I tried to stay cool but it’s not easy when 20,000 people are staring down at the court. And when the two other people you’re sharing that court with are involved in such a tense exchange it becomes difficult.
The whole family sacrificed so much for me. I started playing tournaments and my brothers would get dragged along by my mum. Dad would work Saturdays and then take the bus to the tournament the next day. I’m sure it took its toll – but they’re happy with the way it all paid off.
I was labelled a doubles specialist but it was never my intention when I started with Lisa. We just clicked on court, had some fantastic results and got to world No1. All of a sudden I was this doubles expert. But I was still playing singles and my world ranking was about 40. It wasn’t bad.
When one player dominates it gets boring and everyone complains. Yet when it’s this way everyone complains there’s no standout player. This is just the phase we’re in – and maybe it proves how competitive our game is.
In tennis it’s easy to get greedy – and one grand slam doesn’t feel enough anymore.
I’ve sat down with all the people involved (coaches and sport psychologists) and tried to be really open, that’s the hardest part, really admitting to yourself ‘OK why is this happening, what am I thinking’ and just been honest with yourself, been honest with them (psychologists) so that they can find those answers for you.
You go through stages. Thankfully I haven’t been through too many of those. I’m very determined to be as good as I possibly can. I always give a 100 percent. When that stops happening you have to start thinking about what you’re doing. But if you get discouraged you have to adjust your training. Some days you’re tired, jetlagged.
I’m happy with the way I’m playing. There is always things you want to improve and get better at, but you can only do what you do on any given day.
The biggest thing for me is breathing, slowing down your breathing and actually taking a proper deep breath in and not just breathing through your shoulders, where it’s quick, quick, quick and then you’re in this fast forward mode. Talking about it now it all seems very easy. I wish it was that clear when I was out there.
Sometimes it’s hard to kind of find some rhythm, you know, get really good energy out on the court after you’ve been sitting around for a long time.
At the end of the day, there’s still going to be expectation, and no greater expectation than what I’m going to put on myself.
Any win is a good win, especially in a Grand Slam.
I learnt a lesson not to get too far ahead of yourself and play it as it comes.
I always was trying to become a better singles player through that whole time and had very good success in doubles. So it was just one of those things.
I thought I could definitely get better than what I was. I always would have liked to have been able to achieve what I’ve achieved.
I got this label of a doubles specialist and a doubles player because I had good success, but that whole time I was my goal was to do those kinds of things in singles.
I don’t really remember the day we lost our home in the floods but looking back I can understand how devastating it was for my parents. I was only six, so I remember us having to move to Adelaide – but not much of the actual day and night of the flood. We had to start all over again and my parents opened a cafe. Losing your home is not nice but I believe everything happens for a reason. Who knows what would’ve happened if we hadn’t gone to Adelaide because that’s where I started playing tennis.
I never felt like I had really performed badly at home. I always enjoyed playing at home and liked that experience.
Tennis in general is very reactive. You can have a great year or two and then you have a slump and everyone writes you off. I think even people write off Roger and Rafa. If they will write them off they will write off everyone else. But I think it all really comes down to how you feel about what you’re doing. If you feel like, you know, one, still healthy, doing everything you need to, training well, training hard, and feel like you can still compete with the best players in the world. I always still felt like that.
When you are playing a player who’s playing very well, you have to find a way to do anything you can.
I get a lot of satisfaction out of not necessarily playing my best and still finding a way to win in that situation. At this point in time I could careless how I played if I won.
Really believe in yourself and what you’re doing and know if I keep doing this I can turn it around.
I probably move better now. I probably have more belief in some ways now than what I did then because it’s all unknown. You don’t know if you can do that. Now I know I have done that. I know I can do it. But the hard part is now replicating that and making it happen in the biggest tournaments.
The last couple of years, in the big WTA events and Grand Slams I kind of let myself down with a poor match.
The worst thing for me is when I beat myself. I know I’ve got all these weapons, but sometimes it’s hard to put it together. I think over the last five years I’ve got a lot better at winning matches that I’m not necessarily playing my best tennis but I have been able to adapt and find a way to win. I think that’s probably the biggest thing that’s improved in those last five years.
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