Saturday, September 5, 2015
D. YOUNG/V. Troicki
4-6, 0-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-4
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You mentioned on court you’ve been working more and more on your conditioning, which has shown in the last three matches. When you say you’re working more, is it more hours, better quality?
DONALD YOUNG: I think it’s a combination of both. But it’s just actually going a little harder. I mean, doing it consistently, not just for a period of time and then stopping for a while. I can kind of tail off and go away.
It’s just keeping it up and kind of topping off every once in a while when I’m home. It’s just doing it on a more consistent basis, I would say.
Q. How do you feel physically after what you went through? How much gas do you have left in the tank?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, no, right now obviously I’m slightly tired. But I have a day off, just mixed doubles tomorrow. Hopped in the ice bath. The legs are feeling pretty good already. I’m looking forward to going out there and battling again. I’m sure it’s going to be a battle. Every match is going to be one. I’m happy to be able to push forward. This is what you put the hours in the gym for.
Q. Emotionally? Some unbelievable tennis you’re playing out there.
DONALD YOUNG: No, I’m feeling great. Honestly I’m choosing not to look at the phone much. It’s vibrating in my pocket as we talk. I’m trying to keep focused, stay with the people that are around, that have been here the whole time, not get too caught up in everything else.
At the end we can all talk about it, talk to my friends. Right now it’s business, work to do. I’m looking forward to it.
Q. Giving the Grandstand a final send-off before they rip it down.
DONALD YOUNG: That’s what it turned out to be. I was kind of disappointed I was out there at first. I was pretty upset the first two sets.
Things turned around. The crowd was awesome. They made the court feel like home, like 17 to me. Those fans honestly are the reason I was able to win. If that match would have probably been somewhere else, we probably wouldn’t be sitting here talking.
Q. You’re not afraid to express your emotions out there. Do you feel like that helps you get better?
DONALD YOUNG: I don’t know. I’m trying to work on being a little more even-keeled. But me not showing any emotion is not the best for me. I’ve tried that. It kind of bottles up, and then at some point explodes. So to let it out every once in a while and not in too-harsh or crazy ways, it’s been something that I’ve been working on. I’ve been working on the mental part as well. It’s definitely improving. It’s not where I want it to be, but it’s on the way, on the track I want it to be on.
Q. Do you have to do anything going forward with your back?
DONALD YOUNG: No. Every once in a while it needs a little adjusting. It kind of like shifts a little bit. But nothing that can’t be fixed and nothing I haven’t been on top of before.
Yeah, I think I’ll be fine.
Q. You weren’t just down two sets. You were coming off of a second set where you got bageled and you had 13 points in the whole six games. What are you telling yourself before the third set starts?
DONALD YOUNG: Honestly, those two sets were over. I just kind of had to keep feeling. I felt like I was in the first set. Even though I lost 6-0, I had game points in the games. I felt like I still had more to give. The body allowing me to go ahead, a lot more to give. I was going to give it. If that was enough, I would win. If it wasn’t, I would be satisfied with going out there and competing my butt off.
Q. For people that haven’t heard your name in a couple years, what do you feel you’ve shown about Donald Young in this tournament so far?
DONALD YOUNG: Improvement. Resilience. I’ve kind of been beat up. I’ve beat up myself. I’ve kind of been down. I’ve had good times, bad times. Just some resilience and fighting. Hopefully it’s not over and there’s more to come.
Q. Earlier in the season before you got the Davis Cup call, you talked about how you were feeling like you were peaking. Do you still feel like that?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, I still have a while to go. Look at the guys that are doing well. They’re like 33. I’m 26. I feel kind of good, even though I’ve been playing quite a while.
Definitely feeling good about myself. I’m finally feeling like really good overall about everything. I’m still not where I want to be, like I said. But it’s definitely an improvement. I’m feeling quite good.
Q. As a black man, how did it feel to be out there during the match, after the match, to hear the USA chant?
DONALD YOUNG: First of all, as an American, it felt good, not just as a black guy.
To your question, it’s awesome to see the fans, multicultural, all different walks of life out there cheering for you, chanting the U.S. and the wave. You feel great to be an American. I love playing here. I love hearing my name called.
Again, to be a black guy is great. I appreciate everything and all the fans that come out to support me. But it definitely was a group effort out there today of everyone. I appreciate it and I hope they all come back the next rounds.
Q. The book on you for a long time was that you had a lot of skill and talent but you were a little bit short in power on the weapons side. You’ve been talking about working in the gym. You’ve bulked up a little bit. Tell us a little bit about how that’s impacted your game, your shots, what you think that might have done for your game, what we can expect from you in the future.
DONALD YOUNG: The basis of my game has been outmaneuvering the guy, putting him in awkward positions. When I was younger, even in juniors, I was 10 years old playing the 14s, or 12 playing the 16s. I was always smaller than the guys so I had to find a way to defuse the power, do something different.
I’m never going to be one of the guys like Isner or some of the guys who are a lot taller than me. I’m not going to be hitting a ton of aces, I’m not going to be slapping you off the court. I’m going to have to find other ways.
Fitness was a way that could actually give me an edge or something that would let me compete with the guys. I’ve definitely been working on that. That’s something you can definitely control 100% yourself. You can’t control what the other guy does, but you can control how your body is, how much work you put in, how strong you can be, and that’s what I’m trying to do.
Q. Do you feel like you’re hitting a heavier ball?
DONALD YOUNG: Definitely. For a longer period of time. I’m able to do it not just for an hour or two but three hours, and four if I have to go that long. That’s what I have to do. I’m not going to hit a guy off the court. I’m going to have to use some guile and come in and use some different shots.
Q. You love self-help books. Talk about some of the ones you picked up.
DONALD YOUNG: It’s kind of a secret. Can’t really give those away.
But I did get a Christmas present. It was Tony Dungy’s book. It was great. I’ve been reading that. I’ve had it two years. I’m kind of in the middle now. I’ve been saving it. But it’s an awesome book about being a great human being, respectful, competing. He talks about his life, family. I’m enjoying that quite a bit. The other ones, they helped me out quite a bit, but I don’t want to give them away.
Q. Talk about your practice sessions with Sampras years ago. Did that change things for you?
DONALD YOUNG: That was great. Anytime you can get on the court with one of the best players ever is awesome. For him to hit with me — I was actually late, and apparently he never stays for anyone when they’re more than five minutes late. He kind of waited for me. I got there, and as soon as he got out of the car he called me a princess. We were playing points. I beat him in a couple of baseline games. The serve hasn’t gone away.
He said he expected to see some really big things from me. That was big to hear from a guy like that. Those things haven’t come yet. Hopefully they will arrive. I’m going to give it all I have. At the end of the day I can look myself in the mirror and say I’ve given it all I have.
Q. I’ve seen the hashtag before. What does it mean?
DONALD YOUNG: It just means Young in Motion. Something me and my friends came up with. I want it to move to the point where it helps kids stay active. Right now it’s a hashtag, us talking. It’s almost like young people traveling the world doing things that most people aren’t privileged to do. I’ve been extremely blessed. My friends have as well. I really appreciate it. It’s kind of something that has caught on.
Q. The organization is forever trying to find the next, the next, the next always. Are they going about it the right way? If you were the emperor of tennis, how would you go about finding the next one, going into the city?
DONALD YOUNG: I thought they moved on from me (laughter).
I don’t know. Honestly I think it’s doing a good job. We have a great young crop of kids coming up. You have the Frances Tiafoes, you have the Taylor Fritz, the Reilly Opelkas, Stefan Kozlov, they’re doing well. Then you have guys a little older than that.
As many kids that can get a racquet in their hand, it seems like a cool sport, it gets on TV more, you see people that are cool playing it, it doesn’t seem so much as a country club sport, it will be pretty cool.
When guys see someone they can relate to, whatever demographic they come from, that brings kids to come to play.
Me growing up, my parents were around. I wanted to hit and play. I was in a good environment. A lot of kids don’t even get introduced to it. I think it’s about introducing the kid to it, playing a bunch of sports when you’re young. Whatever one you enjoy the most you keep playing.
Q. You’re doing a great job of fighting hard. Where is the fighting coming from?
DONALD YOUNG: I don’t want to go home actually. I mean, more matches, more money, it’s a lot of things to fight for. I’ve kind of had a lot of times when I didn’t fight. I’ve done that. Why keep doing that? Do something else.
I’m working hard to keep fighting. I’m actually enjoying it. I’m enjoying it.
The battle here, the crowd, it’s awesome. It’s actually quite fun. Not going down two sets to love, but showing you can fight and come back is a great feeling at the end of the day.
Q. You and Isner going into the second week of the slam, first time two American men are in the second week for a long time. A lot of women on the other side. Is that cool? Does that matter? Is it helping the crowd?
DONALD YOUNG: I mean, that’s great. We’re in the U.S. Americans want to see Americans on TV. That’s the thing. I know growing up, I wanted to see Americans on TV, which were Agassi, Sampras, Courier, McEnroe, those guys.
It’s awesome for John and I. He’s been doing it longer than me and more consistently. For me to get in there every once in a while and hopefully become consistent, it’s awesome.
The women are holding it down pretty well. You have Serena, Venus, Madison, Sloane. You have a ton of really good girls.
For the guys to get in there, it’s definitely great.
Q. When you’re down, what do you draw upon to bring yourself back within a match? What are the qualities that you think are most important for that?
DONALD YOUNG: My box, my team, the crowd. I mean, here it’s really the crowd, everyone. They really don’t let you like go away. They kind of keep you pumped up. Grandstand and 17, such an intimate environment. Once the crowd gets going, you start playing better. It’s almost like the other guys playing two versus one. They jump on him, boo him if he’s taking an extra five seconds, lifting you up, getting a rub on the back. It’s an awesome feeling.
It’s really the fans honestly. They’re amazing. They really are tennis savvy, know what they’re watching and what they’re doing.
Q. When you see Serena Williams continually come back, what are your observations of what she does to bring herself back?
DONALD YOUNG: She’s just a beast. I think she turns it on whenever she wants to. It’s tough. It’s a lot of pressure. I don’t know exactly what that feels like. I know what pressure feels like. The way she’s handling it is like a true champion. I have nothing but admiration for her and respect the heck out of her. She’s just an awesome player. She can come back. She’s done it so many times in her career. She’s been there. Once you’ve been in a place, you know what it feels like. Once you know what it feels like, you can repeat it.
Q. Roger Federer has decided to go to some new equipment. Have you made any changes in equipment or things like that?
DONALD YOUNG: I switched my racquet at the end of last year. I love the racquet, Tecnifibre 315 TFlight. Honestly, I switched and it’s more of a player’s racquet. I’m enjoying it. Gotten used to it. They’ve been great, giving me whatever I need.
As far as other equipment, clothes are clothes. Racquet is very important. It’s your wand, your weapon, what you go on the court with. I switched that.
Other than that, I’ve just changed me quite a bit. That’s the biggest equipment change.
Q. You mentioned so many players now are peaking in their early 30s. 26 these days is young in the men’s game. It does feel like you’ve been around a long time. Was there a moment when you had that realization that you were still young?
DONALD YOUNG: Yeah, I mean, I never really forgot the fact that when I was 19, I wasn’t going to be good ever. When I was 15, I was supposed to win Wimbledon the next year.
Yeah, it’s always felt like that. I tried to keep it in perspective. The results at a younger age kind of change the perspective a little bit. That’s fine. That’s what happens when you kind of do things at an accelerated pace.
I’m here now, I’m 26. I’m right in the thick of things. That’s when a lot of people start to play well. I’m playing better. I want to continue it. Not just focus on that, focus on myself, constant improvement, little things. I feel like if I can improve things a little bit, it can be more consistent and I can keep moving up.
Q. In all sports, confidence is vital. What do you think it will take for you to win this tournament?
DONALD YOUNG: I’m looking at the next round. I’ll trying to play Stan again (smiling).
But for me ever to win this tournament, it would take, you know, a heck of a lot more than I did today. To do it consistently, not get down two sets to love. Constant improvement.
I’m not there yet to the point where I would even be thinking about sitting here saying that right now I should be winning the tournament. But I’m working on it. Constant improvement. This is improvement for me. If I can keep doing that, hopefully I can put myself in positions in any tournament to get to the final weekend.
Q. As you do your clinics and work with people, you mentioned the country club before, do you think the sport is seen far less as a country club sport than when you were 15 or 16?
DONALD YOUNG: I mean, it’s definitely coming around. The USTA is doing a good job getting it out there to a lot of different communities. I think they have like a real initiative with Hispanics and Latinos. It still could be better. I know people where I’m from, from Atlanta, never held a tennis racquet. The first thing put in their hands is a basketball or a football. It’s just easier. You can go out there and do that anywhere. Soccer ball, you can just go out in a field.
Tennis, you need instruction and some coaching which isn’t free. Tennis is very expensive sport. That holds back a lot of people, the cost. I was lucky enough to have two parents that played. I didn’t really have the cost that it takes for lessons and join the club and pay the membership fee, which is tough. But they’re definitely doing a good job and it’s starting to be a lot better.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Saturday, September 5, 2015
R. FEDERER/P. Kohlschreiber
6-3, 6-4, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. In your post-match interview, you spoke a little bit about facing John Isner’s serve. How would you describe that serve and the biggest challenges about it?
ROGER FEDERER: For some reason I feel like I don’t know it as well. I don’t know how many times we have played against each other. Played Karlovic more and Roddick and Raonic it seems like almost.
But John it’s been once every two years maybe, so I don’t know it that well. He’s got the power. It needs to be, and then clearly because he’s so tall clearly he finds the impossible angles for us, really.
And he’s got a great second serve, as well. Obviously best-of-three-set match he’s even more dangerous. Best-of-five you feel like you have a bit more time, but clearly he can also run three, four, five sets serving great. It’s going to be a tough match.
Q. And how does that power affect your newfound strategy, and to what degree you might employ it?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, the idea is not to use it very much against a player like that. I have done pretty well over the years against big servers, so, I mean, clearly I will think about it, but I don’t think that’s going to be the turning point of the match, to be quite honest. I need to make sure I protect my own serve first.
Q. On the court Pam Shriver addressed this. If I may address it again, you’re keeping a balance with family, social, sightseeing, and playing these great matches. How relaxed do you feel right now?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I feel good. I have had a nice schedule. Played, what was it, early the first day. It was a fast match. So also afternoon and nice evening there.
Then the other day when I played at night I played the first slot. Also fast match. Didn’t get to bed too late. I’m still in a normal schedule, which is good to be. Because if you finish a match like Fognini and Rafa like last night, it’s hard to go to sleep right away. Plus you need treatment and press and everything.
It can be 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning until you fall asleep. Thankfully I haven’t had that. And then today again we are running early, which is great. Plus, still in the tournament, so clearly I am very happy.
Q. Your own serve has been wonderful, and it’s a great contrast to John’s serve. How do you think it can help you in a matchup against him?
ROGER FEDERER: My own serve you mean?
Q. Yes. The way you have been serving, what can it do for you playing him in terms of being able to take care of your serve?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, it’s focusing, you know, point by point serve. It’s in a way that simple. And then clearly taking the right decisions and understanding as you move along in the match. Same for him or for any good server, is to sort of understand the percentages, what has and hasn’t worked so well throughout the match.
You know, in the beginning you try to find the rhythm. Then once you found it, how much do you mix up speeds and slices and big serves, you know, to keep him off balance.
Yeah, I mean, I tend to like the body serve as well. Sometimes against John maybe that’s not a bad play just because he’s very long, and if he picks the right side he has long arms so with easy contact he generates a lot of power.
But like I said, I haven’t played John in a while. I have to look back a little bit at what I have done against him, what he likes to do, and then I can go from there. I still need to talk about it with Stefan and Severin.
Q. The way you serve, can you put pressure on him with your ability to hold, do you think?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think that’s always the goal. Obviously John can hold easy, that we know. That I can hold my serve a lot and stay very focused, that I know as well. That’s part of trying to beat him, as well, is just to stay with him. He also wants to break, and he gets frustrated. Like any other big server, as well, if they can’t get a break, because they also dont want to play breaker after breaker.
We will see how it goes.
Q. I haven’t had a chance to ask you about this new rushing forward on returns.
ROGER FEDERER: Right.
Q. Can you explain about the derivation of how you came up with it, whose idea it was? I have also seen some people worried about what you all called it, if you could explain that a little.
ROGER FEDERER: So when I arrived in Cincinnati, I arrived, I don’t know what time it was, maybe after lunchtime, and then I went for a hit. It was Benoit Paire. He had like an ear problem. I was tired from jet lag. We were tired and practicing on center court, which was great.
Last year I couldn’t practice on center court before my first match. This time I had plenty of time. I think it was Friday and Saturday, I guess. So I put in a lot of hours on center court.
But that time I was very tired and he was tired, and at the end we said, Well, let’s still play some games just because it feels like it’s the right thing to do.
I was going to stop already, but Severin said, Play a few games get used to the conditions. I said, Whatever. Let’s play some games.
And, yeah, at the end we were just kidding around almost, and that’s when I said, Okay, I’m going to chip and charge and just keep the points short. I’m tired. I want to get off the court soon anyway. That’s when I started to run in and hit returns. I hit a couple for a winner. They were like ridiculous. He laughed, I laughed, Severin laughed.
Then I did it again in the next practice just to see if it actually would still work again. Then I tried it the next practice and it still worked. That’s what Severin said, Well, what about using it in a match? I was like, Really? (Laughter.)
So he pushed me to keep using it and not shy away from using it on big moments, and not just because you don’t know how you look with a full stadium. He was actually the one who pushed, you know, pushed me to it.
And because we were always talking about that tactic, as well, we sort of came up with that name, you, know, sneak attack by Roger, ^ saber. I don’t know. Call it Fed attack, call it whatever you want, but I thought it was kind of funny.
And, yeah, today again it worked a couple of times. I didn’t get that many second serves when I thought I could use it, but moving forward it’s an option. Clearly I’m very happy it worked so well in Cincy.
Q. We have not talked about today’s match that much. You had some difficulty with him the last time you played against him. Tell us what you did right or better today against him on court.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, last time was grass. First match on grass for me, and I think he had played Stuttgart earlier. He was more in a grass rhythm already, which made it difficult.
Of course it was the first round for him, as well, in Halle, but he had some matches on grass. Yeah, it was just a close match there. Today I got off with a good start and held my serve throughout the first set.
Then, I don’t know, I lost a little bit on my serve. There was hardly any rallies anymore. I couldn’t play as many rallies as I was hoping to, especially on the return games, because I thought he was doing a good job doing the 1-2 punch. Then that’s not much rhythm, to be quite honest.
I think because of my serve and no rhythm, I might have gotten broken as well a couple of times in sets two and three. It’s exactly those kind of matches I need to win. Especially if I drop serve, I still find a way and I don’t want to say comfortably, but I get maybe a little bit lucky at times, but also push luck on my side.
When I had the opportunities I was effective again. I think I won the big points better than he did today. He’s a quality player, so at the end of the day it’s a really, really good win for me.
Q. You’re always such a big fan favorite here in Flushing, but considering the terrible state of American men’s tennis, do you think it will be even…
ROGER FEDERER: Possibly. I don’t know. I’m looking forward to find out. Played John here in the past. Also I think it was Labor Day weekend. Third round maybe? The crowds were really pumped up to see how massive he was clocking the serves. It was a joke in the first set. I remember that.
Yeah, I expect the crowd to be on his side. If they are on my side, clearly very happy and appreciate that.
That goes also into my preparation, to be quite honest. But I love playing here. People know that. We will see how it’s going to be.
Q. I’d like to know if you had the chance last night to watch a little bit of Fognini and Nadal, if you know that Fognini played 70 winners, and what is your reaction about it? Are you five years younger or five years older than Nadal?
ROGER FEDERER: So the longer the match the more chances to hit winners. That’s No. 1. I’m sure he did a great job, you know. I mean, we know he can hit forehands and backhands huge, you know, Fabio. Same crosscourt, especially when he steps into the court. I’m sure he did that a lot.
I saw, like I said I said on court, I went to see Hamilton. I came back and saw some of the third and then the break in the fourth. So I came I think when Nadal had just broken to go up 3-1 in the third maybe. I didn’t see that much.
When I went to bed clearly thought Rafa was going to bring it home and that was it. Then I heard the news when I woke up. I wish I did see the match because I didn’t expect it to be this thrilling, but that would have been bad preparation for my match today.
So sometimes you have to take those decisions, you know. (Laughter.) Last night I decided to get an hour more sleep or one and a half. I’m happy I did.
Yeah, from what I heard it was very exciting. Yeah, tough for Rafa, but what a great win for Fabio, you know. He’s a great shot maker.
Q. I will ask the same thing. You had said once that Hewitt-Baghdatis taught you never to go to bed during a match.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I missed the end there, too, because at 3:30 I bailed, I think. We do travel far away from home to come here. I love watching tennis, but sometimes you just have to decide, you know, to be professional.
It hurts, but just gotta do it. You don’t want to lose the next day and have regrets. I have done mistakes when I was younger, you know. Play, I don’t know, video games until too late and feel tired the next day, whatever it was.
So I don’t really want to do that anymore. (Smiling.)
Q. When you beat Darcis in the second round he said afterward he felt a bit ridiculous on the court because you reached such a high level. What do you do to challenge yourself to keep improving to reach that level?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, for me it’s about then varying my game, enjoying myself out there. I mean, you know, honestly that’s very important to me, as well, see how aggressive or not can I play, and then really just also work on the concentration. Just make sure you get through the match, no surprises anymore.
Because of the unique scoring system we have in tennis, there is always a reset after each set. You always feel like something could happen and you’re only safe once you get over the finish line.
Everything before that you have to be careful, and that’s kind of how I see it, even sometimes the scoreline is in your favor. It helps to play more freely, but not more than that, really.
Q. Is it also in practice that you really focus and say you don’t get…
ROGER FEDERER: Well, in practice you can do a lot of things. You can actually train harder than what the matches are in terms of — you know, you can decide on the exercises you can do, but you can never quite recreate the intensity.
That’s why you see sometimes guys cramping after two sets or after one set in Davis Cup or in a Grand Slam or in their home tournament, just because they are so excited and they are so tense that it’s not about fatigue or anything. That’s mental stress, you know.
That you cannot recreate in practice, and that’s why it’s important for players to play matches. Even if it’s an exhibition match, sometimes that can just help have people in the stadium, linesman, umpires, ball boys, the whole thing. It creates this unique environment really we like so much.
Saturday, September 5, 2015
R. FEDERER/P. Kohlschreiber
6-3, 6-4, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You have obviously played Roger for many years on many different surfaces. Is he playing as well right now as you have ever seen him play?
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: Well, I thought today the match wasn’t that great. Obviously we had many quick points, also some great rallies, but in general, I didn’t feel that he was unbelievable today.
I felt more that I wasn’t on my best and he was solid and using his knowledge to play the big points well.
Q. So he didn’t seem any different to you in his play style as when you have played in the past?
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: Oh, he always is very aggressive player, of course. Yeah, more solid. He’s attacking, of course, but I didn’t see so many special things today.
Q. He seems to be rushing the net on the returns, though.
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: He tried, but I didn’t felt he did it too much today. I thought it was twice maybe. One was with a let, went over, and one whatever.
But, yeah, he’s aggressive player, aggressive style. Like I mentioned, I thought it was not the best match. That’s how I felt on the court.
Q. Next up Davis Cup. Dominican Republic has never even been in the World Group.
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: So we hope it’s not gonna happen against us. We try to win, of course. Obviously we are the stronger team. We are the favorite in this tie.
It’s tough conditions away from home, but, yeah, we have the chance to stay in the World Group. We have to fight for it, and it’s gonna be not that easy, I would say.
Q. Is it tough when you go in and the expectations are for your team obviously far more experienced and having been in a World Group plenty of times and all that?
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: Well, I’m not thinking about — I mean, on the paper, everything is always very easy, but we all know that, like I mentioned, I mean, we play with the crowd behind them, we play in a different stadium and I have never been there. I hear it’s very high humidity and very hot, so we have to see how we handle the situation, you know.
So advantage for them. We have maybe more the knowledge about the World Group and Davis Cup ties, but, yeah, never should underestimate your opponent. We are aware of that and it’s going to be a tough one.
Q. If I could just add, do you know much about any of their players? Maybe Estrella.
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: Yeah, he’s the only one. Pretty late start in tennis. Very good forehand. He’s playing quite tricky. He’s playing a lot of slice and the powerful forehand. Obviously he’s big No. 1 player. We have to beat him and we have to make the point in doubles against the other opponents.
Saturday, September 5, 2015
V. AZARENKA/A. Kerber
7-5, 2-6, 6-4
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. When you were out injured, how much did you miss some of the feelings that you experienced on the court today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: A lot. Probably the most you can miss when you’re an athlete, not just a tennis player. That intensity, that feeling of the battle, you know, heat of the moment. I don’t know, personally that’s what I live for.
Q. So how did it feel out there experiencing it today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It was great. You know, every moment was really intense and tough. I just tried to stay focused and tried to give my best at every point.
You know, she was playing incredible. She was pushing me. I was pushing her. So, you know, from both sides it was just head-to-head. It was amazing, I think.
Q. At what point out there, or did it ever cross your mind, you were a part of something special there?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, every moment to me is special. Just being able to go out there and fight hard and compete, it’s exciting.
I don’t ever want to take it for granted that I go on Arthur Ashe Stadium and I play no matter which round it is. It’s just that feeling of competition, making yourself better, to improve, you know, really hustle, battle. Whatever it takes, it’s my home. I don’t know, I feel at home when I’m in that moment.
Q. Have you thought about your next match yet against Varvara?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I haven’t thought too much about it, honestly, because I’m just trying to a little bit enjoy this moment.
But, you know, she’s a really tough competitor. She’s obviously playing great tennis, you know, reaching the second week here. Another lefty for me. At least I had some practice today (smiling).
I’m just looking forward to play that match. Every match from this point is just getting tougher and tougher. I want to stay focused. I want to take it one match at a time, actually one day at a time. Today recover, tomorrow practice, then let’s go.
Q. I notice over the changeovers you were looking at some papers. I don’t know if that’s something you have done in the past.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I have done it. Started doing it not too long ago. It’s just something that I feel will keep me a little bit entertained during changeovers. Sometimes it gets a little quiet, so I just want to make sure I’m focused on what I have to do.
I write different things for me, you know, sometimes something to make sure I stay focused. I wrote this thing which was hilarious to me yesterday. It was so stupid, but it made me laugh so hard. I just wrote it, you know, to keep me relaxed sometimes.
Q. What does a win like that mean to you? High-quality match, three sets, tough fight, opponent not giving you anything.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It means that I’m strong and I can go through whatever is happening on the court. To me, you know, I’m going to stay there as long as it takes for me to win that match. That’s what I did today.
What it means is that I’ve just been consistent and I know what I want. It happens that today it was on my side. That’s what I want to just take it as a positive and give myself, I guess, confidence going into the next match, that this is what I have to do to win tough matches.
Q. When you were trying to come back, was the mental part of it just as challenging as the physical part?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think on a tennis court when it’s such a tough battle, most of it is about mental toughness, the will to win, however you want to call it. Because everybody know how to play forehand, how to play backhand. But being sometimes courageous and go for your shots, be courageous to adapt to a situation, that’s something that is most challenging part, I would say.
In those tight moments, it’s all up to you to make a difference.
Q. It was such a high-quality match. You won. Even when you lose a match like that, does it make it easier because of the fact it was so entertaining?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, for me, I’m all about winning. I don’t know. I’m not on that side today. But I think it’s great for our sport to be able to produce this kind of high-quality match.
I applaud Angelique because she really pushed me to give my best, really to dig deep and find resources to make it happen.
Q. Back to the mental toughness. After a match like that, is that sort of mental effort something that takes a toll? Is it something that going into the next match actually builds?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, it’s up to you really. I think it’s something you have to go out again and do it again. It’s not going to be there magically appearing all of a sudden. It’s something that you just have to go and work hard to do.
So my point is definitely to keep this ability steady and then see what happens.
Q. When you say it’s good for the sport, is there still a lot of convincing that women’s tennis has to do to sort of prove that you are high quality like that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it goes beyond tennis. It’s just in general in life, woman have to always prove a little bit more. In business, in other sports.
But, you know, I just want to show it on the court and not talk about it. I think today everybody saw what’s been happening out there. I hope they can appreciate that.
Q. It’s been a pretty incredible 24 hours on the court you played on, as far as the quality of matches. What was the atmosphere like out there?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Amazing. Absolutely amazing. It’s a little bit difficult to describe with words because it’s a mixed feeling of adrenaline and then I want to just stay out there as long as possible, but also you want to win and get out of there. It’s bunch of mixed emotions.
But just to be out there and battling hard, people were amazing. The crowd get into the match. You know, they scream. They clap. Even during the points sometimes they go, Whoa, when somebody hits an amazing shot.
To see support for both players, really pushing us, motivating us to get even better at the matches is absolutely fantastic.
Q. When Lepchenko was here before you, she said her approach to facing you would be, Well, she’s the higher-ranked player, I have nothing to lose. When you hear things like that, the whole mentality going into a match, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, first of all, everybody has something to lose. You have points to lose. You have money to lose. You have opportunity to lose.
I guess it’s the way to take a pressure off yourself. And for me, I love pressure. It makes me better. I don’t wish to have pressure, but it’s something that, I don’t know, I think I love to rise to the occasion. It’s challenging and motivating for me.
But also when I go out on the court, I focus on my effort and what I can do to improve or what I can do to give my opponent the worst possible time, and the rest takes care of itself.
Q. How much do you work on psyching yourself up? When you’re on the court, you have more gestures than many players, you speak a lot, you do things a lot. How much of that is to convince yourself of things?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I’m just being me, you know. You watch my practice, I do a lot more probably gestures. They’re awkward gestures, clumsy gestures, fist pumps. I just do whatever I feel like is right in the moment. If I need to be hyped, I’m hyped. If I need to talk to myself, I talk to myself. Whatever it takes to win, I’m going to do it.
Q. Some people gave you the second-best odds of winning this tournament. Do you hear stuff like that? How do you feel?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I hear it, I just don’t care about it. Not that I don’t appreciate that people speak highly about me. It’s irrelevant to me. I have to go out there and win matches. Odds are just odds.
Saturday, September 5, 2015
A. MURRAY/T. Bellucci
6-3, 6-2, 7-5
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Probably happy to have that be shorter after a few extra sets in the first two rounds?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think, I mean, conditions were so much nicer to play in today, as well. Like after long rallies and stuff, you weren’t really struggling for breath as much. I also think, conditioning-wise, the first couple rounds, it really doesn’t get much harder than that. Maybe it will get bad again, but they’re some of the toughest conditions you’ll play in during the year. To get through those matches, especially the second one, was important. Yeah, much easier tonight.
Q. Is it correct that you asked for as late of a match as possible, bearing in mind the aftermath of playing with that cold in the last round?
ANDY MURRAY: I asked to play later. I didn’t ask to play as late as possible. I just asked if I could play slightly later rather than first or second.
But, yeah, I didn’t ask to play last on.
Q. How are you feeling both in terms of getting over the cold and in terms of whether there are any aftereffects from the second-round match?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, today I felt much better. When I woke up this morning — I slept like during the day yesterday two or three times. Today I got up, and I slept again before coming out to the courts. Today I felt much, much better.
My voice feels like normal again. Still dull obviously, but it feels more normal today and not blocked up or anything anymore, which is good.
Yeah, that’s very positive.
Q. What did you feel today about the quality of your tennis?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I felt like I played well. I mean, in these conditions, it’s a bit easier to control the ball. The ball was not bouncing as high. It was a bit sort of flatter. You know, like in the conditions the other days, when you tried to flatten the ball out, it was quite easy for it to sail on you. The ball was flying a lot more. Whereas today when you flattened the ball out, it was a bit easier to control. Harder to serve. It was much slower conditions to serve in. So less aces. The speed of the serve was a bit lower.
But then obviously returning’s a little bit easier, as well. So I felt like I played well. But the conditions helped that, too.
Q. In theory would it be easier to play Kevin at night in similar conditions than daytime conditions?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know really. More depends like the humidity. I feel like in most places, when it’s humid, it kind of slows the ball down a little bit. Obviously it’s been hot, which speeds the ball up. But the humidity felt like it made the balls bouncier, more bouncy than usual. Obviously against a tall guy who serves well, it will be a little bit harder to return the serve when it’s like that.
But we’ll see what happens.
Q. Can I throw a kilt on a question for Scotland. The football team lost the crucial game the other night. Hopefully you can deliver in the days ahead for them.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I hope so. You know, I obviously don’t think about kind of that stuff when I’m in the middle of the tournament. I try to give my best effort in all of the events I’m at during the year.
I do feel like I represent the UK and Scotland when I’m playing in any event, you know, regardless of how well the football team’s doing. I still try my best to represent the country well.
Q. You’ve obviously been asked and talked a lot in the last year about having a female coach. Have any of the WTA players approached you to talk to you or appreciate what you’ve been saying about women’s sports over the last year?
ANDY MURRAY: No, not really, to be honest. I mean, I’ve spoken to a couple of people about it but not players on the tour. I mean, I’ve seen little bits and pieces that they’ve said over the last few months, last year, but I haven’t spoken to any of the players directly about it.
Q. Your mindset approaching the second week? Is your game where you want it to be?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, tonight, like I said, the conditions were extremely different. It was a bit easier to control the ball. I felt like I played better. Obviously I finished the match the other day pretty well. In the first match I felt like I played some good stuff, as well.
But I was also playing against two extremely good players in the first couple rounds. Both just missed out on seedings. You know, it was a tough, tough start to the tournament for me.
So, you know, was very testing couple of rounds. Obviously managed to just get through them.
And today played a little bit better. I feel better, as well. You know, I wasn’t feeling great the first few days. You know, now that that’s cleared up, I felt much better on the court tonight.
ANDY MURRAY: I played some good matches against him in the past. I only lost to him once in Montréal. It was a very quick, easy match. I lost to him there. But apart from that, I’ve normally played quite well against him.
You know, he’s obviously playing some good stuff. He won the tournament last week. He’s had a couple of good wins here. Thiem is going to be one of the top players in the future. That was a pretty good win tonight. It will be a tough one, for sure.
Q. Six wins in a row against left-handers, other than Nadal. You grew up playing with Jamie. Is that still a streak you’re quite impressed by?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I don’t think about it, like, that much. I don’t mind playing against left-handers. I quite like it. It’s almost more natural for me to play against a lefty because the first sort of six, seven years of my tennis life was playing with my brother really and predominantly with him. In those years, you obviously do a lot of learning. That’s what I learnt to play tennis against. I don’t mind. Like, maybe some players when they see a lefty, they think, Oh, it’s going to be much harder. But I don’t mind it as much as some players.
Q. You have a good record against Anderson but also against big servers in general. What do you put that down to? Do you take particular satisfaction sort of picking these big servers off?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, they’re always tricky matches. But getting a lot of returns in play is something that throughout most of my career I’ve been good at. Often the big servers, they come into matches used to getting a lot of free points. It changes their mindset a little bit in the way they play the match and play the points.
That’s why I think I’ve had good success against them in the past. But they’re always tough matches because you don’t get loads of opportunities normally.
Q. You’re not the only British players to the Round of 16. What are your thoughts on Konta’s efforts here?
ANDY MURRAY: It’s great. I didn’t see much of her last match against Muguruza. I watched most of the match today in the hotel. She played very well. She played very good. She played a very good tiebreak, obviously the second set played some good stuff until she got into the winning position. That’s always tricky. I believe that’s the first time she’s made the fourth round of a slam.
But, yeah, even with the sort of struggles closing it out, she managed to get there. That’s a good sign. She’s obviously been on an excellent run lately. Very close to being the No. 1 in Britain. Kind of shows how high she could get, which is exciting, beating two players like Petkovic and Muguruza. It suggests she has the potential to go very high if she continues on the right path.
I think that’s very, very exciting.
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