Qualifying begins: 20 June
The Draw: 24 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 25 & 26 June
Order of Play: 26 June
Championships begin: 27 June
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Svetlana Kuznetsova speaks to the media after her 6-7(1), 6-2, 8-6 win over Sloane Stephens
Q. What are your thoughts about getting through and now facing Serena Williams?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, I mean, it's a great thing to play Serena, you know, in Wimbledon. It's a great match. I'm really happy about it. She will be the favorite, but, you know, I enjoy playing that kind of matches. I will just try to do my best.
And today match was a really tough one. I expected to be that way. I think Sloane played great. I also had slightly ups and downs from both of us, I would say.
I had some opportunities in the first set which I didn't take. She took it. Then I was hanging in there in the second one. In the third set I had breaks up. Then Sloane get on. I mean, it was great match for me. I just tried hang there all the time. It's great. It's close match, but somebody takes a win. I'm happy it was me.
Q. How would you describe the history of your matches with Serena and also your relationship?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, it's really hard to have a good, any relationship while you're playing.
You know, I have respect for her. I don't know, we're great, I would say. Matchup, I don't know, we had couple of tough matches. It's gonna be exciting.
Q. It's been a while since you made the second week at Wimbledon. How does it feel?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: This is because of rain, right? (Laughter.) It's great. It's great. I have difficult friendship with the grass. This year and every year I try to convince myself that I can do well. I see opportunities. But last year I didn't take them. This year it went better. So I'm looking forward for next match and just try to enjoy.
Q. In some cultures rain is actually good luck. I don't know if that's the case in Russia or not.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Oh, I have no idea.
Q. I don't know if you had a chance to look at all at the Djokovic upset loss on Friday night, but how does the idea of somebody who's thought of as almost unbeatable like that, how does that mentality affect others in the tournament? When you go against Serena, for example, does something like that click in your mind that a door is open, perhaps?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I don't like to compare people, you know. Definitely Serena is No. 1 and she's winning a lot, but she has nothing to do with Novak. I mean, we're all humans and it shows one more time that you can lose, you're not perfect.
For me, which I read last night, I'm not sure if it's true, I think it's first time out of seven years he doesn't go through the second week. I mean, it's amazing, you know. It's amazing achievement from Novak.
I mean, he'll be fine, better than that, for sure. So don't have to worry. Some upsets happen. It's one more time. Nobody is unbeatable. So, yeah.
Q. You and Serena have both been around for a while. You're 31 and Serena is 34. Do you feel you have any sort of special connection...
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Of age? (Laughter.) Maybe I have seen her around enough and also in the pictures and on the posters, but also winning tournaments.
I don't know. I mean, if I look back and I remember many years, I can remember many things happen, you know, where we hang out out of the courts and on the courts.
We seen each other for more times than I see other girls. Of course, if you're different age group, I would say, you have more things kind of in common. You look at the things with the same view position, I would say.
Some young girls, they do some things, and we kind of older one, we look at them, like, Okay. You need some experience. You know, like that. Nothing. It's all respectful. All great.
Q. When you look back at the matches you have won against Serena, what did it take to beat her?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: The thing is it's not about winning or losing. It's about playing. It's a game, you know. You win or lose. When you go step on the court, you don't think about the end result, you know. You just think about point by point.
Of course I have to play great to beat her, to play good, you know. It always depends on me and on her. It's both of us.
Definitely she will be favorite. But for me, it's another opportunity to enjoy and to play good.
Q. A lot is made of the new generation of young tennis players in the women's game, but you and Serena have shown that you have to work hard if anyone wants to get above you.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, it's great, it's great.
Serena is a great example for everybody who is in this, who are over 30, I'd say, in the fourth generation of our tenth year. Actually, great. She's No. 1 dominating, because before, if you're like 30, I heard some times in the interview, you're veteran. I'm like veteran? I'm 30.
Yeah, I have been around. It's great.
For young girls, they have to step up, you know, to be as good as Serena or somebody like her.
Q. When you were walking off the court, looked like you gave a towel to Sloane. What was going on there? What is your thought about the towels here?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No, I mean, we have mutual respect. We're great. We talk, we hang out out of the court. I just had three towels and she had one. Ball boy, I guess, he was concerned and whatever in the rush, you know, like, trying to do the best.
By the way, they're great. They gave me the towel of Sloane, because the guy came from that side and another one brought me towels. Sloane's towel. That's why I just give it back.
Q. That was a really excellent hug that you had with her. Big respect.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Quality was good? (Smiling).
Q. Very fine quality.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah, I mean, I got all respect for her. I think she does the same for me. When I was coming to the net, I had no thoughts. My thoughts was Hawk Eye call. I was praying it to go out. I was not sure what I saw.
And then I saw her like having hands like that, so definitely I hug her. Great, great sportsmanship. I think it's great example for the next generation, you don't have to have hate for each other. It's all about peace, not war.
We have to show it, because sometimes they mix sport with politics. It's very important that we show for next generations that, you know, it's out of that, you know. Give good example.
Q. You're saying sport and politics is especially important for a Russian player to be hugging American player?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: That has nothing to do with our countries. This is the thing, you know. Here we are united. Doesn't matter what country you are. We have difficult relationship with Ukraine now, Russia. But we have nothing to do with that. We are doing sports. We are out of politics.
We are really true athletes who work hard every day. We don't depend on politics. It's great we have protection from WTA tour and ITF. We are independent, you know. It's not something like any of countries, if they have politic problems, doesn't matter for us. We are out of politics. We are for healthy sportsmanship. That's important.
Q. On that front, what do you make of the problems the Russian team has had regarding the Olympics coming into Rio?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Oh, I say, this is, for me, politics, you know. Suddenly everything has to go against Russia. Somebody in Russia, they're all bad, and all the world is good. For me, it's a little bit funny.
I have nothing to do with that. I hope they resolve it. And the clean athletes who deserve to go to Olympics, they will go. For me, I think this is the key.
It's some problems, but I hope we overcome it and it's gonna be good.
Q. You said it's a little bit funny. What about the fairness of it, in your estimation?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Oh, it's really hard. I have not been following it a lot to have a good, to give you a good decision, a good thought about it, you know. There have been too many stories to talk about them all together in one.
So I just really hope that all athletes who deserve to be there will go. Not because of another rivals in their sport, they use something which is not allowed to use, you know.
If, for example, if Isinbayeva didn't use it, she proves it, she can go. That's what I stand for.
Q. What do you think the lasting effect will be of Maria Sharapova's situation?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Oh. I don't know. I guess they applied to have appeal, and I think the people who are there, who making decisions, this is the choice to say what's gonna happen. They have to take a decision.
For me, it's very hard to judge, you know. I think Maria did good that she said it out loud. That's then they have to judge themself what's gonna happen.
Q. Was it special playing on middle Sunday? Was there anything different that maybe you say in 10 years' time, Oh, I played on middle Sunday at Wimbledon?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I mean, yeah, next time I think in 10 years, the kids will say, Oh, it's rain, we play fifth time like other girls did 10 years. But they don't remember who we were because I don't remember who played last time Sunday.
But it's great. It's just different.