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They Said It: Preview Quotes

Venus Williams

DOHA, Qatar - Just ahead of the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2008, all eight of the qualifying singles players sat down with reporters for a press conference. Find out what each had to say about making it to the Championships, playing in Doha, and their tumultuous and triumphant years on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

Serena Williams
"Every tournament has its ups, and this is the tournament that the Tour puts on, and offers the most prize money for women, so, obviously, it is extremely important. Ever since I was younger, I always wanted to have a chance to win the Championships, so hopefully, this will be another one of my years."

"I think the best way to go in tennis is to have the support of a parental unit. And if you look at pretty much every player that's been No.1 or ranked No.1 in the past like Steffi Graf and Monica Seles, all these great players, have had some sort of really strong parental unit behind them. I think that that takes so much dedication that only your parents can give you. I think that's the best way to do it."

Dinara Safina
"My rise through the Top 10 happened really fast. I was getting higher and higher in the rankings. It was really unbelievable. And every Monday it was coming out like, okay, Top 10. Okay, now I’m number nine, number eight, seven, six, five, and I was going up and up. And I really think it was good that I had all the tournaments in a row, so I don't have time to think about what's going on. It was like in my dream, I'm going and going."

"The round robin at the Championships is something new for me. I've never played in this kind of group, but I think it's good. You always have a chance. Not like in a tournament where you lose, it's a little tougher mentally, that maybe the next day you still have to play. On the other hand, it's also another challenge. For me, it's going to be a new experience. Whatever happens, the next day is another day, and I have another chance to win the match. So I think it's going to be different for me. I'm really looking forward to it."

Svetlana Kuznetsova
"I think I definitely had better years than this one. It was not a bad year, but I'm ranked No. 6 or 7. I know I can be much better, but still, it's been a tough year. And I'm looking forward to improving that. But I think I still had some good achievements. It's been a very tough year for scheduling, also with the Olympics and many more tournaments. But still, I survived. I am here in the Championships, so I think it's a great effort, and I'm looking forward to playing here."

"Having four Russian players in the Elite eight is a huge success for the Russian Federation, for Russian players. I think everybody has their own history, all four of us. And there is more in common, hopefully. And the popularity of tennis is growing overtime in Russia. And we realize it's because of our success, so that's always a great feeling."

Jelena Jankovic
"I was very hungry to do well, because after the Olympics it was the first period in the year that I didn't have any health problems, that I was able to work hard 100% on my training. I spent many hours in the gym as well, and playing finals at the Open gave me a lot of confidence. And I started working even harder and harder every day. The results were coming, and winning three tournaments in a row motivated me, and just pushed me to go forward. I kept winning and winning, so I left to finish the year, and I have one more tournament to play here in Doha, the Championships. And, hopefully I can finish the year in a good way, because for me, finishing up No.1 in the world is a huge achievement. It's something that I only could dream of."

"I think overall, women should be respected as much as the men, and have the same values as the men. I hope that we can be a good influence for the change, for the women in Qatar, that they can have more respect and that things will change in the future for them."

Ana Ivanovic
"The Championships is going to be great. I think we are all a little bit tired, and have a long season behind us. But this is an honor to play in the Championships, they're always very special. So you want to play your best tennis. And I think everyone's going to be so motivated to qualify through the group, and make it to the finals."

"I've been working really hard on and off the court. To see results coming in the last couple of weeks, it gives me a lot of confidence coming into this week's tournament. I had also lot of fun on the court and competing again, and playing at a high level. So, yeah, I feel 100% ready to be here, and I feel my game is back on a level that it was before my injury. And that's all I can ask for. Now I just have to try to enjoy it and play the best I can."

Vera Zvonareva
"I think I'm just a more experienced and more mature player right now. I've been on the Tour for a few years, so maybe I have more experience behind my back and it helps on the court. It also helps you to understand that you'll never play perfect tennis out there. But no matter what, you have to try your best. You have to find a way to win the match, and that's what makes it interesting for me."

"I think everyone at the Championships is a very, very good player, obviously. At the end of the year, it's the eight best players here. So I'm sure everyone has chances to win the tournament. But I think women's tennis is at a very high level right now, and everyone is ready to compete here. So I think it will be very, very interesting to see this week."

Elena Dementieva
"It all started in Dubai for me this year, when I came there for the first time, when I won the title and beat some good players in the Top 10. I think that win gave me a lot of the confidence for the rest of the season. I really improved my game a lot after that tournament. So for me, coming here, to Doha for the first time, it's a great experience. I'm very excited about it."

"I think right now it's a very interesting situation, a very unique situation in the women's game, because five or six from the Top 10 still have a chance to become Number 1, maybe in the beginning of the next season. And this is quite interesting for the crowd. It's quite interesting for the players, because the competition is very tight. I think it's just an extra motivation for all of us to work harder and to get to the biggest goal of every athlete, you know, every tennis player, to become No.1."

Venus Williams
"We've been playing in this part of the world for a while now. We played in Dubai numerous times, and played here earlier this year. So I'm just looking at it from the standpoint that we've got a wonderful opportunity to play here. It's a great opportunity for the Tour. I think us players are really focused on the tennis more than anything else. I think all the other players are also focused on the fact that they have a chance to play in the Championships."

"How much will I play next year? I'm definitely going to play my commitment to the Tour, and I'm looking forward to doing that -- and obviously, the slams. I think I'm going to have a lot of fun next year to be honest. So I'm looking forward to it."

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'Q' denotes qualified for SEC-Doha 2008