Interview of the day – Akgul Amanmuradova

24 September 2009

By Sunder Iyer
On behalf of the Tashkent Open Media Team

Uzbekistan’s top player Akgul Amanmuradova did not let down her fans , reaching the last of the Tashkent Open. Coming through a third set tiebreak win lasting 2 hrs 40 mins against Ekaterina Bychkova , she spoke to the media team.

Congratulations, How does it feel, winning today winning a close encounter on your home turf ?
Akgul :
Today is a big day for me to win here in Tashkent , my home town. I’m thrilled to have taken revenge over Byckova who had defeated me in France a few weeks back. Had I won the match I would have quailifed for the US Open,
But it is sweet victory and worked very hard today for the win.

Probably this was the longest match you’ve ever played in Tashkent in the last eight years?
Smiles, I Think Bychkova is a very good player and she deserves all praise for her performance today. The way she has being playing it is solid, she’s a fighter and I had to really fight hard for a win. I’m happy to have won such a long match. The other thing is that this win is going to give me a lot of confidence about my game.

You played patchy tennis, being on top at one moment and then hitting the bottom almost instantly ?
Akgul :
Frankly the whole of the year I’ve been playing patchy tennis, it’s not only this match. Earlier I used to be playing 2 meters behind the baseline. But my coach has been asking me to be more aggressive and move on to the net.

You see I’m not to young to adapt immediately, and this takes time, also I’ve not had time to stop and work on the game, but all the practice takes place during matches and the spare time. So I have to keep trying in matches and that’s when mistakes occur.

I’m happy that the changes are working and are surely positive and helping my game better. I’m more aggressive now and even today my aggression helped me to win important points, which tilted the advantage to my favour.

What are other things you’re working on?
Akgul :
I have to work on my focus, today on the circuit everyone is the same player , standards are same , but the mentally stronger players achieve more . I’m improving my mental toughness.

You have lost your singles rankings, but your doubles rankings have improved?
Yes I’m having my best doubles ranking of my career, Like I said I’m working on a new game and this is perfect for doubles, and the results are also showing and so are my rankings in doubles .

What are you’re goals short term and long term?
To do well at this Tournament is my first priority. Then we have few challengers and the Kremlin Cup. The idea is to stop playing tournaments in November so we will have enough time to practice and start the New Year on bright note at the Australian Open.

The long term is to improve my best singles ranking, by early next year. We took a break and worked on the game, I’m sure that the remaining year will see me back on track.

It was great to watch so many people come to watch you play today and cheer for you?
It’s a good so many people came to watch the match on their own, The crowd support helped me morally and I’m surely not going to let them down . Also for the youngsters watching there was a lesson” If one keeps fighting results will come”

Any thoughts about the next match ?

Akgul :
Every match and opponent is tough , next I’m playing Voegele , she’s smart player and has a solid game . I’ll have to stay focused, I’ve a slight advantage as I have won our earlier encounter , But I’m giving it all
for sure.