January 18, 2017

Kerber Advances in Three Sets, Venus Williams Moves Into Third Round at Australian Open

(January 18, 2017) No. 1 seed Angelique Kerber gave herself a birthday gift on Wednesday, a hard-fought 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-2 win over German countrywoman Carina Witthoeft.

The 29-year-old defending champion looked as though she was going to close out the match in straight sets,
but after taking a 3-2 lead in the second set tiebreak, her opponent amped up her game, while Kerber’s serve
vanished. Witthoeft won the next five points to send the match into a third set.

The two-time major winner had to overcome a break in the first game of the third set, but won four straight games to control the set. The fifth game saw Kerber having to fight off break points in long rallies to keep her edge.

“I was a little bit too defensive today, so I think that was the problem,” Kerber said. “When I was trying, I did, like, few more mistakes.

“So, yeah, I mean, I will try for the next round to really focusing on playing consistent from the first until the last point and not having too much up and downs during the match.

“I was doing I think a lot of mistakes like in the important moments. But at the end, I’m happy that I won the match. It was not so easy. The conditions were, like, also a little bit difficult today.
“At the end, I won, and this is all that counts for me.”

“Of course it was not so easy, especially also with the sun from the one side. But at the end, I was try my best. I’m through the next round, so, yeah, I’m looking forward to being now in the third round.”
During her on-court interview, the crowd serenaded her with the “Happy Birthday” song.

No. 13 seed and 2003 finalist Venus Williams advanced to the third round of the Australian Open, beating Swiss veteran Stefanie Voegele 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday.

Venus, who was scheduled to play doubles with her sister Serena later in the day, pulled out of the doubles with an elbow injury.

“I was really disappointed not to be able to play in New Zealand. I was hoping to have the capacity to play both events here, but at this point I just need to be careful and just try to maintain myself.”

Venus will play Ying-Ying Duan in the third round.
“I don’t know anything about her,” Williams admitted. “I have never seen her play. Zero, like zero. So I’m going to have to, yeah, see how it goes. Like, maybe get a scouting report in the warm-up when we hit the five minutes and kind of see how it feels.”

Other women’s seeds advancing on the day included eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 11 Elina Svitolina and No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. American Alison Riske upset No. 20 Zhang Shuai 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-1.

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Singles Draws Made at Australian Open

 

(January 13, 2017) Friday saw the singles draws made for the first major tournament of the tennis year, the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Top men’s seed Andy Murray will open his campaign to try and win his first major down under against Ukrainian Illya Marchenko. Second seed, defending champion and six-time winner Novak Djokovic faces a tricky opponent in Fernando Verdasco. The Serb beat the Spaniard in Doha last week, saving five match points. Verdasco upset Rafael Nadal in the first round of last year’s Australian Open.

Third seed Milos Raonic will play German Dustin Brown, while fourth seed Stan Wawrinka faces Slovakian Martin Klizan.

Men’s Singles Draw

Potential round of 16:

Andy Murray-Lucas Pouille

Tomas Berdych- Kei Nishikori

Stan Wawrinka-Nick Kyrgios

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga- Marin Cilic

Gael Monfils- Rafael Nadal

Roberto Bautista Agut – Milos Raonic

Dominic Thiem- David Goffin

Grigor Dimitrov- Novak Djokovic

Roger Federer, the 17th seed could meet Tomas Berdych in the third round.

 

t-align:left;”>Embed from Getty Images

In the women’s draw, top seed and defending Angelique Kerber drew Ukraine’s  Lesia Tsurenko, to open her title defense. Serena Williams, the No. 2 seed and six -time Australian Open champion, who is seeking her 23rd major, faces a challenge from former Top Ten player Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.

Third seed  Agnieszka Radwanska plays Tsvetana Pironkova, who upset her at last year’s French Open. Fourth seed Simona Halep of Romania, matches up against American Shelby Rogers.

Women’s Singles Draw 

Potential round of 16:

Angelique Kerber- Roberto Vinci

Carla Suarez Navarro-Garbine Muguruza

Simona Halep-Venus Williams

Elina Svitolina- Svetlana Kuznetsova

Karolina Pliskova-Timea Bacsinszky

Elina Vesnina- Aga Radwanska

Dominika Cibulkova-Johanna Konta

Barbora Strycova-Serena Williams

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Angelique Kerber and Andy Murray named 2016 ITF World Champions

Angelique Kerber

(December 13, 2016) The ITF announced today that Andy Murray of Great Britain and Angelique Kerber of Germany are the 2016 ITF World Champions. This is the first year that either player has received this honour.

 

In an historic year for the Murray family, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares of Brazil become Men’s Doubles World Champions, while French pair Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic are Women’s Doubles World Champions. This is the first time that two brothers have been named as men’s singles and men’s doubles World Champions in the same year.

 

Gordon Reid becomes the third British player to be honoured in 2016, being named as ITF Wheelchair World Champion, with Jiske Griffioen of Netherlands becoming women’s World Champion for the second year running. Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia and Anastasia Potapova of Russia are named ITF Junior World Champions.

 

The ITF World Champions will receive their awards at the 2017 ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday 6 June, in Paris, during Roland Garros. Nine of the ten players are being honoured for the first time.

Andy Murray

Andy Murray sealed the year-end No. 1 ranking in the final match of the season after defeating his great rival Novak Djokovic to win the ATP World Tour Finals. He won a total of nine titles during a milestone year, including his second Wimbledon triumph, and became the first player in history to win two Olympic singles gold medals with victory over Juan Martin del Potro at Rio 2016.

 

Murray said: “It means a lot to me to be named ITF World Champion. I have had such a memorable year, winning again at Wimbledon, retaining my Olympic title, and clinching the year-end No. 1 ranking in the last match of the season. It is particularly special with my brother Jamie also becoming World Champion.”

 

Angelique Kerber becomes Germany’s first World Champion since Steffi Graf received the last of seven awards in 1996. The 28-year-old enjoyed a stunning season, defeating Serena Williams to capture her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, before going on to win the US Open. She was also a silver medallist at the Olympic Tennis Event and runner-up at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals.

 

Kerber said: “I’m truly honoured to be named ITF World Champion and to line up with all these past champions. This year was by far the best of my career with so many unforgettable experiences and emotions. I am grateful for the recognition and I’m looking forward to the upcoming challenges.”

 

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares clinched the year-end No. 1 team ranking in the very last event of 2016 at the ATP World Tour Finals. The British-Brazilian duo enjoyed a breakthrough first season together, capturing their first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, and going on to win the US Open. These were the first major men’s doubles titles for both players.

 

Murray said: “We are very proud to receive this award. It’s been an incredible year for us, winning two Grand Slams and finishing as the No. 1 team in just our first season together.”

 

Soares said: “As a new team coming into the season there is a lot of expectation and belief, but also some doubts and uncertainty, so for us to finish the year as the No. 1 team winning two Slams was amazing. It gives us a lot to look forward to in the future.”

 

Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic also enjoyed an outstanding first season together to end 2016 as the No. 1-ranked team, and help France reach the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final. They captured their first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, and went on to reach the final at the US Open. This is the second honour for Mladenovic, who received the ITF Junior World Champion award in 2009.

 

Garcia said: “We really had an exceptional year with great victories on the court, even though we only started playing together at the beginning of 2016. Winning Roland Garros at home was definitely the culmination of the year. It is an incredible success to finish the No. 1 team in the world, and an honour to receive this ITF trophy.”

 

Mladenovic said: “It is a great achievement for Caroline and I to win this trophy after having played only one season together. The highlight of the year was definitely winning the French Open in our own country. We get on very well both on and off court and are looking forward to more success next year.”

 

ITF President David Haggerty said: “Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber have both been rewarded for their hard work and dedication with exceptional years that see them worthy recipients of the ITF World Champion awards. Our two doubles World Champions, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, and Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, have shown impressive teamwork in their first season together. All these players have taken great pride in representing their country, and are fine ambassadors for our sport.”

 

The ITF’s selection of its senior World Champions is based on an objective system that considers all results during the year, but gives special weight to the Olympic Tennis Event, Grand Slam tournaments, and two ITF international team competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.

 

Gordon Reid had an outstanding year to become the first British player to become Wheelchair World Champion. The 25-year-old won his first two Grand Slam singles titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and was also runner-up at Roland Garros. He went on to win singles gold at the Paralympic Tennis Event, before clinching the year-end No. 1 ranking by reaching the final of the NEC Masters.

 

Reid said: “It’s a great honour for me to complete the best year of my career by finishing year-end No.1 for the first time. I can’t thank all of my coaching team, family and friends enough for all their dedication and support, which was a vital part of my 2016 successes.”

 

Jiske Griffioen is the only repeat ITF World Champion in 2016, collecting the women’s wheelchair honour for the second year. The 31-year-old captured two of the three Grand Slam singles titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and went on to win two gold medals at the Paralympic Tennis Event. She finished 2016 with victory at the NEC Masters and held the No. 1 ranking throughout the year.

 

Griffioen said: “It was an incredible year for me! To win two Grand Slam titles, the Masters and be on top of the rankings for the whole year is something I’m proud of for sure. And my dream of winning two gold medals at the Paralympics in Rio came true. All the hard work paid off.”

 

Miomir Kecmanovic is the first Serbian player to be named ITF Junior World Champion following a triumphant end of season. The 17-year-old from Belgrade enjoyed an 18-match winning streak in winning the titles in Mexico City, the Eddie Herr tournament and Orange Bowl to seal the year-end No. 1 ranking. He won a total of four singles and two doubles titles, and was runner-up at the US Open.

 

Kecmanovic said: “It is great news to be named 2016 Junior World Champion. I also understand that this is just one important milestone on a difficult trip. I am focused on the long road ahead of me, and will do my best to reach the top with the support of my family and a great team around me.”

 

Anastasia Potapova becomes Junior Girls World Champion in her first full season on the ITF Junior Circuit. The 15-year-old from Russia reached the quarterfinals or better at all four Grand Slam tournaments, winning her first major title at Wimbledon. She was also a semifinalist at Roland Garros, and captured a total of three singles and one doubles title.

 

Potapova said: “I’m very pleased to finish the year as ITF Junior World Champion. After I won Wimbledon, the next goal for me and my team was to become No. 1 in the ITF ranking, and I am very happy that we’ve managed to succeed. They key to achieving this was hard work, desire and passion for what you do.”

 

ITF President David Haggerty said: “The list of 2016 ITF World Champions reflects an exciting year of change in our sport, and I would like to thank all the players for their contribution to another memorable tennis season.”

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Cibulkova Wins WTA Finals in Debut; Mirza Clinches Year- No. 1 in Doubles

SINGAPORE - OCTOBER 30: Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia poses with the trophy after victory in her singles final against Angelique Kerber of Germany during day 8 of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore at Singapore Sports Hub on October 30, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – OCTOBER 30: Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia poses with the trophy after victory in her singles final against Angelique Kerber of Germany during day 8 of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore at Singapore Sports Hub on October 30, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

(October 30, 2016) In her debut appearance at the WTA Finals in Singapore, Dominika Cibulkova beat World No.1 Angelique Kerber to win the Billie Jean King Trophy. It’s the biggest title of the Slovak’s career. Cibulkova is a former Australian Open finalist. She’ll move up to No. 5 in the world in the new rankings.

Cibulkova gained a little revenge in the 6-3 6-4 victory in final over No. 1 Angelique Kerber in an hour and 16 minutes on Sunday. The Slovak lost to Kerber in her first round-robin match earlier in the week.

“I have no words, coming here for the first time, the biggest tournament of my life,” said Cibulkova. “I still don’t know how I won. I put the ball over the net and it went in. It’s the happiest moment of my life.”

Mir

SINGAPORE - OCTOBER 25: during day 3 of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore at Singapore Sports Hub on October 25, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – OCTOBER 25: during day 3 of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore at Singapore Sports Hub on October 25, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Sania Mirza clinched the 2016 WTA Year-End World No.1 Doubles ranking on Sunday for the second straight year.

Mirza won eight titles with three different partners in 2016, winning her third major title at the Australian Open with Martina Hingis. She also won Brisbane International, Apia International Sydney, St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia with Hingis. Mirza paired up with Barbora Strycova winning Cincinnati and the Toray Pan Pacific Open. Mirza also claimed the Connecticut Open title with Monica Niculescu.

“It’s very, very exciting to finish two years in a row as No.1,” said Mirza. “It’s been an incredible year for me again, with seven WTA titles, a Grand Slam and ending the year at the WTA Finals in Singapore. Finishing the year No.1 is amazing – it’s a dream come true and gives me motivation and inspiration to come out and work even harder next year.”

 

The 29-year-old Mirza, became the first Indian woman to reach the No.1 ranking in doubles on April 13, 2015.

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Angelique Kerber Clinches 2016 Year-End WTA World No.1 Ranking

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

(October 20, 2016) The Women’s Tennis Association announced that Germany’s Angelique Kerber has clinched the 2016 WTA Year-End World No. 1 Singles Ranking.

Since the inception of computer rankings in 1975, Kerber becomes the 12th WTA player to achieve the year-end No.1 ranking and only the second German woman after Stefanie Graf, who did this a record eight times in her career.

Kerber became the oldest player to make her debut at No.1 on September 12, 2016 at 28 years-old.  She has held on to the top spot for six weeks and is ensured to claim the position as the top player for the rest of the year. Serena Williams has held the year-end No.1 ranking for the past three years.

Steve Simon, WTA CEO: “Winning two Grand Slam titles, ascending as the No.1 player and holding a remarkable record all season long is a true testament to Angie’s hard work and dedication to the sport. We look forward to watching Angie continue her journey as the leading player on the WTA and the world.”

“It is a great honor and achievement to finish the year as the No.1 player in the world,” said Angelique Kerber. “This is one of the things I’ve always been dreaming of – to become No.1. I have worked extremely hard to become the best player I can be and this is a reflection of that effort and the wonderful year I have had.”

Kerber began the season by claiming her first major title at the Australian Open. She then successfully defended her title at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, advanced to the Wimbledon final, captured a silver medal in singles at the Rio Olympics, and claimed her second major title at the US Open while taking over as the World No.1 for the first time in her career.

Kerber leads the WTA for most main draw match wins this season, at 59-17, and her other highlights include reaching two finals at the Brisbane International and the Western & Southern Open – Cincinnati and the semifinals at the Miami Open, Volvo Car Open – Charleston and Rogers Cup – Montreal.

The Year-End No.1 trophy will be presented to Kerber at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore.

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Day 13 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

(September 10, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews throughout the day as allowed.

Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.

Jamie Murray

Bruno Soares

Press Conference

MURRAY-SOARES/Carreno Busta-Garcia Lopez

6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations. You won a second major. Can you talk about that? And talk about how you first got together as a team.
JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah. Yeah, I started talking to — I was speaking about playing last year during — actually after this tournament kind of during the Asian swing a bit.

Yeah, then obviously we started playing this year, which worked out great, in Australia, to kind of hit it off so well so quickly.

And for us to come here again and to win a Grand Slam, you know, is an awesome feeling. I think we are both super excited about the partnership and what we can do in the biggest tournaments.

You know, keep working hard to make sure that we have success in the future, as well.

Q. Do you feel like that was one of your best performances?
JAMIE MURRAY: I think we were clinical in what we did, yeah.

I think we didn’t really let them play very much. You know, I think Bruno returned very well. When he was very aggressive on the return, you know, I could get right on top of the net and guys didn’t have anywhere to play the ball, I think.

I think we did a good job on our serves. After the first game it was big for us to get the break back straightaway, I think, and kind of settle ourselves into the match.

Yeah, I think we just did a really solid job, I think.

Q. You had treatment on your neck and you were flexing it a bit again just then. In light of what’s happening come next Saturday, how is it?
JAMIE MURRAY: Well, I think the physio said it’s probably going to be sore for a couple of days. I did it like third, fourth point in the match serving. I don’t really know quite what I did, but did something.

It’s not that comfortable now, but thankfully it didn’t really affect me playing. I imagine I’ll be absolutely fine for next week.

Q. It’s not a long-standing…
JAMIE MURRAY: No, I don’t know. I obviously did something that it didn’t like. Yeah, honestly, I don’t really know. The physio didn’t really know quite what I had done. Starts and stops of adrenaline, stepping up a bit, as well.

No, I will be fine for Davis Cup.

Q. Give me your thoughts on what it means to have that trophy in your joint possession.
BRUNO SOARES: It means a lot. Every title means a lot. I think Grand Slam is extra special. For me, New York has been amazing to me. I won the mixed here twice.

I had a very tough run in 2013 when Alex, we won the semis, but he got injured so we weren’t able to compete in the final. So for me to be able to come back here and win the whole thing is just amazing feeling. I mean, the year has been incredible, our first year as a team.

I mean, to win two slams, it’s tough to explain how good the feeling is.

Q. Jamie?
JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, to be honest, I mean, I couldn’t ask for anything more, really. You know, I lost two Grand Slam finals last year. You know, I felt like I was ready to win. I felt good about my game, where it was at.

I felt like Bruno was a partner that could get me over the line. I think we were validated under our decision obviously to come together.

Yeah, I mean, it means so much. For us, these are the biggest tournaments and these are the ones we want to win at the start of the year.

To have two in the bag, yeah, it’s a huge achievement for us both, and we should be really proud of ourselves, I think.

Q. A pretty tough early round, but it has been obviously a two-week project winning a slam. Has this been sort of the best two weeks, the most comfortable?
JAMIE MURRAY: I mean, me personally, it’s a weird thing to say. I don’t feel like I played my best tennis these two weeks. I honestly don’t. I feel like I have been grinding a bit with my serve. I didn’t feel so comfortable on my return.

But, you know, we found a way to get through the first match. We could easily have lost the first match. We were fighting really hard in the third set.

You know, after that, we kept going one match at a time, starting to play better. I think in the semis we played a great match. In the final I think we came in with a clear game plan of what we needed to do and what was going to work well against those guys.

Yeah, we did a great job.

Q. From a strategy standpoint, both of you guys like to get to the net in traditional doubles. A lot of teams, like Spaniards, have done well staying back. What do you focus on to take out the strengths from the back of the court and bring the battle more to the front of the court like you did today? You did so well today.
BRUNO SOARES: Yeah, it’s not easy. It goes a lot with how you return. Like Jamie said, we had a clear plan in that Jamie is very fast on returning and coming in, especially with the forehand. He chips. I feel guys that serve and stay back, they are not really used to the shot, so we can really take advantage of that.

On my side, it’s a bit different. I don’t really return and come in, but I can be aggressive on the return. I mean, today I had a special day. I was hitting the ball big on the return. I almost didn’t miss a return. Then when I’m able to return like this, Jamie puts so much pressure on the guys.

So it’s what we had to do, like to not let them hit one shot from the back, being comfortable. Just getting in their head. I think we did that extremely well. If you let these guys rally and hit comfortable shots, they’re just going to kill you.

They are so consistent and so aggressive from the back. But once you get in their head, it’s where we can take advantage of them. I think we managed to do that very well today.

Q. When Andy won Wimbledon the second time he kind of said he enjoyed it much more than the first time because he could sort of see a more relaxed kind of way and the satisfaction was maybe more instant euphoria. Compare it to how you were in Australia.
JAMIE MURRAY: Well, I think it’s a different situation. For him, Wimbledon is a huge pressure. The spotlight is all on him. For me it’s not like that here at all.

I think for me it’s both equally special. I mean, I was obviously super happy to win in Australia, win a first Grand Slam, especially, you know, the previous year doing two finals back to back and losing both.

You know, here, I mean, I think like we know what it takes to do well in these events. You know, for me, the final, like I felt good. We had a great chance to win. I felt our game style was going to match up well today.

You know, as Bruno said, it did. Yeah, we’re really excited to obviously lift this trophy, albeit for a small time. (Smiling.)

Q. We all know doubles partnerships can change a lot. Would you say that this is the best-ever partnership you have had? Is it one that you would envisage staying together for a long time?
BRUNO MURRAY: I hope so. (Smiling.)

JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, of course.

BRUNO SOARES: Can’t do much more. Keep him with me.

JAMIE MURRAY: Look, we had the best year of our career, whatever way you look at it. Neither of us had won a Grand Slam before and we come together and we have won two.

So, yeah. Of course I could never disagree with that, yeah.

Q. You beat the No. 1 partnership in the world in the semifinals. Is that a new goal? Is that a goal to become the No. 1 partnership in the world?
BRUNO SOARES: I think so, yeah. Right now, yeah. Before this tournament we were pretty far behind, even though we are No. 3. They had an amazing year. Now I think we are pretty close in the race again. It’s definitely a goal.

From the beginning of the year, No. 1 goal is to qualify to London, and we did that pretty early. I mean, officially it was before this week, but, I mean, unofficially we know we had a very good chance to be there.

Now we are in a chance to win it. I think we put ourselves in a very good spot right now. Gotta keep performing well and keep performing well in the big tournaments. We’ve got two Masters 1000 to come and then London. Big points. We’ve got to play our best there again.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how often during a Grand Slam two weeks like this do you speak to your brother? Do you guys talk tennis at all? Just that interesting dynamic of even though you’ve got your own thing going on, keeping an eye on what he’s doing.
JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah, often we don’t spend that much time with each other because you’re on your own schedules. But we were actually next to each other in the lockers this year. I probably saw him quite a bit more than normal.

But, I mean, you know, we didn’t go to dinners. We were staying in different parts of the city. I mean, it is what it is. Everyone’s got their own schedules. You’re kind of focused on what yourself is doing.

I mean, I watched pretty much all his matches on TV either in the hotel or when I was just in the physio room getting treatment after my matches or whatever.

Yeah, I don’t really — I mean, normally I don’t tend to spend that much time.

Q. After your message to Andy on court he respond at all?
JAMIE MURRAY: Haven’t looked at my phone actually since we came off court, so see what he says. (Smiling.)

Q. Reached two Grand Slam finals. Thought you were going to get to the next step eventually. (Indiscernible) When you split up, did you feel it was a gamble at all? Was it a dilemma deciding whether to take this forward with Bruno now?
JAMIE MURRAY: Well, I think there is always — well, there is always that risk, because you never know what’s going to happen. Of course, last year I had my best year on the tour. But I decided that I wanted to — I wanted to try to play with Bruno, basically.

I felt like he was the guy that was going to help me achieve what I wanted to achieve on the doubles court. Yeah, it was still a big decision to, you know, commit to not playing with John because we had a lot of success.

Yeah, I feel like I’ve vindicated my — vindicated? Is that the right word? My decision. Yeah, sitting here four Grand Slam later and we have won two of them, so, yeah, it’s good news for me, I guess. (Smiling.)

Q. Totally lighthearted comment on court. Emerging from Andy’s shadow. He’s done well this summer. Has his status sort of driven you on a bit?
JAMIE MURRAY: I wouldn’t say necessarily this summer, but I guess over the last few years, seeing him do so well all the time. You know, wanting to have some of that success, as well. You know, I think the last kind of 18 months have started to really kind of show what I can do on the tennis court.

Yeah, I hope that it will continue. Yeah.

Q. Is it easier to play with Bruno than it is with Andy?
JAMIE MURRAY: Um, yeah. Probably, yeah. (Smiling.)

Q. Can you expand?
JAMIE MURRAY: I think we — I mean, like we talk more. I mean, they are doing similar stuff on the court, like the way — their strengths and stuff. So for me it’s not like a difficult switch to go and play with Andy. I mean, he’s a great player.

But I think, you know, we are with each other every day. We are working on our games and communicating all the time. You know, I find it easy to do that with Bruno. I mean, obviously sometimes, you know, with Andy it’s not always so easy because great players, you know, they do things the way they do.

You know, if I kind of come in and start saying, you know, I think you need to serve there or, you know, hit your return there, you know, they are not used to hearing that. That can be a bit problematic sometimes. (Laughter.)

I think for me and Bruno we are kind of on an even keel and both have the same goal. We’re both trying to do the best for each other and for the team.

Q. On the same issue, how much of it becomes a friendship and how much is a business and how much of it is achieving your goals in sport? Do you become better friends over a period of time, for instance?
JAMIE MURRAY: When you win.

BRUNO SOARES: Exactly. When you lose, you just hate each other. (Smiling.) No, we have been good friends for a long time, me and Jamie. We have been on the tour. We get along super well.

For me, it’s very important to get along off court. I can’t do this well with someone that like I don’t get along well, I just don’t like. For me it’s important.

We have had an amazing year, but we lost so many times so many tough ones and with match points. You got to be able to, you know, go to dinner with the guy after a tough loss and talk like friends. You know, have the same mentality, hard work, and enjoy the ride.

It’s a very tough one. We get special moments like this, but we have brutal moments, as well. We have to be able to share that and just take it easy, you know. Like for me, it’s impossible to do that without a friend.

Q. Talk about the experience of this tournament. Was this match the hardest one out of the duration of the tournament, or was it another standout where you thought you guys had to battle harder or were in a difficult position?
JAMIE MURRAY: Well, I think the first round for us was a really hard match. You know, for me, I don’t know what Bruno was feeling that day, but some moments I was just thinking, you know, just doesn’t seem like it’s going to be our day. Then I would kind of be walking to the net when he’s serving, and just, Come on. Find a way. Find a way.

Eventually we did. We were in the tournament after that. That was huge win and could have easily been gone in the first round and would not have had a chance to sit here.

Then obviously for us to get through — again, quarterfinals was a big match. Tough for Bruno to play Andre, best friends. You know, it’s not easy. You know, also lost to him a couple times this year already. Mentally it was not an easy match to play.

I think for us the semis was obviously a big win. To beat the French guys was huge. I think I played my best match of the tournament there, I think. Yeah, I think for us the final, you know, I think we were favorites going into the match.

I mean, I was confident going in. I really felt like we had a good game to be there. I didn’t feel so stressed about it because I knew what I was going to come up against. I quite like playing against that style of play.

But, yeah, I mean, that’s the thing. Two weeks is a lot of time. A lot of tennis gets played. A lot of tough moments. You have to find a way to get through them if you want to get to the finals and have a chance to lift the trophy.

Q. If you look at your achievements alongside Andy, I think you both, between you, have what now, six Grand Slam titles, two Olympics golds, and a Davis Cup? That’s not bad for two kids from Dunblane, is it? What’s your thought on that body of work?
JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah. I mean, look, yeah, I think we have been able to do a lot of amazing things in our lives on a tennis court. Yeah, I guess when you’re kind of living in a moment you don’t always think about all that stuff.

But, I mean, yeah, I mean, you kind of take a moment and look at — yeah, it is amazing what we have been able to do from a country of no history of tennis at all.

Yeah, it’s just — yeah, it’s quite amazing thing about it. I get quite emotional kind of talking about it. And, you know, I think, you know, my mum especially has done some amazing things, and I hope that for everything that she’s done for us and for tennis in Scotland, you know, that she’s able to get the tennis club built. You know, I think if we want to kind of leave a legacy of what we’re doing, you know, it’s the best way to do it.

I really hope that, you know, the Scottish government back her plans. You know, I guess we’ll probably find out in a few days, I think.

 

Karolina Pliskova

Press Conference

A. KERBER/K. Pliskova

6-3, 4-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously the final, talk about the emotion. What are you feeling? Sadness? Are you upset with yourself for your performance?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, no. I think I did a great job. It was my first final. Still was close to winning. I mean, she has more experience to play those finals than me so probably decided in this match.

I’m so proud of myself. If someone would tell me I’m going to play finals in this tournament before two weeks I would take it. Not sadness.

Q. How nervous did you feel when you went out there? Did your nerves surprise you at all? How do you feel you dealt them?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I wasn’t nervous at all. Not even during the match. Not even in the beginning. I said already once I’m on the court I feel fine. A little bit before the match I felt nervous, but I think that’s normal.

I was enjoying the match. It was very tough for me physically. We all know she’s tough to play and she’s putting so many balls back. I was expecting very tough match.

In the end, in the third set, I was very close, but, you know, she’s just playing some good tennis this year. It’s never easy to beat her.

Q. You said you weren’t nervous on the court, but you also said that Kerber’s experience was probably better for her today. What about her experience do you think got her over the line as opposed to you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely. I don’t know if it, you know, had any influence on the win her, but definitely she played few finals of Grand Slam already. I would say she maybe felt a little bit, at least in the beginning of the match, better. I did few mistakes.

But then it was very close. I was still trying to be aggressive. You know, it’s never easy for the player who is attacking and is doing more mistakes.

For her I would say it’s, I mean, not easier. She was running a lot. But for the one who is attacking I would say in the end it’s more tough to do the points, especially if it’s close and you really have to push it really hard to make the winner in the end.

Q. Despite being left handed, what makes her serve difficult?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I didn’t play a lefty girl in this tournament so far, I think, so it’s always different to play lefty, you know. She’s always serving to the backhand. You cannot do much from it.

Then she has the whole court open. I have twin sister. She’s lefty, so it’s always tough to play against lefty girls. There is not much of them in the top 100. You always play right girls, so there is no time where you can practice against lefty. There is no time where you can have some matches against lefty girl. It’s always tough to play them.

Q. She’s had a spectacular year. What lesson could you take from that, especially when you look at what the other women have been doing? Garbiñe struggling a bit, and the others. What do you think from the way she’s been playing?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, she has totally different game than me so I will not take a lot from her, but definitely from her as a person, she’s taking all those results. It’s not easy to be, you know, on the top and still be playing tournaments. You have some kind of pressure, and Angie, she’s handling this pretty well.

I’ll just take this, you know. It’s totally different. I don’t know how I will feel in the next tournament after this. Everyone is going to talk different and everyone is going to look at you different that you have to win.

So Angie did really good job in this one. You see a few girls struggling after they did a good job. I mean, Garbine, after she win Paris she’s been playing maybe a little bit different. I’m not sure how she feels, but she’s still a good player, so I’m sure she can get up back.

Q. Did you feel that your serve, which has been so effective throughout this tournament, let you down a little bit today?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: No. I would not say it was because of my serve, because obviously it’s tough to play someone who is, you know, still every ball putting back. It’s never easy to play. I didn’t have much easy points from the serve, because she’s just playing so well and putting every ball — even if it’s like not aggressive from her side, but still she needs to put the ball back.

You have to play one more shot than normally. Compared to the other girls what I have played in this tournament, they are missing so much the returns, but she’s not. So then it’s also tough for me to serve, you know, because I don’t have any free points from the serve.

Q. And second to that, I know your sister is in China where it was 4:00 a.m. Do you know if she saw the match?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I don’t think she’s watching. She’s playing final in the morning, I think, so I think she’s sleeping. (Smiling.)

Q. Did you feel at all maybe she had a little more pressure on her because of the No. 1 ranking going into today? Obviously she just got it the other day because of Serena.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I don’t think she felt any pressure today. So far one of the best matches what she played against me.

I think what I have played, as well. It was high-quality match. There was not that many mistakes and I really had to play every point to win a game or to win those points.

Q. Pretty concerted effort in the second set; tried to get more effort and come to the net a bit more. Is that something you knew you had to do after the first set?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I have been playing her quite a few times and there is a lot of ways how you can beat her.

Today I had the feeling she’s not missing much from the baseline. I just had to step up into the court a little bit and to be more aggressive and closing into the net with the volleys obviously.

I think I did a good job on the net and I did so many points there. That was probably the key why I won the second set. Unfortunately in the third one I didn’t have that many chances to go there. I mean, in the last game I missed something. (Smiling.)

Q. Do you think this tournament will be the turning point for you in Grand Slams, where we’ll see you in the quarterfinals, semis, finals, more consistently? Do you think this could be the turning point moment?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Well, I cannot say now. We can talk maybe next year. (Smiling.)

After some tournaments I’ll just, you know, don’t think about any other tournaments right now. I just finish US Open. Let’s see how is it gonna be. Maybe something will change; maybe not. I just want to take all the positives from this tournament.

Q. A similar question: What do you think you can take away from an incredible performance in Cincinnati where you have won so many big matches and this incredible run?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I beat very good players. To win in Cincinnati was — I was just so happy to get the biggest title of my career. I was thinking, Okay, now I can even lose in first or second round of US Open, but I was able to take the game from Cincinnati here, which is never easy after you win a tournament, to play the same game in other tournaments.

So I was just happy that I made it here even far. It was always my goal, like I said, to pass the third round, and I made it to the final. I’m still proud of myself. I’m not gonna think about losing, because could be other way, as well. I could be the winner today. Was about few points. I will just take positive from this tournament and still try to move forward.

Q. Congratulations on a great fortnight. Next time you’re in a slam finals, how much is this going to help? How much have you grown in the last four hours?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I would say a lot, because you don’t have much matches like this in your career or in the whole year. So I definitely take on a positive. The next Grand Slam I’m trying — I’m going to try to play like I was playing here from the first round to the last one.

So doesn’t matter what happen. I’m just gonna take it tournament by tournament and try to play the game what I was playing last three weeks. I think I really did a good job. I improved in a lot of things, especially the game what I have been playing, not only against the players which are under me, but with the top players which are in front of me.

I think that’s the key how I can, you know, be even better than I am.

Q. Angie wasn’t giving you very many free points today. You were saying you feel the pressure as the aggressive player to end the points. Can you talk about what that’s like to be an offensive-minded player and play against a defender of her quality? What pressure is that on you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, there is always some pressure. You have the pressure that she’s gonna ace you four times in a game. But here it’s different pressure, that you cannot miss much, but you still have to be aggressive and do winners, otherwise I cannot be the one who is running with her there.

I don’t know any other player, Simona or those girls, which are running. I cannot play really 30 times across the net. It’s gonna just kill me, and I will not in the end even win it.

I just have to go for my shots, and that’s what happen in the first set. But she was playing very good tennis in the first set, a lot of first serves, so then it’s hard to attack. She had really good depth in the shots.

I just was waiting for my chance, and I got it in the second set. I was still, you know, aggressive, even I didn’t get it in the third set. I still think I was, you know, aggressive in the third one, but did a few mistakes. That’s why I lost it obviously.

I was maybe a little bit more tired in the end of the third set. That’s also why maybe I just, you know, needed a little bit more power. (Smiling.)

Q. You were playing so well in the third set up until the last game. It seemed like it quickly got out of hand. Have you been replaying it in your mind, or is it too soon still?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: No, I would not say it was because of the last game, obviously. I could do better. We all know that the last game wasn’t great, but like I said, it’s so hard against her because she still needs to play — to push you to play one more shot.

So I just went twice to the net and was going really for the shot. So it could go the other way, as well. So I think I just did a great move to go into the net. I did so many points on the net.

So I would not change it. Just it didn’t happen, but this is the way how I have to play.

Q. Angie becomes No. 1 on Monday. What’s been the impression among the girls on tour of what she’s been able to accomplish, this season especially?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely I would say now that she deserves to be No. 1 because she did so well. She has two Grand Slam titles, one final, few other titles. She’s been just playing great this year, and, you know, constant. She deserve to be No. 1.

And after years what Serena was there, I think it’s a nice change.

Q. Coming off defeating Serena, who was previously No. 1 and now Angelique, losing to her who is now current No. 1 — obviously you beat Serena, Angelique. What was the difference of those two types of players? What was that differences like and, what you found in those two?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, you cannot compare those two. The game is totally different. The persons as well. Serena is going for every shot. She’s serving pretty well. She’s just, you know, pushing you from the second serve. So it’s just totally different game. So there I have more chance to wait for, you know, her mistake.

With Angie, you cannot wait for mistakes. She doesn’t give you anything. I have to be the one who is aggressive.

It’s sometimes more difficult to be the one who is playing aggressive and going for the winners.

So that’s the difference between them.

Q. Along those lines, you just started to answer that, but you came to net, as you were talking about, 38 times in the match. You served and volleyed 10 times. Showing such courage as you did throughout the tournament. Can you describe a little bit your thought process? Any transition in your career over the recent months that’s allowed you to be so calm and courageous in this fashion?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I wasn’t before the match really planning to go to the net so many times, but it just — you know, I had to change something because she was winning all the rallies in the first set.

I just, you know, was going after the first serve, and it always help me when I go after the serve. The serve is better than if I just stay on the baseline.

I was really going for my shots, and actually it was working. Obviously I missed few, but I win more than I missed. That’s impressive.

And, you know, we have been working on this, my game on the net, so much. Even in the doubles it improved a lot. So I’m really proud of this.

I believe like this, I can win matches like this next time.

Q. What was going through your mind as you saw Angie hold up the championship trophy?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Nothing. (Smiling.)

Q. What do you think the impact of this experience will be on you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Like I said, I just try to take only positive, even if finish with a loss. I think – still think – it wasn’t a bad loss to lose to girl which is No. 1 in the world.

I played a good matches. Even this one was very good, high quality. So I just, you know, take it into my next tournament and into my life. It’s my biggest success so far into my career. Only positive from New York.

Q. Everything changes in life. For years we have been seeing the Williams sisters, and maybe Sharapova and Azarenka come to mind. But this year we have seen your great performance, Angie’s great performances, Garbiñe. In the locker room, is there a sense that maybe things are shifting?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I don’t feel it in the locker room, and I’m not really taking care of those things. But, yeah, there is almost every Grand Slam different winner except those two with Angie. This one could be a different winner, as well.

I mean, yeah, maybe it’s time changing and different players are coming up. Younger players are coming up, which is normal. They are always dangerous.

Great to see some other girls winning the title, not only the same person.

 

Angelique Kerber

Press Conference

A. KERBER/K. Pliskova

6-3, 4-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you describe the Angie Kerber who was on the tour before 2016 and the Angie Kerber who has been on the tour this year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think a lot of things change. I mean, it’s just incredible what I did this year. I’m really so happy and so proud about everything what’s happened now about my team, about my game, and about my improvement, as well.

I think I improved a lot in a lot of ways. To being here with my second trophy, it’s just the best feeling ever.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the ways you improved.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I was really trying to improving a lot of things. First of all, of course, my fitness and then to being more aggressive and go for it when I have the chance. Not just hitting the balls over the net. Just playing my game. Because I know that when I practicing I can be aggressive.

Just make the transfer on the match court, that was the challenge. And also, mentally to being more positive, a little bit more stronger, and just focusing on the moment I am on court.

Q. In line with that, at the end of the second set, beginning of the third, looked like you were slipping back to the negative mode. Body language wasn’t great and you were making some errors. How did you adjust and what was going on in your mind?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: That’s true. In the second set my body language was not the best. I was trying to change it in the third set, but it was not so easy because Karolina is a tough opponent. She was one break up very soon in the third set.

I just told myself, Okay, stay positive. Believe still in your game. I was thinking a little bit on the final in Australia where I was also in the third set. I believed then my game, and I did it today, as well.

So that was in my mind to stop the negative emotions and change it again in a positive way.

Q. What did work in your game today that allowed you to win a tight match like that? What do you think the difference was?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think first I really start really strong in the first set. I was trying to making her move.

In the second set there was just one break. I think I was just believing in myself in the third set and just going for it. I was not too much like hoping. I think that was the key at the end of the third set, that I was trying to take the chance when I was feeling, okay, now, I have the chance to go for it; just go for it until the end.

Q. I know the No. 1 ranking is a title. Was there any part of that that made you believe a little bit more today, and do you feel like the way you gutted this thing out it validated to some degree that ranking you just earned?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I mean, of course it’s better feeling to win now my Grand Slam and being the No. 1 player in the world on Monday.

This what’s happened in the last two weeks, it’s just incredible. Also, how I was dealing with the pressure when I came here and everybody was asking me about the No. 1 number, actually. This was what I was trying to improving with the pressure.

And also, today, I mean, it’s always tough to going in the final when I know the opponent beats me like two or three weeks ago. That was also a challenge what I told myself, Okay, I will do everything on court today to win the match against Karolina.

Q. Sports is a very concrete thing. You’re always in the moment. But I have never seen a great champion talk about dreams so much. In Australia you talked about it. You said dreams come true. Very much the same sentiments today, talking about a dream. Talk about that a little bit more. Is it just beyond belief? Does it seem a little bit unreal? How important have your dreams meant to your success?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I mean, I was always dreaming to being one day to being No. 1 and to be in the Grand Slams. I’m not 18, so I was always trying to improving my game. I knew that I have the game to beat the best players and just being patient and working really hard.

And now to see that the work pays off, this is actually the best feeling. Because I was a lot of hours on the practice courts, sweating and everything, and you are just playing for this moment to being on the center court in the final and with the amazing crowd.

So this is what I was always dreaming for. That’s why I’m talking a lot about that.

Q. Does it still feel a little bit unreal to you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Actually, I don’t know if it’s unreal. I was feeling it in Australia that everything is really unreal. But right now I think I can also enjoy it. I’m really trying to take every single moment with me and all the positive emotions what I get now, and in the last few months.

Q. You spoke about a couple of the things that you have improved this year: your fitness and being more aggressive during matches. With the fitness, could you tell us a little bit about what specifically you might have changed or done differently this year? In terms of the aggressiveness in the match, was there a particular loss or a moment at some point maybe last season where either you or your coach said to you, Hey, you’re losing because of this, or, To take the next step you need to change your game that way?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: First of all, with the fitness I’m really trying to playing more intense when I’m practice and not playing like maybe two, three hours just like that. I just go to court to being intense and spending a lot of hours as well on gym or like just making a lot of sprints and movement.

So this is what I change, especially in the preseason.

With aggressive, I played a lot of tough matches last year like three sets and especially here, as well, against Azarenka last year. That was also one match what I remember where I really just pushed the balls and I was not going for it.

So there were a lot of matches last year where I knew that I have to be aggressive to win it. This change also in my mind. To making the transfer is not so easy, but I think I did it well. I will try to improve this, as well, in the next steps.

Q. A lot of emotion when you sat down and you buried your face in the towel. Can you talk about that a little bit? Was it more joy or more relief?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It was everything, I think. Because all the pressure on the last few months. I mean, to win here it’s really special for me, because like I said, everything starts here for me 2011. This Grand Slam is, yeah, really, really special.

That’s why, when I sit there, when I came back from my box, it was everything. I had just positive emotions. To being there like a champion this year, to hold this trophy, it’s — I don’t know. I mean, I can’t say it in words, actually.

Q. Did you ever wonder if you didn’t have enough power or enough weapons in your game to be No. 1? Did you wonder about that and worry about it?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No, I was always believing in myself. And like my team, as well. They are always believing in me. They are always telling me when I was also down, You are a really good player. You played tough matches against the best players in the world few years ago.

It was just the next step to beat the best players. To being consistent like I am right now, I think that was my next step after last year.

Also, when I sit down with my team and we spoke about 2016 to playing better in the majors and in the bigger tournaments and playing consistent. I’m fifth year in the top 1o, so this is what I’m doing good: being consistent but playing better in the bigger ones. This is what I changed this year. I was always believing in my weapons and about my tennis.

Q. Congratulations. Today some former No. 1 players, such as Navratilova and Arantxa Sanchez, had press conference, and they said when you are chasing for No. 1 position you don’t feel much pressure. But once you became a No. 1 you feel it, because everybody wants to beat you and everybody expects you to win. I don’t want to ruin this… (Laughter.) Talking about pressure…
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think I’m ready, yeah, to have this pressure on my shoulder, because I think I get used to all of this, especially after my first Grand Slam in Australia. I had so much pressure after the title.

And to being No. 1, of course now everybody will try to beat me and have nothing to lose. I will try to take this challenge, because it will be a little bit new situation for me. But at the end, I was always practicing and working hard to being No. 1.

Now I can also taking the next step and trying to staying as long as I can there.

Q. What did you see in that Cincinnati final, reviewing video of it? What did you change tactically?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Of course I know that Karolina is a tough opponent. She beat Serena two days ago, yesterday, and she played amazing tournament here.

So I knew she is, yeah, hitting a lot of aces during a match and I have to be ready for the very strong shots from her.

But I was trying to looking at the match yesterday as well with Torben and we watch the match a little bit. I was prepared actually for that.

I know I had to play my best tennis in the important moments. Yeah, just go for it when I have the chance. I mean, I was a little bit tired in Cincinnati, as well.

Here, I was just trying to take all my energy that I have left on this last match here.

Q. The tour is so relentless, and you’ll have a number of commitments now being the US Open champion. When do you think you’ll get a moment just to be on your own, actually absorb what you achieve?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think in the airport in the airplane. I mean, when I will sit in the airplane and have like few minutes for myself. Going back home in a few days and sitting together with my family and my friends, I think this is the moment where I can really think about everything what’s happen in the last few months, few days here, and just try to, yeah, enjoy every moment then at home.

Q. I think people in general have trouble improving their confidence. It’s really hard to do. Sounds like you’re saying the fitness element was the most important part. Like in Australia you actually felt like a stronger person and stronger body.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yes. And I felt this was one of the biggest things, when you know you can run forever on court and you’re not worried that you can play three sets. I think this is really important for your confidence that you can play like two, three hours and you can go for it.

I think I was working a lot on these things. This gives me a lot of confidence, especially also in Australia where it’s really hot. Today the conditions are actually the same: really humid. I was trying, you know, to believe in my fitness, believing in myself, actually.

I mean, I’m here in the final. So I played really good matches in the last few days. Yeah, that gives you a lot of confidence when you know you work very hard.

Q. 12 years since winning your first junior title; turning pro, another 15 years to win your first Grand Slam final and become a Grand Slam champion. Now upon becoming No. 1 in the world and achieving your dreams, what may you tell your children one day and others about what it takes to achieve dreams and persevere?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, you have to believe in your dreams. You have to go with a lot of patience. Yeah, working hard. Just have a great team around you and really love what you are doing. This is when you do everything and everything comes together one day.

I see it this year. I don’t know. I think I will show a few videos my childrens in a few years, and just, yeah, I don’t know, just tell them, you know, everybody — just believe in yourself and do what you really love.

Q. I think you’re the first female player, apart from Serena, to win two in a year. Winning two and being world No. 1 now, are you the rival to Serena that we have all been waiting for?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I mean, Serena, for me, is one of the best players in the world. She is a great person and a great champion.

So, I mean, what she did for the sport, it’s just incredible. For me, I’m trying to go my own way and trying to enjoy now every single moment with my second Grand Slam. It’s one of my best years, so I will just try to continue this and just trying, as well, to improving my game and my personality, as well.

Just taking the next steps in the next tournaments.

Q. You went for the forehand, big forehand down the line. Do you think last year you would have had the conviction to go for such a shot at that moment?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think this shot was the key for the third set. When I was going down the line I knew, Okay, now I have to risk a little bit, because this is the only chance I can get. I took it, so I think this was really the shot of the match from my serve.

Yeah, when I won the point I knew, Okay, I have the feeling. Now just to go for it and making the mistakes I make like a lot of times before. I was not thinking too much that this is a final. I was just trying to take the challenge, third set, it’s 3-All, and just go for it.

Q. Seeing what you did today and all year — we saw what Pliskova and what Garbiñe did in Paris. Many new faces. Are you excited? Do you think there could be a new landscape to women’s tennis?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I’m really excited because I’m seeing as well a lot of new and good players on tour. There are a lot of, yeah, players and they are working hard. They are playing great tennis.

I think, yeah, let’s see what’s happen, how they will play in the next few tournaments and the next Grand Slams. I think, yeah, it’s good to have so many good players on the tour.

Q. Have you heard from Steffi Graf at all? What inspiration has she given you recently? Lastly, what did you watch of her when you were a little girl?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I watch a lot of matches, and I remember that all the matches were very fast. This is what I remember. (Smiling.)

Yeah, I mean, I heard from her yesterday or like two days ago. She was, yeah, wishing me luck for the final. Right now I don’t know because my phone is somewhere, so I don’t know how many messages I get now.

But, yeah, she was always my idol, and I told her so many times. She’s a great champion, as well. For me it’s really important to go on my own way. And to have her like in Germany with all the things she did also for the tennis, it’s just amazing.

Q. Heard by text or phone?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Text.

Q. After you won the Australian Open, you were up and down until after the French Open. Did you ever doubt or think, Oh, my gosh; maybe I took off more than I can chew? How did you pull out of that and end up with a spectacular rest of the year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: After Australia I had a little bit up and downs, but also because a lot of things happen and change. I think I had to take the time to get used to everything.

In Paris I had so much pressure on my shoulder. I couldn’t deal this with me. After Paris I was sitting down at home and I told myself, Okay, just go for it and just practicing hard again. You did it once in Australia. You have still two Grand Slams in front of you.

That was actually trying to enjoying the tennis on court again and not, yeah, making too many things too complicated. Just trying to relax, enjoy every moment on and off court, and get used to everything.

 

 

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Angelique Kerber Wins US Open for Second Major Title of the Year

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

(September 10, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – New world No. 1 as of Monday, second seed Angelique Kerber rallied from a break down in the third set to beat first-time major finalist 10th seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to win her first US Open title and second major all in the same year.

“All the dreams came true this year,” Kerber said on court. “I’m just trying to enjoy every moment on court and also off court. It’s just incredible.”

Kerber is fourth player in Open Era to reach three major finals in the same year they reached their first, after Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1971), Steffi Graf (1987) and  Martina Hingis (1997).

Kerber opened the match with a break. She held off 3 break points in her first two serving games. The German broke the Czech again to close the set 6-3.

Both women held firm in the first six games of the second set. Pliskova finally took advantage of a break point in the seventh game to go up 4-3. It was her fifth break point of the match.

Errors crept into Kerber’s game in the second set as well as missing first serves. Pliskova was more agressive hitting 17 winners and winning 30 of 35 first-serve points to win the second set 6-4.

The Czech continued her hard hitting and shot making in the third, breaking Kerber in the third game to go up 2-1, then 3-1. More errors crept into the Geman’s game and she was visibly frustrated.

Kerber held for 2-3 and broke the Czech to even the sat at 3-3. Kerber stepped up her game, returing to counterpunching form from earlier in the match minimizing errors.
Kerber said that the key shot in the match came at 3-3, 30-all.

“I think this shot was the key for the third set, she said. “When I was going down the line I knew, Okay, now I have to risk a little bit, because this is the only chance I can get. I took it, so I think this was really the shot of the match from my serve.

“Yeah, when I won the point I knew, Okay, I have the feeling. Now just to go for it and making the mistakes I make like a lot of times before. I was not thinking too much that this is a final. I was just trying to take the challenge, third set, it’s 3-All, and just go for it.”

Serving at 4-5, 30-40 Pliskova sailed a forehand wide and it was game, set and match Kerber.

“It’s just amazing. I won my second Grand Slam in one year. It’s the best year in my career,” said Kerber on court during the trophy presentation. “It means a lot to me. When I was a kid I was always dreaming to one day be the No. 1 player in the world, to win Grand Slams. And today is the day. All the dreams came true this year.”

For the first-time major finalist, Pliskova became the first Czech to reach the US Open final since Helena Sukova in 1993.
“I found that I can play my tennis on the biggest stage against the best players,” said Pliskova. “I knew that it was going to be difficult to play her. I was just happy to make it to a third set. Even though I didn’t win, I’m proud of myself. Hopefully, there will be many more finals to come.”

“After Australia I had a little bit up and downs,” Kerber said, “but also because a lot of things happen and change. I think I had to take the time to get used to everything.

“In Paris I had so much pressure on my shoulder. I couldn’t deal this with me. After Paris I was sitting down at home and I told myself, Okay, just go for it and just practicing hard again. You did it once in Australia. You have still two Grand Slams in front of you.

“That was actually trying to enjoying the tennis on court again and not, yeah, making too many things too complicated. Just trying to relax, enjoy every moment on and off court, and get used to everything.”

For the 28-year-old German, it’s her 10th career title. She becomes the first German player to win the US Open since Steffi Graf did it in 1996.

She will be the oldest first-time No. 1 in the Open Era.

Karolina Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova

The 24-year-old Pliskova who beat Venus and Serena Williams en route to the finals,  will move up to No. 6 in the world.

“I think I did a great job,” Pliskova said to media. “It was my first final. Still was close to winning. I mean, she has more experience to play those finals than me so probably decided in this match.

“I’m so proud of myself. If someone would tell me I’m going to play finals in this tournament before two weeks I would take it. Not sadness.”

“I beat very good players. To win in Cincinnati was — I was just so happy to get the biggest title of my career. I was thinking, Okay, now I can even lose in first or second round of US Open, but I was able to take the game from Cincinnati here, which is never easy after you win a tournament, to play the same game in other tournaments.

“o I was just happy that I made it here even far. It was always my goal, like I said, to pass the third round, and I made it to the final. I’m still proud of myself. I’m not gonna think about losing, because could be other way, as well. I could be the winner today. Was about few points. I will just take positive from this tournament and still try to move forward.”

Much more to follow…..

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Day 11 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

 

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

(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:

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.

Angelique Kerber

Press Conference

A. KERBER/C. Wozniacki

6-4, 6-3

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.

Q. Emotions?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Emotions, yes.

Q. A lot?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yes, a lot (Smiling.)

Caroline Wozniacki

Press Conference

A. KERBER/C. Wozniacki

6-4, 6-3

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.

Serena Williams

Press Conference

K. PLISKOVA/S. Williams

6-2, 7-6

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.

Karolina Pliskova

Press Conference

K. PLISKOVA/S. Williams

6-2, 7-6

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.

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Karolina Pliskova Surprises Top Seed Serena Williams to Reach US Open Final

Karolina Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova

(September 8, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – In one fell swoop, top seed Serena Williams not only lost in the semifinals of the US Open on Thursday to No. 10 seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 7-6(5), but on Monday will lose her No. 1 ranking to Angelique Kerber. The last German to be No. 1 in the world was Steffi Graf back in 1997.

Williams who was attempting to to win her 23rd major to pass Steffi Graf for most majors in the Open Era, was also trying to pass Graf for most consectutive weeks at No. 1. With the loss, Williams is tied with Graf at 186 weeks.

The 24-year-old Pliskova of the Czech Republic played steady hard-hitting tennis and served well to cause the upset. Williams hit 31 unforced errors and had her serve broken three times while having a 53% first serving percentage.

“I don’t think much really went well today,” Williams said. “I made a lot of errors and I didn’t play as well as I have been playing.”

Asked about ESPN TV analyst, Chris Evert’s comments about Serena seeming “a little worn out” from yesterday’s match, Williams said to media: “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.”

Later the 34-year-old Williams said: “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.”

“I wasn’t able to move the way I wanted to move, she said. “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.”

A reporter brought up the fact that Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou said that her knee was bothering her, and she was downplaying it. The American said: “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.”

Pliskova, who saved a match point against, Serena’s sister Venus in the fourth round became the first person since Kim Clijsters in 2009 to beat both Williams sisters in the same tournament.

“I mean, to beat Serena, she’s world No. 1, so it’s always tough to beat someone like this,” said the Czech. “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.”

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,” Pliskpva continued. “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.”

Pliskova hit 7 aces and had 19 total winners.

Kerber fistpump-001

New No. 1 Angelique Kerber beat two-time US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki 6-4. 6-3 to reach her first US Open final. The new No. 1 in the world dominated the Dane in the second evening session match.

At 28, Kerber is the oldest first-time No. 1 in WTA history. So hoe does it feel to be No. 1? “It feels amazing,” said a smiling Kerber. “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.”

Playing Pliskova in the final is a rematch of the Cincinnati final last month, where if Kerber had won, she would have reached No. 1.

“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.”

 

“For sure she (Pliskova) 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.”

 

Caroline Wozniacki came into the tournament well below her usual Top 10 ranking due to injuries and early losses. She evaluated her tournament performance: “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.”

“I think I just need to keep going the way I have been doing,” the former No. 1 continued. “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.”

The women’s final takes place on Saturday.

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Day 9 of the US Open – In Their Own Words

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

 

(September 5, 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:

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.

Gael Monfils

Press Conference

G. MONFILS/L. Pouille

6-4, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How happy are you with the way you won today? Are you content with the way you played? Straight sets is always good.
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I’m happy with my performance. I think it is never easy to play quarterfinal against a French guy, you know. I think I handled it pretty good mentally and tennistically.

I’m happy with that and where my game is. I see new or good stuff today. Serve was a bit better. I have been saying I think to the French press that I could serve faster. I think I did it great today.

Still moving good. I’m very happy.

Q. To get to this point of the tournament – first time in semifinals of the US Open – you have had electric and great matches here, but to be able to play in the semis, how happy are you with that?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I think I missed a good chance two years ago against Roger, but, you know, I just live now, and now I’m happy. I played great tennis so far.

You know, I have two days to recover to play my first semis here. I’m more than happy. I’m happy where I am now, so I gonna prepare great my match.

Q. Sometimes it seemed like to us that you play just as much to entertain the crowd; spectacular shots. Today it seemed like you were, very focused, playing a sharp, intelligent match, and controlled. Is that accurate, or what’s your feeling about that?
GAEL MONFILS: You know, about that is somehow — you know, those match, you never get, you know, those ball to entertain, how you say.

If, today, you know, I drop my racquet and I do a slide you will say I will entertain people, you know, no matter what. Sometime I can hear that — someone told me that my shoe laces, you know, it was one point on perfect win, clean win against Baghdatis. You make it up. Oh, like he’s doing a show.

Or if I do a trick shot, one, and still kill it, you will say, I’m a showman. So, you know, this one, with all the respect to everyone, is you guys to put me on the spot.

Today I think I haven’t the chance to do it, but Lucas, hit two good tweeners. I don’t think you will tell him he tried to entertain.

Q. You’re 30 years old now. Has your philosophy changed about these things? Are you trying to be more conservative with your body or anything like this?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, not really. I think I’m very blessed genetically, you know. I guess the only thing is a bit different the recovery. I think it’s a bit tougher.

But if not, I’m even stronger than before, I think.

Q. If you were to face Novak Djokovic, how would you describe what that match will mean to you and what it will depend on?
GAEL MONFILS: I have a second opportunity to get to my first slam final, and the opportunity to maybe beat him for the first time in the main tour, to beat the world No. 1. That’s it.

Q. What do you think the outcome will depend on? What is most important for you to do to give yourself the best chance to win?
GAEL MONFILS: I have today to think about it. (Smiling.)

Q. Are you having fun?
GAEL MONFILS: Always. You know, always. No matter what, looks maybe a bit more serious, like everyone mention it this year, but I play tennis because I have fun. I play tennis because I love the sport.

If not, I won’t wake up every morning, train, because most of people think that jumping or do trick shot is gifted. Yes, it’s gifted, but is a lot of work. I won’t say I work on the trick shot, but it’s like I think physically I’m one of the best.

And to do that is because you’re in a great shape, you know. If I don’t have funny I stop playing tennis, for sure.

Q. Doesn’t matter whether you’re entertaining or whatever, you’re having fun?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, have fun.

Q. Does it frustrate you when people talk about trick shots and entertaining?
GAEL MONFILS: Make me laugh. You know, make me laugh, because honestly, if I can do it today, let’s say today if I have a 360 smash, definitely I do it, but I don’t have the ball.

Sometime I have it and I do it, and then the first thing is gonna be talk about is all match it was an exhibition and maybe I hit one shot.

So it’s funny. Now, you know, I get to be more consistent with the winning, you know. Because, I mean, now it’s easier to say, Oh, because I’m winning more, you know, more matches, so it’s tougher for some people to say that I’m just a showman.

Now I’m winning and faire le show.

Q. Do you ever want people to understand that you’re…
GAEL MONFILS: No, you know, I always say if I have the ball I do it because I love it. I think when I dive on the court I not dive for people. Come on. To be honest, I gonna hurt myself for people? No.

I dive because I want to win the point. Definitely I want to win the point. You know, when you make the show, honestly, it’s to entertain, but it’s to win. So what’s the point to make the show and lose actually.

That’s why people think, Oh, he’s jumping, he’s sliding. In the end, you think I’m stupid? (Laughter.)

Q. Novak could have a tough match, perhaps will have a tough match with Jo tonight, but he’s had a rather easy US Open so far. Is it important for top players to be challenged early on to get things going later in a tournament, or if you are winning well and things are going well it doesn’t matter for you?
GAEL MONFILS: I mean, for him is different, you know. He’s super confident for years. I think doesn’t need many matches to feel his best tennis.

So I think everybody is different. I’m guy I don’t need much tennis to feel confident. Me, myself, it’s more about if I feel 100% physically is good enough to play tough tennis.

Q. You mentioned that match two years ago against Roger and how you had a chance. Did that one stick with you? Did you think about that a lot afterwards?
GAEL MONFILS: Not really, you know. What stays I had a wonderful time. It was one of the greatest match I play, you know. It’s always great to play against Roger, you know. Even if you have match points, it happen in sport.

I gave the best I had. You know, when you have opportunities you try to get it, and I think I got it back today to be in semis.

So I have been waiting for two years.

Q. You’re quite a sports fan. Do you ever learn anything from watching other sports like football or basketball that can help you on the tennis court?
GAEL MONFILS: Definitely. I mean, this year, you know, with the — I mean, I have been respecting a lot what LeBron James — I mean, what he done this year was unreal. His mindset and the work he put in to win this final, I think this is big inspiration for me.

Q. You were asked earlier about the possibility of facing Novak. I wanted to ask you to talk about the possibility of facing Jo in the semis, and both maybe what you think would be the key to that match, but also if you could speak a little bit about how long you have known each other and what it might mean to face Jo in a Grand Slam semifinal.
GAEL MONFILS: Oh, it would be a huge dream, I think. A dream. Definitely we will choose the final, but semis would be good enough.

You know, it’s not a good friend. He’s one of my best friends. He’s a brother. He’s someone I grew up with. He’s someone I look at when I was younger because he was a bit older than me.

You know, we have been through this Federation center. He was stronger than us and playing earlier, you know, the futures and everything. We always, you know, put the work to play with him, to be with Jo, you know.

So we found out, you know, ourself on the tour together, playing Davis Cup together. Go to Rio together. Share a room together in Rio. Do some fun stuff together, you know, since actually we have been 10, 11. It’s been great.

I mean, if you can have a reward and play, I mean, the semifinal in two days, it would be amazing.

Q. (Regarding five-set match with Djokovic.)
GAEL MONFILS: I mean, I remember, yeah, that was a tricky match actually. With the roof will be different, because it was taking a long time and I lost this one 7-5 in the fifth.

It was long time ago I think now. Novak is the best player ever, and that time he wasn’t. So I think it was just a good memory.

Q. But now you’re saying he is the best player ever.
GAEL MONFILS: He is. Yeah, he is. I mean, so far — when I say “ever,” not yet, because it’s still Roger. But so far what he’s doing is amazing. He’s better player than me, definitely. I think I have no shame to say it. He is better than me.

You can be the best, but one match is enough, you know. If I face him, I will take the one match as enough.

Q. You have been really consistent this year. I’m just wondering, what do you think is the key? Like you’re healthy? Maybe the confidence just keeps like helping you?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, my health has been big trouble I think all my career, and now it is somehow stabilized. I think I work differently. I think I understand different stuff.

I think it helps me a lot to be stronger.

Q. What’s the secret of success of the French players? This tournament especially, but generally speaking. You always have new talent and you have always a group of players in last few players, in the last eight, which no country has. What do you think is the secret?
GAEL MONFILS: I don’t know if secret, but I think it’s good. I think it’s good for sure for our country.

But I think it’s — I’m not sure it’s a secret. I think we all work hard, and somehow we know we make it in the same moment.

Obviously, you know, sometime it was I think the States, was Spain, you know, other countries. At the end it happen here, you know. I think I have no words to say what to say about that, but the only thing I hope is maybe next year we’re gonna have maybe even one or two more.

Q. You said you feel Novak is one of the greatest players ever, possibly the greatest player ever. What do you admire most about him?
GAEL MONFILS: His consistency, his game, the way he hit the ball clean.

I mean, so far, you know, it’s very hard to remember a match where. You know, he wasn’t hitting the ball clean. You know, maybe one or two a year. It’s amazing. The way tactically he handle, you know, every tactic, like we try to made against him.

And I think, yeah, so far he’s the best. I think he’s a great champion.

Q. How important is it for you to have a coach? How is your relationship with your trainer? What’s it like?
GAEL MONFILS: I think it’s important, for sure, for me because I need to have someone that can tell me, you know, drive me, I would say, drive me a little bit.

I got a lots going on with my tennis, which mean sometime I want to defend, I want to attack, I want to go to the net.

I think I can actually make all those shots myself, but it’s easier when someone drive you and help you to find your way, you know.

I think Mikael do it pretty good.

Q. You earlier mentioned LeBron James. Have you ever had a chance to meet him? And if you did, what would you want to ask him?
GAEL MONFILS: No, I never have this chance, but, you know, if I met him first time, first thing I would tell you is I want to dunk on you. (Laughter.)

No, I might ask him, I don’t know, so many questions. You know, I watch a lot of the commentary on him. Got many question about how he is, how he feels, how it is to be the leader, like a great champion playing with him. How do you think about everything. You know, I think I’d be a great day if I can.

Q. You mentioned your health being good and working differently now. What are you doing differently? Maybe some examples. Is it a new diet? More time in the gym?
GAEL MONFILS: I working better. I working better. Differently.

I’m not always talk about how I do it, but — what I can say I find a way to take care of my knee, take care of my body, you know, take care of everything. So far it’s good.

Angelique Kerber

Press Conference

A. KERBER/R. Vinci

7-5, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you tell us the first set, which you were behind three times and you were able to recover. How was difficult? Were you tense? You started to play much better later.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think the key of the match was the first set. I mean, it was really close and tough. It’s always difficult to play against Roberta.

I mean, she’s a tough opponent with her slice. Yeah, I was trying to staying in the match and not thinking that I’m the break down. Just going for it, yeah.

Keeping my mind a little bit relaxed, and, yeah, staying in the moment. I think that was my key also like for the first set to being a little bit more relax and had not too negative, actually.

Q. You were not so much relaxed in the first set, correct?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, no, because it was tough and I knew that it’s really close now. So that’s why I talked to myself, Okay, stay positive. Think about the good things you did in the first set.

And that’s it. After I won the first set I was more relaxed at the end. I think in the second set what I did good that I played the first few games really tough so that I was up 3-0 very fast.

Then I could continue my good play, yeah, in the next few games.

Q. In the first set especially she used the dropshot a lot and you went to the net. Sometimes it worked; sometimes is didn’t. How do you feel you did against that? Do you think other players are going to use that going forward?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I know that she’s playing like this. I know how she play and I was actually prepared for that. So, yeah, it works sometimes, but I think a lot of players are playing like that already. Also me.

So I was not surprised that she was playing so many dropshots.

Q. Against a player like Roberta who hits so much variety and slices, is it especially important to stay patient and calm?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think it was also important to have patience against her and wait for your shots, because she is actually a good mover and she brings a lot of balls back with her slice, as well.

So I was trying to moving good, and, yeah, keeping my eyes on the balls and going for it. Because the spin is a little bit different than when you play against others. They are just hitting the balls really strong.

Q. Did you watch her match against Serena last year? What did you make of her performance in that one?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No. I just saw the final. I didn’t saw the semis. I saw a lot of matches after. She is a great player and she played very good in the last few months, so I was trying to, yeah, watch the match.

And also, I talked with my coach a little bit because he saw the match before. And, yeah, my plan was playing with patience and when I have the chance to going for it.

Q. This is becoming common for you now to get to this stage in a major. How would you describe the transformation in your game and your thinking to get to where it is becoming common for you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think it’s changed a little bit. For me, I’m going out on Arthur Ashe, on the stadium, and playing against top player, as well. I have I think right now more confidence to going out there.

I’m not thinking about quarters, semis, or whatever. I’m just going there to playing a good match and to win the match.

I know that I can beat everybody, and this is what gives me also a lot of confidence and motivation for going out there and playing with a lot of emotion.

Q. So how different is your sense of belief in yourself right now than it was before this year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It’s bigger, for sure. It’s one of my best years now, so that’s why my belief in myself is growing for sure. That’s why I think I’m playing like I’m playing right now, that I really going for it with a lot of belief in my game and myself.

Yeah, it’s changed a lot in the last few months.

Q. You just hit on this in terms of thinking your way through a match. Two years ago, three years ago, how different would this match have played out? Do you think you would have been as mentally strong against an opponent who really throws you off?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I think this is a good question. I don’t know. Maybe not, because I think I grow a lot in the last few years.

And also with my mentality, that I’m, yeah, staying more positive and believing in my game. I think that, yeah, that right now I can win matches like that.

Also, the match before I played, just staying positive and believe in my shots. That gives me a lot of confidence.

So I think I learned a lot from the last years.

Q. You were saying that you kept telling yourself today to stay in the moment and focus on right now, not look ahead. How does that help you and how does that get more difficult and certainly facing your next round?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Today, that was I think the key for the match, to staying in the moment and not thinking ahead or like what’s happen or whatever.

And I think this is also what I have learned in the last few months also, to not thinking ahead against who I’m playing or if it’s the same as other final or first round actually.

I’m just trying to, yeah, believe and having fun out there, enjoying what I’m doing right now. I think this is the best way for me to playing my best tennis.

Q. It’s been five years since you were in the semifinals here. It must be very, very good to be back at this stage. How different is it going in now with the accomplishments that you have, the Grand Slams and great results you have had lately and the mental maturity than it was for the 23 year old who did it five years ago?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, it’s completely different. I mean, I remember the semis here like years ago when I reached it for my first time. That was maybe also a little bit surprise.

I had nothing to lose. I came here. I just played great tennis. I think a lot of things, yeah, happened since then.

Now I’m a completely different player, I think. I’m going out. I have a lot of confidence. I know how to win big matches. I know how it feels playing on the stadium.

I’m also enjoying it more than years ago. I’m trying to, you know, going there and enjoying the atmosphere and also win the matches.

I mean, years ago I came here and I had nothing to lose and my goal was playing good, and now my goal is winning the matches and this is a little bit different.

Q. When you had your quarterfinal press conference, when you were doing this five years ago, do you remember feeling a bit differently, maybe a bit more nervous or apprehensive, do I really belong here, as opposed to where you are right now sitting there talking to us?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think so. Five years ago I was a little bit nervous. I was sitting here and I had no idea what to answer, I think. I was like, Okay, let’s see.

But right now I think for me it comes normal to came here in front of you guys, speaking with you. So it’s like after every match it’s the same rhythm.

Q. You’re speaking in terms of positiveness and all mental, but of course the physical part, is your practice different now? It’s awesome what you’re saying in regards to all the positive thinking and that is fantastic, but is your practice different now as opposed to how it was several years ago or a year ago or whatever? What has changed? And is there one strength in your game that has really made a significant difference in the past several months or so of this year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think my practice change a little bit. I’m trying to focusing just on one or two things during the practice and really trying to focusing on this and improving few things and not making things also too complicated. To going out there and practicing like not maybe two hours, but just one hour, and full intensity. I think this is what I change.

Yeah, my game, I think my serve improved a little bit more than like few months ago. Of course that helps me a little bit more on my game style when my first serve, yeah, cames more.

Q. Question regarding Wozniacki.)
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Caroline is always a tough opponent. I know this. We know each other very well.

So let’s see who will win the quarterfinal tonight, but for me, it’s — I will watch it a little bit for sure, but for me it’s actually doesn’t matter against who I’m playing.

I’m now in the semifinals, and if it’s Caroline, yeah, it will be great match for sure. I know how she is playing; she is strong again; she had great wins here.

So it will be a good semis.

Q. What do you remember about the matches against Caroline in the past particularly? You obviously had some long ones; some insane long rallies in Indian Wells.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I remember long matches with her. I remember we have tough rallies and always really tough ones.

So for sure it will be – if it’s her again – really tough battle.

But, yeah, I’m looking forward to take the chance again with her to play and to take the challenge. It’s the semis, so it doesn’t matter against who I’m playing. I mean, it will be tough one. I’m looking forward if it’s Caroline.

Q. You’re known for working so hard on your game, and your game has gotten better and better each year. You still have a ways to go. What would it mean to you to finally become the best player in the world? What would that mean to you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Um, this would mean a lot to me. I mean, when I was a kid I was always dreaming to being the No. 1. Let’s see. I mean, there are still matches to go.

Also, Serena has to play as well very good. I mean, let’s see. I mean, I’m looking forward to play, first of all, my next match. If the day will come, it will be amazing.

Q. As you mentioned, we don’t know the name of your next opponent. I’d just like to ask you about the specific challenge of each one, starting with Caroline. When you face her, what do you consider to be the greatest challenge in her game for you? And then the same with Anastaija?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: With Caroline, I mean, I know she’s moving very well and she brings a lot of balls back, so I have to be really patient, like today, and waiting for the shots and being aggressive. That will be for sure the challenge with her.

And against Sevastova, I think I never played against her yet, so… But this is also — I mean, she has nothing to lose. She plays now also one of her best tennis. She reach the quarters here, so she will give everything. Yeah, actually, I don’t know exactly how she’s playing right now.

Roberta Vinci

Press Conference

A. KERBER/R. Vinci

7-5, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously disappointing. You had a rough break and then all of a sudden she broke back and kind of seemed like a different match. Talk about what happened.
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, was of course a tough match. Bad luck for the first set. I had so many chance. Probably I was playing better than her the first set.

But she’s a great player. She miss maybe two or three balls and she run a lot. She’s in confidence. So I lost the first set, and then the second set she started to play better than the first set. I was a little bit down.

But anyway, of course I’m so sad about today. In general I played a great tournament. Now just will go home and take some days off; see what I have for my injury, and then we will see.

Q. You felt that she became a significantly better player?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah.

Q. Because she had said she sort of learned to relax; she had nerves coming in and you are a tricky player. It wasn’t so much that your game fell, it’s that she was able to raise the level of her game?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, I have different kind of tennis, of course. Yeah, she was a little bit nervous probably because she knew that I am different player. Probably she prefer to play with some opponent that play flat.

But I have a different game, and, well, to beat her, she’s tough. You have to play great tennis, high level. I played high level for just one set.

But that was the best that I can do today.

Q. Last year you were coming in and facing Serena, clearly the hottest player on tour. Right now you can say Angie is the hottest player on tour right now. Two years in a row. Did you draw upon last year, what you were able to do against Serena?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, this morning in my mind I said, of course, Okay, try your best; tough opponent like Serena last year. You have nothing to lose. Play your game. Try to enjoy. I knew that I was in the quarterfinal after a lot of problems, but I was fighting also today.

But, yeah, she’s No. 2 in the world. Maybe No. 1. So she’s in confidence. For me was tough, but I play good game today. I knew it was tough, tough to win against her.

But, yeah, she’s a great player. She won, so she played better than me. And that’s it.

Q. From what you remember of her a couple years ago, what is different about the level of her game today? Is it mental…
ROBERTA VINCI: My game or her game?

Q. Her game. What has raised?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, she’s a great player. Yeah, probably different is mentality, from the mentality. She’s confident. She miss not so many balls, and she say always focus every single point. She run a lot, so you have to push a lot to win a point. You have to run a lot.

Yeah, she’s No. 2 in the world, so now she’s probably better mental, and also tennis. Both.

Q. It appears that you’re saying that the mental toughness has been a significant factor that has transformed her game.
ROBERTA VINCI: Okay, okay. Sorry.

Q. So if that is the situation, so her game has been basically the same —
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah.

Q. — in the past several years. It’s just now she’s mentally tough and says, I can beat you; Vinci, I can beat you?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah. She won a lot of matches this year. She won one Grand Slam. She won a lot of match. So when the moments is tough, probably she’s…

Q. So does that create a fear within you now, her mental toughness? Because I’m hearing something here that’s mental, mental, mental, so perhaps it’s creating fear in you and some of the other girls that she’s…
ROBERTA VINCI: She’s on fire. She won a lot of matches. She’s in confidence. When the moment is tough and both are so close, she’s focused. She’s in good shape. She’s No. 2. So probably this is the difference between us.

Lucas Pouille

Press Conference

G. MONFILS/L. Pouille

6-4, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously disappointing result, but it’s been a great run for you. Obviously you came in off those five-setters and the rough one against Rafa. Talk about how that contributed to some fatigue, if that was the case. Talk about the match.
LUCAS POUILLE: Of course I was a bit tired today. I played four matches, one in four sets, and then all three in five.

So, yeah, it would have been better if I played a bit less time on court. It’s okay. I did my best today. Gaël was playing very good. He’s physically very fit. He’s moving so well. And I think, as I said after Nadal’s match, he’s in very good form.

Yeah, I think he was better than me today.

Q. What are the takeaways from the tournament? Obviously the win against Rafa, the hard-fought battles, but that one in particular?
LUCAS POUILLE: Yeah, the one against Rafa, of course. It’s the best win of my career so far.

It’s a lot of confidence. Even if I lose today, I will leave New York with a lot of confidence for the rest of the year and the next season. Now I know I can be in quarterfinal again and maybe more.

Yeah, give me power to work harder and to be, yeah, next time in quarter. I want to be stronger physically and, yeah, to be more fresh.

Q. Here and Wimbledon, are you at a point now where you have higher expectations coming into Grand Slams?
LUCAS POUILLE: Yeah, of course. Now the next one gonna be in Australia. It’s going to be a new year.

But I won’t go there to win only one match. I want to do second week and more. That’s gonna be my goal next year.

Q. How much did it bother you that several times you were at the net, seemingly good position to win the point, and he was able to lob you, get to a tough ball and then lob you?
LUCAS POUILLE: Ah, a lot. He’s moving — as I say, he’s moving so well. When you come to the net he always push you to the limit. He always put one more ball in the court.

So if you want to make a winner you have to make the perfect shot. Maybe I was a little bit tired. I was not so close to the net or I was not fast enough to come.

So, yeah, gave him a lot of space to pass me. Yeah, it was difficult.

Anastasija Sevastova

Press Conference

C. WOZNIACKI/A. Sevastova

6-0, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How much was your ankle injury affecting your play?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: For sure it was affecting my play, but I’m not a person that likes to retire during a match, so I just tried my best.

But the movement was different. It was harder to move. And also on serve it was harder to get out of the serve. Yeah.

Q. The second time the trainer came out, what was that discussion about?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: It was a discussion like she wanted to do something else. I was asking her what she can do maybe to help me, because I don’t like tapes normally on my ankle, because it’s different feeling plus it’s so tight, so I was just asking her. And, yeah…

Q. How tough was that just to be out there knowing that you couldn’t play the tennis that you wanted to play on Ashe Stadium, night session?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: For sure it was tough, but what can I do? I tried my best. I don’t like to retire, as I mentioned, but Caroline played great tennis. I think she made no mistakes. She did what she could best. She was a better player anyway. Yeah, even I think if I had no injury it would tough to beat her, yeah.

Q. How did you hurt it? Did you just twist it while…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know. I think I stopped on the serve. I didn’t follow through. I fell over. And, yeah, I heard some sounds there, but it happened to me couple of months ago as well on clay.

So it’s pretty much the same injury, same ankle, twice in six months. (Smiling.)

Q. Obviously an incredible two weeks for you and everything, but does the way it all ends kind of change what you take away from it, or is it still…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t think it takes away. I still won two games. (Laughter.)

Yeah, it’s tough to end like that, but, yeah, it’s tennis. I could have played amazing but still lost. It would hurt more, I think.

But now, ankle, yeah. I have to stop and have to take time off. It was still great two weeks.

I mean, if somebody asks me like before, Would you take a quarterfinal, lose 0 and 2, or would you take a first round and lose 7-6 in the third, for sure I would take quarterfinals.

Q. How much did it mean to you getting to play three matches on Ashe? Not all quarterfinalists get to…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know why they put me on Ashe three times. I’m like playing more often than some other players who are like top 10. It’s a great feeling. It’s a great stadium. It’s the biggest one. It’s unbelievable.

I feel very welcomed here.

Q. Does it mean much to you to join the Last Eight Club? Do you know about that?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know about that. I heard about that. What does it mean? Do I get something special?

Q. Last Eight Club means basically you get free credential and tickets for rest of your life.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Cool. Do I get also to practice alone on the court? Because before the tournament we were always sharing.

Q. Can you tell us how some things have changed in your life over the last ten days? Have you gotten new endorsements? What kind of benefits have you gotten over the last ten days?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Not really. Latvia is a poor country. No, not really.

Q. Nothing?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Nothing changed.

Q. Have you heard from any special people that you didn’t expect?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: No.

Q. Nothing?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: No, not really.

Q. Did you get that hat recently?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: No. It’s my hometown in Latvia.

Q. Kristaps is from the same…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah, exactly.

Q. How far away did you grow up from his family?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t know his family, no. I’m not into basketball that much.

Q. But that was…
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: It’s the same town. We are from the same town, yeah.

Q. Did you hear from the Olympic hockey —
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: They lost. I heard about that.

Q. Do you feel you were able to cheer them up a little bit?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I don’t follow hockey that much actually. (Laughter.)

I mean, I heard about that. This is qualifying. But, yeah. We still won — they still won against Austria 8-1.

Q. Did you brag to your boyfriend?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: That’s what I can brag about all the time.

Q. So do you leave New York the same as when you got here, or has the last 10 days changed you a bit?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: For sure. I have more confidence in my tennis. I think on a good day I could beat good players, top players.

And, yeah, the season is long. I mean, there is still some tournaments I can play, and it’s a good position to start the next year where I am now. So we’ll see. I have to just keep working.

It cannot happen like this today maybe. I have to start better. But for sure I’m more confident, and I’m more happy with my tennis, yeah.

Q. Did you feel that the crowd was particularly noisy tonight, more so than your other matches on Ashe?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Like a pro on Ashe. (Smiling.)

Q. Was it distracting at all?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Actually tonight it was not that distracting personally for me. They were loud, yeah, for sure, but I expected that from the first match during the night against Garbiñe.

So tonight it was okay. The problem I couldn’t hear the referee saying time, or chair umpire. I couldn’t hear.

Q. We couldn’t either.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Yeah.

Q. Do you know what your schedule is for the fall? You’re right around where could you get seeded for the Australian Open.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Tokyo, not International —

Q. Little Tokyo or big Tokyo?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I just withdraw because of my ankle. I’m playing the second one, then Wuhan and Beijing, and probably Moscow. Maybe Linz. Depends on the results from before. After Moscow, I’m done.

Q. You probably haven’t had an opportunity to really, really celebrate everything that’s happened this week.
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: Not really.

Q. How do you celebrate now that you don’t have to play a match for a while?
ANASTAIJA SEVASTOVA: I’m quite tired now actually. My ankle hurts. Maybe on the flight home. I don’t know.

No, no idea. No. Really, maybe we will go out tonight. If we are not sleeping. But probably at home we would go somewhere for dinner or to nice drink. Yeah.

 

 

Caroline Wozniacki

Press Conference

C. WOZNIACKI/A. Sevastova

6-0, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How does it feel to be back in the semifinals of New York?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It feels great. It’s a tournament that I love. I love being here. Life playing in this incredible stadium.

So it’s a great.

Q. It’s always hard to keep your focus when maybe the opponent is injured or something happens. You seemed to do that very well tonight.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think I was just extra focused, because I saw her fall in that second game. She stood up, and I knew if she can still walk and still put weight on it and stuff then she’s going to go obviously more for her shots and stuff like that.

But I thought, cool. I kept serving well and made her run. I’m pleased with how I managed to keep composed.

Q. Do you feel like you have home court advantage here being that you have your apartment sleeping in your apartment?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I definitely do feel like I have an advantage there. I sleep at home in my own bed, have home-cooked food, and have my friends and family here.

I also feel like I have a bit of a home court advantage when I step out on court. The crowd is always supporting me and is sweet to me. I think it helps I played so well here in the past. It’s just a great combination.

Q. What have been your observations of Angie’s improvement both in a physical way and mental way to get to the stage where she is now in late stages of nearly all the majors this season?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest, you know, obviously I have seen the results and she’s been doing great. I’m really happy for her. She’s a hard worker.

But to be honest, when I was injured I didn’t watch one match. I don’t know. I have to watch tapes. Obviously I have had tough matches against her in the past. She’s a great competitor. She looks fit, so it’s going to be a tough one.

Yeah, I haven’t really thought about it yet. I just kind of want to enjoy this moment first.

Q. How inspirational is that for you with all the Polish folks behind you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, there is a lot of Polish people living here. Obviously there is a big fan base from Poland here.

Obviously I was born in Denmark and feel Danish, but I have some Polish blood in me. It’s nice I can take the best of both worlds. Also I have a big part of the New York crowd with me. It’s a great combination here.

Q. Cook any Polish food?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I haven’t this week, actually. After the tournament. (Smiling.)

Q. You have known Angie for a very long time and you hung out when you were younger, et cetera. Does it surprise you she finds herself in world No. 2, Grand Slam champion, based off how you were when you were younger?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I don’t think so. We are similar in that we are both hard working. I think that, you know, hard work pays off. She’s obviously very passionate. She loves what she’s doing and it shows.

She’s had a great year and I’m happy for her.

Q. This isn’t a position you have been in quite often the last couple years. Does it make easier playing Angie, someone you know so well?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don’t think it makes it easier. We will have to wait and she. She’s had a great year so she will be tough to beat, but I’m going to do my best. That’s all can I ask for myself.

Q. You said you didn’t really want to look ahead and go on to the next match right away. You really wanted to enjoy the moment and looked very happy at that time. How does being able to stay in the moment and not go out of yourself, how has that helped you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it’s really helped me. You know, there is always going to be uphill battles, and sometimes it’s not going to go your way.

But I always believe if you work hard and you have the belief, and obviously you give it your all, eventually it will turn. It’s been a great week or ten days for me. I’m really pleased.

I think the fact that I have friends and family here and I can just go home and relax and kind of unwind, it’s really helped me to kind of just enjoy it and not look ahead and not stress and just show up. I’m like, Well, I get another day; I get another chance.

It’s great.

Q. I think your father was talking to the Danish press. Thinking about retiring? Have you given much thought to that, plans on that sort of front?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I kind of — I think I don’t want to really talk about that now. When I feel ready to open up and say something then I will, but for now I’m just here to play this tournament.

Hopefully I have two more matches here. Yeah, it’s really all I’m focused on right now.

Q. You have had to answer a number of questions about No. 1 or the No. 1 ranking. What is it about ranking? Angie is in a race for it. Is it something coveted on tour? You talked about ranking is just a number. Where does No. 1 fit into it?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think when you’re a little kid and you don’t know what anything really means, everybody knows what it means to be the best in the world and everybody knows what it means to be No. 1.

So I think getting the No. 1 ranking is extremely special and it’s something that everyone can kind of relate to and every little kid understands.

So obviously being No. 1 in the world is extremely special, and I’m sure Angie is feeling it, too. I’m sure that she is going to do everything to get that ranking. She’s been playing really well this year.

It’s something that very few people in the world has ever achieved. I mean, how crazy is it to say that you’re the best in the world at something? Doesn’t matter if tennis, football, being a lawyer, whatever it is. It’s really special.

You know, for me, when I’m saying ranking is just a number, I have been No. 1. I have been there for two year years. That is something I’m extremely proud of.

But right now, for me, being 70-something, it’s not really — you know, it doesn’t really mean much to me. I still believe and feel like I’m one of the top players and grinding my way back, so that’s why I’m saying for me right now the ranking is just a number: because I’m not No. 1 and there is a long way for me right now to get back to No. 1.

But I’m doing my best to just play my best tennis and have fun with it. It’s really all that I can do right now.

Q. Would it be strange to see that number with not Serena Williams’ name next to it?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah. I mean, she’s held that ranking for so long. Obviously, I think, it’s sad she’s only played eight tournaments from this time last year. She’s such an unbelievable and inspiring player. Obviously being so close with her, just it’s special. She’s just a special athlete. You know, it’s incredible what she’s achieved. It’s something that probably very few – or it will take a long time before someone else gets to that level.

Q. How many weeks a year do you spend at your Manhattan place and where you train?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don’t know. I mean, we travel so much, so I don’t get to spend as much time here as I want.

But when I’m here lately I have been training at the McEnroe Academy on Randall’s Island. Sometimes I go to the Westside Highway; it’s public courts. They usually let me in and let me in and train for as long as I want. I kind of like being there, because I feel like a proper New Yorker.

Q. There is a queue to get on to those courts. Have you waited?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I actually haven’t waited because people have been so sweet that they’ve let me in.

Q. That’s fair.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: But if I had to wait, I would. What can I do? I have to follow the rules, right?

Q. Your serve has been particularly reliable for you over the course of the tournament. That hasn’t always been the case in the past. Can you talk about the evolution of that shot? What is kind of the specific work that you have put into it to make it a shot that you can rely on here?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It’s been something that I have worked on for the last 20 years. It’s something that I have spent a lot of time on, and it’s something that maybe doesn’t come — the return comes more natural than the serve, but I have been working really hard on it.

It’s been great at periods in my career and then it’s been really bad in periods where I am like, I don’t know why the timing isn’t there. It’s been good again, so it’s kind of on and off.

When it’s on, I’m just praying that it’s going to stay on for a while. I don’t know.

Q. Has it been on here? Would you consider this on?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I think it’s been a good two weeks. Hopefully I can keep it up.

Q. You spoke a moment ago about belief and enjoyment and about your two weeks as No. 1 player in the world. How do those things compare now with the belief and enjoyment when you were the No. 1 player?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it’s much different. I’m older. I have been through everything. Right now I’m happy every time I get to play on a big court.

It’s special, you know. Like obviously being injured and being away from the game you kind of put things in perspective. You’re like, I could get injured again tomorrow and maybe I won’t have another shot out there.

I think I’m enjoying it much more now than back I was then. Back then I was just trying and grinding for staying at the top of the rankings for as long as possible, and obviously just winning every match.

Now obviously I want to win every match, but it’s different. I’m not the favorite in most of my matches anymore, or on paper at least. I’m just going in there as the underdog and going out doing my thing.

Q. How does that increased enjoyment affect your belief as a player?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think I have always had the belief. The belief hasn’t changed. I just think I’m enjoying it now more than I was in the past.

I think it’s less stressful. It’s more going out and having fun.

Q. There was a picture on Twitter of the vacation you took with Angie and the Radwanskas, like, years ago.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I look pretty round in that picture, actually. I think we all did.

Q. You were at a different stage in your lives. But everybody grows up, and on the tour everybody becomes more professional, has their own teams. Can you look back on that kind of time and how different it was and maybe if you have any stories to share about that vacation with Angie?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Actually, I don’t think it’s that different. We would still go on vacations, but the problem is like, you know, Aga is getting married, so then all of a sudden we’re like, We just want a girls trip, but it’s tough when everyone has their own thing.

But even last year Angie and I were talking. I was like, Part of my offseason I will be in New York. I’ll be somewhere else. If you want to join, you’re more than welcome.

So it’s not like we are separated, but it’s like sometimes like we have different priorities or there is just a little bit more busy now. But, yeah, I think still we hang out and we have coffees and sit and talk and have a good time.

I think the great thing about our little group of people is that we have kind of hung out together for years and years now, and doesn’t matter who is No. 1 or who is lower ranked or who is beating who, we always have that little clique, and it’s nice to be able to just hang out and have a nice little conversation and a good laugh.

 

 

Novak Djokovic

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/J. Tsonga

6-3, 6-2, (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you describe your road to the semifinals?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’m in the semifinals, so that’s what matters for me the most; to be able to play as well as I did in fourth round and today in the quarterfinals for at least a couple of sets.

I thought that I came out with the right intensity. The quality of my game and level of performance has raised in last couple of days, which obviously encourages me prior to the last four.

I put myself in a position again to be one match away from the finals. As tournament progresses, I feel like I’m getting better. Of course that this Grand Slam is very unique for me. I never experienced something like this to have three retirements on the road to the semifinals.

I can only wish all of my opponents a speedy recovery. That’s all I can do on my end. I obviously try to focus on things that I need to do; stick to the game plan. I notice Jo already midway through the second set was upholding his first serve and you could sense that something is going on.

So I’m sure it’s not an easy situation for him to handle, playing quarterfinals and having to retire night session. But, again, it’s sport.

Q. Did you sense that you broke him mentally as much as physically with just how sharp you were?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that’s I guess a question for him. On my side I said I tried to come in with high intensity, concentration, and trying to execute the game plan I prepared with my team.

I played Jo many times on the big stage. First Grand Slam final for both of us was back in 2008 in Melbourne. Yeah, played over 20 times against each other, so I know Jo very well. I know his pros and cons.

So I tried to analyze the matches that we had before, and as I said, get myself, you know, prepared the best way I could. I thought I did well on the return; put a lot of pressure on his second serve. First serve is sometimes a gamble because it’s a big serve. Just tried to get as many balls back in play, move him around the court, and I thought at least that I have done well.

Q. Does the lack of match competition concern you at all going forward?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. Actually, in this stage of the season, considering some physical issues I have had in the last month, month and a half, this was the scenario that I needed and I wished for. I got a lot of days off and recovered my body. Right now I’m feeling very close to the peak. That’s the position where I want to be.

Q. But would a fourth or a fifth set maybe be a bit of uncharted territory for you in the current sense?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. I mean, I have played so many times. I was so many times in this particular situation where I had long matches on the road to the semis of a Grand Slam. Also had some Grand Slams where didn’t spend too much time on the court.

It really just depends how you feel, how your season has been, how many matches you have played throughout the year.

As I said, this scenario with easy was ideal at this stage.

Q. You played Del Potro in Rio and now he’s in the quarterfinal here. How well do you think he’s playing right now? How close is he to his form?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think he’s playing very well. His forehand and his serve are two huge weapons. For somebody of his height he’s moving very well. His anticipation is great.

At the end of the day he is very, very motivated, you can see that, to perform his best. He hasn’t played for, you know, couple of years on the tour with those wrist injuries and surgeries and everything was happening.

I know him very well. Very pleasant, very nice person. He deserves what he’s getting at the moment.

It will be interesting to see how he goes around in the big matches, you know, from quarterfinals, from tomorrow onwards.

Q. With sort of the lack of match play here, do you treat the next couple of days differently than you might at a different slam? Will you guys sort of talk through or walk through different scenarios that you might face, say, in a fourth or fifth set since you haven’t been there now in a couple of months?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’m not going to practice for three or four hours just to feel that kind of potential for the fifth set scenario. Just keeping the routine as it is. I’m glad, you know, I have another two days now to work on things. You know, at this stage of the tournament and season, I think one of the most important things for a player is this freshness of the mind, of the body, and just having that right supply of substance in your body and the enduring strength that you need, the speed, the alertness.

All these things come with, you know, some time that you have around. Time management, most of all. You know, I’m really looking forward to come out on the court on Friday in semifinals.

Q. You go way back with Monfils. He’s a player that a lot of fans like to watch. They think he’s very entertaining. Obviously you have had the better of him in the record, but as a player, do you enjoy watching him?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I love watching Gaël. He’s one of the few players that I will definitely pay a ticket to watch.

He’s very charismatic. Plays with a smile. Enjoys tennis. Enjoys life.

I mean, this is – well, in my eyes – what everybody is supposed to be like, whether you’re a sportsman or whatever. Bring that smile; bring that good energy. That’s why people like him.

But also, he seems more focused at this time of his career. Especially on the hard court this year maybe he’s playing the best tennis he ever played. He’s very consistent. He hasn’t dropped a set till semis. That says a lot about the level he’s on.

Definitely expecting a tough battle.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Again, it’s a question for him. I don’t know Gaël that well to understand what’s happening, what was happening throughout his life and career. Because, you know, sometimes the circumstances in your private life affect your profession. In this case, tennis career.

But he was always enjoying playing tennis, you know. In the end of the day, it all comes down to that, whether you’re happy doing something. If you’re successful or not, that’s something that’s is on the priority list of the society we are living on. Trophies, fame, money, influence, all these kind of things that I don’t believe they are the best values that we all should share.

I think happiness intrinsic, really belonging to something and really being fulfilled doing something. That’s what Gaël is bringing to this sport. I think he’s a very valuable asset to tennis, so I’m really glad that a player like him is doing well. He’s, you know, obviously bringing that energy to the court.

Q. When you say you’re reaching your peak, do you mean in terms of your physical problems or in terms of form?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’m reaching my peak in terms of my form. I don’t know how you understood that.

Q. Do you feel like 100% here?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, that’s what I said, yes.

 

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Press Conference

N. DJOKOVIC/J. Tsonga

6-3, 6-2, (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Why did you make the decision to retire after the second set?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Just because I have a pain on my left knee. It’s something I had already in the past, so I know exactly what’s happen.

So, yeah, I knew it was over for me straightaway, because when I have my knee, of course, it’s already tough to play against one of the best tennis player.

But when I don’t have my knee, I have no chance to come back from two sets to love. So for me, it’s important to save what I can save. And that’s it.

 

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