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The Bondarenko: "We're communicating better"

Vincent DAVOLI
Sunday 10 Febuary 2008 at 15h58
With successive titles at the Australian Open and the Open Gaz de France, the Bondarenko sisters attribute their current success to a better mutual understanding. (Photo: Panoramic)  

Alona, Kataryna, this is your second consecutive title this year.  What has changed in the way you prepare for tournaments?
: (Laughs) Not very much!  Before maybe we didn't fight as hard!  We just try to play our game and fight a little more than before. 

You must feel unbeatable after these two consecutive titles?
Alona: We'll see if we've become unbeatable.  This year, we're fighting harder on the court and are communicating better.  Sometimes in the past, we had a hard time staying focused.  We're trying to move past that and focus better out there. 

Alona, your left thigh is bandaged.  What is bothering you?
: Nothing serious.  I was just feeling a little fatigued because we didn't have much time off after winning in Australia. 

Some people have compared you to the Williams sisters. What do you think?
Alona: I don't think that's true.  The only thing we have in common is that we're sisters.

Does victory taste sweeter when it's a family affair?
: Yes, definitely!
Kateryna:  Absolutely!  (Laughs)

Is it hard when you two have to play against each other?
: For me, it is really hard because I always think I can't beat her because she's the oldest!

Were you just as strong with your third sister, Valeria?
: I don't know.  When I played with Valeria, it took us less time to start playing well together.  In the beginning with Kateryna, we had a hard time understanding each other on the court.  But now that we've been playing together for two years, the on-court communication has improved. 

Valeria is the oldest and was the first to come on tour.  Does she give you advice?
Kateryna: From time to time.  Sometimes, she even coaches us a little.

Does such a strong showing in doubles make singles loses easier to handle?
Alona: I think they are completely different.  The game is not the same, and on-court feelings are very different.
Kateryna: I agree with my sister.
Alona: Like always! (Laughs)

Are the Olympic Games among your goals for this year?  Or, are you both working on your individual ranking more?
Alona: Right now, we're playing some very good doubles.  I think we can maintain our level until the Olympics, but playing singles is still the priority. 
Kateryna: We're going to try to do a bit of both.

Translated by Timothy Aaron Priest

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