: I'm not surprised. I'm now in the press conference. I didn't see the match.

Q. This score, is this something you would expect or something astonishing?

LI NA: You know, I'm not God. I can't prepare everything. For me, tennis score can be 6 1, can be 7 6. If you win is win. Doesn't matter how is the score.

Q. If you play Cibulkova, how do you prepare?

LI NA: I think she was pretty fast legs on the court. Also she was hitter. Yeah, we play pretty like similar.

So, yeah, tough match. Yeah, another challenge.

Q. When you were younger, you did something courageous. To the Federation, you said you will set your own schedule, keep the prize money, travel. Is that something you're proud of? Would you be here now if you hadn't done that?

LI NA: Is tough to say because if I didn't stay in national team maybe I didn't have chance to practice, you know. I'm not going to say stay national team is right or wrong.

For your whole life you have to face to so many choice. You have to pick up which one is better for you.

Q. If you win here, will you send Safarova a note or give her a part of your prize money?

LI NA: I will send her a smile, you know. Is only I can do, yeah.

Q. Do you think you're playing maybe calmer with that match being so close to maybe being at the airport?

LI NA: Yeah, for sure. I really feeling after the match I was getting second life in this tournament.

In China, we say if you have a tough time, you pass that, it means you be so lucky. Or maybe they give me back from last year, I don't know.

Q. So do you feel lucky here this year?

LI NA: Until now, yes.

Q. This will be your fourth Grand Slam final. First time you probably go in as a favorite by the rankings. How will that feel different for you?

LI NA: You know, of course was first time come to the final, I didn't have any experience. I just feel so exciting. So when the problem is come to me, how you say, I cannot face to because nobody can help me.

But I was play more and more. I got more experience. So right now final is special, you know. Final is final, but still just one match.

So I still have to hit the ball to try to do my best, yeah. I cannot waiting for opponent make mistake, yeah.

Q. You are already the most famous tennis player from Asia of all time. Is that important for you? Does it give you a lot of satisfaction? Do you know that Michael Chang, Chinese background, he won only one slam, and you may have a chance to win two.

LI NA: I think Michael Chang is born in America and grew up in America.

Q. But the family background.

LI NA: This for his family. But he is born in America.

Of course. Everyone want to be famous. Doesn't matter which way, right (laughter)? Right now in this world, so many people, they make wrong decision but they still come famous.

But at least I was happy I go the right way, so... Yeah, I was really happy right now. I really love my tennis life because tennis give me a lot, change my life as well. So right now I understand more about the tennis and more love about the job and more enjoy about life.

Q. If you weren't a tennis player, how would you be famous?

LI NA: If I'm not tennis player, I didn't want to be famous. Maybe everyone is different. I always say after I retire, I want to be housewife (smiling).

Q. The player you probably will play in the final is from Slovakia, four million people. When things were tough and difficult and you did not feel love, did you ever think to yourself that maybe it would be better to come from a smaller country than China?

LI NA: No, you know, I cannot choice. I already born in China. Of course I love my country. You can see after I win the French Open how many people stay behind me.

I know when so many people ask where I from, I say Wuhan. They say small town. Not so many people. Just like 10 million (laughter).

How you say, I really love the way I was grew up because I got even more experience until now. Even have some problem or something, I can face to do that. I can face to. So I was tell myself, Oh, this is challenge, especially in the tennis, and also for the life.

Q. Carlos was saying you've been visualizing, imagining, to stay calm and focused at this tournament.

LI NA: Yeah.

Q. What are you visualizing?

LI NA: No, I think when I was talk to him last night, I think he saw something, so he was ask how I feel. I say, Nervous. He say, Congratulations. At least you normal people. If you cannot feel anything, I worry. Let's talk right now.

Yeah, I was talk how was I'm feeling. He said, This is normal. Just don't think to too much. Just try to play tennis. You have to understand or know why you be here, what do you have to do. I was like, Okay.

I was feeling like after I was talk, I was feeling open my mind. Got feeling better. I don't have to hold pressure only by myself.

Q. How come a player as successful as you are only one year ago was thinking maybe to retire? Before Wimbledon you said something like you would like to stop. Is that true?

LI NA: Is that true? I think I talked last time already. Yeah, it's true.

Q. How do you explain it?

LI NA: Just over that, and now I will play here, you know. Just like what I say: Life always have a challenge; you just have to face to.

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