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Quotable Quotes... Erakovic In Stanford

Marina Erakovic upset Victoria Azarenka in Stanford. The New Zealander's road hasn't been easy.

Published July 30, 2011 12:00

Quotable Quotes... Erakovic In Stanford
Marina Erakovic

STANFORD, CA, USA - In 2008 she had her breakthrough season, reaching three WTA semifinals and cracking the Top 50, just the second New Zealander to get into that ranking class (after Belinda Cordwell). A left hip injury sidelined her for six months in 2009 and she was struggling to recapture that form, but over the last few months she has been gathering steam on the ITF Circuit and in Stanford she stunned everyone with her victory over Victoria Azarenka.

Marina Erakovic met the press after that win over the top seed and defending champion at the Premier-level tournament. Here's a taste of what she said...

On the win over Azarenka...
"It was my first Top 10 win. But I had a bit of an advantage. I had a couple matches in qualies and a first round win, so I knew the court and the conditions. It was also her first match in a while. I was hitting the ball well - I had to go for it, dictate and try to take the match. I was nervous to start but picked it up in the second set. Then she started to spray some balls, which was good for me."

On Azarenka, with whom she won the 2005 Aussie Open junior doubles...
"If she's on and hitting the corners it's a tough day. I tried to move her and make my corners, hit my serve and forehand, and just give it a good whack. That was my gameplan. For Azarenka, who's a great returner, she wasn't really killing the ball as much as she would like today, so I guess I must have been hitting well.

"We were probably closer when we played juniors together, but sometimes people drift apart for no particular reason. But we're always on friendly terms!"

On the last few years and the hip injury...
"I had a very good 2008. I cracked the Top 50 and stuff. But I got a hip stress reaction at the start of 2009 and was out for most of the season. It was the first time something like that ever happened to me. If I kept playing it would have fractured, and I would have been done. I was on crutches for a while. It wasn't pretty, but I slowly started again. In 2010 I was just trying to get back. If you're out for such a period like that, everyone else is playing and improving, and once you start playing again you realize, 'Man, I really have to catch up.' I really tried to do that - it gets you down a bit and it's tough, but I kept at it, kept working hard, and I feel my tennis has definitely improved. I had a very good last six months, playing a lot of tennis and winning a few titles on the ITF Circuit, and I feel I'm at that level again where I can compete with the best in the world.

"The injury is fine now, knock on wood. I've had no problems with it."

On going back to the ITF Circuit earlier this year...
"When I went to the ITF Circuit it was because I had to. My ranking wasn't there. I wanted to get a lot of matches and build my confidence up again. It was good to have those matches - even when you go on the ITF Circuit, those girls can really hit the ball, they can really play. It's good to tune your tennis."

On renewing her love for the game...
"After 2008 and before the injury I went through a little slump, I wasn't winning as many matches as I would have liked. I was thinking, 'Is tennis for me?' When I got the injury I realized how much I love it and miss it. It got me motivated to come back and work hard again. I'm in a very good place right now."

On being from New Zealand, a rarity among the WTA's upper echelon...
"I moved to New Zealand when I was 6. I actually started playing then. It's a lot of flying if I want to go home, so I'm out on the road a lot. I have to fly 12 hours whenever I go anywhere pretty much, except Australia. It's pretty funny, when the girls come to play in Australia I can laugh at them a bit!"

For more on Marina, visit her official website at www.marinaerakovic.co.nz.

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