(September 2, 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:
Friday, September 2, 2016
C. WOZNIACKI/M. Niculescu
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How does it feel to be into the second week of a slam once again?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It feels good. It’s been a good week so far. I’m excited to have gotten so many matches on Ashe. I’m happy to be here just being healthy and playing well.
Q. She has a pretty unique game style. Do you feel like her dropshots are an offensive weapon or sort of a defensive shot?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest, you’re just trying to focus on yourself, because once you start focusing on her your game will fall apart. You’ll feel really bad about yourself.
She’s a frustrating player to play. She plays very smart. It’s a complete different game style than what I or anyone is used to. I just tried to keep my head cool.
I mean, she had some good dropshots. That’s the way she kind of moves the opponent in. If you’re a little too late she will do a lob, and that’s even more frustrating because you feel like a little kid being schooled and running back and forth.
But I think I managed that pretty well today. I think I won quite a few of those dropshots.
Q. When you’re using your own dropshots offensive or —
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Oh, for sure. When you do a dropshot it’s because you have the time and because you want to win the point.
Q. How do you feel about your game right now? What are you most satisfied with?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think today I was just satisfied with how I just managed to focus the whole way through.
But I have been pretty pleased with the way I have been quite close to the baseline, just kind of moving the ball around.
Q. Is there something different when you come back here because you have had your best successes at this tournament? Do things feel a little bit different when you arrive here to start a tournament here?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Oh, 100%. It feels great to be back here. It feels like my back garden and everything feels so familiar and everybody is so friendly and so nice.
You know, all these things help you just play better, as well, when you feel welcome at a place.
I think everyone is so just respectful, as well. You see the same faces year in and year out, which is nice.
Q. How difficult has 2016 been for you? You’re still regarded as one of the marquee players of the women’s tour and yet your ranking at the moment doesn’t suggest that.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, to be honest with you, I’m not that worried about the ranking at this point. I’m just happy to be healthy and back playing.
It’s been a rough year because I haven’t been able to catch a break from injuries basically. Every time I have come back something else has been hurting. Knock on wood, right now I’m feeling good. Everything is feeling good.
I’m hoping I can keep this up for the end of the year and hopefully start fresh next year.
Q. Going back to your prior answer, the comfort level that you have here, is that largely because of the success you have had at this tournament, or is it just simply because you love New York so much?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it’s a combination. I love New York, and that’s helped me play better here.
Knowing I have played better here and I can do it again. I think the court suits me well. The ball goes through the air very quickly, but the court kind of slows it down a little bit.
So it fits my game well. I can run a lot of balls down. But at the same time, I can get a lot out of my shots, as well.
Yeah, and then it’s always fun. I find it a lot more fun when I get to play on the big courts.
Q. Speaking of the big courts, players have voiced some concern about the noise level at Arthur Ashe. Was it disturbing at all for you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No. I don’t think it’s disturbing. I played the other day on Ashe, as well, with a big crowd. I loved it.
Personally, I think it’s great when you have that buzz.
And also Grandstand was really noisy the other day and loud. People were getting into it. I think that’s what makes the US Open fun and different to the other tournaments, is that people are having a blast and love the tennis and love to cheer everyone on.
Q. In addition to feeling comfortable here, do you also think that you came into this tournament specifically a little bit more amped up compared to when you went into Wimbledon or French Open and the Aussie, and why?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Oh, for sure. Having to skip the whole clay season and still not feeling 100% going into grass, I mean, I think — I have to start somewhere, and I started on the grass thinking, I’m going to get some matches here and that’s going to get me really into the hard court season and I will be 100% ready for that.
So I went into the grass season just trying to get momentum going. Then hurting myself in Washington wasn’t really part of the plan. Then I only play New Haven basically as the US Open Series.
I was like, You know what? I’m just going to take it as it comes. I know that I’m going to get a tough opponent early on in the draw. If I play well, I know I can beat her and then it can open up for me a little bit.
You know, coming in here I have been hitting it well in practice, so it’s all about the mental now. My body feels good, so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to play well here.
Q. Were you ever instructed not to use dropshots on this surface versus some other surfaces when you were coming up as a player?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To use what?
Q. Dropshot on the hard court versus some other surface. Have you ever been told not to use them on hard court?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Everyone always tells me, Do not use your dropshot. (Laughter.) I will hit a good dropshot once in a while, but then I will do some horrible dropshots, too.
I think I get a little bit overconfident once I make one good dropshot and I start wanting to using it too much. I have just been told, Do not use your dropshot.
I will use it on a rare occasion when I feel really good or when I see there is a big opening. But, yeah, I think on a wet clay court where it doesn’t bounce or on grass it’s actually a very effective shot.
Here you really have to place it well because the ball bounces up.
Q. In regard to your article in Players’ Tribune, what was it like going back recollecting all those memories? How did you feel?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it feels great. You go through the process of processing everything that’s happened to this day and in my career. I really wanted also to just thank everyone who has been there from the start.
I think it also — a lot of the players came up to me and, You know what? Thank you so much. You’re a big inspiration to us because we travel with parents and we can really relate to everything that you have written.
You know, I think a lot of people don’t realize that side of things. I think it’s also — you know, I think it’s nice for young kids having a dream to know, you know, what we have been going through, as well.
Q. No matter what happens out on the court now, either way your next opponent will be a fairly different player than what you just finished with. Give me your impressions.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Both are big hitters and big servers. Both have big forehands. It’s actually very similar game styles.
I’ll need to retrieve well and keep good depth on my shots and serve well. Yeah, I just need to fight for every point.
Q. You were saying that, yeah, it’s been a snake-bitten year in terms of injuries so you haven’t had the match play. But you have been spending time on the rehab circuit. In this point of the season, in September, do you feel like — it’s the September of the tennis season — do you feel you have more or less energy? Where is that all at?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think I’m definitely more fresh than the other players probably at this point. I think definitely going into Asia, usually that’s when you mentally start falling apart.
I think I will definitely be more fresh than everyone else. That’s why I have chosen to play a lot of tournaments at the end of the year.
It’s just like I’m feeling good. I just want to take advantage of that and kind of just play, have fun with it, and enjoy the rest of the year. No matter what happens, at this point I’m just gonna take it as momentum going into next year.
You know, as much as it’s been a rough year, it’s also been a great learning experience. I think it’s something I’ll definitely, you know, take with me into next year.
In the end of the day, whether I’m 70 or 30 in the world, it really doesn’t matter. If I’m not top 10 or seeded every tournament, it really doesn’t matter.
I can beat anyone on a good day and people can beat me if they play really well. But I just believe in myself right now, and hopefully I can do well here first.
Q. You’re obviously very familiar with Arthur Ashe Stadium. You said the noise didn’t bother you. Any other adjustments you had to make with the roof and all the changes?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think the only adjustment is the shade. We are not used to having the shade on that court, and it can be difficult to see because it’s really — it’s come down really strong. It’s the same for both players and you really just kind of adapt.
So but other than that, it’s kind of nice sometimes when it’s hot to be standing in the shot. I’m like, oh, it’s probably 15 degrees cooler here than it is on the other side, so I’ll just let her run a little bit more. (Laughter.)
R. VINCI/C. Witthoeft
6-0, 5-7, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. The first set was 6-Love. The other sets were 5-7 and 6-3. Was there a discernible difference between the first set and the others?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, I played a great first set, 6-Love, but there was always tight.
The second set was 5-3-up, 5-4, 30-Love, and so many chance to win the match. I lost that game, and then a little bit confusion and a little bit nervous. I lost the second set.
On my mind I say, Okay. Forget the second set. Try to play like the first set. Yeah, I won. She’s a great player. I never play against her, so was first match between us.
She’s young, but I think she played a great match.
Q. Are you part of the U.S. Olympic team now? What’s with the shirt?
ROBERTA VINCI: You like it? (Smiling.)
Q. Yeah, as an American.
ROBERTA VINCI: I’m not American, eh?
Q. Where did you get the shirt? How did you get the shirt?
ROBERTA VINCI: In New Haven, I think.
Q. Did you trade with somebody?
ROBERTA VINCI: No, but I like. Is Nike. Is okay, okay?
Q. In Australia you were kind enough to tell us that your old uncle, your Italian uncle, Leonardo, had given you advice before the Australian Open. Did your Uncle Leonardo give you some advice before the US Open this tournament?
ROBERTA VINCI: Leonardo DaVinci. He’s my uncle. Still my uncle.
No. I’m joking, eh? (Laughter.)
Yes, he’s my uncle and also my second coach, okay? What do you think, better? Okay.
Q. What is your philosophy of dropshots?
ROBERTA VINCI: Is my style. I don’t know. I play like this for a long time when I was young, so I love to play this kind of tennis. I don’t have a two-hand backhand, so this is my tennis.
I love to play like this.
Q. Do you find it almost as effective on a hard court as clay or grass?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yeah, I prefer to play on hard court, yes. On clay you have to run a lot, and also, when you play on hard court…
Q. I mean using the dropshot.
ROBERTA VINCI: It depends. It depends on the opponent and depends if I feeling good, if I’m in confidence, a lot of things. Doesn’t matter. On clay or hard court, the same.
Q. What’s your approach this year after having had such a high moment last year in the semifinal?
ROBERTA VINCI: A lot of pressure, of course, but I try to enjoy, to play match by match, don’t think that I have a lot of points to defend, just play my tennis, and play aggressive.
Right now I won three great matches, and stay focused for the next round. We will see. I know it’s tough to repeat the final like last year, but you never know.
Q. You said after your first-round match that you knew you had gotten 60 points for the win. How aware are you of the weekly rankings and how much each win earns new ranking points?
ROBERTA VINCI: I think a lot about the ranking, about the points. Right now I don’t know how many points I won today, really. I’m not joking, but I think a lot.
But I want to continue. I want to play another great match for the next round, and then we will see. I don’t want to think about the ranking right now.
Q. Now that you’re in the second week, is the feeling that you have right now relief or excitement or how do you feel about it?
ROBERTA VINCI: Well, I’m so happy, of course, but I’m a little bit tired. I’m not so good with my foot. Of course happy but I’m so-and-so right now.
Tomorrow, like always, a little bit of rest, just a quick practice, and then match. But of course I’m happy.
Q. One of your countrymen said the US Open was the worst of the slams. How would you rank?
ROBERTA VINCI: Why worse? No, I like. For me it’s not the worst. I love to play here, of course. I had such a great moment from last year, but also I made quarterfinal against Sara one year. I won one title in doubles. I love to play here.
Q. Is it your favorite?
ROBERTA VINCI: Yes.
Q. You won your doubles title, as you mentioned, on Louis Armstrong. Is there anything special you like about that court?
ROBERTA VINCI: I like that court, yes. It’s a big court, of course, but when you stay on the court it’s small. I don’t know if you understand me.
But, yeah, we won there in the final. Yeah, the center court is the best, but I have great memory also from Armstrong. When I saw yesterday the schedule, I was happy that I play, yes, on Armstrong first match.
J. TSONGA/K. Anderson
6-3, 6-4, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Can you talk about the challenges of facing a player who is as tall as Kevin is and how you were so successful in winning the match and combatting those challenges?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Anyways, it’s never easy to play that kind of player. He’s serving well. He’s also moving well from his baseline for his height.
Yeah, today it was a good challenge for me to beat him. I did it well, for sure.
I am maybe also a good server, so was tough for him, too. Yeah, it’s always a big challenge because you never know what to expect. Sometimes they can serve and serve and serve and you never return, but anyway, today I did it well. It was a good match for me.
J. KONTA/B. Bencic
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Could you tell us how you recovered from other day and how satisfied you were with your performance today?
JOHANNA KONTA: I think I’m still constantly working on recovering. I think it’s a management process more than anything.
But I feel good. I feel well enough to play. I’m really happy with how I was able to just really focus on the match at hand and the work at hand and then put all else out of my mind.
Q. Did you practice much yesterday or completely rest?
JOHANNA KONTA: No, I did. I hit about 25 minutes or so. I warmed up one of the other players for their match.
Q. Can it be freeing in some way to be in a pressure situation in a match to come through it? I know some players feel that anything after that is a bonus.
JOHANNA KONTA: I didn’t really look at it like that for me. I actually tried to look at it as a great opportunity to manage the situation that I had. It was a slightly new situation, the aftermath of it, and even today and now obviously I have one more chance to come out and play.
Obviously I think I’m just looking at it as a chance to be grateful for the circumstance I have and the other chance just to improve.
Q. She didn’t really seem to do any of the sort of tricks and dropshots that we expect from her. I guess you didn’t give her time.
JOHANNA KONTA: I think, yeah, I felt I did a good job just, you know, staying focused on the things I want to execute and how I wanted to play. I definitely made it hard for her to get into the match, I felt.
But, yeah, I think for me it was just really about focusing on things on my end.
Q. How big was it is to get out of there in 52 minutes after what had happened yesterday?
JOHANNA KONTA: I didn’t really look at the time. I think, again – I know it sounds very repetitive – but my sole focus was just to focus on myself, focus on my breathing and focus on really simplifying the match into just each point being its own battle and trying to win as many of those as I could and really just simplify the game into giving my best and see where that took me.
Q. Presumably it’s better to do it in 52 minutes than an hour and 52 minutes.
JOHANNA KONTA: I think both scenarios have good and bad things.
Q. Can you be a bit more specific? When you say you’re recovering, did you mean physically or psychologically or in what way?
JOHANNA KONTA: In every way. I think it was quite a traumatic experience. You know, I’m just still, you know, working on getting better. I think the best I can do for myself is move on from it, and I felt I did that.
Yeah, I focused on the match that I had today, and now I feel very lucky that I have got another chance to focus on the match I will have on Sunday.
Q. You defended your ranking points for last year now. Was that something on your mind at all, or were you just simply taking it one match at a time?
JOHANNA KONTA: Definitely one match at a time. I wasn’t thinking about that. The ranking points, they come and go every week. I definitely can’t live on my results here last year.
I was really, I really am enjoying the tournament now this year for what it is.
Q. What do you know about your next opponent?
JOHANNA KONTA: I don’t know who it is.
JOHANNA KONTA: I have played her once before actually in my first Australian Open qualifying, so I do know her and I have been on court with her. That was a number of years ago. She’s obviously playing very good tennis. She is a very good player. I have a lot of respect for her.
Yeah, hopefully we’ll have a good match.
Q. This is still the first big tournament that you had a good result in last year. How special is it just in general not thinking about having to defend points?
JOHANNA KONTA: I do love the US Open. I do have a lot of firsts here. It was the first time I got to play — qualify, sorry, not play — first time I got to qualify into the main draw. It was the first slam I went deeper in, as well.
So, yeah, no, I definitely think the US Open has got its own vibe, its own organized chaos. I think there is a lot of enjoyments players take from that.
Q. Do you feel it kind of vibes with your personality? How do you approach the New York atmosphere?
JOHANNA KONTA: I think it’s always a great challenge. I think if you can stay focused and calm and, yeah, just really focused on the work at hand here, you can make it anywhere. (Laughter.)
Q. After the other day, did you go and do something fun to take your mind off of it, or was it a case of having to be full-on recovery?
JOHANNA KONTA: Yeah, number one was my health and number one was just taking care of that. So it was just eating and sleeping.
Q. Have the medics told you how long it will take you to recover fully from all of this?
JOHANNA KONTA: No, because it’s not — it’s not — it wasn’t something like that. I got checked in terms of my heart and everything and everything looked good. Everything’s fine.
I think it’s something that will obviously just be getting better. It will be absolutely fine hopefully by tomorrow or when I get the chance to have a little bit of a rest.
I mean, right now I really do feel good. Yeah, just moving on from it.
Q. Have you gotten a chance to follow some of the tournaments of your fellow UK players on the men’s side? Some of them have been having some pretty good runs here.
JOHANNA KONTA: Yeah, I saw three of them are in and Dan won. I saw three of them are still in. Yeah, that’s really exciting. Hopefully Kyle will have a good match today. I saw he’s playing.
But, yeah, that’s good.
J. SOCK/M. Cilic
6-4, 6-3, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. A couple of months ago you were running for president…
JACK SOCK: Still running for president.
Q. What kind of stock is raised here at the round of 16?
JACK SOCK: I think it can only help my campaign. It’s been a good year. I think I’m the only one running so I’m in good position now.
Yeah, no, it’s been good fun, and hopefully everyone helps.
Q. Are you a better player now than you were, say, a year ago? In what ways?
JACK SOCK: I’d like to think so, yeah. I mean, I think with every year, every tournament, I mean, every experience can only help. I think just all around I think I’m putting things together better and better. I definitely feel more confident out there in everything I’m doing.
Used to be some liabilities people would talk about in my game. I feel like I have cleaned those up pretty well. Returning was big for me. I think I’ve gotten a pretty good hold on that. Feeling comfortable. Getting in a lot of guys’ service games now.
Overall I feel my purpose out there. I’m executing it well and I feel like I know what I’m going to do on almost every point.
Q. I asked you the other day about the feeling of being in the third round. Same question, different round. Especially at this tournament – you have done it before – but to do it here, does it feel like more of an accomplishment? Do you still feel like you have that hunger to go further?
JACK SOCK: I mean, yeah, always. I made third round here a couple of times. For me to make the second week here and every slam going forward is my goal. I feel like if I’m playing good tennis and how I can, I feel like that’s kind of where I belong.
You know, I was able to piece it together today well and play a good match. Always happy to get through the next round, but definitely the hunger and excitement is that much and more. I think every round you make you want to keep going and keep playing good tennis, especially in front of your home fans here.
Not really a better feeling through the year than being an American at this tournament. So, yeah, obviously I want to keep playing and go as far as I can go.
Q. What did you take from your comeback against him the last time that you put into action so well today?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, I mean, obvious tactical stuff when I’m out there playing, but more so the confidence and everything. First tie of that rubber, or first rubber of that tie, and, you know, I got down two sets. To come back and get three there and get us off to a good start, it only gave me confidence, you know, going into the summer because it’s kind of the first — you know, it was the kickstart of the summer for me.
And obviously against, you know, that opponent. And then playing him today, took a lot of stuff away from that. Watched some video of it. And, yeah, used what I did well there in the last three sets again today and it worked out.
Q. How much of your success now at this Open is the more mature Jack Sock as opposed to past years?
JACK SOCK: I would contribute a lot of it to it. Yeah, maybe in the past years maybe I was — like he was saying, I was happy to make third round and, you know, kind of whatever happens, happens.
But I feel like definitely more, you know, on a mission this year, you know, like I have been at most tournaments. Going forward, like I said, I feel like where my tennis is and confidence, you know, how I can play, my goal is to be competing to win tournaments that I’m playing instead of, you know, just content with making a quarter or whatever tournament it is.
Yeah, definitely on a mission now to compete to try to be winning these tournaments I’m playing.
Q. First of all, what was that song you were playing?
JACK SOCK: That was Luke Combs, Hurricane. Great song.
Q. I will download that. The other one was can you describe the emotions at the end of that match and what were you doing there? Was that a Ickey Shuffle?
JACK SOCK: No, I was fencing with my racquet. I became good buddies in Rio with one of the fencers, Miles Chamley-Watson. He lives here in New York. I have been trying to get him to come out and watch a match. He was busy doing his stuff.
He was able to come out here today. Kind of on the spot I thought of turning the racquet into — I think it’s called a foil? Is that what they call it? Thought of turning the racquet into one of those and doing something for him for coming out. I think people were enjoying it. I have seen the video. It looks pretty funny, actually.
Yeah, so if he’s in the box on the next one and I’m able to win, you might see a cleaned up technique and better version of it.
Q. Obviously some good recent results against Cilic. Could you talk about the importance of matchups in tennis? Are they critical? What kind of players do you match up against well and who not so much?
JACK SOCK: That’s a tough question. I mean, I don’t know. It’s kind of circumstantial. I mean, you can say you match up well against a guy, but if they are having a great day and you are having a little bit of an off day — you’re at these tournaments and everyone is in the draw for a reason and everyone is a professional tennis player for a reason.
So I think anybody can beat anybody on any given day. And, yeah, you can say I really match up well against this guy, but if you’re a little bit off, these guys are too good at this level. They’ll take advantage and they can get you.
Yeah, I mean, today I feel like playing a guy like that he likes everything, you know, in the slot and he dictates really well if he’s on the baseline and moving the ball around. That’s how he won this tournament a couple years ago.
That’s why I tried to do. Today big for me was the variety. A lot of kick serves trying to get out of the strike zone and keep him on the move and throw on some slice. Was able to work well, especially with the windy conditions.
Yeah, that’s kind of my game style going up against anybody, and hopefully it works.
Q. I want to follow up on what you said earlier about improving your returns. You sort of made a passing reference to people talking about maybe that being a part of your game that wasn’t as good as other aspects. Wondering, first of all, is that something you sort of heard in the outside world or somebody close to you said, Hey, you’ve got to improve this? And how did you improve your return?
JACK SOCK: I mean, I think you can always improve every part of your game. I only say that because when I got to play a match or people like to talk about my tennis, they talk about serving and forehand is what I hear all the time.
So obviously, you know, when I’m playing guys the general public like to talk about maybe the weaker side being my backhand and all that. I think I have improved it tremendously. Serve big and maybe getting into a lot of breakers and not being able to get in guys’ service games.
I feel like that’s changed dramatically as well. Feel very comfortable returning. I think the doubles helped a lot. Even the week in Rio I was returning really, really well, and I’m taking that in, that confidence, and kind of just that flow and rhythm into all these matches. I think it’s showing.
Yeah, I think when you can hold comfortably and, you know, you’re in a lot of guys’ service games, it only makes it that much easier out there.
Q. Tsonga next. I think you played only once and on clay. Perhaps you wouldn’t pull anything from that. If you do, what do you take from that match and what’s an opponent like him offering?
JACK SOCK: Yeah, you know, he’s a very established player. Been in the top 10o for a long time and had great success at tournaments of all levels and I’m going to have to obviously bring out my best stuff again to have a chance.
But it’s sort of similar to today. I think he’s a guy who likes to lean on the ball. Likes to be attacking and dictating. If I can throw some variety in there, serve well again, and get into some return games, the chances go up for me.
Yeah, I mean, we play a similar style, I think. We both look for forehands to dictate points, and I think it will kind of be whoever can get that first attacking position with that side, and then serving will also a big part of it.
He serves well. We both look to get easy points on that.
Q. (Question regarding decision to stop playing doubles.)
JACK SOCK: Max told me I couldn’t play any more doubles. It was the team, collective decision within the team. It was personal experiences, you know, where I felt like it’s kind of hindered my play in singles.
But also, even playing with Vasek the last couple years, last year Wimbledon, played five sets against Troicki; down two sets to love. Same day we were down two sets to love in doubles; we came back and lost in five.
So we played ten sets in one day. Two days later played Murray in the quarters and kind of ran out of gas. Had opportunities in the quarters of a slam in singles. You know, had he not played five more sets that day and gotten the rest.
For me here last year, I got my first round win. Was here till 9:30, 10:00 playing doubles and put me on second the next morning. Obviously not getting the proper rest and everything you need going into those matches.
So tough decision on one end, but also easy decision on the other, where you get all your energy and rest and hydration and you just take all the necessary steps to do your best in singles. I think it’s showing. So far this year I think I’ll stick to this in the future.
M. KEYS/N. Osaka
7-5, 4-6, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. A great win. After today and Monday, I’m starting to think you like to live on the edge. How were you able to remain calm and confident and collected down 1-5 in the final set?
MADISON KEYS: I mean, obviously those aren’t the most fun matches, but I just knew that, you know, if I stayed in the match that I could maybe have a chance to come back and get back in it.
No matter what the score was, it was always just trying to get back in the match. Once I was able to get a little bit of momentum I felt like I found my game a bit more. At that point I knew I had to kind of step up or else I was going to be going home.
Q. You were really struggling with your returns in the beginning of that third set. Just missing a few balls. It seemed like something clicked and you dug in and started hitting faster through the ball and everything. Was that intentional or adrenaline? Kind of a refuse to lose sort of thing? What do you think that is?
MADISON KEYS: I think it was a little bit of both. There was obviously not a ton of rhythm at the beginning of that set. I felt like I wasn’t returning very well. It got to a point where you’re either going to make them or you’re going to lose.
I think I kind of just took a step back and just wanted to make her play. Then I think once I did that I got a little bit of confidence back and started playing better.
Q. Moving forward, are you going to incorporate going to the net more often? I know you your game is power, but will you incorporate more going to the net and developing a net game?
MADISON KEYS: I’m definitely working on it and I’m trying to come to the net more. It obviously happens in less stressful times and when I’m feeling a little bit more relaxed.
But I’m definitely working on trying to improve that part of my game.
Q. Speaking of the net, 1-5, Love-15, you kind of stormed into the net and played those two volleys. At the time it seemed crazy but with hindsight it seemed like the moment it all changed and you started moving. What was going through your mind when you hit those shots?
MADISON KEYS: You know, I think she kind of just hit a shot that I felt like I was being pulled forward on. You know, then at that point it was just me trying to get the ball back over the net.
Once that moment kind of happened, I feel like I kind of got really fired up about it. That really helped me.
Q. When she was just a couple points from the win, what was going through your mind as your shot sailed over that net?
MADISON KEYS: I think the biggest thought was — I didn’t know if I should challenge the ball or not because I thought it was out. Then as soon as she went to hit the volley it was just kind of, Please, God, get to the ball or please go out.
Q. As you certainly know, tennis can be a very tough, brutal game. You have suffered many, many tough losses yourself. She’s just 18. By all accounts, a delightful young player. What would you say to her so this doesn’t throw her off, that she just go on?
MADISON KEYS: I think she played really well. I think at the end of the match it kind of came down to experience, being in that situation before, having lost some tough matches. It happens. You know, it just makes you stronger.
You kind of just put it in the back of your mind and use it to fuel yourself and get back out there and try to get better.
Q. Is it tough to put tough losses behind you to just go on and not bring yourself down after a tough defeat?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, it can be. I think some losses are tougher than others. Some kind of stick around longer than others.
But at the end of the day, if you can learn something from it, then you can take it as a positive.
Q. You practiced with her. How much more did you see of her game in a match situation, and can you see playing her for years to come?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, for sure. I practiced with her a little bit. It was probably an hour hit. So I didn’t know a ton about her, but seeing how she played today, she has a great serve and she has a great forehand. She is really aggressive, and I like how she plays.
So, for sure I think that we will see her around. I think she’s an amazing fighter, because she definitely could have given up after the middle of the second set and she didn’t.
Q. Talking about experience, how comfortable are you on Ashe right now? How do you feel like the crowd on center court has warmed up to you the more you have played on that court?
MADISON KEYS: I haven’t played many matches on Ashe, but always happy to be out there. The crowd today was amazing, and getting to play at your home slam on Ashe is a feeling like you can’t even describe.
So having that crowd support today was really incredible.
Q. Next you will probably have Wozniacki probably at night on center court. How do you think the crowd will be on that match?
MADISON KEYS: I think the crowd will be more divided seeing as she’s a finalist, but I think I will have plenty of support.
Q. Did you feel like you sort of put a little more weight or shape to your shots from that 1-5? It appears you were still hitting through the ball. Did you feel like you had your foot completely on the gas through that comeback, or did you sort of pull back a little bit and make her play?
MADISON KEYS: I think it was a little bit of a combination. I think I definitely backed off at the beginning of the third set. Wasn’t looking for forehands as much.
I knew I was going to have to play aggressive because she’s a great player and she was going to step up and try to win the match. So I knew I had to do the same.
And I think it was just a balancing act of knowing when to maybe take a little bit off of it and then when to really look for my forehand and step in.
Q. First round, two points from the loss; today, two points from the loss. You’re into the round of 16. What do you take away from the first week of kind of, yeah, giving everybody a heart attack?
MADISON KEYS: I think the biggest thing is just, you know, I’m never giving up and I’m fighting to the very end. That’s something to pat myself on the back for. But also definitely going to sit down later and work on some things for the next round because I don’t want to be two points from losing again.
Yeah, so really looking forward to trying to have straightforward matches.
Q. It will be your first meeting with Caroline Wozniacki. How do you see her as an opponent?
MADISON KEYS: I have known Caroline for a while. I don’t think we have ever really practiced or anything, but she’s obviously a great player. She loves playing at the US Open. She’s done well here. She’s going to be tough.
I think she’s playing well right now. You know, it’s always interesting once you get to the fourth round because everyone has won matches and they’re feeling very confident.
Q. You call it the best comeback of your career. Why?
MADISON KEYS: I think just because this is the biggest stage that I have done it on. I think I easily could have let a lot of emotions get in the way of, you know, being able to come back today.
Being able to kind of block out everything and just really fight through it and get back into the match, I was really proud of myself for that today.
Q. There was a week off or a couple of weeks between, but coming off of the Olympics and that experience, and I think a lot of the emotional energy that was spent in Rio and the actual energy of getting there, has it been more of a challenge than, say, coming off of a Cincinnati or a New Haven?
MADISON KEYS: I definitely think there is a difference between the Olympics and Cincinnati or New Haven. I know for me there was no chance I could have played Cincinnati. I was so emotionally tired after Rio. It was amazing. You know, it was one of the best weeks of my life, but it was definitely very draining.
So it’s been different to kind of have to come back from that and get yourself back on track after that.
Q. Your career is going beautifully. Do you feel in your gut you’re now ready to lift the trophy here on the final Saturday?
MADISON KEYS: I definitely think I have done a lot of work and that I’m here and I’m competing for that. But at the same time, it’s not really how I focus on things. I’m more concerned about fourth round against Caroline on Sunday.
So I’m not looking past that right now.
Q. You seem relatively calm despite what was going on. Did you have to make a conscious effort? If so, what did you tell yourself?
MADISON KEYS: I really just kept telling myself, Just try to stay in it. I just knew I was going to have to step up. It was one of those things where it was either step up or lose, so, you know, I knew I had to stay calm in that moment. I kind of just forced myself to.
Q. When asked about up and coming American talent, Serena Williams mentioned your name first. Many people think you’re the next superstar for American women. What do you think about that?
MADISON KEYS: I think that’s very nice of her to say (laughter). It always feels good to hear Serena say something like that. More than anything, it just makes me want to go out and keep working and trying to get better. Just because if someone who has been in her position where she’s been No. 1 for so long says that about me, you know, I really want to do my best to kind of live up to that and do everything I can to put myself in a good position.
Q. Regardless of what happens, you’ll finish the Grand Slam season having made all four second weeks this year. What about that makes you the most proud?
MADISON KEYS: Just that it was my goal to be more consistent and to make second weeks. I felt like I worked so hard at it and I was so close so many times.
So, you know, those mornings when I didn’t want to wake up at 6:15 to go to practice, those are the moments where I feel like getting through those and going out and having good practices have put me in this position.
As much as I hate it, I’m probably going to have to keep doing some of those.
Q. You have talked a lot during the summer about winning matches when you’re not playing well. Based on this week and also the whole past few months, do you feel like that’s something you’re now good at and you can now rely on that to get you through certain problems?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, I think I have had a lot of matches where I have had to dig myself out of holes or, you know, figure out ways to win when I wasn’t playing my best.
I think I have done a really good job at that. I think that gives me a little bit of confidence when I am down, knowing that I can figure things out.
Q. What do you do to just have fun?
MADISON KEYS: Lately, I have just been taking lots of naps and watching movies. (Smiling.) Normally I like to hang out with my friends and family.
I really enjoy baking, which is tough on the road. Yeah, so whenever I’m home I feel like I’m constantly in the kitchen.
Q. What do you bake?
MADISON KEYS: I make all kinds of things.
Q. You do?
MADISON KEYS: Yes.
Q. Serena’s nice compliment about you, Serena told us about Naomi. She’s a very dangerous player. Do you think in the near or far future any rivalry between you and her?
MADISON KEYS: There definitely could be. I think she’s a great player and there are a lot of weapons that are going to get her very far. Yeah, I have no doubt she will be around and winning lots of matches.
N. DJOKOVIC/M. Youzhny
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You had perhaps a helpful rehab time, but you’re not getting matches. Which is more important?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, depends at how you look at it. This particular situation I never had in my Grand Slam career. But considering the stage of the season, you know, the amount of matches I’ve played, what I’ve been through with my body, I think it’s actually good to have some days off and then shorter matches from one side.
From the other side, sure, as you are approaching second week of the Grand Slam you want to have match play and you want to have time spent on the center court before you face one of the top players.
But, again, I’m not too concerned about my game itself. I’ve worked hard last couple days. Health-wise I feel much better than I did at the beginning of the tournament. You know, I’m confident that everything is going in the right direction.
Q. Is it a letdown emotionally to go out there? You’re all fired up to play and then all of a sudden you stop.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s not great for neither players nor the fans pay tickets to come and watch. Spent 20 minutes on the court. Of course, it’s not something you want considering, as well, the fact I haven’t played last match at all.
But it is what it is. I got an extra hour of practice on the center court. They were kind enough to allow me to practice. Got to focus on positives.
Q. Do you remember any other situation, similar situation, to this? I remember one in Rome, which is not a slam, where you played Almagro. Then Stepanek, Federer…
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was not a Grand Slam. That’s why I said, the Grand Slam career this never happened. I had very few. I remember one walkover that I had. It was quarters in French Open, Fognini.
But I haven’t had this particular circumstance where I have walkover and then I spend six games on the court next match.
But it is what it is. I’ll take it. I’m moving on and focusing on the next one.
Q. Were you able to practice normally the past couple of days?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, the arm is doing very well. Everything, as I said, is going in the right direction. I feel significantly better now than I have just at the beginning of the tournament.
I’m looking forward to compete.
Q. He used some dropshots before he got hurt. You use them quite frequently in your own game. What is your feeling about that shot in general?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It’s good to have that kind of shot in the variety. Obviously it disrupts the certain pattern movements and takes the player out of his comfort zone, especially somebody that stands far behind the baseline.
It’s a shot that is accurate in a different ways. Obviously sometimes I know that I don’t have as much of a success rate on the points where I play dropshot, but in the big picture it’s a tactical move as well to make the player thinking, What is the next shot? Kind of use the whole court.
Q. Were you ever taught not to use it on hard courts?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. You know, I was encouraged mostly by my coaches throughout my career to use the angles, to use that variety. I think that helps, definitely, in big matches.
Q. Do you find it mentally tiring to dominate the tennis like you’ve done and to be always the man to chase?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I don’t find it tiring. First of all, I really enjoy playing this sport. I have love and passion for it. In the end of the day, it’s my choice to do that. I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to play it, and to have people around me that really put in a lot of effort and energy, sacrifice, for me to, you know, play tennis and keep following this kind of lifestyle.
I’m blessed. Not many people in the world that can say, you know, they have managed to achieve their dreams, do the job that they really enjoy doing, working, and be very successful in it.
I’m aware of that. That’s what keeps me going, you know, that kind of initial emotion for the sport and for the game and for this lifestyle.
And, of course, I like competing. I like being out there and moving my own boundaries and seeing how far I can go. So as long as there is that kind of flair in me, I’ll keep going.
Q. The US Open is the only Grand Slam that uses adults as ball people, not ballkids.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I noticed.
Q. There are some of them that have been there for years and years. Do you recognize some of their faces? Does it bring any sort of comfort to you having the same people on court?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: They are very efficient, I must say. They are doing their job extremely well. Sometimes, you know, the line umpires, the ballkids, they take the beating from the players. Sometimes, you know, when you’re in the midst of the battle, things are going up or down, you get emotional on the court and they’re the ones that are around you.
Sometimes you take it for granted, you know, the work that they’re doing. I appreciate it very much. I think most of us tennis players, at the beginning of our careers, we were ballkids at some stage of our childhood. Maybe not on a Grand Slam. I was never on a Grand Slam, but on smaller tournaments in my city and in my country. So I know how that feels.
But, as you say, they are professionals here in US Open. I didn’t really look at each one of them, but I see many adults. I don’t know if all of them are adults, but they’re doing their job very well. They are very rained and experienced.
Q. For one year and a half every tournament we went and you were playing, you were the strong favorite. This is probably the first tournament where we see that somebody says, Murray is the favorite because Djokovic has this shoulder problem, personal problems, this and that. When you read that, if you know about that, do you laugh at it? You don’t care? What is your reaction? You say, It’s better; I have less pressure?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: That’s your job, to speculate and predict, to have the freedom to express your opinion about who can win or not.
In the end of the day I respect that, but I don’t pay too much attention on that, to be honest. There were stages in my career where I was very much into it, following who says what. That affected my mind.
Not anymore. You evolve. You rely on yourself. In the end of the day, I know what are my capabilities and I know what I am able to do, what I’m able to achieve. If I play the right tennis, I can win against anybody in any surface.
That’s where my primary and focus and attention goes to, you know, try to get myself in that optimal state of mind, body, spirit, and just perform the best that I can.
Q. You were just talking about competition. Why is it so compelling, so fascinating to us?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, as everybody else, you go through life and you evolve and you change. I’ve experienced that kind of evolution myself. Psychologically I perceive my tennis career and the purpose of playing tennis, life in general, differently five years ago than I do now.
I still have, as I mentioned before, that intrinsic satisfaction and passion when I play tennis, just when I hold the racquet in my hands. But, you know, over the years I had to find always ways of motivating myself.
To be honest, trophies are not enough, because that’s something that — that’s not sustainable. Surely you’re going to feel great if you’re No. 1 and you win Grand Slam trophies. Part of my inspiration is related to that surely.
But on the other hand, as you grow older, as you play more tennis, you’re on the tour at a high level, of course, you need to find new ways, find other meaning and purpose of why you’re playing it.
So becoming a father, a husband, having my own family, a foundation, many different things that happen along the way, have influenced that kind of perception of, you know, being part of this sport.
I find tennis as a way of using this as a platform, I would say, to maybe convey or share certain messages, passions that I have, or values. In the end of the day, I’m in a privileged position. As any other top athlete, you have this responsibility. You have such a blessing to be there. You have so much power to make a change in a good or bad way or influence somebody in a good or bad way.
Yeah, maybe I’m deep into philosophy now, but you understand hopefully my answer.
Q. I don’t know if you’ve been asked about the Laver Cup yet. Can you give your thoughts about it? Do you think it’s going to take off and have international significance?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I hope so. I think it’s a great idea. Well, discussing with my team about my participation, eventual participation in that competition next year. If it happens, I will be happy. If it doesn’t happen, again, I will be happy, because tennis needs to move on, needs to evolve, needs to get new events, new ideas, innovative, I would say, approach from everybody involved in tennis.
I think Laver Cup is a model that is used already in golf. I think there is the Ryder Cup that has been an example for the Laver Cup, as I understood. It’s great. Ryder Cup has been one of the most successful sports events throughout the history. Why not take that example and try to use it in our own sport? That’s what they’ve done.
I applaud all the people for coming up that idea, pursuing it, because it’s not easy to set up a big event. I think if it’s done in the right way, which I see it is already, Roger and Rafa headlining the event with Borg and McEnroe. Those are huge names in the history books of tennis.
I’m sure it’s going to get some worldwide exposure and significance.
Q. Is it in the right place in the schedule, though, late September, to have that event in the middle of the season?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, you know, schedule is another subject. You can always say there’s no space or there’s no right or wrong period.
But in the end of the day, schedule today is the same as it was so many decades ago. I was saying many times before, and I still strongly believe, that we really need to consider making some changes in the schedule, you know, working towards protecting and nurturing players’ wellness, well-being, health, and enduring careers.
You see more and more injuries. This is due to a very physical sport, a very demanding schedule, more events, more significance of course. More prize money, more everything. Players play more.
But in the end of the day, in the bigger picture, it’s not that great. You don’t want to see short careers, right? You want to see longer careers.
But this is maybe not a subject for this moment. I still think we all need to sit down and rethink about the future of the schedule of our sport.
Q. Do you tune out what’s happening amongst your competitors in the draw during this tournament? Do you focus exclusively on what you’re doing?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Surely I follow of course. Once you’re in a Grand Slam you watch a match or two when you’re back in your hotel room. Mostly when I’m training, days off, or when I’m here the day of my match, tennis is everywhere, on each TV. Not only in the tennis facility, but all over the city. You can feel that kind of vibe.
You are following what your main competitors especially are doing, how they’re playing. Of course, everybody does that.
But my main focus, of course, is on me only and my next opponent.
P. KVITOVA/E. Svitolina
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You haven’t lost a set through the first week.
PETRA KVITOVA: That’s true. What a surprise, right? (Laughter.)
Q. Are you surprised?
PETRA KVITOVA: Petra with a three, it’s not working so far, which is good. I’m saving some energy.
I think it’s doesn’t matter. The important is the win. Of course, with saving energy it’s always better.
I didn’t feel the hot today outside that was before, so it was really good.
Q. Have you noticed that, that it hasn’t been as hot in New York this times as it has in years past?
PETRA KVITOVA: The first day when I played on Monday, that was kind of difficult. But I played the first match, so it was okay. I was happy for that.
Yeah, I think so far is okay. I mean, the rain yesterday interrupt the game, unfortunately, but the roof was here.
Q. What happened in the second set and how were you able to turn that around?
PETRA KVITOVA: I think that she didn’t feel probably the pressure. She just came strong there. I just feel that she was a little bit, you know, playing more aggressive than before. I let her play her better game, I think, as well. I didn’t push her that much.
I was lucky then 4-3 came the new balls and I could serve well the 4-All, which was really helping to my confidence as well. So it was a little difficult at the end of the second set. It was a big fight, the last game.
Tough to say. Sometimes when the player’s down they just a little bit more relaxed and didn’t really have anything to lose. They just went, you know, more and better played.
Q. Is it confidence-building for you to know that you were able to right the ship quickly?
PETRA KVITOVA: Yeah, it was helping. Even when I was 4-Love up, then also tight, 4-4, and I was still able to serve well and play well after, which is always a good sign. So I’m happy for that.
Q. Aside from the heat, do you actually like this city and the tournament, the big crazy city, the traffic? Are you a fan of this place?
PETRA KVITOVA: I’m not really a fan of the traffic, but I starting to like it here last year when I played well and I made the quarterfinal. You know, in the day off I’m not going on-site, so I’m kind of out of the traffic. There’s many people up here and everything. I’m kind of saving the energy and everything, which I think is helping to my person as well, and mentally, too.
But I feel that the crowd, it’s always, you know, cheering. I think finally I find the way how I should take the energy from them as well.
Q. How different does it feel not to come to the site every other day?
PETRA KVITOVA: You know, it’s funny. I think that not many people can imagine or do that. It was funny. We were joking today that we were going to the site for the fourth time and I played three matches. I went here on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, which is really funny, I feel.
And last year I did the same. I played five matches and I spend six days here. I think not many people can do that.
I’m okay. I’m happy I’m not a person who has to practice every day.
Q. Does it feel strange to not have that routine?
PETRA KVITOVA: No. I have my own routine, so I’m good.
Q. Where do you practice off-site?
PETRA KVITOVA: I’m not practicing.
Q. You’re just taking the day as it goes? Do you do any training?
PETRA KVITOVA: Yeah, we are not setting everything, like nothing with the time. Whenever I wake up, go for breakfast. We do always fitness like for 45 minutes or something. So the body is still doing something, but not like anything with the racquet.
Q. So you’re playing every other day right now?
PETRA KVITOVA: Yes. Just a warmup and match.
Q. What are you doing on your day off? Are you exploring the city? Staying at the hotel?
PETRA KVITOVA: I’m start like trying to relax, to have a nap every day. The sleep, it’s always helping the body for everything.
I do a little bit of the shopping every time, or just walking in the city and the fitness. I feel that the day is flying so fast, so it’s always the dinnertime. Like, I didn’t do anything.
Q. If you sleep until 2:00 pm…
PETRA KVITOVA: It’s not. I’m waking up at 8:00, 8:30, but after lunch I have a movie or something.
Q. Do you have a favorite shop or a favorite stretch, like 5th Avenue?
PETRA KVITOVA: No. I didn’t even go to 5th Avenue. It’s terrible. I have to do it tomorrow. (Laughter.)
Q. You kind of have come through your career in different ways than most typical top players. Not a lot of juniors. You play a different style of game than most people. You have the ability to take these breaks, like last year in the spring. You’re going to sites every other day.
PETRA KVITOVA: I know I’m different. (Smiling.)
Q. This sport tends to be one where everybody does the same thing, what the other person is doing. Is it easy for you to kind of march to the beat of your own drummer?
PETRA KVITOVA: I think it’s not really easy. I think with the mature and everything, with the experiences, you just find the own way. I don’t feel the top players doing the same as the rest of the players.
It’s always about the personality, I think, and about what you can really find what is the best for you. I’m still in the process like trying to find what is the best. I think it’s never-ending story to find it.
Now I always know that I’m a little bit different with the practices, about tournaments, everything. When I’m really tired mentally I always know it’s impossible to play, so I have to be clear in my mind and enjoy the tennis. That’s the most important thing for me.
Because when I don’t have a passion and a fight in me it’s always difficult. It’s just be there and it’s nothing for me. I love the sport, so I really need to have the feelings to having the battle.
So I knew that. I’m glad that my fitness coach know I’m different, too. I think we are good combo, as well. We always trying to find the best way, yeah.
Q. When you were growing up, did you feel more pressure to conform to what other players were doing on the tour?
PETRA KVITOVA: Not at all. I was happy to have my coach, my father as my coach. I do remember when I was like 14, 15, like same-age players played twice a day, practicing every day four hours.
I was just going to the school, which was not really fun. I hit like hour, hour and a half every day after the school in the afternoon. And my father told me one day – I will remember forever – we are working on the techniques, and they have just more and more hours.
I think he did a great job for sure. I wasn’t that tired as my same-age girls were afterwards. They all retire after a while and went to school, and I was still continue. I think that was a good move.
Q. You said your team was understanding. How did they react when you told them you didn’t want to come but every other day?
PETRA KVITOVA: They’re really fine. I think it’s always about the player, and the player has to tell what is the best. I think that’s the important.
I am not a rebel. It’s something what I have to say. They should, of course, listen to me. Not every time we have the same opinion on all things, but sometimes we need to find a compromise.
But that’s how it is.
Q. Have you ever heard someone from the crowd scream something and then changed your tactic because they said? Hit to her forehand, something like that?
PETRA KVITOVA: No, not really. Sometimes I hear like, Make an ace. Not often it’s happening or doing that afterwards, but sometimes it’s funny to hear that. But not really, no.
Q. What kind of things have you heard?
PETRA KVITOVA: Something like that, Make the ace. The worst is just to listen, Four more balls, four more points and you get there. It’s something terrible, because we never can count. Then 30-Love, Two more. It’s not great. (Laughter.)
M. KEYS/N. Osaka
7-5, 4-6, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Obviously wasn’t the result you were looking for, but what did you make of the experience, being out there on Arthur Ashe Stadium?
NAOMI OSAKA: I thought it was kind of fun. I know the crowd was against me. That was, like, a bit frustrating.
But, yeah, I grew up watching the players I liked play on this court. As an experience, it was very nice.
Q. Was it particularly loud?
NAOMI OSAKA: Not really. I mean, I expect people to be that loud when, like, the top American woman is playing, so…
Q. What went through your mind when you were leading 5-1 and she was coming back?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, at 5-1 I was just very nervous. I kind of wanted to close it out. I felt like I could, like, rely on my serve at that point, because I think she was serving at 5-1. It didn’t really bother me that she held serve at that time.
But it really started freaking me out when she was, like, going 5-2, 5-3, 5-4, those times. But yeah…
Q. Serving at 5-2 and 5-4, what was going through your mind that made you nervous?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I felt like she had a good service return, so I felt that sometimes when I hit hard serves she would use my power. It was bouncing in my mind between, like, going for a serve and just placing it.
So I felt like I couldn’t fully focus on what to do after my serve. I was just sort of reacting the whole time, so…
Q. Before that you played with so much poise in the second set. What was going through your mind in the second set?
NAOMI OSAKA: I’m just generally better when the other person’s leading. I don’t know. I feel like the pressure’s off me. If she’s leading I just have to focus on the things that I have to do and not worry too much about the outcome ’cause she’s, like, higher ranked than me and sort of expected to win, so…
In the second set I was just a bit free.
Q. Any particular points you regret that would make everything turn around?
NAOMI OSAKA: I think I hit a very ridiculous volley at 30-All, 5-4. Yikes. I think if I made that I would have gotten a match point. I don’t really regret anything, if you’re going to say that. Just I’m a bit disappointed.
Q. Young players come into the game optimistic and then tough things happen. Do you think this will set you back or bother you?
NAOMI OSAKA: Honestly, I actually feel this is a good, like, match for me because I haven’t really been playing that well for this whole hard court season. Like just to be able to get to the third round here is positive.
Like, as the match as a whole I feel like — honestly, I just played doubles right now, so I feel like if I didn’t play doubles maybe I would be more negative about the situation.
But I had so much fun out there, like, I just think tennis is a game, so I just have to enjoy everything and see how it goes, so…
Q. In Australia you said you actually like losing because you learn more from that.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah.
Q. Could you say what you think you will learn from today’s experience.
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I feel like if I had more set patterns or something to fall back on, because I feel like she was sort of commanding the whole match a little bit. I was just pushing it back, seeing what she would do, if she would hit it out or not.
Yeah, so I feel like if I had a better plan, then at 5-1 I wouldn’t have freaked out and been like, What do I do at this point?
Q. How much at this point in your career is about getting experience and getting those reps in?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, this is, like, my first full year on the tour. I was kind of injured throughout clay and grass. I mean, going to those tournaments for the first time, it’s like an experience, I guess.
I mean, I wouldn’t really say, like, it’s new, though, you know what I mean? ‘Cause a court is a court no matter where you go.
But, I mean — what am I even talking about? Sorry.
I mean to say, like, getting experience is good, but I feel like if you’re a really good player it wouldn’t really matter if the place is new or if you’re traveling or whatever.
I’m sorry. Oh, my God. Yeah, I’m sorry. That doesn’t make sense.
Okay, so, like, experience is good and whatever, right? But like not having experience, if you’re good enough, it shouldn’t really matter. Okay?
Q. You’re both power hitters. Moving on, are you going to increase your net game?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, honestly, I’m very comfortable on the baseline. Like moving in is a bit nerve-wracking for me. So I feel like, yeah, if I practice stepping in a bit more and being better at the net, then I think I would be more aggressive, so…
Q. You’re born in Japan, you’re Japanese, and I’m sure you feel that is wonderful. Your pop is Haitian. Do you ever say to yourself, I have a lot of American qualities; it would be nice if the American crowd were more supportive of me? Does that ever cross your mind?
NAOMI OSAKA: The last match I played before this match there was like quite a big crowd that were cheering for me. I mean, that was nice. But I don’t expect them to cheer for me, especially since I was playing Madison.
I mean, it’s nice if they cheer for me, but if they don’t I understand, so…
K. EDMUND/J. Isner
6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Got broken more than usual today. Was your serve feeling off at all?
JOHN ISNER: No, it wasn’t feeling off. I think the match swung a bit in the first game of the third set when I had Love-40. I played three really good points to get to Love-40, and then kind of wear myself out trying to finish that game off.
I didn’t break, and then the next game I didn’t make any first serves and got broken. That was a bit disappointing. But it was just a struggle out there a little bit. Kind of the whole tournament. Nothing really felt great the whole tournament.
But credit to Kyle. I thought he played well. Certainly played better than I did in the big moments, so hats off to him.
Q. When you talk about the tournament not feeling right, does that extend to the rest of the summer, too?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I mean, the whole year in general, I guess, so…
It’s all good, I guess, but it’s a little disappointing for sure. I’ll get back to the drawing board. Obviously – I don’t know what the right word is – disappointed for sure right now. Have to hit the ‘delete’ button, watch some football, and hopefully that will clear me up.
Q. Did you notice any difference between your match at Roland Garros and here in Kyle’s tennis?
JOHN ISNER: No, I’m bad at that. I can’t recall. I can barely remember the match we played in Roland Garros right now. I’m assuming he played better today than he did at the French Open.
Q. How much do you think maybe the first match against Tiafoe took something out of you?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, certainly you want to try to save your energy at a Grand Slam. That match took some out of me; my second-round match took something out of me. I played in the heat of the day both times, right around 1:00. It was pretty hot out there, too.
Maybe I came into this match at a little bit of a deficit, but that’s not why I lost. At a certain point adrenaline takes over, and it did in that match out there. I just wasn’t better than my opponent. Simple as that.
Q. Felt off-kilter, out of whack this summer, this tournament. Was that physical? Mental? The tape on your knee, is that preventive?
JOHN ISNER: I’ve been doing that all year. Always have a few things here or there kind of bothering me, but nothing too severe.
I mean, all in all, I feel pretty good. I can be thankful for that. Right now there’s nothing significant bothering me. There’s always a few things that linger here and there, but doesn’t keep me from going out on the court.
Q. Back to the drawing board, dumb question, but what do you plan on drawing? Do you see major changes coming?
JOHN ISNER: No, no. No changes, major changes. For me right now I got to try to get excited to play in the fall. To be honest, right now it doesn’t seem too exciting. We don’t have Davis Cup, unfortunately.
I’ll take some time off, regroup, get ready for that. See if I can finish the year strongly. We’ll see what happens.
Q. A couple younger guys left in the draw. Jack had a good win today. Jared. Do you think those guys can go far?
JOHN ISNER: Jack, Jared, and who else?
Q. I think it’s just the two of them.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I think they can. Jack’s very good. I don’t know who Jared plays, but he’s a good player as well.
JOHN ISNER: Okay. That’s winnable for him. It’s good to see Jared doing some good things. He’s a really nice guy.
Jack, of course, I’ve known forever. Doesn’t surprise me. He’s very good.
Q. What do you think of Kyle generally? What do you think of his game, how far he can go?
JOHN ISNER: He’s a good player. The one thing he has on his side, I should say, is he’s still very young. He’s playing well. He’s playing pretty well here, I would think.
Yeah, I mean, he’s got a good future, for sure.
Q. What about the tennis in America as it is today?
JOHN ISNER: What do you mean?
Q. The growth of top players.
JOHN ISNER: After my match or what?
Q. In general, in America, tennis in the United States.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I think it’s in good shape.
R. NADAL/A. Kuznetsov
6-1, 6-4, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Have you ever hit a lob like that before?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, actually yes. Not many times, but I remember one in Madrid against Djokovic.
Q. You won that point?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. (Smiling.) If not, I didn’t count.
Q. Is this as confident as you’ve felt with your tennis in a long time? Did you feel like you could get to this point, say, when you had to pull out of the French Open?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I think I played well tonight. Very happy about the way I played. First set especially was very high level.
Then I think I played a good second set. But, you know, I lost the serve in the second for a couple of games. I was serving bad. When you play against a player like him, that he’s able to return quick, hit a lot of good shots, then you are in big trouble, no? That’s what happened.
So I don’t know in which kind of level I am. Is true that when I had to stop I was playing great. I felt myself ready for the French. I don’t know what could happen on the French Open if I was keep playing, but I felt ready.
I don’t know where I am today. Only thing I know is I am happy. I am excited to play the US Open. For me is a great news that I am on the tour again, and I am playing every day with less pain on the wrist. That’s most important thing.
Q. Aside from the pain, in terms of feeling more comfortable hitting your forehand, especially down the line, it seems like you’re in better shape than you had been. Does it feel to you like you can hit it the way you like to hit your forehand?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am improving with that shot. Everybody knows that is a very important shot for me. When I am able to play that shot well, then the court opens a lot, because then the cross-court forehand that I have a good ONE with topspin have a much better impact on the opponent.
I did that well for a moments today, and I need to doing — like I am having every day a little bit better, I need to keep doing that way, improving a little bit every day.
Q. You are playing Pouille. What do you think about his game?
RAFAEL NADAL: He is a great player. He is young. He has all the shots: good serve, good forehand, good backhand. He’s a tough opponent. I practice with him a couple of times and I played with him long time ago.
I know he’s able to play a very high level. I know going to be a very tough match. I need to be ready for the match. I need to be ready to play my best if I want to keep going.
Q. How much did the Games boost your confidence?
RAFAEL NADAL: Every victory helps for the confidence, no, especially when you feel that you played well. I feel that today I played great tennis for a long time, for a lot of moments on the match. That helps for the confidence, no?
Every day is a different story. Tomorrow is another chance to confirm that positive feeling, so keep practicing the thing I am trying to practice and try to be ready for tomorrow.
Q. A lot of seeds have lost in your section of the draw. That helps the confidence together with the game you’re playing? The least games you’ve lost at the US Open ever since you played in three rounds.
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t understand the last part.
Q. You never lost more games than this time.
RAFAEL NADAL: Ah. That’s only fact, no? That don’t going to make the big impact on what’s coming, no?
I play my game. I play my draw. I play against opponents that are better in that moment. Because, at the end of the day, if somebody lost, it’s because the opponent played better than the seeded, no?
The ranking is a number that says the highest level you have during the year. But, for example, I don’t know, which number I am, No. 5, today in the world? Sometimes I can play better than the No. 5; sometimes I can play much worse than the No. 5. And that happens the same with the other seededs, no?
We’ll see what’s coming the next couple of days. Playing against Pouille is a young and tough opponent. That’s the only thing that stays in my mind now.
Q. The day you pulled out at the French Open you were obviously very sad and disappointed you had to do that. Was there ever a sense of doom? Did you ever fear that injury to the wrist would be worse than something you’d ever experienced before?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no. I know was an accident. I know was a bad movement in Madrid. Was unlucky in a very bad moment of the season for different facts: because I was playing great, because was the tournament I have more success in in my career. But that’s it.
I know is an injury that is a little bit tricky. It’s dangerous because I had in the right wrist in 2012 maybe, or ’14. No, 2014 I could not come here, if I am not wrong.
So you need to be patient. You need to take your time, recover, work hard. That’s what I did. That’s all.
Q. You just opened what looked like a wonderful museum at your home. If you had to pick just one item from the museum, what would that item be?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I just can say thank you very much to the rest of the colleagues around the world, sportsmen and sportswomen, that send me thing, send me important things from them.
Is very difficult to choose one thing, no? I have things from Tiger Woods, from I don’t know, Usaine Bolt, Serena, Novak, Roger, from the best sportsmen. Michael Phelps. I cannot choose one thing. I feel very happy to have all these items in the museum.
In the end of the day is a museum that the people pays to come in and enjoy the experience, to watch these items. But at the same time is a very dynamic museum with a lot of activities inside. The profit of the museum is for my foundation. Is for a good cause, too. I’m very happy to have this.
Q. What did Usaine Bolt send to you?
RAFAEL NADAL: I have the shoes.
Q. You said every day there’s less pain in your wrist. Is there still something there or do you feel nothing when you’re on the court?
RAFAEL NADAL: Still something, no, but something that is not limiting my game now. That’s the most important thing.
Q. (Question regarding injuries.)
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t believe in coincidence, but is not my job to analyze that. That’s the thing. The people who run the sport has to analyze.
Is true that there is things that must be better. We cannot play in Olympic Games with one ball and the next day in Cincinnati with another ball.
I understand the people outside cannot understand the difference, but the difference is huge. You know, when we compete, we compete at our limits, and small differences makes a big impact in our body, no?
These kind of changes for our elbow, for the wrist, for the shoulder, is very bad. Is the same like changing surfaces very drastic is something that is bad. (Snapping fingers.) That’s why we have a schedule that we have different seasons.
When we play on clay, we keep playing on clay. When we play on hard, we keep playing on hard. It’s important to adapt your body to the next surfaces and to the changes, no?
The ball is a fight we the players have since a long time. We try to improve, but is always difficult.
K. EDMUND/J. Isner
6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Must be a challenge for you in some ways to keep your feet on the ground having such a great week and the prospect of playing Novak Djokovic.
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, it’s been a great week so far, absolutely. Tonight was a really good win. I was pleased with my consistency throughout the match. Weren’t too many dips. On that stage, as well, in front of a good crowd, a big crowd, against John in his own country, I was pleased with the performance I put out there.
Yeah, very, very encouraging. Just happy I won at the minute, not much else. Just sort of taking it all in.
But, yeah, these are the situations you want to be in, what you dream about, reaching the fourth round of a slam now, getting the opportunity to play the world No. 1. Yeah, very positive.
Q. What was the difference between tonight and the French Open? You might have expected clay to favor you; quicker courts here to favor him.
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, probably learning from my last match definitely helped me. Yeah, I mean, I play well on clay, but he’s also a top-20 player and he’s a good player. He beat me straight sets in the French.
I think I just learnt from it. I feel good about myself at the minute. I knew going into the match I had a good chance, a good opportunity, but just the nature of the match was a very different match than the last two matches.
Yeah, you’ve got to be able to play well against all different styles of players. That’s important. Today it was obviously about taking the chances when I had them, because they’re not going to come frequently.
I think last match I had like 16 breakpoints. I knew I wasn’t going to get that today. I had to be sharper when they came.
Yeah, it’s nice from the last performance. It obviously shows I’ve improved my match play. That’s obviously encouraging.
Q. What did you learn from the match against Novak in Miami? What did you do well there and what do you need to do better?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, he’s obviously a great player. What everyone sees, how you play against him, he’s tough to break down. Makes a lot of balls. You know, very quick around the court. He has lots of good abilities. He’s world No. 1. He’s good in all areas.
I feel I had some good success in that match. In the middle of the match I started taking it to him a bit more. That’s my game. That’s what I’ve been doing this tournament. I need to continue to do that.
What my game is is trying to be aggressive. It’s going to be no different when I play him on Sunday. That’s what’s been working. No point in changing it.
I just look forward to the experience, to be honest. I’m sure we’ll be on another nice court, like tonight. Being it’s my first fourth round in a Grand Slam, I’ll just embrace it, enjoy the moment, and obviously do my best, like tonight.
Q. What steps do you take to try to maintain your mental composure in a match like tonight where the crowd is behind John largely?
KYLE EDMUND: I don’t know. You’re just playing. It’s a long match, so you can’t be too up and down. It’s good atmosphere. Obviously more were supporting him, but I also had some good support. Some Brits out here and stuff.
I think it’s just normal. You embrace it more than anything. It’s US Open third round. It’s pretty much packed. It’s on a big court. It’s a great experience. It’s a good atmosphere.
I did find it a little more like a Davis Cup atmosphere. It was pretty loud. So I think that was nice.
Yeah, it’s such a long match, you just go about doing your own thing. You don’t try to get involved too much with other things. I was pleased with how I handled it.
It was how I expected: he’d get a little more support. It’s normal. We’re in America, so it was fine.
Q. You’ve already gone farther than you’ve ever gone in a slam. Do you go in the next match with absolutely nothing to lose?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, probably. That’s how I approached it tonight. I had nothing to lose really. But at the same time I know I’m in a good place. Yeah, just go out there and do my best. Nothing really more.
You know, I definitely don’t have anything to lose in this one. I’ll just go out there and do my best. Simple as that.
Q. Have you always been able to sort of maintain a calm composure on court? When you were younger, did you ever go through a phase of brattishness or anything like that?
KYLE EDMUND: No, I’ve always been pretty much like that. I haven’t had a dramatic behavior change or anything. I’ve always been quite calm. You obviously go through your moments. Everyone’s human. People get angry, annoyed. People have emotion. People play calm. Everyone’s different.
I like to keep things simple, keep in a steady bracket, not too high, not too low. I think that helps my tennis. So, yeah.
Q. Looking in your box during the match, they all seemed, outwardly at least, like they expected you to compete at that level. Did you feel that, too? Do you feel maybe not that you expected to win, but you had a really good chance going in?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, I obviously believe in myself that I can win, yeah. Any match I believe I can win. That’s the mentality you’ve got to have.
I think if you go on court unsure if you’re going to win, it’s probably only going to go one way, to be honest. I always believe I have the win. I back myself. Doesn’t always go like that, but it’s the right mentality to have.
But, yeah, you put in the hours. It’s no secret. You put in the hours, you put in the hard work, and then you have belief. Generally what you need to train is how you want to play on court. You don’t train one way and then turn up on the match court and play another way.
When I train, I train the way I want to play in the match, and that’s being aggressive and stuff. I know I can do it. It’s just getting out on court and doing it. You have to have belief, definitely, 100%.
Q. You mentioned the court you played on today. Chances are you’ll be on Ashe against Novak. Have you had a chance to spend any time in there? Have you practiced there? Have you got any practice lined up?
KYLE EDMUND: No, the only one hit I’ve ever had in there was on Sunday with Andy. We hit for like an hour and a quarter. That’s it really. It’s probably a good thing I got to do that because otherwise I wouldn’t have had any experience.
Yeah, it’s obviously a very big court. But, yeah, we’ll see. I mean, it’s great to play on all these different courts around the world. I’m getting more exposure on the tour level now. It will be very exciting. I guess it will be very loud, as well, if it’s anything to go by tonight.
Q. Do you have any view on the fact that Novak has played 32 minutes of tennis since the first round and you’ve played three good matches? Might he just be a little bit rusty?
KYLE EDMUND: I don’t know. I mean, you’ll have to ask him that, if he feels rusty. For me, if he played matches or not, he’s going to be tough to play, isn’t he? He’s a good player.
He consistently plays well. That’s one thing I’ve always noticed. He puts a good level consistently. You would expect that from him on Sunday.
So, you know, like you say, he hasn’t played two full matches now so he may be a bit fresher. He may have wanted to play more balls, but that’s only something he could answer.
Q. He was very complimentary about you in Miami. Have you had any sort of chats, verbal interactions, since then?
KYLE EDMUND: Not really. Obviously say hi and stuff just when we see each other. But we saw each other in Rio just as we were passing practice, and that was just after Davis Cup. He said he watched all the matches and he congratulated me on that.
Yeah, like I said, last time Boris Becker sent me a text saying, Well done. So they watched it and stuff. That’s something I’m obviously very grateful. It’s nice of them to do that. It’s good class from them.
Yeah, that’s all he really said. Yeah, I mean, I respect him massively. It will be a tough match, just like any other match really.
Q. Dan is obviously having a great week as well. Andy is having a fantastic summer. All three of you are having a great year. How much of it does rub off on each other? Do you feel you’re plowing your own furrow really?
KYLE EDMUND: I think it’s great. We’re all doing really well. It’s a really good thing, I think. We’re going up and up. Obviously Andy isn’t going up. He’s been there for ages. Yeah, me and Dan are going up now, which is great.
But it’s great to see other Brits doing well. Even Jo. She’s doing well consistently now. Her ranking reflects it. I think it’s a real positive.
It does rub off I think on each other. It’s great seeing other people do well. It has that positive vibe. It’s the same in Davis Cup. We all watch each other wanting them to win and do well. I think that just carries over into the events.
A. KERBER/C. Bellis
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Ashe is a little different than the Broadway Tennis Center. As you walked out, what went through your mind?
CATHERINE BELLIS: So many things at once. I mean, it’s the most amazing court I ever played on. I had never played on it before, except actually I was lucky enough to get a little bit of a warmup on it right before the match.
Yeah, I mean, it’s the best court I’ve ever played on, and the best court in the world.
Q. Pretty overwhelming feeling? Did you look up? What did you say to yourself?
CATHERINE BELLIS: When I was walking in? I kind of expected what it was going to be since I hit it on it a little earlier. I was kind of aware of the seats and everything. I mean, nobody was watching my warmup, so there was a few more people in there.
I looked up and saw the people. It was really cool.
Q. You had two breakpoints right away. Were you not overwhelmed by the moment? Was it hard to settle down?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I think the first game I was a little bit overwhelmed. As my nerves settled down, I think hers did, too. She started playing a lot better also.
Yeah, I was a little bit in the first game, but not too bad.
Q. What will be your takeaway from your Open run here?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I think today was the best experience I’ve ever had in tennis, playing her today on Arthur Ashe Stadium. She’s one of the best, I mean the best player right now on the tour besides Serena.
Her groundstrokes are perfect. I hope to one day be able to play like her.
Q. What do you think you learned from the experience of playing someone like that?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I think we’re around the same height. She doesn’t have the biggest serve in women’s tennis. I definitely don’t either. I think she’s a really good person to model my game after.
I mean, her groundstrokes are so solid, so perfect. I’d love to see how many unforced errors she made in that match. Pretty sure it was close to zero.
Definitely an unbelievable match for me to be able to play, to play against.
Q. What are your immediate and long-term goals?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Immediate would be probably by the end of the year I’d love to keep getting my ranking up as much as possible, keep improving. I think the last year I’ve improved so much, improved my game so much. I want to keep doing that.
Long-term, just be the best tennis player I can be. Can’t really ask for more than have all my hard work pay off long-term in the long run.
Q. A young player like you, there’s everything to work on. If there were one or two things that you want to work on, what would they be?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I just want to keep improving my serve a lot, make my groundstrokes a little more solid. I think today on some of the long points we had I ended up missing some finishing shots.
Just keep working on those, keep working on playing long points. I mean, she could go for hours. She could play an hour-long point and wouldn’t be tired. Improving my fitness.
Yeah, everything, all around, always.
Q. Did this week tell you that you can do it, hang with top players?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Yeah, I think so. Besides today, obviously I won all my previous matches. Yeah, I think I played pretty well in every single one of my matches in the past couple weeks. I’m really happy about the tournament. I think it’s definitely a good sign from me.
Q. Have you heard from LiLi (phonetic) before the match?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I heard from Frankie, the assistant coach before the match, but I haven’t had a chance to hear from him yet.
Q. And hanging out in a fairly swanky hotel suite in Manhattan is what?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Now is going to be the best part of my trip here because now I actually get to go shopping, kind of explore a little bit. Stay here a couple days extra.
Q. What shops do you think you’ll hit?
CATHERINE BELLIS: My friend just actually came in town yesterday. We’re just going to really go hit everything. I mean, just play it by ear, see what she wants to do, just figure it out from there. But we’re going to have a lot of fun.
Q. The other day you admitted you were waffling about Stanford. What is your mindset?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Right now I think it’s still definitely an option for me. I’m not going to make any quick decisions right now.
Q. If you do go to Stanford, opening day they say, What is the one word that captured your experience at the US Open 2016, what word would that be?
CATHERINE BELLIS: That word would be — I think any synonym to the word amazing or unbelievable. I mean, I’m just so grateful to have had this opportunity in the last two weeks. I’m playing really great tennis right now for me. Really excited. Really happy.
Q. If you went to school, it would be next fall, right?
CATHERINE BELLIS: Next fall.
Q. Biggest surprise of the week?
CATHERINE BELLIS: I like these questions. Biggest surprise of the week?
Actually probably my friend coming yesterday. We just planned it kind of quickly after my match against Shelby a couple nights ago. She ended up coming. We’ve had a blast so far. She’s from Louisiana but trains in Florida at the same place I do.
Q. Where do you train in Florida?
CATHERINE BELLIS: USTA.
A. KERBER/C. Bellis
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What was it like down there on Ashe under the lights? How did you feel in the match?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It was a great atmosphere. I mean, the fans and the crowd, it’s just amazing. Of course, to playing against an American, it was really special.
Yeah, I was enjoying to play tonight out there.
Q. What did you think of her game?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think she has, for sure, a great tournament. She’s a great young, really talented player. For sure she will have a great future.
I mean, she’s a great player. She’s really young, so let’s see how her future will be. But I’m really sure it will be a good one.
Q. When you say she’s a good player, is there anything specific that she did that maybe you thought, Wow, that’s pretty good for a 17-year-old?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think she went out there and she tried to play her game. I mean, she tried to move good. She’s not making too many mistakes. So this is, yeah, a really great weapon from her.
Yeah, let’s see. I mean, I think she was a little bit nervous at the beginning of the match. I know the feeling, so I was trying to take my experience tonight for this match.
Q. How important were those first few games for you? Some got a little close. Just to get the lead on a young player.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Actually, I was thinking more on my game, to being aggressive, to going for it, trying to enjoy the match. Of course, it’s always important to go out and win the first few games, to have also a lot of confidence of your own game tonight.
This was actually also my goal for that match.
Q. Is that just part of your improvement, not worrying about the score, focusing on yourself?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think I improved a lot of these things, you know, to going out there and not thinking too much about the score. Just playing point by point and being positive. So this is what I’m still trying to improve. I think I’m in a good way.
Q. You talked about your 2007 match against Serena. What do you remember about that match, how far you’ve come?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I remember the match really well. I mean, I was really young. I was really nervous. I went out there and I remember the atmosphere. It was amazing.
We played two sets. The second set was really close at the end. Yeah, I mean, this was my first match against Serena. I really played a good one. But, yeah, that time she was too strong for me. It was a great experience also for my next steps and for the next, yeah, tournaments and matches what I had after.
Q. You talk a lot about the importance of being aggressive. Sometimes when your opponent is being aggressive you’re able to make them make another aggressive shot, sometimes they miss. How important is that to your success? What effect do you think that has on them?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think it’s important to my game, being aggressive, but also being defensive. Your opponent’s playing sometimes really aggressive, so there are different ones. I mean, you have to playing your own game. This is what I’m trying.
I mean, of course, when there’s somebody who is just like hitting the balls, I’m trying to be like more playing from the defensive end.
At the end, for me it’s important to going out there with my weapon, going, playing in the middle of the court, and just going for it.
Q. Kvitova next. What do you expect?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It will be a good match, I think. We had great matches in the past. Yeah, it will be a good challenge. I’m looking forward.
I will try to, yeah, going out and win the match, of course. Try to enjoy the next match here in New York.
Q. At this point in the tournament, how hard is it to not look past that next match?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It’s easy not look ahead, because now it’s the next opponent and then we will see what’s happen. I mean, for me it’s always important to playing step by step, day by day.
The next one is Petra. Then we will see what’s happen after.
Q. Does this tournament feel any different to you with top seeds going out?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Actually for me, no, because I’m not looking to other players. I’m looking just on my games, on my days, what I have to do, and going my own way.
So this is actually nothing different. Yeah, it’s just the same.
Q. Obviously left-hander versus left-hander. Is playing a left-hander as weird to you as it would be for a right-hander to play you? Is it noticeably different for you when you play a lefty?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Of course, it’s a little bit different than to play against a right-hander. I played a lot of matches in the last few weeks against lefties, so it will be nothing special for me.
I mean, it’s just the ball spins a little bit different. But at the end I know how Petra is playing, so it’s nothing new for me.