(September 4, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews throughout the day when allowed.
Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:
A. SEVASTOVA/J. Konta
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. For someone who was retired not too long ago, what are your feelings right now, reaching the quarters?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Again, this question. I got it like one minute ago.
What do you expect? I mean, I still cannot believe it. Mentally I’m spent. Totally spent. But it’s amazing, yeah.
Q. First-round match you said you consider yourself to be a C or D list celebrity in Riga. Do you think you’re now at least up to B?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t think so. I don’t know if we have A list celebrities. We have a basketball player. He’s playing in Europe next. He’s an A list celebrity, but I don’t feel like it.
Q. Obviously it’s your best run at a major. You’re already getting close to your best ranking. Do you feel this is the best you’ve played in your career? How does it feel from before the retirement?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I think I’m playing better in my second career right now. I’m handling pressure sometimes better than before. Playing now these match points it’s tough. It’s always tough to finish the match, but I think I’m handling it better now.
And, yeah, I think this was a quality match today. 30 winners, 26 unforced errors. I mean, it’s a good quality, I think. We played okay.
Q. Closing out this match and what happened, what you learned from closing out the Muguruza match, did that help you today?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I think so. I was close in her service game at 5-4 from Love-40, so I had chance there.
And at 6-5 I just said to myself, You’re in the breaker, so just try your best. Maybe you will get the chance. Maybe not. But can you do it.
I was so close, so I thought, I will close it out at some point. Uh-huh.
Q. You’re somewhat new to US Open fans. They’re getting to know you this week and next week. Until yesterday when your match was up on the website or the app, it said “no photo.”
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Now I have a photo. Now I saw my photo.
Q. They added it. Did you take a picture with them?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I think I took a picture with WTA and US Open.
Q. You notice that had they didn’t have it before?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah.
Q. How did you feel when they didn’t have it?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I’m okay with it. I had a WTA picture with short hair. I didn’t like it actually, so it was okay without picture.
Q. I wanted to know since you started here, have you had any contact from U.S. sponsor, people that are approaching you?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Well, Yonex is here supporting me. I don’t have any other sponsors.
Yeah, from the family I had some support. I mean, my mom was on the phone crying now. So, yeah. (Smiling.)
Q. You have a New York Yankees hat on now. It looks new. How are you embracing — did you just get?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: No, no, no. I got it in Europe somewhere.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah. Not here. No. I’m not a baseball fan. (Laughter.) I just like the logo.
Q. We see you on the court. You look very nervous between points sometimes, very stressed out.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah.
Q. What is the emotional roller coaster like in your head?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: It is a roller coaster sometimes.
Q. Yeah? What are you telling yourself? What’s it like in there, up here?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I’m telling myself, It’s a match point; you can do it. Oh, you lost it or you cannot do it. Maybe it’s a third set. It goes on and on.
But like in the end I just stop thinking and I just try to play tennis. Yeah. Just try to close it out. Just to look at the ball and just see how it goes.
Because I felt the ball good. I was feeling good on the court. It was much better match than against Muguruza. It was — I enjoyed playing it on Ashe. It was more comfortable during the day. It was good tennis.
I mean, maybe not so good on serve, but we returned pretty well, both of us.
Yeah, it’s on and off. It’s tough.
Q. It says that during your break from tennis you studied leisure management. What was that all about?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: It was about leisure management. I mean, it was some accounting, some management, marketing; I had some exams. I just passed, and, I don’t know, it was easy at some point.
Q. Online school or…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: No, I went to school like two times a week.
Q. In Latvia?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: No, in English. In Austria. It was actually interesting.
At some point I said, Okay, I will try again. So I had to stop. Yeah.
Q. What did you want to get out of that? Did you want to get a career working in a resort?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, resort or going to sports management maybe. Yeah.
Q. You spent some time in Vero Beach at the Windsor Club. What was that like? What were your impressions of Vero Beach? Did you learn anything about leisure management there?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I learned that they always bring you water. (Laughter.) No, like you have — they had amazing facilities there. Great clay courts. I mean, practicing there was very nice.
Before Charleston we were there because my coach, he knows the guy who works there. Mardy Fish’s father is also there. Yeah. A lot. I learned a lot about leisure management there. Yeah, very much.
Q. What has been the road from retirement to this moment for you?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: It was a bumpy road. But I think what was it, it was one-and-a-half years when I started, I mean, again. Yeah, it’s tough to say. It’s a tough question.
I didn’t expect to be here at this point of my life after retiring, so I don’t know what to say really.
Q. What do you think has been the biggest factor in your ability to go from being out of the sport to being in this position?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Biggest factor? Maybe maturing. Maturing, like personally and physically, and getting better, better physically, also.
I saw that there is life without tennis, as well. So that helped me, I think. Yeah.
Q. At this point we don’t know —
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: You have tough questions. I mean, come on. It’s like…
Q. At this point we don’t know which player you’ll face in the next round.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, I don’t know.
Q. It would be impossible to know because they’re playing right now. But if you could take each one individually, the challenge first with Madison Keys, if you were to play her, what do you think would be the biggest challenge of facing her?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: She’s a tough hitter. She’s — I like how she plays. I like her aggressive tennis. I like her strokes.
I mean, you have to move a lot there. I mean, obviously she will try to play aggressively.
Against Caroline, I played her twice and lost both times. I mean, it’s also tough rallies, because she never makes a mistake. So, I don’t know against who I would prefer to play. I don’t even know. Probably Madison. Probably.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, because, okay, she’s aggressive but I can do — I can vary more, so maybe I can get her out of her rhythm more. Because Caroline, she’s just pushing, pushing. Not like pushing, you know. She’s like playing everything back. Yeah. So it’s tough.
Q. What was the crowd like today? Do you remember any particular comments that they made while you were playing?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Not really. Not really. I don’t know. Go, Ana. There was something like that. Go, Jo. That’s it. It was pretty loud, but it was still better during the day than during the night. Yeah.
Q. Gulbis, Ostapenko, an Porzingis, you all have big personalities. You also have big personality. What is it about Latvians? You guys are pretty charming.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: In Latvia, when you lose everybody says, You’re so bad. When you win everybody says, You’re so good. I don’t know why we are like that. Maybe because we live next to big country, Russia, or — but we are a small country. We are fierce country, and we try to do our best. Yeah.
A. SEVASTOVA/J. Konta
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Difficult start. Although you fought back to 3-All in the first set, you never seemed to quite recover from that.
JOHANNA KONTA: I felt I did the best I could today. My opponent played I think an overall more solid match than I did.
Yeah, I mean, I really am happy with how I was able to come back from that 3-0 down. I thought I did a good job getting myself back into the match. It wasn’t easy.
I didn’t play the tennis level that I maybe would have liked to have played, but I competed the best I could.
Yeah, so I left it all out there.
Q. When you reflect on the match, what particular areas would you have liked to have done better?
JOHANNA KONTA: I mean, I think it was a combination of things. Yeah, I think I needed to perhaps maybe be a little more offensive in certain parts and also be able to just move a bit better.
But, again, I used what I had today, and unfortunately just wasn’t good enough to get me through.
Q. I think she broke your serve seven times. She was hitting a lot of big returns. Did you feel you could have served better, as well?
JOHANNA KONTA: No. I think she did a good job at neutralizing, myself. I honestly think she did a very good job. She played very well.
She didn’t give me too much, and what she did I felt, you know, I didn’t do the best job of capitalizing on.
But that’s sometimes just how it goes. Honestly, all credit to her. I think she handled the situation well. Again, I did the best that I could, and unfortunately this is where it got me for today.
Q. You have come obviously a long way in a very short space of time. Just consolidate that and try and make the next step. Are there any particular things you think you need to work on?
JOHANNA KONTA: Definitely. I’m continuously working on getting better. It’s not something that I reflect on now, and from now on we’re going to start improving on things. It’s a constant journey and effort every single day.
But in terms of what I’m working on, that’s between me, myself, and my team.
Q. When you took the court today, what were kind of the challenges that you were facing just on your side of the court? Because it looked like a bit of a subpar Jo Konta today. What were the challenges of kind of getting your game to the level you wanted it to be today.
JOHANNA KONTA: I think it was just managing my energy levels today and managing just, you know, what I had left in the tank and really maximizing that.
I felt I did that, and unfortunately it wasn’t enough to play the kind of tennis I wanted to play. I honestly did a good job in managing what I did have, and I really gave my best.
Q. You mentioned energy levels. You played a lot of matches this year. Did fatigue play a part?
JOHANNA KONTA: Generally energy levels and fatigue are interlinked. Yeah, no, I had to, yeah, really stay within myself and really just focus on the best I could do.
Yeah, I mean, I will go back now, go back home and rest and just work on keeping — continuously try and improve.
Q. You said the other day that recovery from the tough moment you had when you went down on the court would take a few days. Do you think that’s still ongoing?
JOHANNA KONTA: Um, I’m sure there is some remnants of it, but it’s not the reason I lost today.
I think also what happened a few days ago, it’s an accumulation of things. I have played a lot of tennis, and especially in this space of time.
But also, I can’t exactly complain about that because that’s a wonderful problem to have. So honestly, I did the best that I could today, and hopefully I’ll get many more opportunities to really leave it all out there on the court.
Q. What’s your program for now and the rest of the season?
JOHANNA KONTA: Um, going home now, and then planning on Wuhan, Beijing, and Hong Kong.
Q. Can you talk about her game a little bit? A lot of us haven’t seen her week in and week out like we have seen you. What did you see and what was particularly effective off her racquet today?
JOHANNA KONTA: I thought she did a very good job at really staying in the point when she needed to. I thought she neutralized points very, very well.
I think she definitely read the game quite well, as well.
And otherwise, I think it was quite impressive that she — I mean, I know she was an experienced player before, but she’s come out of retirement again, I guess.
But just the way she was able to handle the situation, yeah, no, I think it was very good how she was able to keep coming back even after she was 5-3-up and she had a couple of match points.
She did a good job at, yeah, just keeping it going.
Q. Angie Kerber has had a chances to overtake Serena’s No. 1 ranking, and she has one again. Regardless of Serena’s obvious dominance in general, would that be a good thing to mix it up and have someone else get that top ranking?
JOHANNA KONTA: Oh, I don’t know. I’m not sure what to say to that.
I think it would be wonderful achievement for Angie Kerber; but equally, for Serena to maintain her No. 1 status, that would be equally wonderful achievement.
Q. Doesn’t say anything about the depth of tennis or anything like that?
JOHANNA KONTA: I think Serena maintaining her No. 1 position, I don’t think that says anything less of the depth of women’s tennis.
I think the level that the girls are playing on a consistent basis, I think, is pretty impressive, and it’s only going to get better and better.
Q. Wondering if you have these days, because of what you have done the last 12 months, kind of heightened expectations of yourself? If that’s something you are having to deal with it and adds to the pressure a bit, the fact that you have now shown, you know, what you’re capable of in Australia, for example.
R. VINCI/L. Tsurenko
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What is your physical condition at this stage?
ROBERTA VINCI: So-and-so. I have some problem, but I’m happy that I won today. I don’t want to think about my injury. Try to recover today and tomorrow and focus for the next round.
Q. Without thinking about the injury too much, what is the injury?
ROBERTA VINCI: I have some problem with my tendon, left leg. That’s it. A little bit pain on my back. A lot of pain, but I don’t want to think about this injury.
Q. What was going through your mind in the tiebreak? How were you able to dig it out?
ROBERTA VINCI: Eh, on the tiebreak a lot of pressure. But I said, I have to win this set, because I think the key was to win the first set.
I was tired; she was tired also. So 7-6 for me, and then I won another great game, 1-0 for her, 40-15. I won that game, so 1-All, and then I was starting to play much better than in the first set.
I think she was tired at the end.
Q. You’d obviously rather not be injured. Is playing through a little bit of pain somehow making you play better? What do you make of that?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, is not easy to play with some injuries. Yesterday I practiced seven minutes; this morning four minutes. Just warmup with my coach. Is not easy to go on the court and play and don’t think that you have some problems.
But today was tough. I tried to stay focused only for the game, not for the other condition.
I fight a lot, and important thing was to try something and stay positive, stay focused for the match.
Q. You’re in your fourth quarterfinal at the Open. I’m curious, you know, why you think your best tennis happens here, and have you always been feeling good on hard courts even growing up?
ROBERTA VINCI: I don’t know why I’m always playing good here. Maybe — really, maybe the courts, maybe the atmosphere, maybe the crowd. I always play so good here.
Maybe also because this tournament is almost at the end of the season, and I always playing good this part of the season.
I don’t know why. Really, I don’t know, but I love to play here in the States. Such a great result last year, but also years before.
I don’t know.
Q. So you feel like because you have had so many matches…
ROBERTA VINCI: Probably.
Q. So much experience coming in, this is when this tournament…
ROBERTA VINCI: Probably. Yeah, probably.
Q. Talk about playing Kerber or Kvitova next. Will you watch the match on-site, on TV?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, no. On-site, no. Probably on TV. Well, tough match. Quarterfinal. Play a lot of times against Petra. I don’t know how many times I won. I don’t know.
Both left handed. Kerber is playing so good. Almost No. 1. We will see. We will see tonight. Will be interesting match tonight. Doesn’t matter for me. I’m in the quarterfinal, so I have to play just my game and try to stay better with my body. That’s it.
Q. The game has been so competitive at the top lately. The change of the No. 1 ranking could happen with Angie Kerber. Would that be a good thing, do you think, for the game, to have a shuffling of the No. 1 ranking?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, is interesting. Kerber may be No. 1, but is tough. It’s tough to be No. 1. Serena is still here. I saw her yesterday. She’s on fire. We will see. Not easy to be No. 1, eh?
Q. Hasn’t happened yet, you mean, or it’s not easy to get to be No. 1? Or it’s not easy once you are No. 1?
ROBERTA VINCI: Is not easy to be No. 1 and also to go. So the points and pressure, we will see. But Serena, I saw her. She played so good yesterday.
Q. How did it affect your life, what you did here last year when you played Serena and also had that charming interview after the match?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, great memories. Is always on my mind.
I know it’s tough to repeat again the same results of last year, but I’m in the quarterfinal. I have won four matches here. I don’t want to stop. I want to continue.
At the beginning of the tournament I didn’t expect quarterfinal, because also my body wasn’t so good. But I’m really happy that I’m still in tournament.
Well, last year was an incredible moment for me, and I want to try my best also this year.
Q. You said it’s always on your mind.
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah.
Q. In what way is it on your mind all the time?
ROBERTA VINCI: Is always in my mind. I remember everything. That match was for me an incredible match; the best match of my life for sure.
Q. Last year, this year, years past, you always do so well here in New York City. What do you think of the idea of going to the WTA and saying, Hey, play all the tournaments here in New York?
ROBERTA VINCI: Why not? (Laughter.) It’s a good idea. Yes, why not? Good idea.
Q. You come from this great generation of Italian players. How much did you push each other through your careers, and what do you make of how you may have inspired the next generation?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, we are great friends. We tried to help each other. It’s important to have some great players, great friends around you.
I don’t know in the future, but for me it’s been important to have them around.
Q. What was the crowd like today? Do you remember any particular comments they made for you?
ROBERTA VINCI: The crowd? The comment of the crowd? Today?
ROBERTA VINCI: No. Any particular, no. But the court was almost, almost full, and the crowd support me more than Tsurenko. That’s always nice for me, nice to hear a lot of person around.
No. Any particular comments, no, but a lot of person come to watch me. I was happy.
Q. Have you talked to Flavia this week? If you could share…
ROBERTA VINCI: Yes, yes. I saw her, but just one time. We had a picture. She’s happy, and that’s it. She’s happy. Yeah.
JOHANNA KONTA: Going into this match today, I do not go in with an expectation of winning. I went in with the expectation of doing my best and really making sure that I left it all out there, which I did.
I know it sounds like a broken record, but if I were to be judging myself on results, it would be a very up and down sort of career. I take my enjoyment and my satisfaction of the effort I do put in on a daily basis. So if I look at it like that, I do think I did the best that I could today.
Yeah, I think in terms of ranking or tournament expectations, that’s very much an external factor.
G. MONFILS/M. Baghdatis
6-3, 6-2, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How did you feel out there? Looked like you were in pretty good form.
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, fairly good. I feel good. Nothing special. I feel good, yeah.
Q. Are you approaching the slam any different than other slams this year?
GAEL MONFILS: No, not really. I think I my approach my slam like I approach my season. It was in a good way.
So I still in the good way; I’m good track.
Q. You have yet to drop a set here, which is quite an accomplishment through four rounds. What is it you think that’s just working well for you?
GAEL MONFILS: I think I play good. I play very tough tennis, you know.
I think for sure a little bit luck, because I was a break down eventually today. I managed to come back very quick.
But my guess is luck and also I think I just played very strong.
Q. As we approach the second week, who do you think is the favorite to win the men’s singles right now?
GAEL MONFILS: I think is no question about that. Is Novak, I think. Novak is the favorite. And then you get Andy also; then you get Stan. I think you’ve got a lot of guys.
Q. It’s possible you’ll play Rafa in the next round. We don’t know what will happen in the match today. If it is Rafa, what are your impressions of what he’s done to get back to the level where he’s playing right now? What sort of challenge will it be for you?
GAEL MONFILS: What did you mean get back to the level?
Q. After his wrist injury and missing two majors.
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I’m not surprised, yeah? Rafa is very strong. He’s like legend of the sport, I think. So, you know, I have no surprise he play very good in Rio. So, you know, when he came back he was very strong in Rio.
So, you know, for me is not a surprise. He done it a couple years ago also. He come back and actually won everything. I serious think he won here also. I think it’s pretty normal.
Q. What’s it like for you when you play him?
GAEL MONFILS: It’s great. Unbelievable. It’s great. I like to play him.
GAEL MONFILS: Because I know him for a long time and we always have good battles, you know. Even when we have been young and now.
So I always like to play Rafa.
Q. How much did your title in Washington, D.C. affect your confidence coming into the US Open this year?
GAEL MONFILS: I have no idea, you know. To be honest, I was very happy to catch it, you know, but I think I was still on a good trip here before, before I got this virus.
For sure it’s been a good accomplishment for me, but to be honest I was I think in the right track I think till the 1st January of this year.
Q. Going back to your enjoyment of Rafa, when you see him across the net, what gives you the pleasure of playing against him and what is the biggest challenge for you to play against him?
GAEL MONFILS: Like I really like because I know it’s going to be physical, you know. That’s what I like, you know. I think I’m playing the game for this. It’s going to be physical.
As a big competitor that I am, I think he’s a very good one. Actually, better than me, but a very good one. It’s always enjoyable to be — to face him, because it’s always great battles, and I like this.
Q. You mentioned the Olympics. What was it like to see what Del Potro did there, and what are your thoughts about his comeback from years of wrist injuries?
GAEL MONFILS: Is the same. Those guys are top, you know. I think we have to give them credit, but also they are naturally gifted like a lot. I think physically they are still the best.
They are the best at what they do. Just come up here and in Rio for Juan Martin, but we know this kind of tennis he has. He’s always one of the best of the sport. For sure he belong to the top 10, no question about it.
Q. You seemed to tie your shoe in the middle of the match today. What happened there?
GAEL MONFILS: To be honest, I have no idea what happened. Sometimes those points don’t mean anything for me. Just — I don’t know. I just lose it.
C. WOZNIACKI/M. Keys
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What happened to you today? Nerves get the best of you out there. Tell me what’s going on.
MADISON KEYS: I think it was nerves a little bit. I definitely felt like I got off to a bad start, and then I felt like I was trying to catch up from there.
I definitely don’t think I was playing my best. I mean, I think she played really, really well today. I think it was just a combination of me not playing my best and not playing super smart and her playing really well.
I feel like the match just got away from me.
Q. What shot kind of let you down today? Or was it movement? Where was the big letdown do you think, game-wise?
MADISON KEYS: I think just overall I wasn’t very solid today. Even the service games I won, a lot I was up 40-Love, 40-15, and it was back to deuce and it was a tight game.
I feel like I was making mistakes and then getting behind in the score and trying to, you know, hit winners just to kind of quickly get back into games.
So I think overall I just — I don’t think I played very well. I don’t think I played smart, which I think is the biggest thing.
And then I kind of let the panic set in and tried to go too quick.
Q. You hadn’t played her before, but I’m sure you know a lot about Caro Wozniacki. What do you make of her game and what makes her, recently, again, making her so tough when you’re out there against her?
MADISON KEYS: She’s an amazing mover. She gets a million balls back. I think she does an amazing job keeping the balls deep in the court, so you feel like you can’t dictate the point right away, which I think makes people go for things too soon.
I think that’s probably one of her biggest strengths.
Q. Did you know that from watching her on TV? Did you always know what made her so tough, or is it different being out there feeling it yourself?
MADISON KEYS: It’s different playing, and I think it’s different — seeing it on TV is one thing, but feeling how deep she’s hitting the ball and feeling, I can’t get on the offense right away, it’s totally different watching and playing.
Q. You talked a little bit about maybe being nervous going into it. Was it the nerves knowing you had to play her – she’s ranked 74, but former No. 1 and she’s very good – early in the tournament, or the prospect of the quarterfinals? I don’t know. What do you think triggered the nerves today?
MADISON KEYS: I think it’s just playing, you know, in a slam, and once you get into the second week it feels like you’re that that much closer.
The first week, even the first round, it’s much easier to say, I’m focusing on this round and not worrying about the next round.
Once you’re in the second week it seems a little bit closer, and I feel like sometimes I definitely get ahead of myself and I start thinking how much I want it.
Sometimes I can get away from focusing on just point by point. Then that’s kind of when the nerves set in.
Q. You have had good results at the last several slams, fourth round and beyond. After a loss like today, do you focus on the fact you’re becoming more consistent, or does that kind of get obscured by the emotions of the loss?
MADISON KEYS: A little bit of both. Really happy that I have been able to be more consistent, because that was my main goal all of last year and what I wanted to do.
So really proud of that. But obviously not happy with how I did today and, you know, I wish I had done better.
So I am proud of how I have become more consistent, but I’m also not super happy with how it went today.
Q. (Question regarding adding net game and more dropshots to her game.)
MADISON KEYS: I’m trying. I’m definitely trying. I will try to come to the net more, yes. (Smiling.)
Q. As you take stock in what it will take to advance even further in majors, what do you think will be the key for you?
MADISON KEYS: I think a big thing is being able to manage the emotions. It’s part of the sport that you don’t always think about. You know, it’s easy to go out and practice forehand and backhand, but being in the moment and having to deal with the emotions is what makes it tough.
So I think, one, experience. But, two, being very open about how I was feeling today and maybe talking to the people in my team just so that I can have a better game plan for the next time I’m feeling that way.
Q. Four straight second weeks, but they’re not all the same. So which one, I’m curious, kind of stands out as feeling like a victory? Like, yes, I got to the round of 16. Which one feels like maybe that was a letdown, like I only got to the round of 16?
MADISON KEYS: I mean, the French Open, for sure. That was the furthest I have ever gotten, was a big one for me.
And I would probably say even Wimbledon or here, more just because Wimbledon I felt like I was so close and then I started cramping. That wasn’t a very good way to go out.
And then today just being disappointed with how I played and not being happy with how the match went. So I would say those two probably tied.
Q. Is there a thought at all – or maybe you have in the past – to use a mental coach?
MADISON KEYS: I have someone. Working on it. (Smiling.)
Q. How is that process coming? Do you feel like you made strides?
MADISON KEYS: I definitely feel like I made strides. And I think the woman that I’m working with is great. She’s been super helpful.
I don’t think it’s going to happen overnight, and there is obviously going to be times when I do things really well and then maybe have a bad match. You know, it’s just all learning, and definitely going to take what happened today and go and talk about it and use that as something to work on.
Q. Has she employed any certain mechanisms like journalling or visioning yourself out there? Any specific things she’s trying to get you to do?
MADISON KEYS: We are still kind of working on some things. A big thing is trying to figure out how to let go of the point, you know, even if it’s just taking a step back and letting it go and turning around and being ready for the next one.
Q. In your final analysis about today, would you say you lost the match or she won the match?
MADISON KEYS: I think it’s both. I definitely think she played really well, but I also think there were a lot of opportunities that I had that I didn’t take and I didn’t do a very good job at.
Q. Did her serve surprise you? You didn’t get on her returns as much as you normally like to and she didn’t face that many break points during the match.
MADISON KEYS: I think she served very well today. I think she did a really good job mixing it up. It wasn’t an easy first serve to read. I think she made a lot of first serves. I felt like I wasn’t really getting to dictate off of her second serve.
C. WOZNIACKI/M. Keys
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. When do you remember playing as well as you’re playing right now? Could you characterize your confidence level after the Keys match?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, it’s been a good week. I’m really happy about the way I played. Obviously Madison is a strong player. She hits the ball really hard.
But I managed to really, you know, play well, get a lot of returns in. I served well, which I was pleased with.
Yeah, I’m just happy that I got another win.
Q. You said in the on-court interview you were surprised. You talk about the balance of being surprised that this great run came this week after this year, but also that you still believe you have this in you. How do you sort of balance those two emotions?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don’t remember saying I was surprised. Did I say I was surprised? Okay.
Q. Which is usually surprising…
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it’s crazy, meaning, it’s crazy to be out there again and just playing really well. It’s nice to play in front of such a big crowd.
Yeah, it’s been a good week so far. Obviously it wasn’t an easy match today. She plays the ball really strong. She has a great forehand, good serve.
She was really hitting some bombs which I was really pleased the way I was able to return a lot of those serves back and just kind of getting those actual balls in play.
Q. So you’re not surprised?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I just — not really. I mean, I’m not surprised that I could make it this far because I always believe in myself and I always think that — you know, when I got on court I always believe that I’ll win the match.
But it’s nice. It’s a nice feel.
Q. When you get an injury like that and you don’t win a lot of matches, people don’t talk about you very much. You know, you have been very quiet. Does it kind of give you a chance to kind of reset everything and make a fresh start like here?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest, I don’t know. I haven’t really noticed whether it’s been quiet or not. At the end of the day I just do my thing. I know I can play well. It doesn’t matter what ranking I have.
I know that, you know, when I play my best I’m tough to beat, and, you know, I just do my thing.
I have a lot of people here who are supporting me every day, and that’s really the most important thing. I love having my friends and my family here kind of just doing dinners and enjoying my time off the court, as well.
Q. Do you feel you’re improving from the Caroline Wozniacki who was No. 1 two years in a row?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think so. I think every year we are trying to improve obviously a lot of — everybody knows how I play, and you always have a target on your back once you’ve gotten somewhere and reached something.
Everybody wants to beat you. No matter at this current moment what my ranking is, I always feel like I’m a target. I have to keep improving to beat everybody. I feel like I have been serving well this week, especially today, and returning well and really having good court coverage.
Q. Your next opponent, Sevastova, expressed surprise that she’s this far. What are your thoughts on the arc of her career, having retired and now being at this stage of this tournament?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, I have had — I had some tough matches against her in the past. I think we played Fed Cup a couple of times, but also we played the Australian Open.
She’s a tough player. She’s a tough opponent. She has a lot of grit and good hands. It’s not going to be an easy one, but I’m excited just to have another shot.
Q. What do you make of what’s gone on in her life and career though to have stepped away and to now be back?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don’t know. I mean, it’s all personal. I don’t know really her decisions to retire. I just realized that she didn’t — she wasn’t around very much. I thought maybe her ranking dropped.
But, yeah, it’s good to see her back.
Q. Do you think that being back on Arthur Ashe Stadium court after a season that’s not been so good has allowed you to focus more on a place you’ve been comfortable and had great success, great support? I mean, everything coming together to allow you to play better at this point.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Um, I mean, it’s tough to play well or not well when you’re injured. I think at that point you’re just thinking to get back on court and feeling healthy. The fact that I have been playing good the last few weeks and really my ankle feels good, the rest of my body feels good, I think that’s the main thing.
Then I’m just happy. I know that the court here suits me, the balls suit me, so I’m going to make the most of the opportunity that I get here.
Q. You were down 4-Love against Kuznetsova a couple rounds ago. Have you made any adjustments since that moment to have you here at this point?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Not too much, actually. I felt like I played really well even when she was up 4-Love. I just kept kind of kept focus. Maybe stepped into the court just a little more.
But I just kept fighting. It was like eventually hopefully her level will drop a little bit, but if not then it’s just going to be too good.
And, yeah, I just enjoy being out there. I enjoy every moment of it. I just have fun. I think that’s the main thing.
Q. How is your body right now? Having come through the injuries you did this year, do you feel any of the effects? This is the first time you have played five straight matches in 18 months or something like that.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I actually feel good. I mean, the fact that I have been working really hard in the gym and in everything else I could do — I mean, you train — I trained maybe four hours a day in the gym and everything else.
So, I mean, my body is used to being through all that. Clearly it’s different to play intense matches and it’s different adrenaline, but my body is ready to go through like a beating.
The main thing is right now I don’t feel any pain anywhere. I mean, there is always some small things, but, no, nothing significant. That’s the main thing.
Mentally, as well. That makes me feel much more relaxed.
Q. Does it feel different? And if so, how when you’re staying at home? A lot of the players play here, they stay in Midtown, but for you with the home base here, how does that change versus a normal tournament and those patterns?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It feels so much better. I just can cook — or I don’t cook, actually. (Smiling.) Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. My mom has cooked. She’s staying with me this week, which is nice. She’s cooked a couple of meals. She does my laundry, as well. It’s nice to have mom around. Usually I have to do all that myself.
It’s nice just being able to sleep in your own bed. Kind of, you know, just more — it’s a more relaxed feeling. Also, I have so many friends here, so every day I have been going out for lunch or dinners and just kind of enjoyed the city, as well.
I think that’s kind of recharged my batteries.
Q. There is positivity in your game; interesting how you carry yourself. Did that get tough to uphold as the wins hadn’t been coming the last couple of years?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I feel for the last probably five years since I lost my No. 1 ranking I think — it’s been five years — everybody has been telling me, Your ranking dropped. It’s been a tough year.
I’m like, No, it actually hasn’t. I am still in the top 10 or top 8 and I feel like I am hitting the ball well. At this point, the main thing for me is just enjoying what I do and being healthy, because when I’m healthy, mentally I can get around things in my head and I can actually do this and I can play at my highest level. I can get through the harder times.
I know that, you know, once I get going, hopefully it’s a start of something good.
Q. You’re pretty far out of the top 10 now. You have had a rough year. You have had to adjust to things. Just wondering if any of those sort of dips have inspired you or challenged you or driven you any more.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest, I think at this point I’m very much like I don’t care. (Smiling.) I know it sounds bad, but honestly, at this point I’m like, I really don’t care what my ranking is.
Because if I’m not in the top 5 I feel like it’s not where I want to be, so at that point, whether I’m 20 in the world or 100 in the world, it doesn’t matter because I’m going to play the same people anyway.
So, you know, I’m just working my way through. The main thing is that when I’m on court I have to believe in myself. That’s what I care about, that I know that I can do it. I know I can beat anyone. I think it just sucks for some of the other players who have to play me early.
Q. You were talking a little bit about when you lost No. 1. But sitting there, how different is the Caroline Wozniacki from just a maturity level, just being, you know, older these days, than the Caroline Wozniacki that was sitting there when she was No. 1?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it’s a huge difference. I think I have gone through so many things. Clearly to get to No. 1 you have to go through a lot of bumps and things.
I think you just learn so much about yourself over the years, as well. I have been — yeah, it’s just been a great experience, a great ride. I think maturity-wise I’m so much more relaxed now than I used to be.
Before it was all about, Okay, I have to win this; I have to do that. Now I’m like, I don’t have to do anything. You know, whatever is meant to be it’s going to be, and I’m just going to give myself the best shot out there. I’m going to work hard and give my best shot every time out on court.
And I think I’m enjoying the whole atmosphere and everything else so much more.
Q. That pressure, though, of back then wanting to get the wins, get the rankings, get all these accomplishments, that can be motivating. If you’re a little bit more relaxed now, what is motivating you? What keeps the fire burning for you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think the love for the game. I think my motivator is clearly winning tournaments. It’s winning big matches. It’s being out there on Arthur Ashe Stadium and playing in front of a big crowd.
That’s motivating. That’s the thing that when it’s gray and cold outside and you have to go practice at 7:00 a.m., that’s what you think of. It’s being out there in the big moments.
So, yeah, I just think I get to kind of reflect and enjoy these moments more, because I’m like, You know what? You never know. Could be injured tomorrow and I may not be able to play out here again. I mean, I know that’s very negative thinking, but at this point I’m just gonna have fun with it.
Q. You broke down her backhand very effectively. You got every ball back, waited, and she inevitably made the errors. Your consistency is terrific. How important is that to you? How do you maintain that consistency throughout a match like that, especially in pressure conditions? Do you actually have to remind yourself? Is it something you need to tell yourself to be patient and consistent?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it was a very fine line between being patient, consistent, and also trying to be aggressive and not step too far behind the baseline.
Because when she’s on fire, she’s on fire, and there is not much you can do about it. Especially from the forehand side. I know my backhand is great and I can push her off the court from that, and that was my main focus. It’s like, Okay, when I had the ball on the racquet I can do something about it.
And my main thing was just like, Just go for your shots. Don’t hold back. You know, just go for it. If you miss it’s fine, but at least you tried and you did what you needed to do.
Q. You spoke about what a plus it is to have your family here with you and also your friends, but when you step in that packed Ashe court, the fans are very much on your side, too. What is it about the relationship with you and the fans at the Open?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I love it here. They have been behind me since basically the first time I stepped out on the big court and people realized that I may become a good player one day.
I think it’s just been equal love, you know, for New York and then the crowd for me since I reached the finals in 2009. It feels amazing.
To be out there on Arthur Ashe and really feel like — I know my ranking maybe is maybe not the best right now, but still, you know, being put out there — even in my last match where I was playing Niculescu. They could have put us anywhere. But it just feels so good to me to be out on the big court and somewhere where I feel so comfortable and familiar.
Q. What’s the most difficult part coming back from injury and knowing to get matches under your belt you need to win matches, but to win matches you obviously need the match play behind you? That’s kind of a unique situation you find yourself in.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, of course it’s tough, especially you’ll play against great opponents from the start. But at the same time, you know that if you beat them then your draw may open up.
You know, I just take one match at a time every day. I just feel like I’m improving every time, and, you know, eventually you just get through it and you get some wind with you and you kind of start going on a roll.
J. TSONGA/J. Sock
6-3, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Tough match. Talk about how you felt out there today.
JACK SOCK: I mean, physically felt good. I had a break in the first two sets that could have gone my way as well. I think I was probably up in both games. You know, let them slip.
Against a guy like that, that’s all he needs. I thought he served well at times when he needed to. I thought he served well, you know, get in some games. He would come up with some big ones and some second serves. Come up with some big seconds.
Yeah, just felt like I could have done a little more with some second-serve returns. But, you know, he’s in the top 10 for a reason. Yeah, he played well when he needed to. It’s a matter of a few points. Could still be out there playing.
Q. It was a strange match that both of you prefer the forehand. I think there was a total of only four backhand winners in the entire match. Did you sense it was a forehand-to-forehand battle from the beginning?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, as I said yesterday and after my other match, we play pretty similar. We’re both trying to serve fairly big and then dictate with the forehand. Probably showed out there. Whoever was doing that in the point, whoever was dictating with the forehand, was winning most of those points.
Yeah, I felt like he was too aggressive on his serve. I wasn’t able to push him back, get neutral a lot. He was able to move me around a lot with the forehand.
Yeah, I mean, it’s tough conditions out there. Fairly windy. Armstrong is a pretty fast court.
Yeah, I just needed to catch up with the ball a little bit better and try to get neutral on his serve.
Q. You talked about cleaning up things in your game, which you have. What do you have to do specifically to get to the next level, to beat that guy today?
JACK SOCK: I mean, piece a few more things together on the court. As you guys can see, I’m right there. My last match was a straight-set win over a past champion here.
Today, hold a few more times in the first two sets, you never know.
I felt obviously right there with him. Had chances to make it a different match. These matches later in these tournaments, against higher-ranked guys, it comes down to a few points.
The experience obviously helps. He’s been around for a while. Been in those positions. Each of these matches I played help me more in the next one.
Q. We have to ask the basic question. You’re the last American standing in the men’s game. How do you feel now to be something of a standard bearer?
JACK SOCK: I mean, I think the future looks good. Promising players coming up playing very good tennis.
Yeah, I mean, I take pride in being the last one here. Obviously wanted to go out there and keep it going for not only myself but for the U.S. as a whole. Unfortunately couldn’t do that today.
But I think as everyone knows, I love everything in this country and playing for them. Hopefully in the future I can keep playing these second weeks, you know, representing the best I can.
Q. What are those moments like when you’re out there and you can feel the crowd trying to lift you?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, I mean, it’s an incredible feeling. You have your box obviously that’s usually pretty hyped up and positive and cheering you on. I could tell when I walked out, the first applause I had was electric. Then throughout the match, you know, it was a really good feeling.
It definitely helps you out there. Yeah, the support was unreal. So, yeah, you know, I look forward to playing this tournament every year because of that.
Q. You’re just off the court. I know it’s a tough moment. Do you reflect on the week and see a lot of positives that you’ll take with you?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, I mean, it’s still fresh right now so pretty upset. But, yeah, you know, once I have a little time to myself, with my team, we’ll definitely look back and take away all the positives from it. Keep your head up and move forward.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s a tennis match. Obviously I wanted to win and keep playing, but there’s going to be another one in a few weeks, another tournament, another match. I can improve and keep going. That’s a positive thing about tennis.
J. TSONGA/J. Sock
6-3, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You two have a very similar style. You both have strong serves and strong forehands. You both avoid the backhand a little bit. Do you see yourself as a similar player to Jack in that way?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, we are a little bit different. He’s playing with a spin. I used to be a little bit more flat. And, yeah, we use our serve a little bit differently. He’s doing a lot of kick serve.
Yeah, so we are a little bit different.
Q. But the forehand…
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: (Smiling.)
Q. We obviously don’t know what will happen tonight. If you ended up facing Novak again, certainly he’s had his challenges here physically. What do you see the biggest challenge for you and your game at this stage facing him?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: For me it’s to always play the right shot, don’t give him too much free point. Yeah, that’s the most important for me. Anyway, I will play my game. I will be aggressive, as always.
But, yeah, the most important for me is stay focused on what I have to do and play the right shot.
Q. At this stage of the tournament, heading into the second week, who would you name to be the favorite?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: To be honest, I don’t know. You have few guys who are able to do something great. For sure Andy and Novak won a lot before, so they are I think the favorite.
But we are all outsider and we all want a Grand Slam, and that’s it.
L. POUILLE/R. Nadal
6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. In this incredibly long, tough match, what do you think the difference was?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think he played a good match. He started so strong. I fight until the end with. There were things I could do better. Had the right attitude. I fighted right up to the last ball.
But I need something else, I need something more that was not there today. I going to keep working to try to find.
But, yes, was a very, very close match that anything could happen. Just congratulate the opponent that probably he played with better decision than me the last couple of points.
Q. You were a break up in the last set. You have so much experience…
RAFAEL NADAL: Experience, when you are 4-3 in the fifth, 30-Love, is not a question of experience, no? Is a question of play a little bit better than what I did. That’s it. A couple of mistakes there. Needed to play with a little bit more calm.
Is true that I don’t have lot of matches on my shoulders for the last three, four months, but even like this I lost an opportunity. That’s the real thing, no? That’s the true. I lost an opportunity to have a very good event here. I am sad for that.
But I fighted. I can play better. I can play worst. The only thing that cannot be bad is the attitude, no? Today the attitude was great. That’s it.
When somebody does as much as you can, then you need to find another things. I need to keep improving the level of tennis to be back where I was before the injury.
But in terms of energy, in terms of motivation, I was great. In terms of tennis, I need more. I needed to serve better in some moments. I needed to create more pain on the opponent with my shots, no? That was something that I didn’t make it today.
He played well. That’s it. You know, I didn’t play bad, but I didn’t play enough well. He played well. That’s it.
Q. You say you need to keep improving to get to back to where your game was. Where do you see your situation now? How would you assess where you are relative to the Rafa that you want to be?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. Every day is a different story. I was happy the way that I was playing, practicing the last couple of days. Then a lose cannot change the overall situation, no?
I am not a person that when I am winning I’m like this, when I am losing I am like this. (Indicating up and down). My life is stable. Just accept that these kind of things happen and keep working, no? That’s the only thing.
I have the motivation to keep working. Took a long time, a lot of hours, a lot of spirit of sacrifice to be back where I was before the injury this year. Was tough. And now I need to come back there.
I don’t start from zero. That’s a positive thing. I am closer than last year to be where I want to be. I have a few months to finish the season, to try to be qualified for the World Tour Finals. That will be a good effort if I make that happen after two months and a half without competition. I going to fight for it. That’s all.
Q. Sometimes when you don’t have the results you would like to have it’s been physical problems; sometimes maybe more mental when you don’t have enough confidence on yourself because of some losses and so on. What do you think is right now more the moment? There were problems in the last few years.
RAFAEL NADAL: In the last few years? In the last few years — I played I think the quarterfinals last year in Australia; I played the quarterfinals in Roland Garros that I lost against Djokovic; I played a bad Wimbledon. I lost here a match with break up in the third and fourth and the fifth in the Grand Slam.
This year I played bad match in Australia, and I didn’t lose in Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Today I lost with a chance to be in the quarterfinals having a lot of chances.
You can see it or you can write the way that you want. I know what’s going on. I know what I have to do. When you are able to play semifinals of Masters 1000s, winning tournaments like Barcelona, playing good tournaments in the other events, is not a question of level to be in the final rounds of the Grand Slams, no?
Is just a couple of things that for some reasons didn’t happen, and you need to be ready to have the auto-critic. You need to be auto-critic. Is something that I believe really going to change.
Q. Mental or physical?
RAFAEL NADAL: Mental or physical doesn’t matter. I am out of the tournament. Physical, for sure no. I fight till the end. Of course was not a physical thing. Was not a mental thing. Was a terms of sport, and in sport you lose or you win. The opponent want to win the same like you.
When the opponent beat you, is not the time to find excuses is mental or physical. Doesn’t matter. The opponent was a little better than you. That’s it. You have to congratulate the opponent, go to the next tournament, the next practice, and try to be ready.
Q. You have had great results in the Olympics, Monte-Carlo, other tournaments. Do you feel it’s the pressure of Grand Slams, best-of-five, something that makes these tournaments tougher for you in the last couple years?
RAFAEL NADAL: After winning 14 and being in semifinals a lot of times, you feel that’s pressure?
Q. I’m asking you.
RAFAEL NADAL: I answered you. In 30 years old, after having the career that I have, is not a question of pressure.
Q. The ball at 6-All, that forehand in the tiebreak.
RAFAEL NADAL: Was a big mistake, yeah. But you are 6-All in the tiebreak. I played the right point. I put me in a position to have the winner and I had the mistake. That’s it.
You cannot go crazy thinking about these kind of things, no? You have a mistake. The opponent played a good point in the match point, and that’s it.
The problem is arrive to 6-All on the tiebreak of the fifth. I should be winning before. When you have 4-3, 30-Love, when you are there, is 50%. This time again is not on my side.
Q. What are your thoughts on Pouille’s game and his future?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I said the other day, no, he’s young. He’s a player that has all the shots. He’s a potential top 10 and good fight for the big things the next couple of years. If he’s able to keep playing well, keep improving.
Always is the same. In the careers of everybody is the same: you need to keep improving all the time. If you are able to make that happen, then you’re going to have success.
Q. You played against so many great players. What level do you think he is at right now for his age?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I cannot predict the future today. He is 19 on the race of the year. That’s a great number. He’s in quarterfinals here. So probably he will be higher after here.
How old is he? 22?
RAFAEL NADAL: He’s in a good position. As I say, he’s in a good position to give him chances to be in the top 10 position fighting for bigger things. But everybody wants to do it. Not only Lucas going to have the motivation to do it. There is a lot of young players that want to do it, too.
I want to do it too, again. I believe that Roger will want to do it again. And Novak and Andy is still there. Nishikori. A lot of great players are still there, no?
Is a question of improving. For me the same. For everybody is the same, no? If you are able to keep improving, playing well the whole season with no injuries, you know, then you have a better chances.
Q. Are you at all surprised that he didn’t get tight in those last few points in the tiebreaker?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no. He is a great player. Why you have to get tight? He’s 22. He has enough experience. He played for the last couple of years on the tour.
Q. This was a big moment.
RAFAEL NADAL: Is not to win Grand Slam. Is fourth round. If he wants to become a champion he cannot be tight in that moment. Especially when you are 22, when you are playing against a player that in theory you have nothing to lose, you have everything to win.
Is not a moment to be tight. Is a moment to play aggressive. I think he did, and he did very well.
Q. You just lost the match, but still is there a part of you that has pride and satisfaction that you were part of such a great event?
RAFAEL NADAL: Now I am not very satisfied, the real thing. (Smiling.) Losing in the fourth round after having a big chance to play a great event here, feeling myself ready for it, for sure I am not very satisfied, no? I am sad.
But that’s it. I give my best. I try my best. I fight until the last ball. I played with the right energy, and that’s it, no?
As I said before, when you give your best you can’t ask yourself more in terms of attitude, no? I need to improve in other things, but I going to do it.
Q. You played the Olympics with a bad wrist; had a troubled summer. You’ve come here and had some good games, but now unfortunately the tournament is over. Are you going to use this time to recover 100% the wrist, or are you going to be focusing more on your tennis because you believe that your wrist is okay?
RAFAEL NADAL: My wrist is improving a lot. I say that looks like the injury is at the end of the process. I am ready to keep playing. That’s what my body is asking me now.
Q. All losses are painful. This one, is it a bit less painful because of what you had to go through in the summer? It’s not excuses.
RAFAEL NADAL: Doesn’t matter if you go through injuries; doesn’t matter if you arrived with less preparation. At the end of the day, nobody remember that. You know, you lost in the fourth round and that’s it.
Q. But you do remember.
RAFAEL NADAL: For me, I don’t care. I lost an opportunity to play a great event. Doesn’t matter if I had the injuries or not, no? I didn’t play in Roland Garros; I didn’t play in Wimbledon. That’s an opportunities lost. Here again, another opportunity lost.
At the end of the day is not a moment, as I said before, to find excuses or to be less painful. Is a painful defeat because I believe myself, I feel myself ready for that match, ready for the tournament. That’s it.
We can find stories, but I lost. That’s the only thing that really matter now. I going to fight to change that. But is not less painful or more painful. Is a defeat. Is not the first one in my career; is not going to be for sure the last.
When you play sport, you accept that when you go on court you can lose, you can win. That’s part of the life. I’m happy to be playing again. That’s the most important thing. I’m happy that I feel myself again close to be hundred percent healthy.
If I am hundred percent healthy, I have the energy to keep going. I believe that I can have a couple of more good years.
Q. You said you feel better this year compared to last year. What is the biggest difference between last year and this year?
RAFAEL NADAL: This year I didn’t have no one mental problem. I was able to enjoy every practice. I was able to enjoy every match. Last year not. Last year for seven, eight months happened something strange in my mind. I was playing with stress. I was anxious. I didn’t enjoy.
When you are not enjoying doing what you do, then you have a problem. The problems in my mental part didn’t allow me to enjoy, and this year I’m enjoying. I’m enjoying every moment. The only thing that was a negative thing is I couldn’t compete in a moment that I was playing great.
L. POUILLE/R. Nadal
6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What were you thinking after you lost those match points, and the forehand that could have killed you?
LUCAS POUILLE: At this time I was, okay, you have to save a match point. I couldn’t believe he would miss it. But, you know, he’s like every players. He feel the pressure as well. Even if he’s one of the best, he feel the pressure.
It’s a tough one to make at this time. Then when he missed it, of course was very happy. I can’t say anything else.
Q. You played well the match point afterwards.
LUCAS POUILLE: After this I wanted to take my chance to be very aggressive, try to play with my forehand, and so that’s what I did at the match point, yeah.
Q. At 6-5 in the tiebreak, your first serve hit past the baseline. How did you feel at that point?
LUCAS POUILLE: Bad. (Smiling.) I did couple of serve like this during the match. I had a very low percentage of first serve. It was like 40% or 44%. Yeah, I didn’t serve pretty well.
But, you know, okay, I miss it, but I had a second serve. When I missed the forehand it was more difficult to turn at 6-All. It’s okay. It was more funny than something else.
Q. How were you able to get past that?
LUCAS POUILLE: Yeah, it was behind me, you know. I made a lot of winners, so it was one mistake. That’s it. Then with another match point I went with my forehand as well, again, and I did well.
Q. What is your explanation for your success at Wimbledon and here?
LUCAS POUILLE: I don’t know. That I’m well physically. I’m stronger than before. I can play many matches. I can play three match in five sets in a row. It’s long.
But, yeah, I did it pretty good. I think because mentally I’m stronger, physically I’m stronger, gave me a lot of confident before the match. I knew if I wanted to win that, it’s not going to be like three sets, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. It would be long.
So I was ready for it. I think I was 100% before the match.
Q. He beat you badly in Monte-Carlo, but you practiced.
LUCAS POUILLE: During the practice it was 6-1, 6-3 for him. I was not confident before the match.
Q. What did you learn from that?
LUCAS POUILLE: He was playing very fast. He was playing very close from the baseline during the practice. I was returning closer than today. If my return was not perfect, then he was going with the forehand and almost did only winners.
So today I decide to be, yeah, far from the baseline to hit hard the ball and try to then come closer. I think that was the good choice.
Q. With this win you’re going to break into the top 20. Now that your ranking is this good, were you disappointed you didn’t make the cut for the Olympic Games?
LUCAS POUILLE: I mean, now it’s behind me. The cut was after the French Open, so it’s two months later. But it’s okay. I’m young. I will have the chance to play Olympics in four years, and maybe in eight years.
Of course when the cut came out I was disappointed, but now it’s okay. It’s behind me. I’m looking forward.
Q. (Question regarding the atmosphere.)
LUCAS POUILLE: I think it was the best atmosphere I played on a center court. Ashe is so big. I’m not used to play on this court. It was the first time. I practiced once last year.
I didn’t even warm up on this court before the match, because otherwise I would have to come at 10:00 or 9:00 in the morning today. So at the end it was full. Sometimes I couldn’t even hear myself when I was saying, Allez, allez, allez. Sometimes you can’t even hear yourself.
Q. Do you think sometimes a match can change the career of a player? Do you think this match that you won could change your career, or it’s one day like another?
LUCAS POUILLE: No, it could maybe. I will tell you in few months or in few years. Now if I say, yeah, of course it’s going to change my career and in one year I am 50 I will say wrong.
So, yeah, maybe it will change my career, but I will see. It will give me a lot of confidence for the next round, for the rest of the season. But now I have one more match to play again, so we’ll see after the tournament.
Q. You broke into the top 100 the end of last year. Now you are top 25 and going obviously to a better position. What did you change from past years?
LUCAS POUILLE: I moved to Dubai. We work a different way. We work, I think, harder. During the pre-season I change many things. I took my own physical trainer. He’s traveling almost every time with us so we can work every day. Even in tournaments we keep working. We keep working.
I think mentally I’m stronger. I took a lot of confidence. The way I’m going on court is not the same as last year. Yeah, I think that’s why I’m better than the year before. Of course, I’m a bit older, as well.
Q. Who is the best player you’ve ever practiced with and what did you learn from the experience?
LUCAS POUILLE: Tough question. I don’t know. Djokovic. I have practiced with all the best. I think they’re all unbelievable, incredible.
But the way they work, they’re working so hard, and that’s why they’re here. There is no other reason. They’re talented as well, but so many players are. The way they are putting attention on every shot, yeah, they’re doing all perfectly.
During the pre-season I had the chance to practice with Roger and it was unbelievable. He was working so hard, like four hours, then rest, then next day the same.
To see that after a long career, all the success he has, it was great to see this.
Q. What did you learn about yourself when you practiced with some of the greatest players in history?
LUCAS POUILLE: The first set I won against Djokovic, for example, it was in Wimbledon before the tournament. So when you win a set during the practice, of course it’s a practice, but it’s a good thing. It prove you you can play at this level.
Now you have to make it in tournament. That’s what I’m trying to do. That’s what I’m doing in this tournament.
Q. Your next opponent is Gael Monfils. What is your impression of how he’s playing right now?
LUCAS POUILLE: He’s in very good form. He has won so many matches, yeah, for the last two months. He’s very confident. He hasn’t lost a set, so I know it’s going to be hard.
But I’m playing well. I have good feelings on the court, so we’ll see. I think it’s going to be a tough match for me, but for him as well. It’s going to be interesting.
Q. The United States doesn’t have any more players in this tournament. Why do you think France is doing so well?
LUCAS POUILLE: I don’t know. We are doing so well this year. Maybe in Australia you’re going to do better than us. I don’t know.
But for me, because I worked very hard, I’m feeling very confident, that’s why I’m here. For Jo and Gael it’s the same. They’re unbelievable player. They are at this level for many years now, so…
Q. Did you know Yannick was in the stands watching?
LUCAS POUILLE: Yeah, I read that he was coming this morning. I saw him when he came in. Yes, it was very nice to have him and Cedric in the box.
Q. Who was your idol growing up?
LUCAS POUILLE: Roger Federer.
N. DJOKOVIC/K. Edmund
6-2, 6-1, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What did you take from that? Must have been a bit tough, especially the first two sets.
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, I mean, just come off. Just enjoyed the experience. Yeah, it was obviously a tough match. Came off a lot happier than I was during the match just ’cause I got something going and started to impose myself a lot better. So that was good.
But, yeah, just a lot of learning to do from it, which is a really good thing. You know, to play the world No. 1 on the biggest tennis court in the world, doesn’t get much better than that.
It’s been a great tournament for me. Loads and loads of positives, the way I’ve been playing. The good thing is, I feel like there’s a lot of stuff I can improve on and get better, as well, and the level I’m playing at.
Yeah, obviously you don’t want to go out of a tournament. That’s human. But I’m happy with how I’ve been playing.
Q. Did it surprise you at all the way he came flying out of the blocks like that after he’d only played six games in the previous six days?
KYLE EDMUND: No, no. I said this in the last press conference, that he’s going to come out and play at a high level. If you watch him play, he’s playing at a high level consistently. He’s been doing that for a long, long time. He’s good at that, in coming out and putting a level on court that he can maintain. So I wasn’t surprised.
He’s No. 1 in the world. The No. 1 in the world is based on a ranking that is year-round. It’s not necessarily if you have one good tournament. He’s had good tournaments consistently through, year-round.
That means he has to play well a lot of the time. That’s what he does.
Q. What have you learned about yourself and your game in this tournament?
KYLE EDMUND: What have I learned about myself? Well, it’s given me a lot more belief in my game. Not that I didn’t believe in my game. But it’s nice to actually do it on a big stage against some good players, you know, two top-20 players, a guy that was playing well.
It was a tough match against Escobedo, so three good wins there that I managed different styles, different games. It’s nice to know you can come out and adapt to situations.
I’m getting better and better each time at that. Yeah, I’m just pleased with how it’s gone. To win three best-of-five sets, I’ve never done in my career. It was nice I’ve been consistently able to do that.
Q. What are the specifics you have to work on in your own mind?
KYLE EDMUND: I mean, nothing different to what I’ve always been working on. I need to get my serve better. Obviously my forehand’s my strength, but that needs to continue to develop, because otherwise it stands still and people get better as well.
Everything needs to improve. It’s like a constant process of trying to get better. You know, you see how well Djokovic moves.
That’s the standard he’s putting out there. I’ve got to get better at my movement. I got to get better at my shot management, when to pull the trigger, when to rally. It’s a constant process.
Yeah, like I said, it’s nice that I’m playing well, I’ve had really good wins, but there’s still more room for improvement, which is exciting.
Q. How did you feel about playing tonight? Were you nervous?
KYLE EDMUND: You have a little bit of nerves. I think it’s exciting nerves. You’re wanting to go out there an play. It’s a little bit of an unknown as well because I’ve never played a match on that court in front of that crowd, so it’s a new experience for me.
So, yeah, you’re just anxious because you want to go out there and experience it. That’s what I was looking forward to. Also the challenge of playing world No. 1, you know it’s going to be tough when you go out there.
I just knew that I didn’t have anything to lose. I just wanted to go out there and just be free and play my game. I did a lot better job of that in the third set, definitely.
Q. I think you’ll move up to 55 then after the tournament. A year from now, what’s the target?
KYLE EDMUND: Don’t know. Hopefully injury-free; improve from where I am now. I don’t know. It’s tough to look a year ahead.
I just try and stay in the now almost and what I need to do to get better and stuff. It’s tough to predict what I want to do.
If you look back a year ago, losing last round in quallies, where I was with my game, now where I’m at with my game, making fourth round, it’s nice to know I have improved over that year.
Hopefully this time next year I can look back at the same thing and say, Yeah, my game has improved.
Q. Tomorrow morning del Potro will be playing on the same court you played a few minutes ago. Will you watch that game, considering maybe he will be an opponent within a few days in Davis Cup?
KYLE EDMUND: He’s playing first on tomorrow?
KYLE EDMUND: I have no idea. I don’t know. I don’t have any plans right now. I’ve just come off court. Obviously I’ll be looking to head back at some stage, back to the UK. Yeah, it’s tough to answer that question. I don’t know what I’m going to be doing.
Q. Which are your thoughts on del Potro’s comeback?
KYLE EDMUND: I’ve never practiced with him. I’ve never played him. So, yeah, I don’t know what it’s like to be on court with him.
Obviously watching him he has a big, explosive game. It’s exciting to watch. He takes on balls. He likes to hit winners. He’s dangerous, of course. You can see his improvement the last months, how well he’s been doing, obviously beat Novak in Rio.
From what I’ve seen, he’s obviously been playing well here. He’s getting a lot better since his injury. He’s won this event. He’s a past champion here, so that speaks for itself, how good he is.
N. DJOKOVIC/K. Edmund
6-2, 6-1, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How pleased were you with that performance?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was pleased. Very pleased, except a little drop in the level in the third set, midway through the third set. Other than that, everything was great.
So it’s good to play an entire match, you know, considering I had not much time spent on the court in last couple rounds. So far I only played night sessions. I actually like playing night sessions very much. Hopefully the next one can be also night session.
You know, I think if I do play at night it’s going to help the fact that I’ve tonight versus Kyle also under the lights, because the conditions are quite different. It’s slower. The balls are quite heavy. They don’t bounce as much, which I like, honestly.
I’m playing against Tsonga next match, who is a big server. I’m going to need all the conditions I can have.
Q. How was the arm and the elbow? The treatment looked incredibly painful.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, it was good. It was good. Everything was fine.
Q. How would you gauge your fitness, having not done anything on court for six days?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m feeling very good, to be honest. I really wanted to start the match well today because I didn’t have much time on the court overall before the fourth round.
Yeah, considering I had some struggles before the tournament, you know, I feel great at this moment physically; mentally as well I’m motivated.
So coming into the second week of a Grand Slam quarterfinals feeling good, it’s exactly where I want to be.
Q. (Regarding Pouille winning a practice set.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t know what set he’s talking about. As far as I remember, I won in the tiebreak.
No, I’m kidding. It was an unbelievable match between Rafa and him today really. Both of them played boldly. When they were match points or breakpoints down, they both went for shots.
In sport, at this level, these things happen. You know, one ball can go your way, as it did his way. He absolutely deserved to get the win.
I don’t think many people expected him to physically, you know, sustain that intensity with Rafa, considering he has played also a five-setter a couple days ago, finished late, and then had to play against Nadal.
We all know tough it is to play against Nadal. He makes you work for each point. So very impressive from Lucas. We all knew last couple of years he has a big game. He has a potential if he gets it together. He’s doing it. He’s moving better. He’s using the court very well.
Quarterfinals of Wimbledon, quarterfinals here. Now he’s coming closer to top 10. He has the quality to be there.
Q. You played Kyle in Miami about six months ago. Do you notice any improvement, any maturity?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I do. I think he was overwhelmed by the stage today. I think he hasn’t played on the level that he can, to be honest. But his forehand is really big. When he sets it up very nicely, he can hit a very good forehand from all over the court.
Obviously his first Arthur Ashe night session. His first match on the biggest stadium. He made a lot of errors. But generally he played a good tournament. He beat Gasquet; he beat Isner. For someone his age he’s showing mental maturity, no doubt. He’s getting things together.
I am sure we going to see more of him in the future.
Q. Regarding Kyle, I think he’s going to go up to about No. 55 in the world. Can you see him being a top 20 or top 30 player?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Sure. No doubt. If he keeps going the same path that he’s on right now, there is no doubt that he has a quality and big chance to get there. He knows that there is work ahead of him. He needs to stay committed.
But he does seem like a profile of a person and a player that is very committed, very professional, down-to-earth, nice guy, good manners. So, you know, I’m quite confident he’s going to get there soon.
Q. I must ask you again about the arm again. You said everything was okay, but you obviously needed treatment on it. Could you tell us what the problem was?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I needed a little bit of massage. I like Clay. That was a little deal we had before the match. (Smiling.)
Q. Was it causing you any pain?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No.
Q. So why did you call the trainer?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, I needed a little bit of a massage.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #179 at 2016-09-05 05:00:00 GMT