V. LEPCHENKO/J. Jankovic 7‑6, 4‑6, 6‑4





Q.  Congratulations.



Q.  You looked pretty emotional after the match.  You looked like you were in shock, and then you kissed the net.  Talk about what was going through your mind, what the deal was.

VARVARA LEPCHENKO:  After that last point I couldn’t believe the match was over.  I was still in the moment.  I think I was able to play another couple of games, so that’s why I was pretty shocked.

At the same time I was pretty happy, because this is the first time I’m through the second round at a Grand Slam.  It’s very special to me, and I was really excited.


Q.  Good timing, because now you’re the fourth‑ranked American woman.  Puts you in position for the Olympics.

VARVARA LEPCHENKO:  Why are you looking at each other?


Q.  Just trying to verify.

VARVARA LEPCHENKO:  You know what, it would be really funny story, because yesterday I was sitting in the training room and I’m looking up at the scores I’m like, Oh, Vania King is losing.  Wow.  Okay, I think she had to defend something from all of your comments.  I knew that.

So I was like, I’m not looking at the scoreboard anymore.  I’m turning away and walking out of the training room and walking the TVs we have downstairs there.  All the girls sitting down, all the players, they’re talking about the Olympics.  They’re like, Oh, we’re taking three or four players and this and that.

I’m like, Shoot, I’m out of here.  So I’m walking up the stairs and I see the guy from Wilson.  He comes up to me, Varvara, I just have one question for you.  I’m like, Yeah, sure.  What is it?  He’s like, Are you able to play Olympics?  Are you qualified for the Olympics?

I’m like, Jeez, everybody now is going to ask me this question.  So I was like running away from the people.  Like I don’t want to think about it.

I have to play.  This is the most important.  I can’t think of all of those things.  But it’s good to know that now I’m the fourth American.


Q.  It’s not a done deal because Sloane is still playing.  Matt said it’s maybe not that important to you, the Olympics.  Is that the case, or would representing a new country be exciting?

VARVARA LEPCHENKO:  Well, of course it’s important.  But I keep saying to myself it’s not important because, you know, I have to get away from those thoughts somehow because it’s going to obviously be in my way when I’m playing.

I don’t want to be standing on the tennis court and thinking, Oh, my gosh, if I win this match I’ll be qualified to play the Olympics.

You know, it’s everybody’s dream.  I just try to put it away, put it aside for now, focus on the tennis, focus on my matches.

If God let’s me win and play at the Olympics, it will be amazing, of course.


Q.  So what stuck so well in your game?  Jelena talked about the amount of spin on your forehand and how that really bugged her.  Do you think that’s your biggest weapon right now?  Talk about what’s working so well.

VARVARA LEPCHENKO:  Yeah, I think I didn’t really know that, but I hit a day before with Patrick McEnroe, and he told me, Wow, you’re hitting your forehand amazing.  You should use it during the match against Jelena.

I tried to execute that plan and tried to play my forehand as much as I could.  Yeah, it did help.  I’ve been hearing a lot ‑‑ well, not very consistently, but a lot people keep saying to me, Wow, you’re hitting like a man from your forehand side.  You have a lot of the spin.  A lot girls are hitting flat.

That also gives me a belief in myself that I have something special, that weapon that can help me out.


Q.  You want to talk about the mental battles within that match.  You had a fight‑back in the first set; chances in the second set; a fight again in the third set.  It seemed up and down there, huh?

VARVARA LEPCHENKO:  Well, you know, when I started out, I didn’t really know her game.  Like I’ve never played against her.  I only practiced once on the grass last year.  I couldn’t really remember how she hits the ball.

She started out really well and wasn’t missing and hitting pretty well.  I was still trying to find my game out there.  Once I like got into it, I started playing well and consistently, and just, you know, I went for my shots and everything.

And then in the second set I think I lost the rhythm as well.  Again she started very consistently, she played really good couple of games, but I stick to my game plan.

In the end we had a lot long rallies, so it wasn’t mental.  It was more physical.  She hit couple lucky shots and I missed couple shots that were supposed to be in and was very close to the line.

So I lost that, but I knew that now we’re even in the third set, so it’s just a matter of who’s going to battle it out and stay in the match.

And plus, I’ve already been through those kind of matches, so I had an experience that was not that long ago in Madrid where I would be up in the second set and I would lose and I would come back again.

Just like the first round, same.  I was up and I lost, and then I had to stay mentally tough in the third, forget about the second and first set and just keep playing.

That’s what I did.


Q.  So you closed out a former No. 1 at Roland Garros, getting the furthest you ever have.  Is that the biggest victory of your career now, biggest win?

VARVARA LEPCHENKO:  I don’t know.  I think in my opinion, I feel like beating Pennetta last year was one of the biggest wins for me.  And also beating Francesca in Madrid was one of the toughest matches for me as well.  I had to recover for three days after that.  (Smiling.)

Yeah, that was one ‑‑ you know, having that experience, beating top players, helped me out today, helped me in the match.

I believed in myself; I believed that I could do it.


Q.  During the match you were at times vocal and demonstrative.  Is that a way for you to feed off the adrenaline and use your energy to the maximum?

VARVARA LEPCHENKO:  Yeah.  My dad was like, You know, you seem like you’re not interested in the match.  You’re not like jumping around.  All the girls are jumping around, and you’re just kind of like walking from one side to the other.  Show a little bit of interest.

And it was important for me because I really want that victory, so that’s why I think I showed a little bit more emotion than I did before.


Q.  I know you’re trying to put it out of your mind, but one more Olympic question.  For a lot of players, if they’ve come to a new country, representing that country is even more important than representing the country they came from.  Would that be the case for you?

VARVARA LEPCHENKO:  Oh, yeah, definitely.  I been dreaming to represent USA at least at the Fed Cup.  I never get a chance, but I told Mary Joe that I’m going to work hard and I deserve to be on the team and that I can play well.  I really want to represent USA at any stage.

Olympics, you know, I never ‑‑ I don’t think I ever dreamt about it in my life, even when I was a kid.  It was more Grand Slams.  But I never thought ‑‑ especially USA.  Of course it would be an incredible feeling.