Last year you put in an amazing effort, you got to the finals. What do you think is different this year?
Last year I had just started working with my coach and we both know each other much better now. I’m really looking forward to this time.
What do you love about the Australian Open? What makes it different from other Grand Slams?
Every time you come here they always say “Welcome back!” so you feel at home. Also people are always doing the same job so you know exactly where you can find them!
You obviously stay at Crown every time you’re here, what are your favorite spots around the city?
Melbourne has the best Chinese restaurants, doesn’t matter if it’s in Crown or Chinatown. It’s very tough to find real Chinese food out of China. I think Melbourne has the best. Sometimes I’ll stay in the hotel to have Chinese food – I really like the two Chinese restaurants and the teppankyaki place, KoKo – and sometimes I will go to Chinatown with the other Chinese players. We all find the time and we go together.
What is one thing you eat the most of while you’re playing in Grand Slams?
I really love to have spicy food but I also worry about the next day…(laughs). So I always eat pretty simply before I play.
Is there anything you do to make yourself feel prepared and confident for a match?
Nothing. Just say to myself “I will do this. I won’t do that.”
What has been the hardest moment in your career thus far?
Right after I won the French Open in 2011, the second half of that year was the worst time for me. I didn’t do very well and so many people said “she was just lucky, she won the grand slam” and they pushed me down. I am so happy now. I stood up again.
You are Asia’s biggest tennis star, do you feel a lot of that pressure or does it give you more confidence to have all those people behind you?
In the beginning I was feeling a lot of pressure because I didn’t have any experience and I didn’t know what to do. Now I know exactly what to do. I’m really happy about life right now.
When you’re playing and people shout things out, can you hear it?
If you’re focused on court you can’t hear anything, but if you lose focus you can hear everything even if it’s far away.
Who would you say is your closest friend on the tour?
Every player on tour can come together to eat but most of the time I just like to have dinner with my team.
After a match what is the first thing you do to relax?
Cool down, go on the bike – doesn’t matter if it was an easy or tough match, you need to relax with a stretch. Of course, I eat to recover.
If you could have one dream doubles partner, who would it be?
Wow, that’s a tough choice! I’d like to have Daniela Hantuchova or Petra Kvitova.
If you weren’t a tennis player what do you think you would be doing?
A housewife! It’s my dream! I’m always travelling over the world so I really wish, if I retire, that I can have a bit more time with my family and friends.
Do you have a sport that you like to watch and play other than tennis?
I always play golf but I think I have the wrong technique. After I hit it I always get blisters so I said to myself “Stop and focus on your tennis!”
Is there anything that you would like to do while you’re here in Melbourne that you haven’t done in previous years?
Win the title? (Laughs) Because last year I felt I had a big chance and tried as best as I could on the court so I wish for one more chance this year.