E. BALTACHA/K. Knapp 4‑6, 6‑4, 6‑0



Q.  Happy girl?

ELENA BALTACHA:  Yeah, I’m very happy.  Very, very happy for two things, of course:  One, you know, coming through that match it was tough; didn’t particularly start well.  Very tricky opponent.

I managed to get myself in the second set.  I know she had that little bit of a slip, but I think sometimes as well when you’re not sure how injured they are, know what you’re gonna do, how you’re going to play them.  That was a little bit tricky.

I managed to kind of get the second set done.  Felt like I played better, but was struggling with the serve.  I think it’s probably because I haven’t served for the last five days because I had a neck problem last week.  That probably had something to play on that.

But then, do you know what?  Third set started and I felt like I was kind of me, in a way.  I played well and I fought, and I was very, very delighted to have won that and to come through that being a set down.

As well, I was very, very emotional at the end, especially with Judy.  She told me that I got the wildcard for the Olympics.  I just really want to say thanks a lot to the ITF and the committee for giving me a place.

Q.  You didn’t know till she told you that?

ELENA BALTACHA:  I didn’t know.  And I’m glad no one told me before, to be honest, because I would have been all over the place.

But, yeah, it was just amazing news.  I think that’s why we both just started crying our eyes out, yeah.


Q.  Can you tell us what that wildcard means.

ELENA BALTACHA:  The last few months it’s been on my mind, because obviously I was British No. 1 and I had 250 points coming off on the Monday straight after Paris.  I got Sam Stosur, which was a nightmare of a draw at Roland Garros.  I knew that the points were going to come off.  I knew I wasn’t going to be No. 1 anymore.  I knew I wouldn’t have got in on that.

Yeah, I mean, like, you know, 11 years I have played at Fed Cup, and, you know, I just really wanted a spot.  I really wanted to, you know, get an opportunity to play at the Olympics to represent, you know, my country.

Yeah, I mean, I just can’t explain to you how amazing it feels, you know, all my hard work over the last so many years and, you know, all the time I have played Fed Cup.  Everything has just been so, so worth it.  I’m really honored and privileged that I have been given that chance.


Q.  So last night what was weighing on your mind?  This match was weighing on your mind and that?

ELENA BALTACHA:  Yeah.  But do you know what?  I came to the point where ‑‑ because the last probably month was quite difficult, you know.  I have been having so many discussions with my coach, Nino Severino.  Whatever fate has got in store, it’s got in store for you.

Kind of the last couple of weeks I’ve kind of just said, You know what?  I’m not even going to really like think about it, because otherwise I would have just worked myself up and it would have just completely just not done me any good at all.

Honestly, and this is the truth, I haven’t actually ‑‑ I was like, Do you know what?  I’m just going to, like, whatever, whatever.

Of course this morning I knew that they were going to make a decision and I was aware of it, but as soon as I went into my match, I thought, Do you know what?  It doesn’t matter, because whatever way I’ve just got to concentrate on, I’ve got to get the job done.

And even after the match I wasn’t thinking about it until Judy mentioned it.


Q.  Can you describe the moments after the match, how you were told, and exactly what the conversation was, please.

ELENA BALTACHA:  Yeah.  I mean, I was quite emotional anyway to have won that match.  Then, yeah, I went straight over to my team.  Then, yeah, just giving hugs.  And then Judy kind of leant over and said, I’ve got another really good news for you.  You have been given a spot at the Olympics.  That was it.  That was when I was completely ‑‑ just tears were going everywhere.  Same with Judy.

So, yeah, and then we just kind of hugged and that was it, really.  That was enough for her to say that and that was it.  That really kind of made me blubber.


Q.  (Off microphone.)

ELENA BALTACHA:  Yeah, she did.  Eleanor is kind of going, yeah, she did.  I think I was the only one that didn’t know.  I think the camp probably knew, but I didn’t know.  So I’m glad.  I’m glad they didn’t tell me before.


Q.  You said about the neck thing, is it fair to say it’s been a difficult few weeks?

ELENA BALTACHA:  Do you know what?  Definitely the last three weeks have been a complete and utter nightmare.  I mean, Nottingham was not too bad, but going from grass to indoors took a bit of strain on my foot.  I was actually a little bit panicky because I thought, Oh, my gosh.  If this is the first week on the grass, how is it going to be for the next three weeks, especially going into Wimbledon?

Then the second week we traveled from Nottingham.  Very long story, very funny story, but basically I got an eye infection, and that was a real nightmare.  Couldn’t train for a few days.  Then finally got on and my eye was going blurry.  I didn’t know what was going on, and then it settled down.

Then I hurt my neck and needed an MRI scan.  It showed a few things on there, but we have managed to keep it under control.  I actually didn’t practice for five days.

So on the Sunday when I pulled out, went home, didn’t hit up until Saturday.  I arrived at Wimbledon Saturday; had my first hit; and have been trying to get as many hits as I can, but as well trying to look after my neck.  So I didn’t overdo it.  It’s been a complete and utter nightmare.

But do you know what?  That’s sport.  Sometimes that happens.  You can’t control the injuries.  You try and do the best that you can to somehow get ready, and through all of that I have managed to ‑‑ thankfully I have managed to come through today.

And it was a real amazing feeling when I found out about the Olympics.


Q.  The tears were tears of frustration and all that?

ELENA BALTACHA:  Yeah.  I think everything I’ve been feeling over the past three weeks, I mean, that’s all come out in those tears.  Yeah, I’m very, very ‑‑ I’m a very, very happy girl you can say.


Q.  When you look back at the photos and the video of the moment you were told by Judy Murray, what do you think you’ll feel in your head and your heart?

ELENA BALTACHA:  I think I’ll probably start crying again as soon as I see it.  No, I mean, I’ll always remember that.  You know, that was kind of when I found out that I’m going to be an Olympian.  I still can’t explain what that means to be part of ‑‑ you’re talking about the elite people in the whole world who are going to be in one place and doing their sport.

Honestly, I can’t explain to you just what a feeling that is to be part of that.


Q.  Petra Kvitova is up next.  You think that’s going to be on Centre Court?



Q.  Can you remind us if you’ve played there much before, what do you feel about possibly being on that court?

ELENA BALTACHA:  I have played on Centre three times.  Just absolutely amazing.  Just get very overwhelmed every time I play on there.  Actually, I played four times including doubles.  Three singles, one doubles.

I have played on Court 1, as well.  Again, just amazing courts.  To think the players that have played on there, to have an opportunity to play there, I just love it every time.  I just love it.

Kvitova, I’ve played her a few times.  I have actually got a win against her, but that was quite a few years ago.  Obviously, I mean, look, she’s won this tournament last year, so I know I’m up against it before I even go out.

But, look, I’m going to absolutely love every second, regardless how many winners she hits past me.  I’m going to give it everything I can.

Realistically have I got a shot?  Probably not if she’s on.  But, look, you never know.  She might wake up and get out of bed on the wrong foot.  She might be carrying an injury.  I don’t know.

As long as I can get myself fully fit for the match, go out there and believe I can win, you never know what can happen.  Maybe the stars will come together for me and something’s going to happen.  You never know.


Q.  Have you found this is a place that’s lifted you in the past because of the crowd support, or it has actually daunted you?

ELENA BALTACHA:  First time I played on Centre I remember crying for probably an hour before I went on.  It wasn’t because I was scared.  It was because I was just really overwhelmed with the fact that they’ve put me on such a big court.

You know, because obviously when I was growing up watching Wimbledon and watching all the big stars that were on there, just overwhelmed me the fact that I had an opportunity to be on the same court.

Yeah, and then the second time I played on it, same thing again.  I was just so excited.  Again, I’ll just be very, very excited.  I won’t feel scared.  And plus being at home, home Grand Slam, you get so much support.  You know, it will just be an amazing atmosphere.


Q.  And quite a way to end your career possibly.  I know you’ve said in the past this might be your final year.

ELENA BALTACHA:  Do you know what?  This is the honest truth:  I just go week by week now.  I remember before, I said last year, yeah, you know, after the Olympics.

But do you know if I’m fit, if I’m healthy, then I don’t know.  All I’m doing, I’m just going on a week‑to‑week basis how I’m feeling, how I’m training, and that’s actually when I will decide is just what happens.  That’s it.  That’s how I’m going on right now.


Q.  What do you remember your feelings were when you watched either in person or on TV when Kvitova won last year and was celebrating in the post match?

ELENA BALTACHA:  I was really happy for her and she really deserved it.  She’s a very good player, very classy.  She’s got a fantastic game on the grass.

Look, I was very, very happy for her.  She really deserved it.  Hopefully she’s not going to play as well against me in two days’ time.

But, no, I’m sure everyone watched that final, all the tennis players watched the final, and were really ecstatic for her.


Q.  You had some treatments.  What was the problem?

ELENA BALTACHA:  Yeah, my hip got a bit stuck, just got a little bit tight, and I sometimes just find that on the grass that your hips and your lower back get a little bit locked.  It was just giving me pain into my knee.  It wasn’t actually my knee, but the strapping around my knee helped ease the pain and just a little bit of work on my hip.

So, yeah, I mean, it’s nothing.  Nothing serious.