(September 8, 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. KERBER/C. Wozniacki
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. So how does it feel to be the best player in the world?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It feels amazing. (Smiling.) I mean, yeah, it feels just great. I mean, the day came today, and to be now the No. 1 in the world, that was always a dream for me.
I was trying to not thinking too much the whole last few weeks about this, and now I reach it. So it’s something really special for me, because, yeah, I was dreaming for this No. 1.
Q. You almost got it in Cincinnati, but do you remember when you first imagined as a small German girl that you might achieve this, that you might be the best?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I was always dreaming when I was really young. I remember the match also in Cincinnati where I have the chance to reach it with the win there.
But after that I was just telling myself, Okay, I mean, I will get one more chance.
Yeah, I get it now. It’s something really special. Yeah, I don’t know what to say, because I was just trying to focusing on this really tough match today against Caroline. I saw the match before also, Serena against Pliskova, so that was not so easy.
Now after I can relax a little bit and try to enjoy, yeah, this special night today.
Q. Finally, what do you say to Steffi?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, to be the next German No. 1 in the world after Steffi, it’s really special. It’s an honor for me.
Yeah, it’s just incredible, actually.
Q. You won the sportsmanship award. What’s that mean to you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: That means a lot, because I’m always trying to playing fair play. I mean, to get this trophy now, it means a lot, because, yeah, it shows me that, yeah, I know or I’m on a good way what I’m doing off and on court.
Q. Watching that match before as you’re trying to prepare for this match, how much does that rattle you? And then, also, what were your thoughts as you’re watching that first match unfold?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I watch especially the last few points. I knew it will be tough one because I know Pliskova plays very good in the last few weeks. I play against her in Cincinnati.
Yeah, it was not so easy to go then on court, because I knew it actually before that if Serena lost, of course, that I will be the No. 1. So it was not so easy mentally, but I was trying to, again, not putting too much pressure on myself.
That shows me also that I think I’m growing and I’m not putting the pressure on my shoulders if something like this happen. I can go out there focusing on my game. That gives me also a lot of confidence with the situation, how I deal it today.
Q. What do you remember about how you felt both physically and emotionally going into that Cincinnati final? How different do you think you feel now about three weeks later?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I remember the Cincinnati final. I was actually really tired because I came from Rio and I had a lot of tough matches there.
Here I have one day off tomorrow, so I can really prepare for the final against Pliskova. I know how she is playing. I know she has a big serve.
Yeah, I think I will go out there trying to get my next chance against her and take the revenge, of course.
Q. I understand that you and Caroline are really good friends and even been on vacation together. How is it to play against your friend? Are you still friends after today?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It’s always not so easy because we know each other very good. I know how she is playing; she knows how I am playing. We played so many matches in the past and always close, and today I think the match was really close. The score is actually not so close, but the match was tough.
Yeah, it’s not so easy, but we both trying to giving our best on court, and after the match we are still friends. (Smiling.)
Q. I spoke to Karolina after the first-round victory, and she said then that she came into this tournament filled with a lot of confidence with her win against you, and then the one against Venus helped her to build on confidence to take on Serena. She’s I think right now probably about as confident as she’s ever been in her career. The person you will face in the final is going to be, mentally, anyway, a more difficult opponent. Talk about what you expect from that match.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: For sure she has a lot of confidence. Now especially against the win against Serena. She will go out there and try and win her first Grand Slam, but at the end I will try the same. I know it will be mentally for me also very tough because she know that she won against me like few weeks ago.
But at the end I know how I was playing in Cincinnati. I know what to change. I will talk with my coach about the game and I will try to take the challenge again against her.
Yeah, trying to win the match the next one.
Q. Just talk about the way you played today against an opponent who is, you know, playing some great tennis here.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s her second home here. She loves to play here. I was trying to playing my game. I know she’s moving very well. She’s fighting until the last point. I knew what to expect, but I was trying not to — not thinking too much about her game.
I was trying to thinking how I was playing here the last few weeks, also the last few months, and trying to go like this on court, being aggressive and taking my chances.
So I think I played a really good match, and, yeah, because I have to against Caroline.
Q. Would part of you have liked to face Serena in the finals, or are you actually relieved that you don’t have to face her now?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I knew actually that it will be a tough match against Pliskova, Serena against Pliskova.
But, you know, I was actually not thinking about this one. I was more focusing on my game. Not thinking too much. Now I can think about who I am playing, but before I was not thinking too much, yeah, about the other semis.
Q. Did you see Serena after? Did she congratulate you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No, I didn’t see her.
Q. You talked about the mental differences for you now as opposed to when you played a few weeks ago against Pliskova. From a tactical standpoint, what do you think is the most important thing for you to have success against her in this match Saturday?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think my serve have to be very good. I have to move good, as well, to bring a lot of balls back, and playing also more aggressive like I played in Cincinnati. I was just pushing too much the balls there, so I think I will change this a little bit. Go for it, being aggressive.
Yeah, I hope my serve will be good on Saturday.
Q. You were up 4-love to Wozniacki, and I know it may sound chauvinistic, but when you played Vinci I had the impression that you were more tense because you had three times behind one break and so on. Do you think there was a difference in terms of, you know, being on court and suffering? Did you suffer more with Vinci than with Wozniacki? That’s the question. The first one.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Good one.
Q. And the second one.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I’m not thinking about this, actually, you know. I went on court and I was trying to playing every single point. I was not thinking too much about the score and about the things around. I was trying to playing more point by point.
Vinci and Caroline, they are both tough players and different a little bit. Yeah.
Q. Did you suffer more today or the other day?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: (Shaking head.)
Q. You don’t want to say.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No. (Laughter.)
Q. You’re the oldest to debut at No. 1 in the rankings history, and I want to know what you think about that and what it says about the sport. Secondly, were you prepared for this kind of success this year coming into the season, the slam, three finals?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Actually, not really, because last year when I played a good year, I mean, I won four titles. I played — yeah, I was still in the top 10 at the end of the year.
And then I sit down with my coach, and we said, Okay, what we have to improve? And I was trying to improving my game, being more aggressive, and not just playing from the defensive end.
Yeah, when I won my first Grand Slam in Australia and we came back I had much more confidence. I had much more belief in my game, about my improvement.
And then I was just trying to get used to this pressure, all the stuff what’s happen after Australia.
I don’t know if I was like prepared for this, but I think I played amazing year. I mean, it’s my third Grand Slam final now in one year, so I just try to enjoy it. I just try to stay relaxed and just try to play like I’m playing the last few months.
Q. A few years ago when we would watch you compete there would be a lot of eye rolling, you know, negative body language, kind of sarcastic clapping, things like that. We don’t see much of that anymore. Can you talk about your evolution just as a competitor on the court and what’s changed for you and how you got it to change?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I was trying to change this, and I think I improve very well. I was trying to be more positive than I was the last few years, because I know that the body language is really important.
I lost a lot of matches with this stuff, because I was frustrated. When I missed one shot I was like thinking about the shot the next few minutes and few shots.
So this is what I was trying also during my practices. Just, yeah, looking ahead and just point by point. Sometimes you have this situation where you are really negative actually because you lose a point or you make an easy mistake.
But in this moment I’m really trying to be mentally strong and not showing my opponent that I’m inside actually a little bit more negative and nervous. Trying to stay positive. I think the change also my game that I believe more and going for it when I have the chance and not waiting about the mistakes from my opponent.
Q. After you won in Australia you had a celebratory swim in Melbourne’s wonderful Yarrow River. We have some great rivers here. Would you give us equal time, please?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No. I think that was once and that was okay. (Laughter.) Let’s see what we will do if I win it here, but I think we will just decide it when it’s happen.
Q. A former and great champion, Pete Sampras, said once, “I like the racquet to do the talking.” The racquet wasn’t that funny. We didn’t enjoy that much. Can you tell us something that you would tell to your friends, intimate friends, mother, that would be more fun for us to listen to? Sometimes you’re too predictable. I would like some story to write.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know what you want to hear. I don’t know. (Smiling.)
Q. Now you’re talking to your mother. What do you tell her?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I mean, right now I think they are all proud about my No. 1 situation, about the game I am playing. I think also about my improvement what I did the last few months. I think this is now really special.
Yeah, that I’m growing with all the situation, all the stuff what I’m dealing with. It’s not so easy, and I think this is the biggest thing what I’m proud about it.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Emotions, yes.
Q. A lot?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yes, a lot (Smiling.)
A. KERBER/C. Wozniacki
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Despite coming up short today, can you evaluate your US Open?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, obviously right now I’m a little disappointed not to win today, but at the end of the day it’s been a good tournament, something I can be proud of.
I came into this tournament ranked 74 in the world and probably people ruled me out, but it’s nice to prove people wrong once again. It’s nice to have a good run. I did my best out there today. I fought all I could, and just came up a bit short.
Q. (Question regarding last point of the match.)
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, I got a few texts, but that just made me feel worse. I saw it like in the air, saw it out that’s why I kind of stopped. When it landed I saw it on the line and I just wasn’t ready for it. Then when I saw it on the line I was like, There’s no reason to challenge since it was a relatively slow ball.
But clearly should have done that. But in the at the end of the day I don’t think it would have made a difference, but…
Q. Today was it a matter of something going off on your game? You couldn’t impose? Was it Angie?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Obviously Angie is playing well. She’s getting a lot of balls back. I thought I was dictating a lot of the game. I was trying to press and stay close to the line. In the beginning she really got me on the contra and just kind of counter-punched me away.
Then I stepped into the ball a bit more then and went for my shots and started going in and I started finding a rhythm. A few of the balls I went a little bit too much on and made these small mistakes.
But, you know, today I had to do that. I had to go for my shots. Unfortunately I came up a little short, but I have got to be proud of the way I kept going, and I just kept fighting for every point.
Q. What went well for you this tournament? Why did it all start to click? How do you do that moving forward for yourself?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think I just need to keep going the way I have been doing. You know, just I have gotten a lot of matches here, which is great. Hopefully I can just bring this momentum into the Asian swing.
It was a good tournament. I kind of felt like the way I have been practicing I managed to put that into the matches, so that was nice.
Hopefully I can just do that moving forward.
Q. Angie joined an exclusive club you have been a member of. What makes her biggest qualities to be No. 1? What advice would you give, because you held on to that spot for quite a while.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I think obviously she’s had a great year. She gets a lot of balls back. She also knows how to change the pace. She gets good angles.
And, yeah, she’s playing really well. You know, it’s not a lot of people who have been No. 1. It’s a huge thing. You know, she definitely has a target on her back now. Everyone wants to beat the No. 1 player in the world.
Yeah, she’s going to enjoy it. First she has a match here that she’s focused on, and I’m sure she will enjoy it after the tournament.
Q. You have been there yourself. Going forward now, do you take motivation from this tournament to try to climb the rankings again? Obviously 74, that will change. There has been talk during this tournament you might be hanging up your tennis shoes. Where is your head now in terms of the future?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest right now, my head isn’t anywhere. I have a drug test, so after this I need to be able to pee. That’s what I’m thinking about right now. (Laughter.)
After that, I don’t know. I have the Asian swing to look forward to, so that’s really what I’m thinking about next. I’m playing Tokyo in a week’s time.
Q. You have always said that health is the key for you. Do you come out of this completely healthy? Feel good mentally and physically?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I do. Yeah, I feel very good body-wise. I think it’s the best it’s felt in a while. I’m happy with that. Mentally I’m sure it will take me a couple of days just to process everything, but in the at the end of the day I can be proud of the way I have been handling myself this week, these two weeks.
You know, obviously I would have loved to have gotten two more, but it is what it is. I’m going to take this and really bring this momentum forward.
Q. Were you watching some of Serena earlier? Your thoughts on that match. Did it surprise you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think Serena looked a little bit nervous. And, yeah, I mean, I watched a little bit. You know, I always like to see Serena win. Obviously she’s a great friend of mine. You know, I have huge respect for her.
But at the same time, I have to give respect to Pliskova for serving it out and playing well.
K. PLISKOVA/S. Williams
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You had a very strong opponent tonight. What do you think didn’t go according to your plans?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t think much really went well today. I made a lot of errors and I didn’t play as well as I have been playing.
Q. Can you talk about Karolina as a player? Her serve was good today. How do you feel about her, moving around the court and return?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought she was a good, all-around player.
Q. It looked like you were limping a bit out there. At one point holding your wrist. What percentage were you physically out there? I know you had a very tough match against Simona. Do you feel you were beaten up from that? Were you physically up to 100%?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely was not beat up after my quarterfinal match. But, yeah, I just — that was it.
Q. On TV Chris Evert kept suggesting you looked a little worn out from yesterday’s match. You weren’t moving and weren’t getting your racquet in position. Did you feel that at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay, I’m not going to repeat myself. I wasn’t tired from yesterday’s match. I’m a professional player; been playing for over 20 years.
If I can’t turn around after 24 hours and play again then I shouldn’t be on tour. So I definitely wasn’t tired from yesterday’s match at all.
It wasn’t a five-hour match. I have practiced three hours, so it wasn’t that huge of a deal.
Q. People were surprised to see you in the first match of the night. Did you request to play earlier?
SERENAS WILLIAM: I don’t know. I had plenty of time to recover, so it was fine.
Q. You said you weren’t tired, but were you injured at all? Was your left leg or knee hurting you?
SERENAS WILLIAM: Yeah, I have been having some serious left knee problems. I wasn’t tired. Fatigue had absolutely nothing to do with it. If I was tired I should definitely get into a new career.
Q. How did the leg affect you out there tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I wasn’t able to move the way I wanted to move. When you’re injured you’re thinking of other things when you should be just playing and thinking of your shots. My mind was just a little bit everywhere. But it was what it was.
Q. When did this injury come up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I think like after the second or third round. I think it was the second round.
Q. Is there a diagnosis to it, or…
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know yet. I’d rather not say, actually. It’s fine.
Q. Your coach kind of blamed the loss on the knee. Do you feel it really, really hampered your movement? I know you’re downplaying it a bit.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m not downplaying anything. Karolina played great today. I think if she had played any less then maybe I would have had a chance.
So I think I wasn’t at 100%, but I also think she played well. She deserved to win today.
Q. In the tiebreak you had two double faults to the ad court and going to the same spot. Missed four times. Anything particular going on there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: To be honest, I don’t remember that. I remember double faulting on match point, but I don’t remember the other ones.
Q. You didn’t play at all last fall after the US Open, so you have points to make up now. Going back after the No. 1 ranking going to be a priority for you now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t talk about that whatsoever.
Q. Just your schedule for the fall?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I don’t know.
Q. Were you surprised at how composed she remained throughout even the tiebreaker?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I think she’s been on tour for numerous years and she’s had some good wins. She was doing so well last year, was so close in so many finals, and I think maybe this was her year to really do well, at least here at the Open.
Q. Did Venus discuss anything with you, having played her, as well?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We talked about it a little bit, yeah.
Q. Any advice that you want to share that she gave you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really. (Smiling.)
Q. She said in the on-court interview she thought the key to the win was her serve. Would you agree with that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, I definitely agree. I thought she served well today, and that was definitely was a big thing for her.
Q. Was it very difficult to deal with that serve?
SERENAS WILLIAM: Today it was, yes.
Q. Did you feel like your serve sort of abandoned you tonight?
SERENAS WILLIAM: I guess. It was — it’s all right. This is really negative. I don’t think it abandoned me. I just don’t think I served well. I definitely think I could serve better, but that’s the beauty of the sport. Always opportunities to do better.
Q. Once you broke back in the second, what was going through your mind as far as game plan and getting a foothold in the match?
SERENAS WILLIAM: I’m always thinking about holding and breaking and holding. That’s it. I don’t really — don’t really know so much what I was thinking.
Q. I’m not sure you called the trainer out. I may be wrong about that. Had it gone to the third set, would you have called the trainer out to assess…
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, we’ll never know, huh? (Laughter.)
Q. I appreciate very much your fair play, but even if you say it wasn’t a factor, a 7:00 pm match played for ESPN, and suddenly you have to play a match one day after the other. This reminds me a little bit CBS paying a lot of money and Super-Saturday. I would say if you think it’s fair, forget if it was a factor for you or not, if it’s fair that you have to play quarters or semifinals one day after the other. I don’t think it’s fair.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Um, I mean, honestly, I don’t — and I’m not disagreeing with you. Actually, I am. I don’t see how it’s not unfair. Like, we play every single week. We play — I have been in Toronto or Montreal or Cincinnati where I play Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
I mean, if I’m not used to playing this, and I really should think of something different. I’m not going to sit here and make an excuse. Because that’s not me. Being a professional, if I can’t recover, then, you know, that’s that.
But I was totally okay. It had nothing to do with that. That’s what we do on a weekly basis.
Q. But in a Grand Slam it’s every other day.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not at the French Open. I played like nine matches in a row. (Laughter.)
Q. With the hampered leg, what part of your game felt most affected by that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Mental, because when you’re hampered you’re thinking of other things. Like I was making errors that I never make, and definitely I didn’t make in this tournament in particular. So many simple, simple shots that I easily could have made.
I just blame that on just mentally thinking about my leg and just not thinking about the shot.
Q. Kerber is going to be the oldest to debut No. 1 at 28 years old. You have been the oldest No. 1 and set a lot of records.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m not talking about No. 1. Thank you.
Q. How do you compare her serve to other serves you have faced over the years? Is there anything about it that makes her particularly effective?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think because she’s so tall it bounces high. I’m a little shorter so my serve goes through the court. Hers goes a little higher. So I think that’s the difference.
Q. Obviously you would have wanted to win this title. What do you walk away proudest of these last ten days at the US Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I’m only really proud — you know, obviously I’m a perfectionist and I love to win. That’s when I feel my proudest.
I think I had a pretty positive attitude mostly outside of maybe my second round. I think that I could walk away with that.
K. PLISKOVA/S. Williams
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Quite a performance tonight. Did it help you that you had played Venus two nights earlier and experienced the whole crowd being for your opponent and all that?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I would say yes, definitely. Not only the crowd. I would say also the game was quite similar to Venus, so I knew it’s gonna be a little bit about the same match what I played with Venus and same serving, same speed.
So obviously Serena is No. 1. Venus is a little bit behind her. She’s definitely playing a little bit better. I was expecting tough match but I knew I can win.
Q. Can you compare your performances in the two matches? Which match was a more satisfying performance from your end?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, to beat Serena, she’s world No. 1, so it’s always tough to beat someone like this. She’s never giving up. Even if she’s losing, not playing her best, it’s always tough to beat girls like this.
I would maybe say it was a little bit tougher to play Venus because obviously I was match point down and she was serving much better than Serena was tonight.
Even my game I think was a little bit better against Venus, but I’m not sure what my coach is gonna say and what all the people is gonna say. Obviously I beat No. 1. Everyone is gonna say it’s amazing win tonight. But, I mean, both matches were very good.
Q. You have the Cincinnati win. A lot of confidence. Now you’re in your first Grand Slam final. What’s that mean?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: It was always a dream to, you know, get a title, get to the semifinal, get to the final. So, I mean, it’s a big result for me. I hope I didn’t stop yet, that there is still one more step to go. I’ll do anything for getting the title.
Even if I don’t get it, it’s a big result. I’m really happy to be there and even have the chance to play in the final here. It doesn’t happen often, you know, that you’re playing especially semifinal against Serena on center court here in New York. It doesn’t happen often that you’re in the final of Grand Slams.
I’m really excited to be there and really excited to be in a Grand Slam final for first time in my life.
Q. How did you stay so calm? In fact, were you that calm?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Actually, yes, I was pretty calm today. Before the match I felt a little bit like pressure, nervous, some kind of — but when I step on the court I didn’t feel anything. I just, you know, wanted to win, actually. Not just enjoy but to win.
I knew I’m going to have my chances even if she’s playing her best. There is always a chance in those two sets. I was calm during the whole match. Even in the second set there was some complications. I was up a break.
But it never can be so easy to play No. 1 in the world. You cannot win like 6-2, 6-1, so I wasn’t expecting a match like this. I was prepared for anything, even if I would have lose the second set I would be ready for the third one.
Q. Most people would not want to play Venus and then Serena in a row. From what you’re saying, it sounds like it actually helped you to play Venus first, from the atmosphere and maybe also from the serving, returning?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, there is not more than to beat both sisters in one tournament in New York. I’m really excited about those two wins.
For the crowd, it’s not probably the best that I beat both of them in their country, but for me it’s really something special. Obviously the match with Venus helped me, like I said, not only with the game, but also with the crowd, also. Was my first match on center court.
So I knew I was to play center court one of the sisters Williams against all the people there, so I was prepared for it. I was prepared for a fast game, for great serving, and probably it helped me. That’s why maybe I won the match today.
Q. You’re one of the taller players on tour, especially one of the top players. How do you think that helps in terms of your serve, and what effect does it have, good or bad, in terms of movement and returning?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely if you are tall like me you cannot be run from the runners. With the movement, I was always a little bit struggling, but I still think I’m improving and there is still much work to do. Still much things to improve.
I’m always gonna, you know, work on this, and obviously, on the other hand, it’s a big thing for me that I can really serve well in important moments and beat players not only with my serve. Even if the serve is off, I can still — you know, I have forehand, backhand, good shots from the baseline.
I can really be aggressive and not the one who is waiting for a mistake, but the one who is doing the winners. So I think it’s a big plus.
Q. You said that you believed before you stepped on the court that you could win tonight and you could beat Serena. When did you first start to believe that you could pull off wins like this? Because I’m not sure that you necessarily always thought that when you were on tour.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I wasn’t thinking about to beat Serena before this tournament at all because I never faced her. I faced her once, but I never faced her since then and never on Grand Slam and never on a stage like this.
But once I beat Venus here I knew I’m playing good tennis and I have a chance to beat anyone in the tournament. I was ready for anything.
But actually, to be honest, when I was watching Serena last night against Simona they were playing really good tennis. I thought, Okay, this is going to be tough even if Simona is going to win or Serena is going to win. They were playing amazing tennis. I knew it was going to be tough.
But I didn’t want to get into the long rallies with her. That’s what they were playing yesterday. I was just getting my chances and putting the pressure on her. I think it paid off.
But I didn’t believe in beginning of the match that I can beat her. Since the match was going I knew I can, you know, get the win.
Q. You had some double faults today, but you shouldn’t be discouraged because I did some mathematics. You won only 38% of points off the second serve, but made 56% of first serve and won 80-something points. For today’s statistics, the better strategy would be hit first serve and second serve. Did you ever think about hitting first serve and second serve on regular basis?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I knew I’m going to be with pressure once I hit my second serve, once I missed the first serve, that she’s gonna go into my second serve with power and I’d be under the pressure.
I just wanted to serve as many first serves as I can, but you cannot just put the first serve in there. I think I started really good and she was guessing a little bit the sides of my first serve. So I knew I can, you know, hit some big serves.
Even if it’s not an ace it still can be still a point for me. But obviously on the second serve it’s tough, because like I said, she’s putting so much pressure on the second serve that’s. Why the few double faults.
I wanted to risk, go more into her body. I did few more double faults obviously, but I still think it paid off.
Q. You said on television that America doesn’t like you. What is it like to be out there, a single athlete in a stadium with 20,000, 23,000 people roaring and cheering for your opponent?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I wasn’t thinking about it at all. I knew it’s gonna be tough, that I’m going to be against everyone almost there.
But I have my people here. I have people at home which they always believe in me. So I knew I have some people behind me. I don’t really care about the whole stadium was for her. I just, you know, didn’t want to get focused on those people, because once I get to think about that everyone is cheering for her and that, I don’t know, they are screaming in between first and second serve it would just hurt my serve.
So I just wanted to get this out of the game and just be ready for my game and not to think about other things around.
Q. You beat Kerber a couple weeks ago and you stopped her from becoming No. 1. Now you beat Serena. You helped her actually get the position. So bottom line, you beat the two No. 1s in a couple of weeks. How important for your confidence is to do such a result? Actually, going to the final, you could face Kerber possibly. What do you think about the eventual head to head?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, in Cincinnati I knew Angie, she’s playing for world No. 1, so I think she kind of felt some pressure there.
So, you know, I was really going for my win there and got the win, which gave me a lot of confidence.
And right now I knew Angie beat Serena. I knew few other girls beat Serena, so I knew that I could beat her, as well. It’s a great thing to beat a girl which is No. 1, girl which is No. 2.
So it’s always a good result, even if you beat someone from top 10. It’s not happening often and there are always tough matches with the girls from top 10. So I’m really excited about it.
Obviously if I play Kerber tomorrow I’ll know her very well. We played a lot of times. I lost to her; I won. So I will be ready for anything. That’s a final of a Grand Slam, so anything is possible. Of course, probably nerves from both sides. We both have a good chance to win.
But, yeah, I will just do anything to win the title here.
Q. Were you aware that Serena was dealing with a knee injury? She talked about it a little bit here. Her coach certainly talked about it. Could you feel that on the court or did you have no knowledge of it?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: No. I didn’t know it at all. After the match they asked me in the studio. Even my coach said something to me after the match.
But I’m not, you know, looking at the opponents at all between the points. It’s just not my business. I’m still talking and concentrating on myself and not on them. I would say it would be not be a good thing if I just, you know, keep on looking at her if she’s injured or not.
Just would not be the best for me. I still have to play my game and not think about the others.
Q. I know you skipped Rio, and other players did that, as well. What’s happening here? Why are you going to another level? What other factors is it that are making you play well now and take you to another level, do you feel?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely it was about those last two, three weeks what I have played here in States and I won good matches. It gave me a lot of confidence, and that’s what tennis is all about.
If you believe in yourself you can beat anyone. Especially in girls tennis it’s not only about a game and tennis, but it’s more about the mental things sometimes.
So I really believe now that I can beat a good players, and — all of the players, actually now.
But for me, I think the most important step was to get through to the fourth round. Then I knew I have — if I have the chance to play someone who is better than me, I know I can be dangerous.
Q. Last night you were watching Serena and Simona. This morning you have to play this match. What were you doing today before the match? Like how did you wake up? Eat breakfast? What did you do?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I actually didn’t have any breakfast. I woke up at 1:00, so I went straight to the lunch. I just wanted rest because I never played a night session here.
We just came later here, had a lunch around the hotel, and then just had a normal warmup, and, you know, kind of more relaxing start of the day.
I just wanted to be ready physically and also mentally for the match tonight.
Q. What do you remember about when Serena and Venus, 14 years ago basically in every Grand Slam final? Do you remember following them, what they meant to you, or starting in tennis?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely they did a lot for tennis. And both of them, they are such a great champions. You can still see it, even now. Even if they lose they are still behaving like champions.
Of course I remember them playing, but I think Serena improved a lot in last few years. She’s just doing very good job. Like I said, last few years she’s world No. 1. She’s still playing not that many tournaments and she’s still there, you know.
She can still hold the level even if she’s sometimes injured, sometimes not that ready. She’s still very dangerous player. So is Venus. They are both great champions.
Like I said, they did a lot for tennis and they always, you know, is gonna be there in our tennis history.
Q. Does it bother you at all, you win the biggest match of your life and people are talking or your opponent is talking about an injury being a difference?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I don’t care. (Smiling.) You know, sometimes it is like this. Not even me. I’m sometimes not playing when I’m 100% ready and I don’t think others care.
If someone is not ready and she doesn’t think she is ready, she should not go on the court. But after the match I would say it’s still her choice if she wants to play or if she is ready to play or not.
I’m just happy with my win, and I’m not gonna think about something like this.
Q. You have been playing for a long time, working hard. What would it mean to you if you were able to lift the trophy on Saturday?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: You know, everyone was still talking to me about that you can win Grand Slam once. I was like, Yeah, maybe. Not now. I’m not ready for it yet, because obviously I didn’t get that far in the tournament yet in a Grand Slam.
But I knew it’s somewhere in me that I can really play good tennis on those bigger stages, so I believed, and it just happened. So I think I have a good chance, good chance not tomorrow, Saturday, to win, and just be ready and give my best.