"The pressure I put on myself because I really wanted to win.
"I just didn't handle it. I was a little bit desperate on the court, and didn't do the things that I had to do. I didn't stay tough mentally. I lost myself."
--Dinara Safina, the world's number one ranked women's tennis player, after losing 6-4 6-2 to fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova on Saturday, June 6, 2009.
In a clue as to her pre-match mental mindset Safina had said before the final, "How much proof do I need to give to people that I deserve to be number one?" Safina had been irritated about criticism concerning whether she deserved to be ranked at the top. Perhaps that was where the excessive pressure came from.
Kuznetsova took advantage of the No. 1-ranked Safina's nerves and frequent errors and won the French Open final, a 74-minute match which ended with Safina's seventh double-fault.
"She was too tight. She had so much pressure on her. I just played the match. It was just one more match. ... Definitely it was a lot of emotions inside of me, but I control it."
--Svetlana Kutnetsova, 2004 U.S. Open champion.
So, what has Safina learned having now funished runner-up in the season's opening two majors?
"Not to put so much pressure on myself."
Excerpts from Reuters and Yahoo.com (June 7, 2009)
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