|(October 17, 2016) St. Petersburg, Florida — World No.2 Serena Williams will not take part at the WTA Finals in Singapore after receiving medical advice regarding a shoulder injury.
The 22-time major champion, 35, made the announcement late on Sunday after missing recent tournaments in Wuhan and Beijing due to the injury.
“I was looking forward to competing in Singapore this year and playing against the best players in the world,” said Williams. “However, I have received disappointing news from my doctor that I must undergo a series of medical treatments for my shoulder and will be off the court for the next several weeks.
“I will miss coming to Singapore for the year-end Finals and playing in front of my fans but truly hope to be back soon.”
Williams has participated in eight tournaments this season, winning two titles, Wimbledon and Internazionali BNL d’Italia – Rome.
Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, Agnieszka Radwanska, Karolina Pliskova, Garbiñe Muguruza, Madison Keys and Dominika Cibulkova have already qualified for the tournament, which starts on October 23 and ends on October 30.
The withdrawal of Serena Williams has opened up the eighth qualification spot for the Singapore event, now providing chances to Britain’s Johanna Konta, Spain’s Carla Suárez Navarro and Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova. Either Suárez Navarro or Kuznetsova must win the title in Moscow at the VTB Kremlin Cup next week in order to edge out Konta for the eighth and final qualifying spot.
Steve Simon, WTA CEO stated, “We’re as disappointed as the fans not to see Serena finish her season in Singapore. We wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her back competing, fit and healthy. The race now intensifies this week as players fight for the remaining berth. Fans can expect an exciting WTA Finals this year, with reigning champion, Aga Radwanska, defending her title and our World No.1, Angie Kerber, seeking to consolidate her outstanding season with a victory in Singapore.”
Click here to see Serena Williams’ video message to her fans regarding her withdrawal.
(September 11, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews from day 14 of the US Open.
Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:
S. WAWRINKA/N. Djokovic
6-7, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You look like a happy man.
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, hopefully I’m happy after a win like that. Thank you.
Q. Congratulations. What does this victory mean, especially against an opponent like Novak who you attributed your success to?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, this is amazing, for sure, amazing two weeks. I spend so much time on the court. Today I knew it will be a really tough battle again playing the No. 1 player, Novak Djokovic, who always push you to play your best tennis if you want to beat him.
That’s why I start to do, and I try to do. Was not only in the tennis side but physically and mentally was really tough, again. Honestly after the match I was completely empty. I put everything on the court. Not only today, but the past two weeks.
Today I was trying to stay with him. I was trying to be tough with myself. Trying not to show anything. Not to show any pain. Not to show any cramp. Not to show anything. I was suffering on the court, but I’m happy and proud with what I have achieved today.
Q. He called you the more courageous player. How much did courage come into play?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, for sure. But there is no secret. If you want to beat the No. 1 player in the world, you have to give everything.
As I said the other day, you have to accept to suffer and you have almost to enjoy to suffer. Because I think this Grand Slam was the most painful, physically and mentally, Grand Slam that I ever played.
As I said, I was feeling tired already at the beginning of the match. I was feeling the cramp coming in the third set. In the fourth set I had some pain, but most important was what was clear with Magnus before was not to show anything. Not to show anything. Give everything and keep fighting and go try to win it.
Q. Every player has dreamed of winning a Grand Slam, but I think your dream is going a little bit further down. Maybe a career Grand Slam. Is it a coincidence in the last two years to collect these three Grand Slams or there is any, can I say a systemic plan with Magnus, focus on Grand Slam?
STAN WAWRINKA: So what? Are you saying next year I focus only on Wimbledon? (Smiling.) There is no plan. The only plan is trying to push myself the maximum to be the best player I can. I’m not good enough to start and say, Okay, I’m going to win a Grand Slam this year. No.
I’m trying every day, day by day, practicing hard, trying every match to win. And, again, I think the result will come because I’m doing that every day, because I’m fighting with myself to improve, to be a better tennis player, because I have a great team behind me pushing me every day to try to be a better tennis player.
I think this year I’m playing way better than last year. As you said, at the beginning, for me, I never dreamed to win a Grand Slam until I won the Australian Open. It was never a dream because for me it was way too far.
And, again here, I arrive here without putting goal to win it. Arrive here, take match after match. Every time I step on the court I know I can beat my opponent. Even today.
But when I start the tournament, I’m not seeing the draw and say, Okay, my goal is to win the tournament.
Q. You have had so much success now against No. 1 players in these finals at Grand Slams. What is it you’re able to do here and why hasn’t it so far translated — obviously these are the biggest matches, biggest wins. What is it that needs to happen to transcend to other matches?
STAN WAWRINKA: Well, I think I take confidence every time I win a match. In Grand Slam you play every two days five-set match. You have a little bit more time to make mistake. That’s what happen with me. I always try to be at my top in every Grand Slam.
As you can see, I don’t play my best tennis in the first round, but I’m trying to find a way to improve each match. Every match I won in a Grand Slam I take confidence of that, and when I arrive in the final I know that my game is there.
Today, before the final, I was really nervous like never before. I was shaking in the locker. When we start five minutes before the match talking, last few things with Magnus, I start to cry. I was completely shaking.
But the only thing I was convinced with myself that my game was there. Physically I was there. My game was there. Put the fight on the court and you will have a chance to win.
And that’s what happen after few games when I start to believe in myself, start to be in the match. I was only focus on the match, not what can happen if I win the match. Is it the final of the U.S.? No, I’m just focused what I’m doing in the court.
Q. You described the physical pain you endured and how you did not want to show it. What was going through your mind when your opponent called for an injury timeout in the fourth set?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, I saw he was struggling. I saw he was struggling physically. I knew also before the match that when I play against him I have to push the limit. When he took the timeout for injury I was just trying to stay calm, trying to stay warm. I didn’t want to get cold because I was also struggling a lot physically. I was cramping few times.
So I just wanted to make sure my body will be ready when we start again. Because sometimes we’re sweating. If you stop for five or seven minutes, then your body can react differently.
So I was really focused on my body.
Q. But what about the fairness of the timeout and the timing of the timeout? What were your thoughts about that?
STAN WAWRINKA: For me, I just ask the umpire because he asked the physio when he was serving and we played maybe seven more points and everything. I just wanted to know exactly what was the rule.
That’s it. If your opponent is struggling, if he has blood coming out, you have to stop. So when the umpire and the referee came to me saying, It’s like that. It’s just happening. We have to stop for him because there is blood coming out. We have to make sure he’s going to be okay.
For me I was fine. It was just have to focus on my body and make sure that I was going to be ready for the first point we play after that.
Q. Maybe you don’t remember eight years ago you were down two sets to love to somebody called Cipolla.
STAN WAWRINKA: I do remember. He never shake my hand. He’s Italian. He never shake my hand. I do remember on Court 11 or 14. Yeah, of course I remember. (Smiling.)
Q. Okay. I remember too. (Laughter.)
STAN WAWRINKA: Good.
Q. What were your goals at that time? What were you thinking that you could have become as a player? Were you thinking, Well, I’d be top 10, top 20 or whatever? That was one question. And the second one is very brief. Won three slams and only one Masters 1000. How?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t care. I’m happy. But I agree. I agree.
First question, my career was always the same. Always been step by step. First I wanted to be a professional tennis player. That’s mean living with your passion, with your sport. Then was to be top 100, then top 50. It’s always been like that.
That’s always how I deal with my goal. I never start anything I want to be No. 1. I want to win Grand Slam. For me, no. It’s always step by step. The only thing I want to do it’s to push the limit. That’s mean when I stop playing tennis I have no regrets. I cannot come back and say, Why you didn’t practice more? Why you didn’t did that or that?
No. I just want to push myself to the limit and see where I can go.
For the other question, there is no answer. I cannot tell you why do I have three Grand Slam and only one Masters 1000. I can only say I’m happy with that trophy tonight.
Q. Tomorrow in a few hours the people will wake up in Switzerland, home country, and they will be very proud and say, Stan is our man and very convinced about this. What I want to ask you, you’re very often struggling against players ranked 64 in this tournament. For example, Evans. Then when the tournament continues and you face the really tough opponent like Nishikori and of course today, Novak you getting better and better. So you have won out of the three Grand Slams two against Novak. What’s the secret that you can beat obviously the No. 1 player in the world easier than a player ranked No. so-and-so?
STAN WAWRINKA: Ah, as I say, before the tournament I tried to do everything to be ready. Before we started the tournament I was feeling good physically, mentally. My tennis was there. I was playing one of my best practice weeks so I was confident with myself.
But then when you start the tournament, you know you’re not gonna play your best tennis. You know you’re not gonna play your best game at the beginning. Also, you have to see that playing on Armstrong, on center, and now it’s completely different.
The day I play, the three match I play there was quite windy. I was struggling with my game. I was hesitating.
In general, the only pressure that I feel in a Grand Slam is the pressure I put on myself. When I play player like Evans, for example, I put too much pressure on myself. I don’t want to lose. I want to win. I want to keep advancing in the tournament.
So I’m not relaxed enough to play my best tennis, and that day was playing really well. I think you need to also understand that there is no easy match. Doesn’t matter the ranking. Evans was playing really well. He was making me play not my best game. I had to fight. I had to stay positive. I had to find solution. I did. I save match point.
For sure you get a little bit lucky when you save match point, but that’s tennis. The more I win in a Grand Slam, the better I feel. As I said yesterday, I practiced. I was feeling the ball. I could close my eyes. I was feeling the best tennis I ever played.
So I was sure that in the final I would be ready for that.
Q. You remember the last year Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer in the final of this tournament. How did you face him today? Any chance to chat Roger about how to, you know —
STAN WAWRINKA: To lose?
Q. — to face Novak today?
STAN WAWRINKA: (Smiling.) No, I didn’t have a chance to chat with Roger. I think Roger is one of my closest friends on the tour. It’s not the first time I play Novak. It’s not the first time that I play Novak in the big final or important match.
In the past we talked many times with Roger. He ask me advice. I ask him advice. But, no, I didn’t ask him anything. I think I know exactly what I have to do when I play Novak, especially in final of Grand Slam. I need to be ready. I need to be focused and go for it.
Q. In your career we have seen a lot of determination, a lot of perseverance, and we saw a lot of that tonight. You hung in there and came back after losing the first set. Talk about perseverance and determination. Is that an important part of your game and was it important tonight?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, it’s important in my career in general. For sure tonight was important, but if you look, I have to be always like that. That’s why I saved match point against Evans. I wasn’t playing my best tennis, but I keep trying, keep fighting. Do the right thing.
If I go on court and I do the right thing, the things that I think can help me to win and I lose, then I say congrats to my opponent. I push myself.
Tonight, for sure, when you play Novak he’s a beast mentally. He’s gonna stay there. He’s gonna push you. Normally he always find solution. He’s No. 1 player. He won so many title, so many trophy, and it’s always the biggest challenge to play against him.
Q. Congratulations, Stan. I want to ask you, after your match against Evans on Armstrong, underneath there was a great moment when you were walking off and applauded by the ball boys and girls. I want to ask you what that sort of love and affection you get from the people and the fans, how that impacts you?
STAN WAWRINKA: I love it. I love the fans, but especially also the person working the tournament every day. Every day you arrive you see them. I love the ball kids. They always there. It was great to see them being happy for me after the match on the Armstrong against Evans.
If I can sign or give picture or anything, I’m always happy. I think all the person, I see them every day. Every day I come here. Every day I’m leaving. They always take care of me, my team, of everybody.
So I really enjoy spend time with them.
Q. You had mentioned Roger just before. Have you heard from him at all across the tournament or even…
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, a few message, yeah. Congrats, good luck. Things like that. Yeah.
Q. Was it encouraging…
STAN WAWRINKA: What I just said. (Laughter.) Few message.
Q. You mentioned before that you wouldn’t focus on trying to win Wimbledon. What do you think your chances are of winning there eventually?
STAN WAWRINKA: It’s too far. Too far to think about Wimbledon. I think I can play my best tennis on grass also, but so far I didn’t pass the quarterfinals. There is way better tennis player than me on grass.
I’m trying. I’m trying every year to improve. I’m trying every year to find solution. This year I had someone in my team to help me to understand a little bit better the game, but I didn’t play my best tennis yet there. Hopefully it will come.
Q. You mentioned earlier being so nervous tonight that you shook and cried in the locker room. Is this the most nervous you have ever been before a match? If so, why more tonight than, say, the French or Australian?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think the most close to that was the French Open final. I was also — because I don’t want to lose the final in a Grand Slam. That simple. That’s the only reason.
The pressure, I was feeling amazing after the semifinal. I was feeling great yesterday. Really happy. But this morning it start to be there, the feeling of you don’t want to lose. I don’t want to come to the court and lose a final. So close, so far.
So maybe it’s the reason why I was feeling so nervous.
Q. What did you do to quell your nerves?
STAN WAWRINKA: I had to put my shit together. (Smiling.) Sorry. That’s how I say it.
Q. You have always declined to say that you felt you were one of the Big 4.
STAN WAWRINKA: But I’m not.
Q. In his press conference, Novak was asked about whether it should now be a big 5 and he said you deserve consideration. What is your feeling on that? Are you saying you’re not?
STAN WAWRINKA: Okay, let’s — Novak is always so nice with me. I love him. He’s a good friend. He always say a lot of nice thing about me.
The Big 4, I’m really far from them. Just look the tournament they won, how many years they been there. If you look, yes, I have three Grand Slams. How many Masters 1000 have Murray? They have been there since ten years.
They have not only been winning, but being in semifinal, final every time. That’s why I’m not there. I don’t want to be there. For me, there is no question about that. But I’m trying the best I can with my career.
I’m really, really happy with what I’m doing so far. I’m proud of myself by winning three Grand Slam. This is something I never expect and dream about it, but I have them and I’m happy to take the trophy back home.
Q. Is the No. 1 ranking a goal for you at all?
STAN WAWRINKA: No.
Q. What do you think you have to do to achieve it?
STAN WAWRINKA: That question come every time I won a Grand Slam. But my best ranking was No. 3 in the world. It’s simple. I’m way too far to even think about being No. 1. Look at Novak is No. 1. He’s winning two or three Grand Slam a year. He’s winning five Masters 1000 minimum. He’s winning everything or being in the final.
I’m winning four tournaments a year. I’m happy with that. I’m really happy with that. Four tournaments, one Grand Slam. It’s amazing. It’s huge. It’s big. But I’m way too far to be No. 1.
Q. You were saying that the only pressure what you put yourself. Do you think that pressure is gonna diminish or decrease? You like be expected to do better every time?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think my first Grand Slam final I was winning really well. I was not feeling nervous; I was feeling good. I was basically already happy with the final. I came on the court to win it, but I knew it will be okay to lose it, also.
But then… Then… Then I’m not that young anymore. Then you start. You’re in another final of a Grand Slam. You don’t want to lose it. You don’t want to lose the opportunity to win that trophy there, especially a Grand Slam.
So I think for sure the pressure in general during the year go down, but when I play final the pressure go up. Because the trophy of winner finalist is not the same.
S. WAWRINKA/N. Djokovic
6-7, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Does this match mean that tennis officially now has a big 5?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I mean, he deserves to be in the mix, no doubt about it. Stan won three Grand Slams now and three different ones; Olympic medal. Been around for so many years, and he plays best in the big matches.
I mean, he definitely deserves to be mentioned in the mix of top players.
Q. You called him a big match player just now and said it the other day. You said today he was the more courageous player out there tonight. What did Stan bring to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Simple as that, you know. I just didn’t capitalize at all on my opportunities. I had plenty of them, break points. It was a terrible conversion of the break points. Just terrible from my side.
You know, in the matches like this, if you don’t use the opportunities, the other guy comes and takes it. And that’s what he did. That’s why I said he was more courageous, because he stepped in and played aggressive where I was kind of more waiting for things to happen.
And that’s it.
Q. You sometimes had matches where you’re the one saving lots of break points, including the final here last year. Do you remember a match like this for you before where you weren’t able to capitalize?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: To be honest, I don’t know. I’m not sure. You know, obviously Grand Slam finals are different than any other match. I have lost a few Grand Slam finals, some close matches.
You know, this has been one of the worst stat on the break point conversion for me, that’s for sure.
Q. What exactly was your fourth-set injury? What effect was it having on you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Just the toenails were off and bleeding. Yeah, it was quite painful to move around.
You know, I tried.
Q. The past few years we have been used to you being focused and keeping your cool under pressure. After the first set it seemed like there was a lot of anger towards your box. Can you explain?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, you know, I lost my nerves in the important moments. He kept his cool. I think that’s what decided the match.
I guess sometimes it happens, even though you have the experience and know what to do. Just the heat of the moment and importance of the match, I guess, you know, was too strong for me at certain periods of the match. Just if you lose your cool, the match can go away.
Q. You mentioned on court that you considered not playing in the Open I guess after Rio. How seriously did you consider that, and was the toe injury something that bothered you at all before today? Was that more the wrist?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no, it wasn’t the toe. The toe just happened today. Some other injury that was, you know, very serious at the time. I really didn’t know whether or not I’m going to come, to be honest. Decided like eight, nine days before the start of the Open just to try.
To play finals, it’s quite amazing.
Q. You lost two Grand Slam finals now against Stan. What makes it so difficult for you especially to beat him in strong moments like Grand Slam title?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, he just steps in. He loves to play in the big matches. He comes up with his best game. He’s so solid from both corners. He’s got a good slice and amazing one-handed backhand, all corners. Big serve. Moves well.
He’s a very complete player. Sometimes if he feels right he doesn’t miss much and makes a lot of winners and it’s hard to play him. That’s what happened today.
Q. Was there any cramping going on in the last set from you or just the toe?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No.
Q. And what was the effect of the toe having on your game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t think it’s necessary for me to talk about that now, you know. He won the match. He deserved to win this trophy, and that’s it.
I don’t want to talk about this and you guys think I’m finding excuses. It’s just not necessary.
Q. Can you talk about the weight of his shot? Seems like he hits just a really heavy ball, heavier than others, compared to, say, a Rafa and Roger and Andy.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, he hits a very heavy ball, especially from the backhand corner. Forehand is very flat. You know, he goes for his shots from the forehand side. Backhand, you know, great chip, great slice. He uses that when he’s defending and then he comes up, you know, and can get you off the court with a backhand crosscourt.
That’s probably one of his best shots in the game. Physically he’s very strong, so he can endure a lot.
Q. Were you surprised that you were allowed to take a timeout before Stan’s serve? Do you think that was fair?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I was allowed, so I took it.
Q. Were you surprised that you…
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Why would I be surprised if I was allowed?
Q. Because the rules say it should be a key medical condition.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was.
Q. Of course in a match that lasted for almost four hours there are many moments which could be decisive. Do you think there is one more than the others or some more than the others? I remember, for instance, when you were up — when Wawrinka was 2-1 in the second set, long time ago, you made two double faults. I don’t know if you were nervous, but two doubles in the same set is not usual for you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I made a lot of double faults throughout this tournament. I was struggling with that shot and with, you know, with the motion, with the movement and on the serve, with the technique because of what I carried into this tournament.
So, you know, I was working a lot on it and trying to find that rhythm, but my body has kind of compensated and, you know, made some different things to protect the problem I had with the arm.
You know, unfortunately it wasn’t — the serve wasn’t there. When it was needed it wasn’t there, and in the big matches like this you need the serve. I lost decisive games in second and third set. Just handed him over with some unforced errors and bad serves.
But, you know, I guess I was trying to protect the serve, I guess, with other shots, but it wasn’t to be today.
Q. I guess your schedule means that you next play or are due to play in Asia. Are you concerned these injuries you have been worried about before the tournament and the injuries you suffered during the tournament, they have an impact on you maybe not playing there?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I sincerely doubt that this is going to prevent me from playing there. I think I’m going to be ready.
Q. Obviously just stepped off the court after a tough loss, but it is the end of the Grand Slam year; there are still major tournaments. You had that great triumph in Paris. (Indiscernible) What’s your assessment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, winning four Grand Slams in a row for me was an incredible achievement. I’m very proud of it, so this loss today cannot overshadow the great moments I have had in Australia and especially in Paris.
So winning two out of four Grand Slams is pretty good year, and playing another final. I have no complaints. Obviously I wish that I could win another title, but this is what it is. You have to shake hands and accept the loss from a better player and move on, you know.
It’s not the first time. It’s not the last time I’m going to lose a match, big match. Hopefully I can learn from it. Hopefully I can get better, because, you know, that’s the cycle of life, I guess, for us athletes.
Q. Not just tonight, but this whole tournament there has been a lot of debate about injury timeouts, toilet breaks, whatever. You’re obviously a big guy now on the player council. Do you think tennis needs to look again at the rules? Do you think the game needs to look at trying to clarify what’s allowed and what isn’t?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: We’ll talk about it, sure. If players bring that up to the table, you know. You know, I didn’t have any I guess major complaints about that against me or me against any other player.
If there are — if this is a debate and players think there should be something changed in the rules, of course we are there to discuss. Will bring this up to the council soon I guess if this is a big deal.
Q. When you’re talking about your mindset coming into the tournament on court, another thing you added is if anyone would say you’d play finals you’d take it. Now you have played the finals and obviously disappointed in…
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: In this moment I don’t take it, but…(Smiling.)
Q. That’s my point.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, sure. Of course. Just coming off the court, it’s never easy to lose Grand Slam finals, big matches, playing four hours, of course.
Of course everybody wants to be victorious, but at the end of the day, sometimes you win, you lose, and you’ve got to accept it, gotta accept it and gotta let it go. From a larger perspective, why I said I’ll take it because it was really, you know, in doubt whether or not I’m going to come here and up to really last day.
So I came in here, you know, struggled first couple of days with practice and first match and so forth, and then to get the finals, I mean, it’s a big result. Of course I set up a high standard for myself with great results I have had in last couple of years. I’m really successful and I’m grateful for that.
But, you know, again, I have to try tomorrow to look from this different perspective and say, Wow, I played finals. I mean, that’s not too bad.
Q. You sound pleased to get to the final, but I’m just wondering if you feel like the lack of match play on the way through the tournament took its toll.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. You know, I don’t feel like the lack of match play affected my performance today. I just felt all right. You know, I was hitting the ball well in quarters, fourth round, quarters, semis I was playing good. Today I started off well, but down the stretch he was the better player. As simple as that.
You know, sometimes in sport these things happen.
Q. Sorry to come to the question of medical timeouts, but I just wanted to clarify. You said if other players are concerned it’s something you would talk about on the player council. Can I clarify what your personal opinion is? Do you feel the present rules are okay?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I’ve gotta check the rules even better, I guess, after you guys brought it up. Obviously there is a bit of a concern from, I don’t know, media or players. You know, there is speculations whether the rules are accurate or not.
So I’ve got to first check all the rules, because I don’t know every single rule to, you know, perfection. First I have to inform myself before I make any kind of statements.
For now, I know we out the inability for a player to ask for a medical timeout of he has cramps, for example. That was a big debate couple years ago. That’s effective right now.
Other than that, I didn’t hear too many complaints, to be honest. But again, maybe I just haven’t heard. Now I have to speak with other players and get myself informed and see what it takes.
Q. In light of your doubts about coming to the tournament, thank you for your dedication to this hard-working city and those around the world who respect such courage as well as entertainment. Why and how do you give so much of yourself in defeat as well as in victory in the sport of no substitutes or penalty serves after 235 minutes? Is it the way you grew up or have you evolved into such a champion in all outcomes?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, thank you for your nice words and compliments. I have to speak on my own behalf because obviously everybody is different. But the way I see things in life, you know, my kind of mindset and ideology I guess is that whether or not you win or lose, you know, in the end of the day you have to be very respectful towards the opponent, towards the sport, towards the occasion, to those people who come to see you.
Of course in the heat of the moment your emotions are here or there. You’re tense. You’re trying your best to win. Of course everybody is playing the sport because you want to make some kind of success in life. You know, what defines success now, that’s different for each one of us.
For me, success is not just winning tennis matches and winning trophies, you know. It’s more than that. I guess my main source of playing tennis, main source of motivation for playing the sport, is because I really like it. It’s my choice to do it.
But, you know, once you get to the top and you have that privilege, status, and position, then I guess the importance of what you say, how you behave, what you do, is much larger. Just not comparable to any other position in the rankings or so forth.
So I guess that kind of privilege, status, taught me a lot of lessons in life, and I got experience. I learned a lot about myself, about who I should be, who I should become, and it’s an everyday evolution for me and for everybody else.
That’s the way I take it.
Q. You have had moments on this court, including today and in some of the big semifinals against Roger, where you kind of call for the crowd to get behind you. Do you feel like that could have helped you in the fourth set? I mean, you were injured, but also had your chances to have break points against him. Did you want that support from the crowd?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I heard crowd chanting my name many times, so I’m very thankful. I don’t feel that that lacked on my side.
Of course Stan was getting support. I was getting support. The crowd was really enjoying the match and was really into it. I saw a full stadium for four hours. It was amazing. Amazing atmosphere.
Q. A key stat was the break point stat. Why do you think you had such troubles specifically on break points today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I was saying before, you know, I didn’t take my chances. I had many break points where I was in the rally, where I had a second shot, where I just missed some easy balls. That’s it.
Sometimes you get that kind of uncomfortable feeling and you’re not able to, you know, let everything flow as you want it. You know, you don’t have things working the way you want them. That’s it.
Q. Being a protagonist of this match, can you compare the quality of this match with the one in Paris? In Paris you were strong favorite before. This time a little bit probably less because of your condition, situation, and so on. At the end, what do you think you played better? What do you think he played better?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Similar matches. You know, I started well and won the first set in both finals, and then, you know, close second set.
Then he managed to kind of make this breakthrough, you know, in the second and third. Then just both matches I think in the fourth set he was just playing his best where he was just swinging from every shot and every corner, going through the ball and being aggressive, taking his chances.
That’s how I can, I guess, explain and maybe compare the same.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Quality, I mean, quality was there I think from both of us. We both tried. When you have top two players — I mean, two top players playing against each other in a Grand Slam final, you expect good quality, of course. We played four hours here and Roland Garros was almost the same, so I thought the tennis was good.
Q. Given the high standard you set for yourself and the great start that you had for this year, how are you going to look back on this summer from a physical and a psychological standpoint?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, there is a lot to learn. You know, life is a big lesson. It’s a big book. You know, we keep writing the stories. There is another story to be written.
Of course, the end of this story for US Open. I wish that it was a bit different, but again, I think — and I will mention it again: we learn much more from the losses like this than from wins. Because when you’re winning, everything is fine and you maybe, I guess, shadow certain things that are relevant for you to face and to tackle and to work on.
But when you lose, then all of a sudden, you know, you just start questioning yourself whether, you know, you have done things right or not and what can you do to be better as a person, as a player.
So that’s where I’m at right now, and that’s what I will think about for the rest of this season and next year.
Felix Auger Aliassime
F. AUGER-ALIASSIME/M. Kecmanovic
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You’re out there, have two of the best players in the game right now playing on the stadium. Kind of a short dropshot away from you. Emotions there with you with them? What’s it feel like here and what’s going on there and you’re finishing up your match?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, it was kind of funny. It was not the same atmosphere as yesterday, I would say. Yesterday was pretty packed up and it was good atmosphere on the court.
Today was a bit dead because at the same time they had the men’s final. I really had to push myself. You know, sometimes you’ve got to play by yourself. I look around and find solutions outside. It can help, but I really try to focus and win my match, yeah.
Q. After what happened in Paris, how satisfying is this for you to win this?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, it’s obviously really great. Yeah, obviously I’m not gonna lie. I had some nightmares about this heartbreaking final. You don’t really want it to happen again.
So I was really focused on going into this match. I really wanted that win. Yeah, it’s obviously a great feeling. Yeah.
Q. Your opponent said you just played too good. How do you rank your performance today in all the performances you’ve had in your career?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I think it was one of the best performance I have had. And also in the final you never know what can happen. You know, you don’t always play your best level because you’re a bit nervous and there is something big to go get.
But, yeah, I just stayed really steady. My serve, first-serve percentage, was really high today. I had a few aces, so of course it helps.
And in the second set I think I was really going through him and putting a lot of pressure on him, yeah.
Q. I think you were serving at 4-2 in the first set and you were down 15-40, I think. I think that might have been the only break points that he had.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah.
Q. How important do you think it was for your confidence and for maybe his, you know, for you to get back in that there?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, I think there was a pretty good, pretty big game to go get. After, you never know what’s gonna happen. Maybe he gets back in the match and he gets more pumped.
Anyway, I would have been on the — on the next game would have been mentally prepared, so I didn’t put too much importance on that game. Because you didn’t want to get nervous at 4-2 in the first set because you’re down a break point.
Yeah, it was great to fight and get that game.
Q. And it was your serve that kind of bailed you out of that, would you say?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah. I had two good first serves, if I remember well.
Yeah, of course the serve was there today. I didn’t really hesitate. I didn’t look at the score that was down. I just went for my shots, and that’s what I do best, yeah.
Q. In theory, you’ve got another two years of junior career ahead of you.
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah.
Q. Is this win gonna change anything in your future plans?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, it might. It might, because I have already had some good wins at the pro level. I know I can compete with these guys.
And now being able to win a slam, make a final on two different surface, I think it might be time to go to the next level. But you never know what’s gonna happen next year. If I want to go back and play the junior Grand Slams, I will. Yeah, we’ll see how it goes, yeah.
Q. How exciting a time is it for Canadian tennis? Obviously Denis had a good win a couple months ago, and now you. What’s the general fight like at the moment?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, it’s pretty cool for the Canadian tennis. I’m happy for all of us. I’m happy for the people that work with us. They have put in so much work.
Obviously I was very proud of Denis’ win. I’m sure he probably texted me already to congratulate me because he’s one of my good friends.
But, yeah, it’s great to see us having success like this. I hope we can reach the highest stage.
Q. When you’re looking at turning pro, how much do you follow what other guys, other teenagers, have been able to do at the next level? Casper Ruud just won a challenger today. Do those sort of things influence you or you think differently about yourself, or is it all just about you?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I mean, I think everyone has his own path. Some guys, they win early in juniors but it doesn’t go as well in the pros.
A guy like Taylor won the US Open last year and was top 100 the year after. No, everyone is kind of different. We’ll see how my body feels after this year. We’ll make the adjustments that we need to do, yeah.
Q. Is being No. 1 junior, does that have any significance for you?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Not so much, I would say, honestly. I think the junior level is really great to play the Grand Slams. You know, you kind of get the feeling of the environment and you see the big guys next to you and you have the chance to see these unbelievable tournaments.
But after all, it’s really in the pro circuit that that is really important. Obviously I would want to be No. 1 in the world. It would be a big bonus, but that’s not what we are aiming for here.
Q. After the French Open you said you had to go back to school. Is that the same thing now?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, same thing. Not quite, because I’m leaving for junior Davis Cup in a few days in Hungary. Yeah, obviously school’s gotta keep going. Yeah.
Q. Can you explain to us what you have experienced during the week leading up till today, till your win?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: Yeah, it wasn’t an easy week. I have had some tough matches in the first rounds. It’s never easy to come to a Grand Slam. You know, you’ve reach a final before, but every opponents are still going to be tough. You still have to go win and win every match. There is no free rounds.
Yeah, it was tough. Also with the heat and my health it was kind of difficult at some points, but that’s where you have to mentally stay calm, stay on your feet, and just take it one day at a time. Yeah.
Q. Can you tell us how tall you are?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: 1 meter 88, so 6’2″, 6’2.5″. Not 6’3″ yet.
Q. Have you been growing lately?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I haven’t looked at it so much, but yeah, obviously I have been growing. Yeah, I feel it in my game, I feel it in everything.
But, yeah, I have been growth a few inches in the last year, yeah.
Q. You have played a whole week with the serve clock. Do you have any impressions on that, whether that’s good for the game or whether it made any difference to you?
FELIX AUGER-ALIASSIME: I don’t know. Maybe I’m not the right person to ask because I don’t really look at it. It’s kind of — I try really not to look at it, because it’s kind of in weird places. Sometimes you have to look up, so I’m not really comfortable with that.
It’s good. I think it helps everyone around and I think it helps the umpire to make the calls. Yeah, it’s not bad.
2-6, 7-6, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You like that?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: We were just looking at the names.
LUCIE SAFAROVA: Pretty good company.
Q. Your names will join those names. How does that feel?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: That’s pretty cool.
LUCIE SAFAROVA: Amazing.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Some greats on there. I just noticed that Martina Hingis won it in ’98. That’s pretty impressive for her to be No. 1 right now, or 2.
Q. So talk about, first of all, you guys were down. What a turnaround in the second set; obviously carried it right into the third. Talk about the match.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, you know what? It was a little bit of a slow start, but I’ve gotta give credit to our opponents. They came out playing big, serving big, making all their rolls, ripping returns.
You know, I think one of the things that we do really well is we don’t get too down no matter what the score is. We’re really positive.
It was funny. I think Lucie had more energy than me. She was carrying me on her back and getting me pumped up.
LUCIE SAFAROVA: Any time.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: But that’s what good friends and partner do. It happens sometimes. You play a team that’s playing good or you might not be making all the shots, but any match can turn around in a couple of points.
That’s just a matter of sticking to it.
Q. You guys seem like you’re genuinely good friends.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Or we’re really good at faking it. I don’t think we’re that good of actors, otherwise I might have to consider a career switch.
Q. Talk about the chemistry between the two of you. How much does that contribute now, just your third Grand Slam title?
LUCIE SAFAROVA: It’s amazing. Third.
No, I think the chemistry is great. We complement each other so well. Our games just fit. We have done so well in all the tournaments, and now this year has been tough year for us because I have been out for half a year with my sickness and missed Australia.
Then Bethanie broke her finger just before French Open, so that kind of like…
But we both stick together and believed that once we are again strong, healthy —
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Feeling good.
LUCIE SAFAROVA: — and feeling that we can do this, and we did, so it’s amazing.
Q. Going forward, are you sniffing a career Grand Slam?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: We actually just got asked that on the court now. They were talking about Wimbledon. I was like, We have so many tournaments before Wimbledon. I don’t even know if we can start to think about it.
I mean, really, we’re enjoying the moment. I mean, this is a huge win. I mean, we both looked at each other and we said, We have a US Open trophy right now. I think especially being 9/11, it’s really a big thing to enjoy the people you’re with, enjoy the moment. I get a little emotional.
LUCIE SAFAROVA: No, our thoughts and prayers are with the families. I know it’s a tough day for everyone.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: So it was really special to win it today, I think.
Q. Can you talk about how you first got together?
LUCIE SAFAROVA: My coach Rob.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, it was a blind date, actually. We both didn’t have partners for Australia.
LUCIE SAFAROVA: You were coming back after injury.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I hadn’t actually played a lot of doubles. I actually didn’t have a ranking. Lucie took a chance on me. (Smiling.)
It was like, all right, come on.
LUCIE SAFAROVA: Knew here before but not so well and never played obviously together. Then I asked her if we should do like Sydney before the Australian Open. She’s like, No, I’m playing with Sania already.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I was like, We’ll be good. We’ll just roll with it in Australia. All good.
LUCIE SAFAROVA: And then we won the Grand Slam.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: That’s pretty good.
Q. It’s an Olympic year and so any teams that are like different countries, I’m sure you maybe would have thought, maybe I should play, like, Bethanie, full time with Coco theoretically or Lucie practiced with Barbora, and even with injuries and everything, you stuck together as a tour team. Can you talk through that decision? Was it ever tenuous at all?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I don’t think so. I mean, I played with Coco at Indian Wells. I think just kind of with my track record, I feel, you know, either I mesh with a partner or I don’t.
I don’t feel like I need, you know, 50 tournaments to get used to. I was really confident going into the Olympics with Coco. And if something happened to Lucie where she couldn’t play, you know, playing with Coco was fun.
Me and Lucie talked about our schedule and we really stuck to that, because that’s what we had talked about. It wasn’t — I didn’t feel like I needed to kind of play a guessing game, you know, whether it was with Coco or with Lucie.
I felt confident with both of them by me. Me and Lucie, had a lot of fun here. (Giving dap.)
Q. As an American, 9/11 has touched people from all nationalities around the world. As an American, to be playing on this very heavy, significant day, winning a Grand Slam in your home country, I mean, I can only imagine the emotions that you must have felt.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, and actually when we got to the locker room the news was on when they were reading all the names. You know, it kind of put things in perspective. As much fun as we’re having and as much joy as we get out of competing and all of the glitz and glamour of, you know, playing the finals of the US Open, it’s humbling to know that you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.
You know, it’s something where I just — I really appreciate the moment, my family, and my friends, because you don’t know what’s going to happen.
You know, I really — it is an emotional day. And it was funny. I was going to retire my American flag socks after the gold medal match. I said, You know what? For the final of the US Open, 9/11, have to bring them out. Had a great crowd and great support. It was really special for me to win it here today in New York.
K. DAY/V. Kuzmova
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. It was tough for you after last night to come back. Got off to a really good start. How did you do that? How were you able to recover after that late night last night?
KAYLA DAY: I think I was really able to mentally set aside what had happened last night and just move on, because I knew I had a really important match today.
I knew I had to forget about it, and that’s what I did.
Q. Is that something you have had success with to this stage in your career, or is this like something that you really summoned the focus to do it?
KAYLA DAY: No, I think I’m pretty good about, you know, leaving the past behind me and just focusing on being in the moment. And, yeah.
Q. Congratulations. You played in the main draw in the women’s event and the juniors. What’s the transition like going back and forth mentally? Or is it the same?
KAYLA DAY: Well, I think mentally it was a little bit hard just because it’s such a long time being here. I have been here for I think over three weeks.
But my coach told me I needed to separate the two tournaments, like to really make sure when I come back to play juniors like I’m coming to play a new tournament.
Q. You missed a chance to go up 5-1, I think it was in the first set, and then you got down Love-40 on your serve. Holding on in that game must have been a huge confidence boost for you.
KAYLA DAY: Yeah, that was a huge game. I got down Love-40 and then I served some really good serves. I was a little bit — getting a little bit nervous at that point, but after that game I felt really confident.
Q. You had a tough semifinal against Bianca and you kind of turned that around. What enabled you to turn that around? And then after the break for the heat, I know this is a few days ago, after the break for the heat you came out storming. Why do you think that was?
KAYLA DAY: I think I was definitely nervous in the first set and I didn’t fully believe in myself. Then at the beginning of the second and after like the heat break, I really believed in myself that I could do it.
I was really confident and going for my shots more and being more aggressive.
Q. You had a tough match against Madison earlier in the main draw. Have you spoke to her or any of the American women on tour since then? Any words of wisdom?
KAYLA DAY: No, I haven’t talked to any of them since.
Q. What does the rest of the year look like for you?
KAYLA DAY: I think I’m going to play a lot of pro circuit tournaments in the U.S. I haven’t decided if I’m going to play the junior tournaments at the end of the year, but definitely a lot of pro circuits to build up my ranking to be able to make the Grand Slam quallies next year.
Q. Where does school fit in?
KAYLA DAY: Um, I find a way to fit it in. I haven’t started school yet this year, so that’s nice. I start a little bit later than normally like other people do, I guess.
But whenever I have like a free day or like a weekend when I don’t have anything I do it then and try and get — either catch up before — get ahead before a trip or, you know, catch up after. (Smiling.)
It’s hard, but I manage to do it.
Q. What does it mean to you to sort of add your name to the illustrious list of Grand Slam junior champions?
KAYLA DAY: It means so much. It’s really great. I knew that coming into the match like an American or like somebody from outside of Europe hadn’t won — a girl hadn’t won a junior slam in like four years, so it means so much to me to be able to play for America and win.
Q. The ITF tells me you’re the No. 1 junior player in the world now after winning today. Did you know that?
KAYLA DAY: No, I didn’t know that.
Q. How important would that be, you know, to finish the year? Will that change your schedule to make sure that you finish No. 1?
KAYLA DAY: No. I haven’t really thought about that. I know that there is some type of rule that if you finish a certain ranking or if you get to the finals of a slam you get more tournaments.
I think that would be the most beneficial thing for me since I’m still quite young and I can’t play a full pro schedule.
Q. Where does this win rank obviously in your young career? And when you look back on all the different things that have happened these past few weeks, how do you see these two weeks how they unfolded?
KAYLA DAY: These were like the best two weeks of my life. Every day was great.
I had so much fun every single day, and it was just a great experience overall.
Q. How will you celebrate? Do you have any plans for that?
KAYLA DAY: No, not yet. (Smiling.) I’m sure I’ll think of something.
(September 8, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews throughout the day when allowed.
Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:
A. KERBER/C. Wozniacki
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. So how does it feel to be the best player in the world?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It feels amazing. (Smiling.) I mean, yeah, it feels just great. I mean, the day came today, and to be now the No. 1 in the world, that was always a dream for me.
I was trying to not thinking too much the whole last few weeks about this, and now I reach it. So it’s something really special for me, because, yeah, I was dreaming for this No. 1.
Q. You almost got it in Cincinnati, but do you remember when you first imagined as a small German girl that you might achieve this, that you might be the best?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I was always dreaming when I was really young. I remember the match also in Cincinnati where I have the chance to reach it with the win there.
But after that I was just telling myself, Okay, I mean, I will get one more chance.
Yeah, I get it now. It’s something really special. Yeah, I don’t know what to say, because I was just trying to focusing on this really tough match today against Caroline. I saw the match before also, Serena against Pliskova, so that was not so easy.
Now after I can relax a little bit and try to enjoy, yeah, this special night today.
Q. Finally, what do you say to Steffi?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, to be the next German No. 1 in the world after Steffi, it’s really special. It’s an honor for me.
Yeah, it’s just incredible, actually.
Q. You won the sportsmanship award. What’s that mean to you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: That means a lot, because I’m always trying to playing fair play. I mean, to get this trophy now, it means a lot, because, yeah, it shows me that, yeah, I know or I’m on a good way what I’m doing off and on court.
Q. Watching that match before as you’re trying to prepare for this match, how much does that rattle you? And then, also, what were your thoughts as you’re watching that first match unfold?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I watch especially the last few points. I knew it will be tough one because I know Pliskova plays very good in the last few weeks. I play against her in Cincinnati.
Yeah, it was not so easy to go then on court, because I knew it actually before that if Serena lost, of course, that I will be the No. 1. So it was not so easy mentally, but I was trying to, again, not putting too much pressure on myself.
That shows me also that I think I’m growing and I’m not putting the pressure on my shoulders if something like this happen. I can go out there focusing on my game. That gives me also a lot of confidence with the situation, how I deal it today.
Q. What do you remember about how you felt both physically and emotionally going into that Cincinnati final? How different do you think you feel now about three weeks later?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I remember the Cincinnati final. I was actually really tired because I came from Rio and I had a lot of tough matches there.
Here I have one day off tomorrow, so I can really prepare for the final against Pliskova. I know how she is playing. I know she has a big serve.
Yeah, I think I will go out there trying to get my next chance against her and take the revenge, of course.
Q. I understand that you and Caroline are really good friends and even been on vacation together. How is it to play against your friend? Are you still friends after today?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It’s always not so easy because we know each other very good. I know how she is playing; she knows how I am playing. We played so many matches in the past and always close, and today I think the match was really close. The score is actually not so close, but the match was tough.
Yeah, it’s not so easy, but we both trying to giving our best on court, and after the match we are still friends. (Smiling.)
Q. I spoke to Karolina after the first-round victory, and she said then that she came into this tournament filled with a lot of confidence with her win against you, and then the one against Venus helped her to build on confidence to take on Serena. She’s I think right now probably about as confident as she’s ever been in her career. The person you will face in the final is going to be, mentally, anyway, a more difficult opponent. Talk about what you expect from that match.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: For sure she has a lot of confidence. Now especially against the win against Serena. She will go out there and try and win her first Grand Slam, but at the end I will try the same. I know it will be mentally for me also very tough because she know that she won against me like few weeks ago.
But at the end I know how I was playing in Cincinnati. I know what to change. I will talk with my coach about the game and I will try to take the challenge again against her.
Yeah, trying to win the match the next one.
Q. Just talk about the way you played today against an opponent who is, you know, playing some great tennis here.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s her second home here. She loves to play here. I was trying to playing my game. I know she’s moving very well. She’s fighting until the last point. I knew what to expect, but I was trying not to — not thinking too much about her game.
I was trying to thinking how I was playing here the last few weeks, also the last few months, and trying to go like this on court, being aggressive and taking my chances.
So I think I played a really good match, and, yeah, because I have to against Caroline.
Q. Would part of you have liked to face Serena in the finals, or are you actually relieved that you don’t have to face her now?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I knew actually that it will be a tough match against Pliskova, Serena against Pliskova.
But, you know, I was actually not thinking about this one. I was more focusing on my game. Not thinking too much. Now I can think about who I am playing, but before I was not thinking too much, yeah, about the other semis.
Q. Did you see Serena after? Did she congratulate you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No, I didn’t see her.
Q. You talked about the mental differences for you now as opposed to when you played a few weeks ago against Pliskova. From a tactical standpoint, what do you think is the most important thing for you to have success against her in this match Saturday?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think my serve have to be very good. I have to move good, as well, to bring a lot of balls back, and playing also more aggressive like I played in Cincinnati. I was just pushing too much the balls there, so I think I will change this a little bit. Go for it, being aggressive.
Yeah, I hope my serve will be good on Saturday.
Q. You were up 4-love to Wozniacki, and I know it may sound chauvinistic, but when you played Vinci I had the impression that you were more tense because you had three times behind one break and so on. Do you think there was a difference in terms of, you know, being on court and suffering? Did you suffer more with Vinci than with Wozniacki? That’s the question. The first one.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Good one.
Q. And the second one.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I’m not thinking about this, actually, you know. I went on court and I was trying to playing every single point. I was not thinking too much about the score and about the things around. I was trying to playing more point by point.
Vinci and Caroline, they are both tough players and different a little bit. Yeah.
Q. Did you suffer more today or the other day?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: (Shaking head.)
Q. You don’t want to say.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No. (Laughter.)
Q. You’re the oldest to debut at No. 1 in the rankings history, and I want to know what you think about that and what it says about the sport. Secondly, were you prepared for this kind of success this year coming into the season, the slam, three finals?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Actually, not really, because last year when I played a good year, I mean, I won four titles. I played — yeah, I was still in the top 10 at the end of the year.
And then I sit down with my coach, and we said, Okay, what we have to improve? And I was trying to improving my game, being more aggressive, and not just playing from the defensive end.
Yeah, when I won my first Grand Slam in Australia and we came back I had much more confidence. I had much more belief in my game, about my improvement.
And then I was just trying to get used to this pressure, all the stuff what’s happen after Australia.
I don’t know if I was like prepared for this, but I think I played amazing year. I mean, it’s my third Grand Slam final now in one year, so I just try to enjoy it. I just try to stay relaxed and just try to play like I’m playing the last few months.
Q. A few years ago when we would watch you compete there would be a lot of eye rolling, you know, negative body language, kind of sarcastic clapping, things like that. We don’t see much of that anymore. Can you talk about your evolution just as a competitor on the court and what’s changed for you and how you got it to change?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I was trying to change this, and I think I improve very well. I was trying to be more positive than I was the last few years, because I know that the body language is really important.
I lost a lot of matches with this stuff, because I was frustrated. When I missed one shot I was like thinking about the shot the next few minutes and few shots.
So this is what I was trying also during my practices. Just, yeah, looking ahead and just point by point. Sometimes you have this situation where you are really negative actually because you lose a point or you make an easy mistake.
But in this moment I’m really trying to be mentally strong and not showing my opponent that I’m inside actually a little bit more negative and nervous. Trying to stay positive. I think the change also my game that I believe more and going for it when I have the chance and not waiting about the mistakes from my opponent.
Q. After you won in Australia you had a celebratory swim in Melbourne’s wonderful Yarrow River. We have some great rivers here. Would you give us equal time, please?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No. I think that was once and that was okay. (Laughter.) Let’s see what we will do if I win it here, but I think we will just decide it when it’s happen.
Q. A former and great champion, Pete Sampras, said once, “I like the racquet to do the talking.” The racquet wasn’t that funny. We didn’t enjoy that much. Can you tell us something that you would tell to your friends, intimate friends, mother, that would be more fun for us to listen to? Sometimes you’re too predictable. I would like some story to write.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know what you want to hear. I don’t know. (Smiling.)
Q. Now you’re talking to your mother. What do you tell her?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I mean, right now I think they are all proud about my No. 1 situation, about the game I am playing. I think also about my improvement what I did the last few months. I think this is now really special.
Yeah, that I’m growing with all the situation, all the stuff what I’m dealing with. It’s not so easy, and I think this is the biggest thing what I’m proud about it.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Emotions, yes.
Q. A lot?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yes, a lot (Smiling.)
A. KERBER/C. Wozniacki
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Despite coming up short today, can you evaluate your US Open?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, obviously right now I’m a little disappointed not to win today, but at the end of the day it’s been a good tournament, something I can be proud of.
I came into this tournament ranked 74 in the world and probably people ruled me out, but it’s nice to prove people wrong once again. It’s nice to have a good run. I did my best out there today. I fought all I could, and just came up a bit short.
Q. (Question regarding last point of the match.)
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, I got a few texts, but that just made me feel worse. I saw it like in the air, saw it out that’s why I kind of stopped. When it landed I saw it on the line and I just wasn’t ready for it. Then when I saw it on the line I was like, There’s no reason to challenge since it was a relatively slow ball.
But clearly should have done that. But in the at the end of the day I don’t think it would have made a difference, but…
Q. Today was it a matter of something going off on your game? You couldn’t impose? Was it Angie?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Obviously Angie is playing well. She’s getting a lot of balls back. I thought I was dictating a lot of the game. I was trying to press and stay close to the line. In the beginning she really got me on the contra and just kind of counter-punched me away.
Then I stepped into the ball a bit more then and went for my shots and started going in and I started finding a rhythm. A few of the balls I went a little bit too much on and made these small mistakes.
But, you know, today I had to do that. I had to go for my shots. Unfortunately I came up a little short, but I have got to be proud of the way I kept going, and I just kept fighting for every point.
Q. What went well for you this tournament? Why did it all start to click? How do you do that moving forward for yourself?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think I just need to keep going the way I have been doing. You know, just I have gotten a lot of matches here, which is great. Hopefully I can just bring this momentum into the Asian swing.
It was a good tournament. I kind of felt like the way I have been practicing I managed to put that into the matches, so that was nice.
Hopefully I can just do that moving forward.
Q. Angie joined an exclusive club you have been a member of. What makes her biggest qualities to be No. 1? What advice would you give, because you held on to that spot for quite a while.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I think obviously she’s had a great year. She gets a lot of balls back. She also knows how to change the pace. She gets good angles.
And, yeah, she’s playing really well. You know, it’s not a lot of people who have been No. 1. It’s a huge thing. You know, she definitely has a target on her back now. Everyone wants to beat the No. 1 player in the world.
Yeah, she’s going to enjoy it. First she has a match here that she’s focused on, and I’m sure she will enjoy it after the tournament.
Q. You have been there yourself. Going forward now, do you take motivation from this tournament to try to climb the rankings again? Obviously 74, that will change. There has been talk during this tournament you might be hanging up your tennis shoes. Where is your head now in terms of the future?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest right now, my head isn’t anywhere. I have a drug test, so after this I need to be able to pee. That’s what I’m thinking about right now. (Laughter.)
After that, I don’t know. I have the Asian swing to look forward to, so that’s really what I’m thinking about next. I’m playing Tokyo in a week’s time.
Q. You have always said that health is the key for you. Do you come out of this completely healthy? Feel good mentally and physically?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I do. Yeah, I feel very good body-wise. I think it’s the best it’s felt in a while. I’m happy with that. Mentally I’m sure it will take me a couple of days just to process everything, but in the at the end of the day I can be proud of the way I have been handling myself this week, these two weeks.
You know, obviously I would have loved to have gotten two more, but it is what it is. I’m going to take this and really bring this momentum forward.
Q. Were you watching some of Serena earlier? Your thoughts on that match. Did it surprise you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think Serena looked a little bit nervous. And, yeah, I mean, I watched a little bit. You know, I always like to see Serena win. Obviously she’s a great friend of mine. You know, I have huge respect for her.
But at the same time, I have to give respect to Pliskova for serving it out and playing well.
K. PLISKOVA/S. Williams
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You had a very strong opponent tonight. What do you think didn’t go according to your plans?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t think much really went well today. I made a lot of errors and I didn’t play as well as I have been playing.
Q. Can you talk about Karolina as a player? Her serve was good today. How do you feel about her, moving around the court and return?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought she was a good, all-around player.
Q. It looked like you were limping a bit out there. At one point holding your wrist. What percentage were you physically out there? I know you had a very tough match against Simona. Do you feel you were beaten up from that? Were you physically up to 100%?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely was not beat up after my quarterfinal match. But, yeah, I just — that was it.
Q. On TV Chris Evert kept suggesting you looked a little worn out from yesterday’s match. You weren’t moving and weren’t getting your racquet in position. Did you feel that at all?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay, I’m not going to repeat myself. I wasn’t tired from yesterday’s match. I’m a professional player; been playing for over 20 years.
If I can’t turn around after 24 hours and play again then I shouldn’t be on tour. So I definitely wasn’t tired from yesterday’s match at all.
It wasn’t a five-hour match. I have practiced three hours, so it wasn’t that huge of a deal.
Q. People were surprised to see you in the first match of the night. Did you request to play earlier?
SERENAS WILLIAM: I don’t know. I had plenty of time to recover, so it was fine.
Q. You said you weren’t tired, but were you injured at all? Was your left leg or knee hurting you?
SERENAS WILLIAM: Yeah, I have been having some serious left knee problems. I wasn’t tired. Fatigue had absolutely nothing to do with it. If I was tired I should definitely get into a new career.
Q. How did the leg affect you out there tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I wasn’t able to move the way I wanted to move. When you’re injured you’re thinking of other things when you should be just playing and thinking of your shots. My mind was just a little bit everywhere. But it was what it was.
Q. When did this injury come up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I think like after the second or third round. I think it was the second round.
Q. Is there a diagnosis to it, or…
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know yet. I’d rather not say, actually. It’s fine.
Q. Your coach kind of blamed the loss on the knee. Do you feel it really, really hampered your movement? I know you’re downplaying it a bit.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m not downplaying anything. Karolina played great today. I think if she had played any less then maybe I would have had a chance.
So I think I wasn’t at 100%, but I also think she played well. She deserved to win today.
Q. In the tiebreak you had two double faults to the ad court and going to the same spot. Missed four times. Anything particular going on there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: To be honest, I don’t remember that. I remember double faulting on match point, but I don’t remember the other ones.
Q. You didn’t play at all last fall after the US Open, so you have points to make up now. Going back after the No. 1 ranking going to be a priority for you now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t talk about that whatsoever.
Q. Just your schedule for the fall?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Honestly, I don’t know.
Q. Were you surprised at how composed she remained throughout even the tiebreaker?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I think she’s been on tour for numerous years and she’s had some good wins. She was doing so well last year, was so close in so many finals, and I think maybe this was her year to really do well, at least here at the Open.
Q. Did Venus discuss anything with you, having played her, as well?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We talked about it a little bit, yeah.
Q. Any advice that you want to share that she gave you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really. (Smiling.)
Q. She said in the on-court interview she thought the key to the win was her serve. Would you agree with that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, I definitely agree. I thought she served well today, and that was definitely was a big thing for her.
Q. Was it very difficult to deal with that serve?
SERENAS WILLIAM: Today it was, yes.
Q. Did you feel like your serve sort of abandoned you tonight?
SERENAS WILLIAM: I guess. It was — it’s all right. This is really negative. I don’t think it abandoned me. I just don’t think I served well. I definitely think I could serve better, but that’s the beauty of the sport. Always opportunities to do better.
Q. Once you broke back in the second, what was going through your mind as far as game plan and getting a foothold in the match?
SERENAS WILLIAM: I’m always thinking about holding and breaking and holding. That’s it. I don’t really — don’t really know so much what I was thinking.
Q. I’m not sure you called the trainer out. I may be wrong about that. Had it gone to the third set, would you have called the trainer out to assess…
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, we’ll never know, huh? (Laughter.)
Q. I appreciate very much your fair play, but even if you say it wasn’t a factor, a 7:00 pm match played for ESPN, and suddenly you have to play a match one day after the other. This reminds me a little bit CBS paying a lot of money and Super-Saturday. I would say if you think it’s fair, forget if it was a factor for you or not, if it’s fair that you have to play quarters or semifinals one day after the other. I don’t think it’s fair.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Um, I mean, honestly, I don’t — and I’m not disagreeing with you. Actually, I am. I don’t see how it’s not unfair. Like, we play every single week. We play — I have been in Toronto or Montreal or Cincinnati where I play Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
I mean, if I’m not used to playing this, and I really should think of something different. I’m not going to sit here and make an excuse. Because that’s not me. Being a professional, if I can’t recover, then, you know, that’s that.
But I was totally okay. It had nothing to do with that. That’s what we do on a weekly basis.
Q. But in a Grand Slam it’s every other day.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not at the French Open. I played like nine matches in a row. (Laughter.)
Q. With the hampered leg, what part of your game felt most affected by that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Mental, because when you’re hampered you’re thinking of other things. Like I was making errors that I never make, and definitely I didn’t make in this tournament in particular. So many simple, simple shots that I easily could have made.
I just blame that on just mentally thinking about my leg and just not thinking about the shot.
Q. Kerber is going to be the oldest to debut No. 1 at 28 years old. You have been the oldest No. 1 and set a lot of records.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I’m not talking about No. 1. Thank you.
Q. How do you compare her serve to other serves you have faced over the years? Is there anything about it that makes her particularly effective?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think because she’s so tall it bounces high. I’m a little shorter so my serve goes through the court. Hers goes a little higher. So I think that’s the difference.
Q. Obviously you would have wanted to win this title. What do you walk away proudest of these last ten days at the US Open?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I’m only really proud — you know, obviously I’m a perfectionist and I love to win. That’s when I feel my proudest.
I think I had a pretty positive attitude mostly outside of maybe my second round. I think that I could walk away with that.
K. PLISKOVA/S. Williams
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Quite a performance tonight. Did it help you that you had played Venus two nights earlier and experienced the whole crowd being for your opponent and all that?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I would say yes, definitely. Not only the crowd. I would say also the game was quite similar to Venus, so I knew it’s gonna be a little bit about the same match what I played with Venus and same serving, same speed.
So obviously Serena is No. 1. Venus is a little bit behind her. She’s definitely playing a little bit better. I was expecting tough match but I knew I can win.
Q. Can you compare your performances in the two matches? Which match was a more satisfying performance from your end?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, to beat Serena, she’s world No. 1, so it’s always tough to beat someone like this. She’s never giving up. Even if she’s losing, not playing her best, it’s always tough to beat girls like this.
I would maybe say it was a little bit tougher to play Venus because obviously I was match point down and she was serving much better than Serena was tonight.
Even my game I think was a little bit better against Venus, but I’m not sure what my coach is gonna say and what all the people is gonna say. Obviously I beat No. 1. Everyone is gonna say it’s amazing win tonight. But, I mean, both matches were very good.
Q. You have the Cincinnati win. A lot of confidence. Now you’re in your first Grand Slam final. What’s that mean?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: It was always a dream to, you know, get a title, get to the semifinal, get to the final. So, I mean, it’s a big result for me. I hope I didn’t stop yet, that there is still one more step to go. I’ll do anything for getting the title.
Even if I don’t get it, it’s a big result. I’m really happy to be there and even have the chance to play in the final here. It doesn’t happen often, you know, that you’re playing especially semifinal against Serena on center court here in New York. It doesn’t happen often that you’re in the final of Grand Slams.
I’m really excited to be there and really excited to be in a Grand Slam final for first time in my life.
Q. How did you stay so calm? In fact, were you that calm?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Actually, yes, I was pretty calm today. Before the match I felt a little bit like pressure, nervous, some kind of — but when I step on the court I didn’t feel anything. I just, you know, wanted to win, actually. Not just enjoy but to win.
I knew I’m going to have my chances even if she’s playing her best. There is always a chance in those two sets. I was calm during the whole match. Even in the second set there was some complications. I was up a break.
But it never can be so easy to play No. 1 in the world. You cannot win like 6-2, 6-1, so I wasn’t expecting a match like this. I was prepared for anything, even if I would have lose the second set I would be ready for the third one.
Q. Most people would not want to play Venus and then Serena in a row. From what you’re saying, it sounds like it actually helped you to play Venus first, from the atmosphere and maybe also from the serving, returning?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, there is not more than to beat both sisters in one tournament in New York. I’m really excited about those two wins.
For the crowd, it’s not probably the best that I beat both of them in their country, but for me it’s really something special. Obviously the match with Venus helped me, like I said, not only with the game, but also with the crowd, also. Was my first match on center court.
So I knew I was to play center court one of the sisters Williams against all the people there, so I was prepared for it. I was prepared for a fast game, for great serving, and probably it helped me. That’s why maybe I won the match today.
Q. You’re one of the taller players on tour, especially one of the top players. How do you think that helps in terms of your serve, and what effect does it have, good or bad, in terms of movement and returning?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely if you are tall like me you cannot be run from the runners. With the movement, I was always a little bit struggling, but I still think I’m improving and there is still much work to do. Still much things to improve.
I’m always gonna, you know, work on this, and obviously, on the other hand, it’s a big thing for me that I can really serve well in important moments and beat players not only with my serve. Even if the serve is off, I can still — you know, I have forehand, backhand, good shots from the baseline.
I can really be aggressive and not the one who is waiting for a mistake, but the one who is doing the winners. So I think it’s a big plus.
Q. You said that you believed before you stepped on the court that you could win tonight and you could beat Serena. When did you first start to believe that you could pull off wins like this? Because I’m not sure that you necessarily always thought that when you were on tour.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I wasn’t thinking about to beat Serena before this tournament at all because I never faced her. I faced her once, but I never faced her since then and never on Grand Slam and never on a stage like this.
But once I beat Venus here I knew I’m playing good tennis and I have a chance to beat anyone in the tournament. I was ready for anything.
But actually, to be honest, when I was watching Serena last night against Simona they were playing really good tennis. I thought, Okay, this is going to be tough even if Simona is going to win or Serena is going to win. They were playing amazing tennis. I knew it was going to be tough.
But I didn’t want to get into the long rallies with her. That’s what they were playing yesterday. I was just getting my chances and putting the pressure on her. I think it paid off.
But I didn’t believe in beginning of the match that I can beat her. Since the match was going I knew I can, you know, get the win.
Q. You had some double faults today, but you shouldn’t be discouraged because I did some mathematics. You won only 38% of points off the second serve, but made 56% of first serve and won 80-something points. For today’s statistics, the better strategy would be hit first serve and second serve. Did you ever think about hitting first serve and second serve on regular basis?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I knew I’m going to be with pressure once I hit my second serve, once I missed the first serve, that she’s gonna go into my second serve with power and I’d be under the pressure.
I just wanted to serve as many first serves as I can, but you cannot just put the first serve in there. I think I started really good and she was guessing a little bit the sides of my first serve. So I knew I can, you know, hit some big serves.
Even if it’s not an ace it still can be still a point for me. But obviously on the second serve it’s tough, because like I said, she’s putting so much pressure on the second serve that’s. Why the few double faults.
I wanted to risk, go more into her body. I did few more double faults obviously, but I still think it paid off.
Q. You said on television that America doesn’t like you. What is it like to be out there, a single athlete in a stadium with 20,000, 23,000 people roaring and cheering for your opponent?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I wasn’t thinking about it at all. I knew it’s gonna be tough, that I’m going to be against everyone almost there.
But I have my people here. I have people at home which they always believe in me. So I knew I have some people behind me. I don’t really care about the whole stadium was for her. I just, you know, didn’t want to get focused on those people, because once I get to think about that everyone is cheering for her and that, I don’t know, they are screaming in between first and second serve it would just hurt my serve.
So I just wanted to get this out of the game and just be ready for my game and not to think about other things around.
Q. You beat Kerber a couple weeks ago and you stopped her from becoming No. 1. Now you beat Serena. You helped her actually get the position. So bottom line, you beat the two No. 1s in a couple of weeks. How important for your confidence is to do such a result? Actually, going to the final, you could face Kerber possibly. What do you think about the eventual head to head?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, in Cincinnati I knew Angie, she’s playing for world No. 1, so I think she kind of felt some pressure there.
So, you know, I was really going for my win there and got the win, which gave me a lot of confidence.
And right now I knew Angie beat Serena. I knew few other girls beat Serena, so I knew that I could beat her, as well. It’s a great thing to beat a girl which is No. 1, girl which is No. 2.
So it’s always a good result, even if you beat someone from top 10. It’s not happening often and there are always tough matches with the girls from top 10. So I’m really excited about it.
Obviously if I play Kerber tomorrow I’ll know her very well. We played a lot of times. I lost to her; I won. So I will be ready for anything. That’s a final of a Grand Slam, so anything is possible. Of course, probably nerves from both sides. We both have a good chance to win.
But, yeah, I will just do anything to win the title here.
Q. Were you aware that Serena was dealing with a knee injury? She talked about it a little bit here. Her coach certainly talked about it. Could you feel that on the court or did you have no knowledge of it?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: No. I didn’t know it at all. After the match they asked me in the studio. Even my coach said something to me after the match.
But I’m not, you know, looking at the opponents at all between the points. It’s just not my business. I’m still talking and concentrating on myself and not on them. I would say it would be not be a good thing if I just, you know, keep on looking at her if she’s injured or not.
Just would not be the best for me. I still have to play my game and not think about the others.
Q. I know you skipped Rio, and other players did that, as well. What’s happening here? Why are you going to another level? What other factors is it that are making you play well now and take you to another level, do you feel?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely it was about those last two, three weeks what I have played here in States and I won good matches. It gave me a lot of confidence, and that’s what tennis is all about.
If you believe in yourself you can beat anyone. Especially in girls tennis it’s not only about a game and tennis, but it’s more about the mental things sometimes.
So I really believe now that I can beat a good players, and — all of the players, actually now.
But for me, I think the most important step was to get through to the fourth round. Then I knew I have — if I have the chance to play someone who is better than me, I know I can be dangerous.
Q. Last night you were watching Serena and Simona. This morning you have to play this match. What were you doing today before the match? Like how did you wake up? Eat breakfast? What did you do?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I actually didn’t have any breakfast. I woke up at 1:00, so I went straight to the lunch. I just wanted rest because I never played a night session here.
We just came later here, had a lunch around the hotel, and then just had a normal warmup, and, you know, kind of more relaxing start of the day.
I just wanted to be ready physically and also mentally for the match tonight.
Q. What do you remember about when Serena and Venus, 14 years ago basically in every Grand Slam final? Do you remember following them, what they meant to you, or starting in tennis?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely they did a lot for tennis. And both of them, they are such a great champions. You can still see it, even now. Even if they lose they are still behaving like champions.
Of course I remember them playing, but I think Serena improved a lot in last few years. She’s just doing very good job. Like I said, last few years she’s world No. 1. She’s still playing not that many tournaments and she’s still there, you know.
She can still hold the level even if she’s sometimes injured, sometimes not that ready. She’s still very dangerous player. So is Venus. They are both great champions.
Like I said, they did a lot for tennis and they always, you know, is gonna be there in our tennis history.
Q. Does it bother you at all, you win the biggest match of your life and people are talking or your opponent is talking about an injury being a difference?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I don’t care. (Smiling.) You know, sometimes it is like this. Not even me. I’m sometimes not playing when I’m 100% ready and I don’t think others care.
If someone is not ready and she doesn’t think she is ready, she should not go on the court. But after the match I would say it’s still her choice if she wants to play or if she is ready to play or not.
I’m just happy with my win, and I’m not gonna think about something like this.
Q. You have been playing for a long time, working hard. What would it mean to you if you were able to lift the trophy on Saturday?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: You know, everyone was still talking to me about that you can win Grand Slam once. I was like, Yeah, maybe. Not now. I’m not ready for it yet, because obviously I didn’t get that far in the tournament yet in a Grand Slam.
But I knew it’s somewhere in me that I can really play good tennis on those bigger stages, so I believed, and it just happened. So I think I have a good chance, good chance not tomorrow, Saturday, to win, and just be ready and give my best.
(September 8, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – In one fell swoop, top seed Serena Williams not only lost in the semifinals of the US Open on Thursday to No. 10 seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 7-6(5), but on Monday will lose her No. 1 ranking to Angelique Kerber. The last German to be No. 1 in the world was Steffi Graf back in 1997.
Williams who was attempting to to win her 23rd major to pass Steffi Graf for most majors in the Open Era, was also trying to pass Graf for most consectutive weeks at No. 1. With the loss, Williams is tied with Graf at 186 weeks.
The 24-year-old Pliskova of the Czech Republic played steady hard-hitting tennis and served well to cause the upset. Williams hit 31 unforced errors and had her serve broken three times while having a 53% first serving percentage.
“I don’t think much really went well today,” Williams said. “I made a lot of errors and I didn’t play as well as I have been playing.”
Asked about ESPN TV analyst, Chris Evert’s comments about Serena seeming “a little worn out” from yesterday’s match, Williams said to media: “Okay, I’m not going to repeat myself. I wasn’t tired from yesterday’s match. I’m a professional player; been playing for over 20 years.
“If I can’t turn around after 24 hours and play again then I shouldn’t be on tour. So I definitely wasn’t tired from yesterday’s match at all.
“It wasn’t a five-hour match. I have practiced three hours, so it wasn’t that huge of a deal.”
Later the 34-year-old Williams said: “I have been having some serious left knee problems. I wasn’t tired. Fatigue had absolutely nothing to do with it. If I was tired I should definitely get into a new career.”
“I wasn’t able to move the way I wanted to move, she said. “When you’re injured you’re thinking of other things when you should be just playing and thinking of your shots. My mind was just a little bit everywhere. But it was what it was.”
A reporter brought up the fact that Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou said that her knee was bothering her, and she was downplaying it. The American said: “I’m not downplaying anything. Karolina played great today. I think if she had played any less then maybe I would have had a chance.
“So I think I wasn’t at 100%, but I also think she played well. She deserved to win today.”
Pliskova, who saved a match point against, Serena’s sister Venus in the fourth round became the first person since Kim Clijsters in 2009 to beat both Williams sisters in the same tournament.
“I mean, to beat Serena, she’s world No. 1, so it’s always tough to beat someone like this,” said the Czech. “She’s never giving up. Even if she’s losing, not playing her best, it’s always tough to beat girls like this.
“I would maybe say it was a little bit tougher to play Venus because obviously I was match point down and she was serving much better than Serena was tonight.
“Even my game I think was a little bit better against Venus, but I’m not sure what my coach is gonna say and what all the people is gonna say. Obviously I beat No. 1. Everyone is gonna say it’s amazing win tonight. But, I mean, both matches were very good.”
I mean, there is not more than to beat both sisters in one tournament in New York. I’m really excited about those two wins.
“For the crowd, it’s not probably the best that I beat both of them in their country, but for me it’s really something special,” Pliskpva continued. “Obviously the match with Venus helped me, like I said, not only with the game, but also with the crowd, also. Was my first match on center court.
“So I knew I was to play center court one of the sisters Williams against all the people there, so I was prepared for it. I was prepared for a fast game, for great serving, and probably it helped me. That’s why maybe I won the match today.”
Pliskova hit 7 aces and had 19 total winners.
New No. 1 Angelique Kerber beat two-time US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki 6-4. 6-3 to reach her first US Open final. The new No. 1 in the world dominated the Dane in the second evening session match.
At 28, Kerber is the oldest first-time No. 1 in WTA history. So hoe does it feel to be No. 1? “It feels amazing,” said a smiling Kerber. “I mean, yeah, it feels just great. I mean, the day came today, and to be now the No. 1 in the world, that was always a dream for me.
“I was trying to not thinking too much the whole last few weeks about this, and now I reach it. So it’s something really special for me, because, yeah, I was dreaming for this No. 1.”
Playing Pliskova in the final is a rematch of the Cincinnati final last month, where if Kerber had won, she would have reached No. 1.
“I knew it will be tough one because I know Pliskova plays very good in the last few weeks. I play against her in Cincinnati.
“Yeah, it was not so easy to go then on court, because I knew it actually before that if Serena lost, of course, that I will be the No. 1. So it was not so easy mentally, but I was trying to, again, not putting too much pressure on myself.
“That shows me also that I think I’m growing and I’m not putting the pressure on my shoulders if something like this happen. I can go out there focusing on my game. That gives me also a lot of confidence with the situation, how I deal it today.”
“For sure she (Pliskova) has a lot of confidence. Now especially against the win against Serena. She will go out there and try and win her first Grand Slam, but at the end I will try the same. I know it will be mentally for me also very tough because she know that she won against me like few weeks ago.
“But at the end I know how I was playing in Cincinnati. I know what to change. I will talk with my coach about the game and I will try to take the challenge again against her.
“Yeah, trying to win the match the next one.”
Caroline Wozniacki came into the tournament well below her usual Top 10 ranking due to injuries and early losses. She evaluated her tournament performance: “Well, obviously right now I’m a little disappointed not to win today, but at the end of the day it’s been a good tournament, something I can be proud of.
“I came into this tournament ranked 74 in the world and probably people ruled me out, but it’s nice to prove people wrong once again. It’s nice to have a good run. I did my best out there today. I fought all I could, and just came up a bit short.”
“I think I just need to keep going the way I have been doing,” the former No. 1 continued. “You know, just I have gotten a lot of matches here, which is great. Hopefully I can just bring this momentum into the Asian swing.
“It was a good tournament. I kind of felt like the way I have been practicing I managed to put that into the matches, so that was nice.
“Hopefully I can just do that moving forward.”
The women’s final takes place on Saturday.
(September 7, 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:
K. NISHIKORI/A. Murray
1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How disappointed? Back and forth match. Seemed like you had the momentum going for a bit.
ANDY MURRAY: I’m not disappointed in a way. Obviously I would have loved to have won, but I have had a good run every match. I would have loved to have gone further, but it wasn’t to be today.
Q. Could you talk us through the dispute with or the conversation with Wayne McKewen, and what exactly was the result…
ANDY MURRAY: Stopped the point, and I was just curious why that was and that was it.
Q. You were saying that you had heard the noise in the first set. She said that you would play on?
ANDY MURRAY: Wayne McKewen told me that it happened four times during the match that the speakers had gone off like that. I had only heard it one time before, which was on set point in the second set. That was it.
Q. You had a period of seven straight games…
ANDY MURRAY: Definitely I would say to 4-1 I didn’t play a good game after I got out of the change of ends, and then, you know, he held pretty comfortably the next game.
But after that, I don’t think so. You know, there was a lot of time between then. I had a lot of game points in the 4-1 game; didn’t get it.
And, yeah, I lost my serve a couple of times from positions that when I was up in the game — you know, obviously you can get broken when you’re up in the game. I got broken once from 40-Love, once from 40-15, and at the end of the match I think I was up 30-15 in the game, as well. That was the difference.
Q. Were you more disappointed the way you were serving and so many times you had been broken or the way you returned? Because at the end of the match you were returning pretty poorly compared to your standard, in my opinion. I don’t know what you think.
ANDY MURRAY: Um, I mean, it was obviously different serving under the roof. I started off the match serving pretty well. You know, it obviously slows the conditions down so it becomes easier to return. You know, he started returning a bit better. I didn’t serve so well, obviously.
I don’t think the reason I lost the match was because of my return game. I broke serve enough times. I just didn’t hold serve enough. That was the difference.
Q. You didn’t know, but the rain didn’t last very long. It was bright sunshine and blue skies. Do you think they should readdress whether or not the roof should be open in that condition?
ANDY MURRAY: Um, it’s not really for me to say. We were told at the beginning of the event and also today that, you know, if the forecast’s good they will open the roof during the match if that’s the case. Why that didn’t happen today I don’t know.
Yeah, I mean, it’s not really for me to say. I mean, they have obviously delays and stuff and matches aren’t good for TV and people that are watching. You want a continuous match, for sure. You want to try and complete as many matches outdoors as possible.
ANDY MURRAY: Um, I mean, I think definitely under the roof he was able to dictate more of the points. You know, he was playing a bit closer to the baseline than me and taking the ball on a little bit more.
You know, at times I was obviously doing more of the running, you know, whereas I think in the first set and a half and when we played in the Olympics, you know, that was the other way around.
Q. Any part of you feel that was the one that got away, or is that giving disservice to Kei?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, obviously I was in a good position up and a set and a break and chances at the beginning of the fourth set, as well. I could have won the match for sure.
But, you know, I have also won some over the last, you know, few months I should have lost. Against Steve Johnson at the Olympics I was down a couple of times.
The third set against Fognini, I was down a break in the third there.
Against Tsonga at Wimbledon I was up, but that could have gone the other way in the beginning of the fifth.
You know, it happens sometimes. You win them. I have won a lot over the last few months, but couldn’t quite get it going my way today.
Q. How much do you think the workload that you have had comes into that in terms of the resources you have left?
ANDY MURRAY: Um, I don’t know. I felt all right today. You know, I felt all right. Kei has played a lot of tennis, as well, though, over the last few months, for sure.
But, you know, this slam in particular I think for all of the players, especially the ones, you know, that have done well over the summer period on the hard courts, it’s, you know, a tough one.
You know, Kei will be feeling it, as well as a lot of the players. Yeah, I don’t think that had an impact on the match today.
Q. Kei hurt you a lot with the dropshots. Did you know that was coming? Did he use it a little bit more than you expected? You didn’t seem to have an answer for it. It was disguised pretty well.
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah, a couple of them. I didn’t lose all the points. I won a number of them.
But when you’re — like I said, when he’s playing close to the baseline and you’re the one that’s further back, it leaves more space at the front of the court to use a dropshot.
I got a little bit unfortunate on the break point at 5-All, the volley that he made that’s not going in every time. You know, that was a big moment in the match, obviously, at that stage.
Q. It’s still early. When do you think you’ll head up to Glasgow?
ANDY MURRAY: No idea. I haven’t thought anything about when I would leave. I was obviously focused purely on this week and obviously wanted to go further.
I don’t know when I’ll go there. I don’t know how many days off I’ll take or how much or when I’ll start practicing up there. You know, I’m due a few days off, and I’ll use them well, because I will need a lot of energy for that tie.
Q. (Question regarding playing on home soil.)
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, obviously I’ll look forward to the match. It should be a great, great atmosphere, great occasion. You know, I would like a little bit more time off, which obviously I will get when Davis Cup is done, but I just need to be smart in the next few days.
Because like I said, I need a lot of energy for those ties. Davis Cup, you know, does take a lot out of you over the weekend. It’s tough, especially if you play all three days. You know, I’ll need to be smart the next few days to make sure that not only physically I recover, but mentally, as well, because it’s always a stressful few days.
Q. There are five men left in the draw now. How do you see it playing out?
ANDY MURRAY: I’d say Novak would be the favorite. I mean, obviously a lot of top, top players left. Gaël has been playing very well. I think in their head to heads, Novak has had quite a little bit of success.
You know, the bottom part of the draw it’s obviously difficult to pick. They’re all top players, I think. You know, Stan and Juan will have a very good match tonight, I would expect.
You know, Kei is obviously capable on this surface of beating the best players and has beaten Novak here, as well, so you know, I would put Novak as the favorite, but everyone’s got a chance.
Q. I know it’s early after the match and disappointment we talked about, but the takeaway from the summer, do you look back and say, It was a heck of a summer? Or are you kind of leaving let down by coming up short?
ANDY MURRAY: I have not let anyone down. I tried my best. I fought as hard as I could with what I had today. I didn’t let anyone down. Certainly not myself. I pushed myself as hard as I could over the last few months, and I’m very proud of how I have done.
You know, if someone had offered me the summer that I have had before Wimbledon, I probably would have signed for that. You know, asking me right now is pointless. I’m not going to have the best perspective on things right this minute, but, you know, after a few days, you know, away and stuff, I would imagine I’d be very happy with how I have done and, you know, learn from this match today and the summer as a whole, because, you know, it’s been tough. It’s been a hard summer.
And, yeah, I’m happy with how it’s gone. There’s just a few things I could do differently next time.
K. NISHIKORI/A. Murray
1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. With so much on the line and so much pressure, how would you describe your mental approach?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, it was really difficult match. I didn’t quite start well and lost 6-1. I felt it was really quick and I was rushing a little bit and missing too much unforced errors.
But after rain delay I think I improve little bit with my coach, and I tried to change a little bit my tennis and start working a little bit better. I started get my rhythm back. Yeah, many breaks today.
Especially fifth set it was really tough. I was up 4-3, 40- love and lost the game. So there was many up and downs, but I tried to calm. I think that’s the most important thing I did today. Even though there was many up and downs I tried to stay tough.
Yeah, last couple games I took little chance, and, yeah, win the whole thing. So it was really tight game, but happy to win today.
Q. You mentioned the up and downs. You both had those. There were huge momentum shifts were taking place throughout the match. It also really, really felt like the house, if you will, the crowd, was really pulling for you. Did you feel that? Did that energize you and give you motivation and confidence?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah. I think I was too focused today, so I couldn’t really hear too much on the court.
But for sure the crowd helped me to get back in the game. Yeah, fourth and fifth I think I played one of the best tennis. It was great match.
Q. The let call after the loud noise, the point early in the fourth set, do you think they should have stopped that point?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, I mean, definitely. My concentration went off. Yeah, I don’t know what’s the reason, but for sure they have to stop that.
Q. What does it mean for you to be honored with the sportsmanship award tonight?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah, it’s a great honor to get sportsmanship. Well, I mean, I try to stay calm and I try not to do too many up and downs, especially my mental side.
I think especially today I think I did great, you know. Even though there was many times my focus went off, but especially during fourth and fifth set I tried to stay tough.
Yeah, it’s great to show that to the other people, you know. I’m always staying tough. Yeah, it’s great honor.
Q. After the rain delay you seemed to be working the points a little bit more. During the delay, what did Dante and Michael tell you?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, it was definitely my mistake that lost the first set. I was missing too much. Like I said, I think I was feeling a little bit rushed. I gave so many opportunity to him easy. Yeah, we talk a lot of things during the rain delay, and, yeah, I tried to change something. It worked well.
For sure it’s helped today’s game.
Q. If Stan wins tonight, will you share your thoughts on the Swiss player?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah. We just played in Toronto few weeks ago. He’s been playing, you know, good tennis.
But I think it’s gonna be tough match today. Delpo is playing great tennis. Yeah, I’m very excited to watch match tonight. I’m not sure who’s gonna win today.
You know, my side I try to stay focused, you know, even though whoever comes, you know, for the next round, either way it’s gonna be tough. Try to stay calm and ready for next one.
Q. Two great nations with tennis culture, Japan and Great Britain; match each other in the history. You are the first Japanese player in US Open history to beat a Great Britain player. Fred Perry beat Japanese player in five-setter. You beat Murray in a five-setter. What does it mean for you, making the history?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah, I think it means a lot, especially I have been losing Andy a lot. I think seven times and I only won once. And especially this stage, you know, it’s big opportunity for me to play today’s match.
Well, yeah, I was really confident. I was ready to play today’s match. Actually, we just played this year really long match. I think it was close to five hours in Davis Cup and I lost the match, so it was great to revenge, you know, from Davis Cup.
Q. Since we don’t know which player you’ll play next, can we start first with Del Potro? How would you describe his forehand?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, I think he has best forehand right now on the tour. I think it’s most dangerous forehand right now. You know, he’s mixing little more backhand slice and topspin.
But, yeah, for sure his forehand is one of the best right now.
Q. And how about Wawrinka’s backhand?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, I might say same thing. (Laughter.) Well, one-hand backhand for sure he’s the best right now. Maybe total Djoko and Andy has, you know, great backhands, but he can lift the backhand really well. Yeah, I think it’s gonna be interesting, you know, big forehand and big backhand match today. So I think it’s gonna be fun match.
Q. A situation like in the fourth set, opponent’s arguing with the chair umpire, do you have a sense there that might be an opportunity to kind of shift momentum? Did you feel momentum shifting after that moment?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, I don’t really look up for opponents. Like I said, I think I was too focused today, so I couldn’t really have chance to see my opponents.
Yeah, I don’t really care about what, you know, they doing. I have to stay focused all the time and I have to, you know, think what I have to do for next points.
Yeah, I didn’t really take care of opponents today.
Q. You’re talking here about staying calm, staying focused, not getting distracted. How is your mental approach to staying in the moment in a match like that?
KEI NISHIKORI: In the end I think I did really well, but first and before rain delay I think I was little bit out of my concentration. I felt like I didn’t know what to do.
But after rain delay I think I was more focused and start playing better tennis, so I was getting more confidence during the match. And especially in the end. I think I wasn’t making many unforced errors and playing great tennis.
So confidence helped game today.
Q. You were quite successful at the net today. Did you make a conscious decision to come to the net more often against Andy?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, I see some opportunity to come in today so I tried to be aggressive. I saw that’s what I had to do. Especially against Andy. He has great defense. I don’t know why I did and serve and volley many today, but I was felt like and it was working. I think it was great mix-up serve and volley and come to the net a lot today.
Q. You seem like a calm, quiet, contained person. US Open is loud and boisterous. Why do you think you have so much success at this slam, your most successful slam?
KEI NISHIKORI: I don’t know. I think this courts and the ball; I live in Florida, so that also help me. Coming here it was very easy for me to prepare for this US Open.
Well, I love the crowd. It makes me more motivated. Yeah, it’s little bit different than other Grand Slam, you know. I think it’s more loud and it’s more like, you know, big party on the court. (Smiling.)
It’s very exciting.
Q. If you are to play Del Potro, you haven’t beat him before, but you also haven’t played since the London Olympics. Is it fair to say you’re a completely different player now than four years ago?
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, for sure. I think we both different player. Like I said, he’s mixing up little more backhand. He still have great serves and forehand. That’s for sure have to take care.
Yeah, I been see him a lot actually. I watch a lot of matches in Olympics and we practice a lot, too. I kind of know how he’s gonna play, so I try to focus my side.
Also, I mean, either guys wins, I really have to get good tactics for next match.
Q. Your demeanor on the court is very unique. It’s hard to say whether you just lost a game and got broken or you won after fantastic play. Looking miserable in both cases. Why is that? Is it your way of dealing with the stress or…
KEI NISHIKORI: Well, yeah, I try to stay calm, that’s for sure. I’m not the loudest guy on the tour for sure. I’m more calm, I think my private too. I mean, I try to show my guts and everything, you know, good energy on the court.
But I think it’s most important, you know, shouldn’t be too many up and downs, especially downs. Yeah, I try to stay positive all the time.
Q. Fourth and fifth you said you played some of your best tennis. Do you think that was some of the best tennis you have played in your career? Semifinals; finals two years ago. How much confidence do you have knowing you have been there before? How eager are you to get back and have that opportunity again?
KEI NISHIKORI: It’s tough to say one of the best tennis, but, yeah, some moments I think I played great tennis. I was feeling the ball really well. You know, I think I lost two, three times fifth sets my serve.
Yeah, so, I mean, cannot be the best, but still play, you know, great tennis to beat Andy. Especially last few games, you know, it was really a lot of pressure. Especially lost my serve 4-3, and I have to refocus again.
It was really tight moment. I think it’s gonna help for sure my experience. Yeah, very looking forward to play semis again here.
K. PLISKOVA/A. Konjuh
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Were you surprised that it went so smooth, so quick? You played great, but —
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: A little bit.
Q. — did you expect before the game it would be a little tougher?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Yeah, a little bit. I was surprised and I was still waiting even in the first set. Even in the second set I was still waiting some complications gonna come.
But, well, I’m not gonna complain. (Smiling.) I’m happy that it went so easy. Of course I was expecting a little bit tougher battle, but happy that it went so easy.
Q. You had a great day serving. You have had a lot of great days serving. How do you practice your serve? Do you have a routine? What works best for?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, now in the tournament I don’t practice much anymore like a specific thing. It’s more about — I mean, I can serve, even if the serve that day is off. Doesn’t mean there is some mistake or something. It’s more about the toss.
But I still know I can serve and there is nothing wrong in the technique. So overall we just go and serve a little bit couple of the serve in each side. And that’s it?
Q. Have you always been so calm on the court? Doesn’t seem like you want to show much emotion, or maybe as a little kid you used to show emotion.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Yeah, I was more angry before with myself on the court. (Smiling.) So that I am improved a lot. Sometimes I’m still smashing my racquets.
More in the practices than in the matches. I’m trying to be calm in the match because it’s not really helping me. I don’t really want to show even the opponent and even the crowd and the people any frustration.
But there are matches when I’m not that calm, as the one with Venus. I was emotional a lot in that match. I was pumping myself. But of course if it’s a match like this, I’m just — you know, it doesn’t mean I’m not in the game and not in the match, but I’m just trying to be calm. I have some emotions inside, of course.
Q. Does this result seem early, late, on time for you? You know, you’re 24. Not old, but not young.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, to be honest, I don’t care at what time it came. I’m just happy that it’s now and that it came. There are people saying that I could be there earlier, but right now I feel great and I feel it’s the right time for having the results like this.
Q. What do you think held you back before from getting this kind of result?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Definitely some experience from the biggest matches. Obviously the title from Cincinnati helped me a lot. I was waiting for the bigger title for a few years, let’s say two, so that was next step.
I think just everything is on time. I was practicing hard this year, and even the results in the beginning of this year were not that good as the last year. I’m happy that I could, you know, play my game on the biggest tournaments, which I didn’t play last year.
Q. You now have possibly two matches to go. Can you imagine yourself lifting the trophy on Saturday? Is that something in your gut that you think you’re gonna do or are capable of doing?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, it would be a dream, but unfortunately I’m in the part of the draw with Serena, so it would be very tough to get through this one.
So I’m not gonna think about the finals yet. Obviously I know there is a chance. Always there is a chance. So I’m going to do everything for, you know, get at least close to the final.
But even if Serena is not going to win, there is Simona. That will be very tough match for me in the semifinal. I’m just looking forward to this challenge.
Like I said, anything is possible, so I know I have a chance if I play good tennis.
Q. What did you learn from playing Serena in the past?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I played her once only, actually. I was in Stanford I think two or three years ago.
I was completely different player at that time, so I am I improve a lot and obviously she probably as well. She’s a big hitter and she can, you know, have 50 winners and you cannot do much about it.
But I still gonna hope that there is gonna be some chance in the match where I can get my chance and be the one who is playing aggressive. Obviously I played Venus this week, which is not probably that good as she is, but it’s very similar game.
So I’ll just have to be ready for it, I think.
Q. What is your earliest memory of Serena Williams? And what do you remember most about what you thought when you watched her play?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: We were pretty young when we were watching her and her sister. Actually the first memory about the sisters was that they had this thing on their hair. I think it was Venus, and it somehow broked and it was everywhere on the court. (Smiling.)
So that’s the first memory about them. And then obviously there are there for so many years and they have so many titles together. And especially Serena now. She’s just one of the best players in the world, so it would be honor to play her.
Q. What qualities of her game impressed you most when you were a young player aspiring to be in this situation?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I think they were not that good as — or let me talk about Serena only — as she is now. She improve a lot in the last few years. Most of the titles she was winning now, and she had now so many years which she’s on top.
I think she’s just — you know, she probably needed some experience and some years of the tennis, as well, on the tour.
Right now I think she’s just playing amazing and going for her shots. She’s really believing in herself and using everything what she has.
Q. What have you learned from watching her, if anything?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Sorry?
Q. What have you learned from watching her play?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I would say we can have similar games, as me and her, but she’s a little bit different level than me.
But she’s also playing aggressive and going for her shots. And even if she has the day when — even if she has the day when she is missing, she is still going for it and she turn it around like this a lot of matches.
So I would say probably this from her.
Q. It certainly didn’t show on the court, but has it affected you at all that this is kind of new territory for you at a Grand Slam?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I was kind of nervous this morning, or let’s say before the match. But always when I get on the court I just forget about everything and I’m not nervous anymore.
And I’m just, you know, trying to play tennis. Maybe I will think about all what I have been playing last few weeks after the tournament, but right now I just don’t want to, you know, put it in too much inside me. I just want to, you know, still playing.
Q. How did your serve feel today compared to the last few rounds? Felt better? Same? Different?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I would say it was better, much better. At least the percentage. Also, I had quite a lot of points from the first serve. I won almost, I don’t know, about 95% on the first serve points, which is great.
I don’t know if she was a little bit nervous or she was playing totally different opponent the last match, so maybe it was different for her so she was not that ready for a big serve.
But I played Venus, so I was ready for all. I knew if I played the same way how I was playing Venus, I’m going to get a chance and win a match.
Q. You mentioned that against Serena it’s important to not let her take control of the match and her being aggressive and run all over you. How do you stop that?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Well, everything is starting with the serve and receive. So that’s the beginning of all the rallies, so I have to just, you know, serve well. That’s the main thing from my side.
And then if she’s serving well, I cannot do much. And if she has some second serve, I have to go and attack it.
Q. Talking to Angelique yesterday. Her previous US Open semifinal, her only one prior to this year, was five years ago. She was 23. I asked her to compare sort of what the mindset is now as opposed to five years later, more maturity and obviously so much success she’s had. Looking back, she said it was really just a bit of nervousness that held her back. Do you think that’s a big battle, going into your first US Open semifinal and stay within your game and not let the nerves overtake you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I don’t know. It’s tomorrow, so I will see how I feel tomorrow.
But I’m sure always when you play someone who is better than you it’s a little bit different because you don’t have any pressure. Like I had a little bit pressure today that she was outsider, so there is kind of like you have to beat here. I just gonna go and play everything that I have and put everything in that match, because I have nothing to lose.
Of course maybe in the beginning I’m expecting some nerves a little bit, but I don’t want to have this in the whole match.
Q. You come from a relatively small country. Czech Republic is, I think, like 10 million people.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Yeah.
Q. You always have new talent. Last year more on the female side. Always new talents, young talents. What do you think? Is it the work of the individual talents or the Federation, Czech Tennis Federation? Because you always have so many new young players.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I would not say it’s about Federation. I would say every girl is from different city. Every girl has their own coach. We have good talents. Maybe because of the history of Czech tennis – we had good tennis in the past – so maybe they inspired the young ones.
Maybe the girls which are playing now, they inspired another one. So let’s see who else is coming up. Really happy that especially the female tennis is doing so well in last few years and there is still some young girls coming up.
Q. So many great Czech players. Which one inspired you the most?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Tough to say. Would be Martina Navratilova. There was today in my box Helena Suková. She was always good player, as well. And there is obviously Ivan Lendl and more of the guys, as well. So there is a lot of them.
Q. Has Navratilova helped you at all?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: No, but in the last, let’s say year, I’m meeting her more often than before, but we never really talk about tennis.
Q. If it’s not Serena in the next round, what would be your thoughts on facing the other person, the person playing Serena, who might be pulling off a big upset, to set up a matchup with you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: There is Simona. I have played her a few times. That would be probably — I don’t want to say easier for me. They are both really good. It’s going to be probably very close match tonight.
But she’s not hitting that big and she’s not that dangerous as Serena is, so I would have more chances probably in the match to play my game and attack her serve and to going for the shots.
But as I saw some statistics, she won last — from 24 matches, I think she won 22 or something like this, so she’s playing very good tennis right now. Probably she feels confidence. Will be tough to play her, as well.
Q. Will you watch the match tonight? If you do, what will you be looking for?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I want to watch, for sure, but normally I go dinner about 7:30 and they play at 7:00. So hopefully we find some restaurant where the tennis is in TV (smiling.)
I’m going to just, you know — I know both players, and like I said before, it always depends more on me than on them. So I don’t want to talk about their tactics or thinking about their game, because everything has to start in my game. So that’s what I just want to do tomorrow, as well.
But obviously I’m going to watch.
K. PLISKOVA/A. Konjuh
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Obviously not the result, but it’s been a great tournament for you. Sort of your reflections, looking back on, first of all, the match. Just too much for you today?
ANA KONJUH: I mean, I wasn’t at my best level today for sure, but she was just too good. Her serve is just too good. Today on the court, you know, she found her rhythm and took the opportunities that I gave her.
You know, I cannot be sad after all of this. Good luck to her. She’s having great season so far, and, you know, I’m cheering for her.
Yeah, but overall, I’m happy with my results here. When I came here I could only imagine playing the quarters. I think it’s been a great tournament.
Q. Talk about the takeaway. Obviously getting to a position where you can contend at Grand Slams, this is a great first step. Is that how you look at it?
ANA KONJUH: Yeah, my season — as I said, my season wasn’t so great so far. I’m just really happy to be healthy and on the court and especially competing in the Grand Slams. That’s a big thing for all of us.
I’m just looking forward to the next one.
Q. Is there any reason why it seems to be that players like yourself can sort of get through the draw to a late stage here at the US Open? There has been a woman’s unseeded semifinalist for several years here. Any thoughts about that?
ANA KONJUH: Ah, it’s a special tournament, that’s for sure. I mean, I love it here. I won the juniors. I have good memories.
The city is great. I think we are all enjoying ourselves. We don’t want to go home, so we just play good.
Q. We were just talking with fellow journalists about what a unique venue Arthur Ashe Stadium is. Now with the roof. As a player, is it intimidating, daunting, inspiring, to go out and play out there?
ANA KONJUH: Well, for me it is inspiring, for sure. I haven’t played on Ashe before. Playing against Aga, you know, that was my first time. I wasn’t that nervous as I was expecting.
I think, you know, it was a good thing. It was motivating to me to be better. The atmosphere was great. I heard the crowd cheering for me, so thanks to them for coming.
Q. Your ranking is due to go up to around 51 as a result of this. How does that make you feel?
ANA KONJUH: Good, yeah. I think I dropped to 100 or something before. I was a bit down, low point in my career. I still have a long road to go.
I’m just giving my best to be healthy on the court. Yeah, my goal was to come to top 50 this year, so I still have a few tournaments. (Smiling.)
Q. Is it important to be a sort of Croatian No. 1 player, as well, to be the best woman player in your country?
ANA KONJUH: I mean, yeah. I didn’t think that I was before this. So, you know, there is Mirjana. You know, she’s always good. And Ajla, you know, but she’s playing for Australia now.
And Donna, you know, she’s dropped I think right now, but, yeah, I think she’s gonna come back.
Just it feels good. The Fed Cup team, you know, in February we are playing. I’m just looking forward to it.
Q. I got requests this morning before the match to please, please, please ask you some questions and you answer in Croatian. We will do that later. How much excitement is there at home? Do you get a lot of tweets, social media, that indicates a high level of interest back home, especially when you get to the stage you were able to get to?
ANA KONJUH: Yeah, yeah. After the match against Aga, I got a hundred messages on my phone. It ran out of battery at some time.
It feels good other people are cheering for and you that you’re recognized in your country that you did something great.
No, I think of it as a motivation to get even better and get people to talk about me even more.
Q. The motivation, the match against Aga, not to go back to the previous match, but that’s a huge breakthrough there and your first time in Ashe Stadium. Taking that, how much confidence do you have going forward now looking forward to Grand Slam tournaments, feeling like, you know, the difference of maybe being able to get through the first, second, third round as opposed to getting to the quarterfinals or semifinals?
ANA KONJUH: Yeah, I mean, for sure. This is a great result for me. Now I know that, you know, I got that something to be in the top. I’m just looking forward to playing again on the Grand Slams. I think that’s the most important tournament for all of us. I’m just enjoying it, and like the pressure, also.
S. WILLIAMS/S. Halep
6-2 4-6, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Just your thoughts after that match.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I think it was a good match. I played well. I could play better in those moments when I had chances. But I think the level was pretty high.
I’m okay with the way that I was fighting till the end. It’s something normal now for me, so it’s a good thing. She played really well. She is the best player, so her serve was huge today.
It was tough. Is tough. I’m a little bit sad, but I have just to take the positives, because I have a lot going ahead.
Q. After the second set, did you have a little bit of a letdown? Were you sort of running out of gas?
SIMONA HALEP: After the second?
Q. After that great second set.
SIMONA HALEP: No, I had two chances to make a break in first game, so wasn’t about that. There I could take that game, and I think the story of the match would have been different.
You know, was just one game. I should play like more aggressive, I think, after that game, but she took the break. She took my game on my serve, and then she was serving really tough.
Q. Since you beat her in Singapore you have had matches with her before. Some of them tight. Some of them going very, very quick against her. What was the difference today, when you played her in Indian Wells, or other matches where it was a little bit more of a blowout for her?
SIMONA HALEP: I think this was the best match that I ever had against her. I felt that I’m very close and I have chances to win. Like I said, I think my game was pretty good tonight. It’s a good thing. I take it like with confidence, this match.
I think we played very well. I played very well. But I could do better in some moments.
Q. What are your thoughts on how often Serena came to net and how often she used the dropshot?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, she used I think today a few times the dropshot. She did pretty well. She comes to the net when she has short balls. She hits with a lot of power and it’s easy for her to come in.
But she plays really well on these courts. She’s home, so I feel that she feels very confident. She did a great job. That’s why she’s No. 1.
Q. Overall are you tense or disappointed in this moment?
SIMONA HALEP: Both. I am a little bit disappoint that I had could not take the chances, but I’m also happy about the way I stayed there and played. I’m okay. I’m normal now.
Q. I know you’re used to it in tennis, but does it feel weird No. 5 got to play No. 1 in the quarterfinals?
SIMONA HALEP: I’m not thinking about these things. It is how it is, and I have to play — I have to beat best players to win a Grand Slam, so I don’t care where I am, against who I play.
I have just to win to get that title if I will do one day.
Q. Is it more satisfying sitting there now having lost the quarterfinal compared to when you lost the semifinal here last year? Do you feel better having at least played a good match, or…
SIMONA HALEP: I feel definitely better that I played much better than last year in the semis. Semis is better than quarterfinals. Yeah, but they are two different things. Last year I was not playing in the semis and this year I lost in the quarters but I gave everything I could.
It’s okay. I don’t want to complain about anything.
S. WILLIAMS/S. Halep
6-2 4-6, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How are you feeling health-wise? Shoulder?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn’t hear you.
Q. How are you feeling health-wise?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh. I feel okay. I’m not at 100%, but I’m okay. Nothing to complain too much about.
Q. Didn’t play a seeded player first four rounds. Top 5 player, Simona. Amped up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I didn’t have to be too amped up because it’s the quarterfinals and it’s a tough player. I just knew I needed to be ready.
Q. Do you feel like a big jump in difficulty?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that she obviously plays well. Yeah, so it was definitely a jump.
Q. What are your thoughts on the way you employed the dropshot and came to the net in this match? How does it represent an emphasis, perhaps, in your game right now?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have been working on getting to the net. Particularly today I couldn’t do too much off the groundstrokes. I felt maybe I should get in more. It worked for me.
I don’t really like coming to the net, to be honest, but I’m good at the net, I guess. I guess I’ve got to do what I’m good at.
Q. And dropshots?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I hit a lot of dropshots in practice. I just never do it in a match, but the past year or so I have been doing it more in my matches. It worked out.
Q. Do you like it more than maybe coming to the net?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yes, definitely. (Smiling.) Definitely.
Q. What was it about her game in the second set that gave you a little trouble?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn’t take some opportunities that I had. I really had some chances there and I didn’t take them, and I let that get the better of me.
You know, I didn’t play the same match in the first set or in the second, and my third set was better than the second. So I didn’t keep that level up.
Q. You had a ton of break points throughout the match. Is that something you and Patrick work on a lot?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, it’s happened to me in the past before, but like I said on the court, I just stay positive. I’m glad I had the break points as opposed to not having them. That’s the only thing I can do, and hopefully I can start getting more.
Q. Is it harder to move on from those? I think there were two games, one was 22 points, one was 18, and you lost both of them. Is it harder to move on from those games, to put that out of your mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, and I won a long one, too. So that’s all I kind of was focusing on was — yeah, I was rather positive today, and that’s not normal. I’m just going to go with it. (Smiling.)
Q. This is your first three-set match since McHale at Wimbledon. I guess did it feel different in any way? I mean, obviously you have played plenty of tennis, but did it feel like it had been a long time since you had been in that situation?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I mean, I also lost a match at the Olympics. It wasn’t a three-set match, but it was a longer match, and I think kind of in a weird way helped me.
Q. Maybe it’s a silly question, but is there any sort of enjoyment of the challenge, the difficulty of pulling out a three-set match, high stakes, high tension, all of that as opposed to winning 6-1, 6-1, or 6-2, 6-3.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think there is a huge enjoyment in the three-set matches, but I just feel like you don’t get that appreciation until later. Obviously in the moment you want to win fast and you want to win easy and win in straights. You really feel that appreciation much later.
Q. Any silver linings being tested in a match like that tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I feel great. I’m glad I got tested. The best part of it is I feel like — I mean, I think her level really picked up in the second, but I had some opportunities that I didn’t take.
So what I gather from that is I really could have played better in that second set and maybe had an opportunity to win in straights.
I think if anything, that’s the biggest silver lining I take.
Q. You mentioned earlier being positive and just going with it. In that second set, it did seem like in the past we would have like almost expected you to get mad, you know, maybe break a racquet, something like that. You remained pretty inward. Noticeable for you out there? Like did it ever get close to getting — you know, the frustration boiling over?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I was really rather calm today and not trying to be. I guess that’s just how I got out of bed this morning.
I definitely wanted to do some more Come ons. I don’t know why. That’s weird.
Q. We don’t keep that stat. It’s okay.
SERENA WILLIAMS: (Smiling.)
Q. Draymond Green, who has such a fighting spirit and a great athlete, was in the house. Like you, born in Saginaw. Have you met or encountered him? Any thoughts about him?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we met a while back. We had our Saginaw stories. We had fun. We had a big chat about that. I saw him in the stands, so it was good to see him out there.
Q. Can you share one Saginaw tale?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, listen, I was just born there. That’s my only connection. I think he has more.
Q. What’s your thoughts on having the match tomorrow and not a day off?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel that it’s normal. I feel having a day off is weird, because the whole year you play every single day, you know. So this is totally normal.
Q. Can I ask you to look ahead to that matchup with Pliskova? What do you think the keys will be? We have asked you this before, but I’m curious in this instance how much you’ll speak to Venus about playing someone shortly after she played that player.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I haven’t even gotten that far yet, actually. I’m still trying to just get over this match. I’ll definitely — I will more than likely — I’m sure she will tell me something, but I’ll be there. I’ll be ready tomorrow.
Q. Schedules changed a little bit this year. I don’t think you ever played a night session semifinal before. Will that feel different here? You were supposed to last year but it got rained out.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh. Yeah, so I look forward to it. It’s great because I have more time off, I guess.
Then, yeah, so it kind of works out for me.
Q. I mean, do you think about rounds and times? Like you’re in a semifinal and it’s dark. Does it feel unusual or do you not think that way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I don’t think that way at all.
Q. How much do you enjoy playing against a big server? What pride do you take in your return game when so many people think of you as the person with the biggest serve yourself?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it’s good to play. We’ll see. I haven’t played against many big servers recently, but she places her serve really well, I think. She definitely gets some speed on it, but her placement is really, really nice.
Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to read them and play okay.
Q. Inasmuch as you’re zen – and I’m not saying you are zen – how zen have you felt in this tournament?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I have been really stressed out in a few of the matches, but I felt pretty good in most of the rounds.
Honestly I feel okay today. I feel like I could have played a lot better. I think that makes me really calm, is the fact that I know I can play so much better and I have to — yeah, I know that. I think everyone here knows I can play better.
Q. Tonight was it just an issue of execution in the second and third sets? Is that what you’re frustrated with or tactics, or what is it about the match that you’re still trying to process and get over?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I definitely think a little bit of the execution. I don’t think I — yeah, just maybe that and some other things. I’m not…
Q. But Karolina has a twin sister on tour. Have you ever thought about another identical copy of you floating around? How tough that might be?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It would be a living hell. (Laughter.)
Juan Martin Del Potro
S. WAWRINKA/J. Del Potro
7-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. That moment at the end when everyone was singing before the last game, what were you feeling?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, something difficult to describe with words. I mean, I can lose the match, but I will never forget this. You know, it’s bigger than win any match.
I’m so proud to get that from the crowd, because I have been doing a big effort to play tennis again. They made me so happy tonight, and I don’t mind the score.
Q. This loss obviously is tough, but you have had a great summer. I imagine your confidence must be much bigger than it’s been in the last couple of years. Where do you feel mentally and physically right now with your tennis?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I think my tennis is starting to respond as I want, but physically I’m still down. You know, I’m not in the same level that these guys. I need to just to stay healthy and wait for the preseason to get 100% for next year.
I’m already top 100, so that’s good. Never will ask for wildcard anymore. (Smiling.)
And everything here is positive for me. I’m so glad for that.
Q. You’re much taller than guys like Wawrinka and Djokovic, Murray. You mention you feel like physically you’re not where they are yet. You need to work on it. What sort of things do you need to do differently because of your height in terms of training?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I’m starting to play tennis again after a long, long time. Like two months ago I was losing first round, second round, 80 players or different rankings.
And now I’m fighting at the same level as the top guys, and I already beat Djokovic, Rafa. I played against Murray in a great match. Wawrinka is the No. 3 player in the world and I’m there. That’s means something good to me.
But I need to keep working. I need to get my physical back as soon I can, and then I will have a chance to play in the same conditions.
Q. How did you feel physically this match, especially as it got later into the match?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I think he was smarter than me in the end. In the end he started to play his backhands down the lines; starting to play more slices. He made me run too much. I got exhausted after the third set.
I think that was the key, because at the beginning of the match was really, really tight for both, and I couldn’t win the first two sets. But he took the chances and he made a good match.
Q. How full a schedule do you think you’ll be able to play in the fall? You played on and off this year. Just wondering how your health feels and ranking, if you will try to play a full schedule or just still very careful?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I didn’t expect to play too many matches here, and now I will see where I’m going to play. I would like to be in Asia and then in the indoor tournament.
But now I don’t have the pression for rankings. I just want to stay healthy and keep working to get my physic back, and I will see. Now, after here, I have Davis Cup. I will try to recover myself to be 100% in Glasgow.
Q. What are your plans travel-wise? Like when are you going to travel for Davis Cup and how are you feeling about that tie?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I don’t know. (Smiling.) I just finished my match. I don’t have too much time to come back home, but I will see maybe tomorrow during the breakfast.
Q. How are you feeling about the matchup?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: About the match?
Q. Davis Cup.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: It’s gonna be interesting, I think. All the British guys are playing great. They made so good tournament here and they are the favorites to win.
But Davis Cup everything can happen. So we will be there.
Q. (Question regarding Davis Cup.)
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: But I’m not ready to play anymore now. I’m so tired. (Smiling.) But then you should ask Davis Cup captain.
Q. I’m asking you.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, I’m so tired to answer that.
S. WAWRINKA/J. Del Potro
7-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I wonder what motivates you? You won two slams, you are very rich, you’ll never catch Federer, Nadal, Djokovic number of trophies, but anyone knows on a good day you beat them. So frankly, I think that one more slam will not change much. What makes you work? What makes you…
STAN WAWRINKA: So what should I do? (Smiling.) I’m 31 years old. What do you want me to do? Just go to the beach? Not do anything? I don’t know. Did you ask that question to Rafa also or to Novak or to Andy?
I think I love my sport. I enjoy to play tennis. It’s my passion. I start when I was really young. I have the chance to play in front of amazing crowd playing amazing match like tonight. If you just look the match tonight you have the answer. It’s amazing feeling to be out there.
Q. What was the reason of the medical timeout? Knee or…
STAN WAWRINKA: No, it was my adductor. Was tightness, tension after a few points on my adductor, and I just wanted to check. That was nothing else.
Q. Next match against Nishikori. What kind of a match do you expect?
STAN WAWRINKA: Well, it’s going to be interesting for sure. We played many times against each other. He beat me a few years ago here quarterfinal five sets. He beat me in Toronto; I beat him in Australia. I saw him play today. He was playing really well.
It’s going to be tough match, for sure. We will see also how I’m going to feel physically in two days to get ready for that.
But, yeah, I’m ready for a match against Kei.
Q. Did you see his match?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, a little bit, little bit. He was playing well.
Q. What did you feel was the turning point tonight? It was close and you seemed to take control.
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, it was important to stay there, to stay tough. I knew before the match that against Juan Martin it’s a tough challenge. He’s playing well. He’s strong mentally. He doesn’t give you much.
You know it’s going to be painful physically and mentally to stay there, so I had to adapt a little bit my game. It’s not a player that I can really play always the way I want because he’s so aggressive.
It was important to stay tough there. I knew it will be difficult. But I’m happy with the way I was fighting, with myself. I’m happy with the way I find solution in the third set to take advantage. I saw also that he was starting to go a little bit down. I took advantage of that.
Q. You mentioned that it was amazing. How was the crowd tonight? They seemed to really get behind Del Potro. Do you feel that there were Swiss fans for you, as well?
STAN WAWRINKA: No, it was amazing crowd, for sure. For sure there was a lot of support for Juan Martin. It’s normal. I expect that. He’s amazing champion. He won here. He got so unlucky with all the injury he had, and the way he’s playing right now already, it’s amazing. Everybody is happy to see him back at that level.
(September 8, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Serena Williams had to hold off a game Simona Halep to reach another major semifinal on Wednesday night, while No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka ended the run of 2009 US Open Juan Martin Del Potro.
No. 1 Serena Williams beat fifth seed Halep 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in her quarterfinal, and will play Karolina Pliskova next for a place in the final.
“I feel great,” said Williams. “I’m glad I got tested. The best part of it is I feel like — I mean, I think her level really picked up in the second, but I had some opportunities that I didn’t take.
“So what I gather from that is I really could have played better in that second set and maybe had an opportunity to win in straights.
“I think if anything, that’s the biggest silver lining I take.”
Williams had 18 aces and 50 winners and made a big effort to come to net to end points.
“I have been working on getting to the net,” she said. “Particularly today I couldn’t do too much off the groundstrokes. I felt maybe I should get in more. It worked for me.
“I don’t really like coming to the net, to be honest, but I’m good at the net, I guess. I guess I’ve got to do what I’m good at.”
“I think it was a good match, Halep said. “I played well. I could play better in those moments when I had chances. But I think the level was pretty high.
“I’m okay with the way that I was fighting till the end. It’s something normal now for me, so it’s a good thing. She played really well. She is the best player, so her serve was huge today.
“It was tough. Is tough. I’m a little bit sad, but I have just to take the positives, because I have a lot going ahead.”
Wawrinka beat Del Potro 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. He will face sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori on Friday for a chance at the final. Wawrinka saved a match point against Dan Evans in the third round.
Del Potro, coming into the US Open ranked 142, due to being sideline with wrist injuries, is coming off winning the silver medal the Rio Olympics. Del Potro beat both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal on the way to the gold medal round.
“I think my tennis is starting to respond as I want, but physically I’m still down,” said the Argentina. “You know, I’m not in the same level that these guys. I need to just to stay healthy and wait for the preseason to get 100% for next year.
“I’m already top 100, so that’s good. Never will ask for wildcard anymore,” he said smiling.
“And everything here is positive for me. I’m so glad for that.”
“Well, I’m starting to play tennis again after a long, long time,” he continued. “Like two months ago I was losing first round, second round, 80 players or different rankings.
“And now I’m fighting at the same level as the top guys, and I already beat Djokovic, Rafa. I played against Murray in a great match. Wawrinka is the No. 3 player in the world and I’m there. That’s means something good to me.
“But I need to keep working. I need to get my physical back as soon I can, and then I will have a chance to play in the same conditions.”
More to follow….
(September 7, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Kei Nishikori upset No. 2 Andy Murray in five sets while 10 seed Karolina Pliskova dominated final eight newcomer Ana Konjuh to reach the semifinals of the US Open during Wednesday’s day session.
Sixth seeded Nishikori rallied to beat three-time major winner Andy Murray 1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 to reach the final four of the US Open for just his second time. The man from Japan was a losing finalist in the 2014 US Open final.
Pliskova and her serve dominated her opponent 6-2, 6-2. For the Czech, it will be her first major semifinal. She’ll play the winner of the Serena Williams – Simona Halep match, which takes place on Wednesday evening.
The turning point in the Murray – Nishikori match seemed to have come when a loud gong-like sound echoed in the middle of a point during the fourth set. Murray lost seven straight games after a let was called on that point.
Murray argued with the umpire Marija Cicak’s decision to stop the point and replay it.
Murry then spoke to a tournament supervisor.
“Wayne McKewen told me that it happened four times during the match that the speakers had gone off like that,” Murray said. “I had only heard it one time before, which was on set point in the second set. That was it.”
A similar event took place on Monday night between Ana Konjuh and Agnieszka Radwanska. The point was not stopped.
The USTA said that the digital audio processor was at fault. Here is the official statement:
USTA STATEMENT REGARDING SOUND ISSUE IN ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM
One of the three digital audio sound processors in Arthur Ashe Stadium malfunctioned early in the fourth set of the Kei Nishikori – Andy Murray match. The malfunctioning unit is located at the court level. The three processors are linked, and work as a single unit. The malfunctioning unit could not be taken off-line without interrupting play. The malfunctioning unit will be replaced between the day and evening sessions. The replacement of the unit, which requires the shutting down and then re-booting of the system, can take up to thirty minutes.
The men’s match had been halted for rain in the second set and the roof was soon closed.
In the fifth set, Nishikori initially taking the break advantage until serving at 4-3, when after going up 40-0, he made several errors to give back the break. Both men held for 5-5 and Nishikori grabbed back the advantage breaking the Brit in the 11th game and holding for the victory.
Murray came into the US Open as the hottest player on the men’s tour, winning Wimbledon and the Olympic gold medal, going 26-1.
“I have not let anyone down,” he said. “I tried my best. I fought as hard as I could with what I had today. I didn’t let anyone down. Certainly not myself. I pushed myself as hard as I could over the last few months, and I’m very proud of how I have done.
“You know, if someone had offered me the summer that I have had before Wimbledon, I probably would have signed for that. You know, asking me right now is pointless. I’m not going to have the best perspective on things right this minute, but, you know, after a few days, you know, away and stuff, I would imagine I’d be very happy with how I have done and, you know, learn from this match today and the summer as a whole, because, you know, it’s been tough. It’s been a hard summer.
“And, yeah, I’m happy with how it’s gone. There’s just a few things I could do differently next time.”
“I’m not disappointed in a way,” Murray said. “Obviously I would have loved to have won, but I have had a good run every match. I would have loved to have gone further, but it wasn’t to be today.”
“Yeah, it was really difficult match.,” Nishikori said. “I didn’t quite start well and lost 6-1. I felt it was really quick and I was rushing a little bit and missing too much unforced errors.
“But after rain delay I think I improve little bit with my coach, and I tried to change a little bit my tennis and start working a little bit better. I started get my rhythm back. Yeah, many breaks today.
“Especially fifth set it was really tough. I was up 4-3, 40- love and lost the game. So there was many up and downs, but I tried to calm. I think that’s the most important thing I did today. Even though there was many up and downs I tried to stay tough.
“Yeah, last couple games I took little chance, and, yeah, win the whole thing. So it was really tight game, but happy to win today.”
Pliskova came into the US Open as the only Top 20 player never to have been past the third round of a major.
“I don’t care at what time it came,” she said. “I’m just happy that it’s now and that it came. There are people saying that I could be there earlier, but right now I feel great and I feel it’s the right time for having the results like this.
“Obviously the title from Cincinnati helped me a lot. I was waiting for the bigger title for a few years, let’s say two, so that was next step.
“I think just everything is on time. I was practicing hard this year, and even the results in the beginning of this year were not that good as the last year. I’m happy that I could, you know, play my game on the biggest tournaments, which I didn’t play last year.”
Pliskova talked about the possibility of playing Serena Williams next:
“I played her once only, actually. I was in Stanford I think two or three years ago.
“I was completely different player at that time, so I am I improve a lot and obviously she probably as well. She’s a big hitter and she can, you know, have 50 winners and you cannot do much about it.
“But I still gonna hope that there is gonna be some chance in the match where I can get my chance and be the one who is playing aggressive. Obviously I played Venus this week, which is not probably that good as she is, but it’s very similar game.
“So I’ll just have to be ready for it, I think.”
If it’s Halep: “I have played her a few times. That would be probably — I don’t want to say easier for me. They are both really good. It’s going to be probably very close match tonight.
“But she’s not hitting that big and she’s not that dangerous as Serena is, so I would have more chances probably in the match to play my game and attack her serve and to going for the shots.
“But as I saw some statistics, she won last — from 24 matches, I think she won 22 or something like this, so she’s playing very good tennis right now. Probably she feels confidence. Will be tough to play her, as well.”
(September 5, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews throughout the day when allowed.
K. PLISKOVA/V. Williams
4-6, 6-4, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Just your thoughts after that tough, tough match.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, we both competed really well. Of course I’d like to come out on top of that match. Just kept fighting till the end, but I don’t know, she had a little more luck today.
I had a few too many errors in the tiebreaker.
Q. What were your emotions when you got down three match points and as you battled back to overcome those three match points?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, just to keep fighting and never to give up. That was definitely my mindset at that point. Just try to keep winning points.
Q. How did it feel to overcome that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: At that point that’s exactly where I wanted to be, was in the tiebreaker and going for the match.
Q. In the tiebreaker, was it luck or you kind of let yourself down a little bit off the ground, that she outplayed you? What was the difference in the breaker, do you think?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think in the breaker I went for a little bit more but I didn’t put the ball in enough. You know, I went for some aggressive shots; didn’t necessarily put them in.
You know, obviously she played well.
Q. How high do you feel like the quality was of that match? It looked to us like you guys were hitting as hard as you could and there were over 70 winners between the two of you.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely a high, high quality match. I totally agree.
Q. Your support from the crowd, living, breathing each of those fluctuations in the third set, how much does that boost you or how much does it mean to have the full support of the crowd?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It’s just so, so amazing. Such an amazing feeling. I enjoyed every single moment of that.
Q. What was your mindset at triple match point and going through and saving all those three match points?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Just that she played a great game. I was going to try to stay in there, continue to try to get points, and, you know, I played a good game after that and I got some opportunities to get in there.
Q. You had some strong results this year. How would you assess the way you’ve played this season?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely a ton of positives. I’m looking forward to continuing a lot of positives on the court.
Q. Just talk about the joy quotient versus the win quotient as —
VENUS WILLIAMS: The what? Joy?
Q. The joy, the feeling of joy versus the feeling of winning as far as keeping yourself going all these years. Has that really changed over the years for you as a player?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I never thought about that. (Laughter.) There is a lot of joy in winning. I mean, that’s all I can say.
Q. Are you surprised in any way that you’re doing so incredibly well at this point in your life?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I definitely have the will, so I think I will keep finding the way.
Q. So you’re not surprised, per se?
VENUS WILLIAMS: With effort something’s got to happen. I put a lot of effort into this. It’s not by luck at all.
So, you know, definitely feel like my wins are deserved. I feel like I’m going to get more as the future goes on.
Q. After a strong start to the first set, do you feel like you let her back into the match by giving up those breaks?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was just a lot of errors. I still have to cut back on my errors.
I think she started returning serve really well as the match progressed. She lifted her game. Definitely a lot of credit to her for hanging in there and staying positive.
Q. After the 5-1 lead, closing in on the net and serving well, did you feel like she made adjustments to kind of make that match level, or was it a matter of levels of each of you kind of going up and down? Was there a tactical change?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I think she definitely made adjustments. That’s what you have to do. That’s why she’s at the top.
Q. Some people say that Pliskova plays like Lindsay Davenport. From your perspective, how similar are their games?
VENUS WILLIAMS: For me, not that similar. Not really.
Q. You had a lot of success coming to the net, especially in the first set; didn’t come in as much later. Was that an adjustment she had, she made, or did you feel like tactics were better for you as the match wore on?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I guess I did what I could when I could. That’s the match. I do like to get in when I can.
Q. Pliskova is 24 now. Do you see her as future Grand Slam winner, in the future after your sister retires?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That’s a wonderful compliment to Serena, but the sky’s the limit for everyone. The future is in her own hands. It’s what she makes of it. I can’t say what something is going to do or isn’t going to.
Q. Your 18th slam. Do you take in more surroundings, the fans, more than you did in the past? If so, how?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Obviously it’s an amazing atmosphere out there, but it’s definitely all business when you’re on the court. There’s a lot of tough situations. No matter what position you get in your opponent is still trying to figure out how to win the match. You don’t have time to start enjoying the moment and looking around. You know, sports just doesn’t work that way.
Q. Coming and going or practicing…
VENUS WILLIAMS: Clearly enjoy the game to be here. I love what I do.
Q. After a tough match like that, do you expect that you’ll go out now and watch Serena’s match in person? What do you think that will be like as she goes for that 308th major victory?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, the match is on right now. Of course I like her chances. You know, I’m sure that her opponent wants to win, too. She’s going to have to be able to still play well no matter who’s across the net.
But of course, you know, I’m hoping that she’ll get the win.
Q. Do you expect to go out and watch it?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I haven’t even thought about that. I still have other stuff I’ve got to do. Hopefully maybe she will win quickly and then I won’t even have to think about it. (Smiling.)
Q. If you can think back to the match point that you had, is there anything you think you could have done differently or wished you had done differently on that point?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really. I mean, she had a great serve. She hit another great shot and I still played a great defensive shot. I did the best I could on that. Whenever you have a match point on someone else’s serve, it’s a little bit of an asterisk. I really have no regrets on that.
I had a little bad luck trying to hold serve. It wasn’t ideal.
Q. Just more generally, as a player in the latter stages of a match, if you do have a match point and are unable to convert it at that point being close to victory, is it easy to move on from that? Does it ever linger in your mind as the match progresses?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Not really in this case, because I was never in control of that point, even though I played a great point. It was really a little bit out of my hands. Had I reached match point on my serve, then of course I’d think about it a lot more.
But I really played the perfect point there, and she managed to stay alive.
Q. Many of your matches here have been heart breakers. (Indiscernible.)
VENUS WILLIAMS: I live in the present so I move on. I learn from this and I just keep going.
Q. You said sky’s the limit for every player and that individuals have to set their own goals and what they can do. You have had a great career and are still having one. What goals do you have for yourself at this point?
VENUS WILLIAMS: To continue to play better tennis. At this point my goals are just to cut back on my errors. I feel like if I convert a few more points, a few less errors, then this kind of match is mine.
That’s a balance that you make when you play the kind of game that I play. You have to figure out the balance. I was clearly the more aggressive player all the time, but I have to put the ball in the court.
Q. Have you made any specific dietary changes to ensure your longevity?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I’m always working on it. I’m always working on it. That’s my life right now.
Q. Specifically, what are the things…
VENUS WILLIAMS: It’s a long story. Next time. (Laughter.)
S. WILLIAMS/Y. Shvedova
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. 308, you’re now ahead of Roger. What does this milestone mean to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it’s really exciting. I just think winning 308 matches in general is pretty awesome. For that to be in a Grand Slam is pretty cool.
Q. Would you care to elaborate on just the significance of that specific number and how you think it compares with some of the other milestones that you’ve achieved.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It’s a huge number. I think it’s very significant actually. I think it’s something that, you know, just really talks about the length of my career, in particular. I’ve been playing for a really long time, but also, you know, given that consistency up there. That’s something that I’m really proud of.
Q. Do you think it’s felt like business as usual? Through the first four matches, has it felt pretty ‘standard’ for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I just feel like I’m going out there doing what I need to do. I’m not overplaying, I’m not underplaying. I’m just trying to play my way into this tournament.
Q. Many players retire early. Talk about your pride in the length of your work. What has been involved in all the grinding and hard work?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can’t really speak to it. I think it just comes from a different place of the just love and really enjoying it. I definitely never thought I would be playing still. Now I don’t really see when I’m going to stop because I’m just enjoying these moments out here, getting to break records that I didn’t even know existed or I didn’t even know was possible.
I think when you really enjoy what you do, it’s different.
Q. Do you think the times off, all those hardships, then getting Patrick to come on, was all that really key and helpful in a way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think everything just kind of worked out the way it was supposed to, even though I probably didn’t want to be injured, I didn’t want to have those surgeries. I feel like it was able to help me stay out here longer.
Q. Were you able to watch Venus’ rollercoaster match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was really trying to warm up. I get really nervous when I watch, so I didn’t really see much.
Q. Did you know when you took the court what happened?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course. I knew that she lost when it was over. But I didn’t really watch what was going on.
Q. You have not been broken this tournament. You’ve literally faced one breakpoint. When you’re serving that well, how much does that bleed into the rest of your game? Do you feel like it offers you the chance to swing more freely, play your return games with more aggression?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I feel like it definitely helps me to be able to know that I can hold. Yeah, I definitely feel like I can play returns easier.
But with that being said, I’m just trying to stay in that serving moment, just not serve over myself, just get high percentages in.
Q. You said on court you didn’t really know why you’re serving so well.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, ’cause I don’t think I really served in the summer until I got here to New York, so… It was a really tough summer for me. Maybe that’s the key (smiling).
Q. Many players are making the quarterfinals here for the first time, making it to the final eight club. Do you know about that and is it an important thing for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: My first time being in the quarterfinals, I felt like I needed to go further. I’m sure a lot of people feel that way, too. That’s just how I felt.
Q. Do you plan on coming back to these tournaments in the future when you stop playing? Do you think we’ll see you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know honestly. I can’t say that you wouldn’t. I’ve had so many wonderful memories at every single Grand Slam. But I would imagine I would want to come back and enjoy it as a spectator, just really have that fun and enjoy that.
I would imagine, absolutely.
Q. Visualization. How important is that for you to be able to see yourself as the 2016 US Open winner?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it’s really important. You have to see it and believe it before it happens, you know. I think that is something that is super important.
Q. It’s your fifth Open since you and Patrick teamed up together. Could you speak a little bit about his integration into your team and the evolution of your relationship with him over the last four years.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It’s been amazing. I absolutely love working with him as a coach. I don’t know what it is about our chemistry. We just tend to work great together. It just works.
He’s been a great addition to my team. He always has my best interests. So I think that’s really important, as well.
Q. We had the greatest athlete discussion the other day. Do you ever think about what other sports you may have been great at?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really. I definitely want to stick to tennis right now. But, no, I never really thought about it.
Q. Could you have seen yourself even playing anything else when you were little or trying anything else?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I definitely did more artsy sports when I was growing up. Yeah, I wouldn’t know what I would be doing. Probably, if anything, I’d be in the fashion business, yeah.
Q. I don’t know if you can handle this technical question. I noticed you have very long nails. Do you play tennis with those or you just come in the press conference with those?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, I pop them off before I play. And then I do them right before press just so I can impress you (smiling).
Q. They look nice.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Thank you.
Q. Can you think of a favorite memory or story relating to Armstrong Stadium?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I played Kim Clijsters there in ’99. I want to say it was like the third round maybe. Boy, it was a tough one. I was down. Somehow managed to come back and win that match.
No one knew who Kim Clijsters was at the time. She became such a wonderful, great player. I was just on the come-up myself. That propelled me to win my first Open. That’s something I’ll never forget.
Q. You haven’t faced a seeded player. You’ll face one next with Simona. Do you recognize that as being a step up? Do you take it just as a quarterfinal match, another opponent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just think with everyone I play, they play a step up and above their ranking. I think that’s the beauty, one of the reasons I’m able to hang. Everyone I’m playing is playing like they’re No. 1.
To me it doesn’t really matter who I play because I have to expect they’re going to play the match of their life. That’s how I go into these matches now.
Q. The other day you said you were waiting for Serena to come out again. Is this about as close as it’s going to get? Was she there today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, she’s coming. She hasn’t quite come out yet, though.
J. DEL POTRO/D. Thiem
6-3, 3-2 (ret.)
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please. What was the injury.
DOMINIC THIEM: It was the knee. So, yeah, I had some problems with blisters, and maybe because of the compensation the knee started to hurt.
But anyway, I’m going to do an MRI now in the next couple hours, and then I will have more information about it.
Q. When did you start feeling it? What were you feeling?
DOMINIC THIEM: Started two or three days ago I think already. Didn’t get that much better.
Yeah, at the beginning of the match it was basically okay, but maybe also because of all the excitement and this. And, yeah, from the end of first set, beginning of second set, it got worse and worse. No other choice.
Q. How disappointing was this for you? You were right there.
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, every time you have to retire it’s disappointing, of course. But, yeah, I mean, knee is something where you shouldn’t try out too much.
Yeah, I have to check it out and then I will see how it’s going.
Q. When did the pain started? Did you play 100% in any time of the game?
DOMINIC THIEM: I have the pain since three days and never got — got a little bit better maybe over the night, but then it started again.
Yeah, in the beginning of the match it was okay. But, yeah, in no time of the match I could bend my knees. Like I couldn’t bend it too much like the last three days.
So I was all the time a little bit handicapped.
Q. You were feeling this in your third-round match?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well he, it started very slowly. That’s why I thought it because of the blister, because of the compensation, because I already had it a couple of times.
So I thought, yeah, if the blister is gone I can walk normal again. It’s also the knee pain goes away. Was not the case, unfortunately.
But, yeah, third-round match, well, I felt it in the morning a little bit but during the match, no.
Yeah, it started basically in the evening two days ago.
Q. So the issue with the knee was blister? Which knee was it?
DOMINIC THIEM: It was the right knee.
Q. But it was blister?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, the blister was on the toes, but I was all the time like somehow running strange because I couldn’t put all the pressure on the toes.
So that’s what I thought, you know. But, yeah, I have to do MRI because…
Q. MRI for the knee?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah.
Q. You were playing very good in the first games of the match. Do you think you would have beaten Del Potro if you were 100% healthy?
DOMINIC THIEM: Nobody knows.
Q. This was your 69th match which leads the ATP. How will you approach your schedule next year based on what you’ve learned this year?
DOMINIC THIEM: For sure I will adapt it a little bit. Yeah, I never expected to play that many matches of course this year. But, yeah, it happened obviously, and for sure next year I’m going to change it up a little bit.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about how you saw Juan Martin Del Potro playing today, at least in the first set, first games where you were feeling healthy? And if you think that right now Del Potro can beat anyone in the circuit again?
DOMINIC THIEM: Of course the forehand is amazing, and also the service is really good. Backhand probably not like when he was at his best, but I think it’s getting better and better.
He’s unbelievable dangerous player.
Juan Martin Del Potro
J. DEL POTRO/D. Thiem
6-3, 3-2 (ret.)
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. First of all, how do you feel? After all these matches in a row, winning, you weren’t probably expecting 15, 20 days ago, how does it feel? Are you surprised in a way about this?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yes, a little bit. I didn’t expect to be in quarters in my second Grand Slam after my comeback. I’m doing in a good way because I’m playing good tennis. My level is growing up every day.
I’m so glad to be part of the last eight in this tournament, and that I will have the chance to play another big challenge after tomorrow. Everything can happen. So I will try to be there.
Q. After your third surgery did you ever have actual serious thoughts about retiring and stepping away from this? If you did not, did you have doubts that you would get back to a slam?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I was close to retired before my third surgery, but after that I always believe on myself to come back on tennis. When I made the decision to do the surgery, I always believe I will come back, for sure.
And after that, everything change to myself, and now I’m here. I’m playing free. I don’t have any big problems in my wrist, and that’s important. Sometimes bother me a little bit, but I can deal with that. I’m still improving my backhand.
Q. Did you have to make any adjustments today for wind or with the roof open?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, I think it was okay for us. The sound of the balls was much better than the other night.
I really enjoyed the crowd today, as well. It was okay.
Q. In Wimbledon you said the reason you cannot hit backhand with your hand is not only because of the pain. (Indiscernible.)
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I’m not worried about my wrist at the moment because I’m practicing every day. I’m playing matches every day. My wrist responds in the good way.
Now I have to hit my backhand even better than today for my next match. Here is a different surface than Wimbledon, so my slices doesn’t go too well as I did in Wimbledon.
But I’m okay with my level. I’m hitting good forehands. My serve is working good. I’m looking forward to do a good match after tomorrow.
Q. You have obviously had to develop through the injury, recovery period, one-handed backhand slicing a lot more than you used to do. Do you feel actually you have come out at the end of it with a stronger range of backhands than you did before the injury?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Yeah, I would like to improve my backhand as well now. I think with that change, my slices, my volley is improve a lot, because normally I didn’t use that shot and now I’m using very often.
But in the future, if can combine slices and volleys with my old backhand would be more dangerous for my game and I will be comfortable with all the weapons.
Q. What effect does what you did here in 2009 have on the way you have been able to keep confidence even through the worst of injuries and make this comeback?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, this tournament, it’s great for me. I always love to play in New York, in these stadiums. Of course I had a great memories from 2009, but now my person is completely different.
I enjoying even more when I get into the courts than years ago. I just want to play tennis in front of the big crowds. I’m so exciting to still winning matches and maybe be in the top positions in the future.
But I don’t care about that at the moment.
Q. How did the 2009 experience factor into your thinking as you had the worst of times with your injuries?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I think everything in 2009 is completely the past. You know, of course I asked for the wildcard here because of that memory, you know. I like to be here.
But now my life is different. I have a different game. I’m getting older. Everything is like new for me. It’s like a new career after my third surgery. I’m really enjoying this.
Q. How important was your round at the Olympics for the confidence?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, was very, very important because I start to believe in myself after that tournament. I’m feeling aggressive with my game. I’m feeling competitive in front of all of the players.
For all the players on tour are very important the confidence on court, and I think I’m in a good, in good shape to see the future.
Q. If you play Stan again, when you beat him at Wimbledon it seemed like a very big moment in your comeback, but you have had a lot of big moments since then. Can you think back to that match and how your summer has gone since then?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: It’s gonna be different match for sure. Different surface. Stan survives in the third round, I think. In the fifth he won a great match, and now he’s winning easily.
He will be the favorite to win in that match, but anything can happen in this event for me. I got the power from the crowd in every match, and that’s help me a lot to fight and to play my best tennis.
I’m confident with my level to do a good match.
Q. Talking a lot about your old backhand. When do you expect, if you expect, that the old backhand will be back? I mean, do you have any idea? And a doctor of yours tells you, Okay, next January you’ll be okay, or not?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, of course not. I will stay calm if that happens. But if you see my practice, my backhand is going —
Q. Getting better?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Getting better. It’s faster than in the match. At least I’m improving at practice. Then one day I will be playing the same way of the matches.
But nobody knows when it’s gonna be that day.
Q. How are you feeling as far as after your third-round match, and how did it help you today to only be out there for only an hour?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, of course it’s not good to win a match in this way. I’m very sad for him. I wish all the best. He’s a nice guy.
And for my body, could help a little bit. Right after the match I hit for a while again. I need to be 100% in the next round. I’m feeling little tired because I didn’t stop after Rio. My body feels that, but I will be okay.
Q. As you say, Stan here on this surface and at this tournament is very different than when you faced him at Wimbledon; you’re probably in a different spot with your comeback, as well. So considering both sides, whatsoever challenges do you see in that match?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, it’s gonna be interesting to play and to watch, for sure. We both play hard and we hit very hard the ball.
But depends of me. Depends of my game. Depends on my serve. Basically my forehands. And then I will try to play smarter than today.
Of course it’s gonna be a different match than Wimbledon because the surface, but if I’m okay and I feel good the ball, I will have a little chance to win.
Q. Are you superstitious a little bit? I mean, you think that history can repeat? 2009 first round you beat Juan Monaco. This time Schwartzman. Ferrer. This time Ferrer. That time Melzer and this time Dominic Thiem.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: I don’t remember. (Laughter.) I only remember the finals against Roger, and he’s not here. But it’s good point. (Laughter.)
S. HALEP/C. Suarez Navarro
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How would you describe the state of your game right now as you pursue winning your first major?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, my game now I feel is the best that I had ever, because I feel strong on my body. I feel that I can control every tactic during the match. I can change. I’m able to the change the tactic when I need.
I feel strong mentally, even if I have some bad moments during the matches. I feel that I play for every ball, so that means that I’m focused and I really want to win and I’m fighting.
It’s tough to say about the winning a Grand Slam because I never won, so I don’t know the feeling. But I’m working hard to reach that title, to make that dreams come true.
So I’m just working, dreaming at it, and if it’s gonna happen one day, I will be very happy.
Q. It might be Serena Williams may stand in the way of the dream in the next round. If you do play Serena Williams, what for you is the biggest mental challenge and the biggest physical challenge?
SIMONA HALEP: Mental challenge I think doesn’t have to be that important because she’s like the best player in the world. I don’t have to be afraid or to have emotions because I have nothing to lose. It’s just a huge challenge for me. Just playing my game; I will try to do that.
Physically I feel strong enough to face her, but you never know. She has a lot of power when she hits, so I have just to recover my body, to be 100% next round, and to give everything I have.
Q. When you have those moments where you get frustrated, you throw the racquet, are you mad about that particular shot that you missed or are you mad about the whole situation?
SIMONA HALEP: No, just that point. Actually, I’m working on it. I want to change it, but I have the permission from the coach that I can do this stuff when I feel because the next point I’m 100% and I play it to win. (Smiling.)
So I did this change. In the future maybe I will change also this feeling just to be more like positive and to hide more the negative one, even if I miss an easy shot.
Q. And throughout the first four matches, you have had really good first sets. Against Babos played well, but maybe a little bit dip in the second set. Is that a little bit loss of rhythm or nerves or…
SIMONA HALEP: I think nerves, yeah, first. And second, I think the opponents are starting to play really well after a good first set maybe they say that they have nothing to lose anymore and just go and play, in my opinion.
But it’s not easy to keep that rhythm for all match, so I’m trying to do that. But today was better. I had 5-3, but that little break maybe bothered me a little bit, and that’s why she came back good.
But, yeah, it was good, and I could handle the match in the second set and I’m really proud of that.
Q. Out on Armstrong, how different was it compared to Ashe?
SIMONA HALEP: Smaller. You can feel the difference straightaway. And I think the court is a little bit faster. So it was good for me today. I felt really well on that court.
Also, last year I played against Lisicki there, so I had good memories. You know, I just enjoy everywhere I play. I don’t care where I’m playing.
Q. What do you remember most about the first time you saw Serena Williams play, either on TV or…
SIMONA HALEP: Oh, a long time ago. I was a kid.
Q. Or across the net from her?
SIMONA HALEP: At that moment maybe I was dreaming to play against her once, because I was a kid and I didn’t know that I would be so in the top.
Like I said many times, I have learned from her many times. I admired her a lot, so it’s always good to play against her and it’s always good to watch what the best players are doing.
Q. What are some of the many things that you’ve learned?
SIMONA HALEP: Oh, she’s ambitious. She gives everything to win all the matches.
Her focus. She is focused and she doesn’t give up. Three things. And I’m not telling anymore. (Smiling.)
Q. How has that affected you?
SIMONA HALEP: Affected me when I play against her?
Q. No. In just learning that, what difference has that made for you?
SIMONA HALEP: Actually, I’m trying just to do the same things. I’m trying to learn from the best players. I’m trying just to get better and better with these things.
Q. Before the tournament started, did you know that you were in Serena’s quarter or did you just find out?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I knew. I knew. I will tell you something funny. Mr. Tiriac ask me, Where are you? I said, What do you mean? He said, In the draw. I said, I have no idea.
You play Serena or someone else? And I said, Yeah, okay, in Serena in quarterfinals, but it was too far.
Q. So Tiriac told you?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah.
Q. You found out from him?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah.
Q. That’s nice. But did that take any pressure off you, kind of knowing that you respect her so much and you know obviously she’s the No. 1 and dominating and the favorite in that match, did it take any pressure off you for the first part knowing that Serena was looming in the quarters?
SIMONA HALEP: Till now I didn’t feel any pressure. I just wanted to give everything every match. I feel, like I said, safe on my body and I feel that I have a chance every match when I go on court.
I was not thinking about playing against Serena this tournament because it’s far for me. Quarterfinals is pretty far, and you have to win four tough matches to get there.
If it’s gonna be her in the next match it’s gonna be a big challenge, and I have just to play my game, to be aggressive, because otherwise I have no chance.
Q. What do you think it is about your game that’s the most difficult for her?
SIMONA HALEP: Oh, I don’t know. (Smiling.) You have to ask her.
I don’t know. I feel that I have to play aggressive, because if I let her dominate the game it’s gonna be tough for me.
K. PLISKOVA/V. Williams
4-6, 6-4, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You’re standing out there at match point. The crowd was going crazy. Did you feel a little bit lonely at that time?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: A little bit. No, but at least I had my serve. So at least something was on my side. I played pretty good point. I was just thinking, I have to go, I have to put everything into this point. And, yeah, I made it.
Q. Could you talk us through that point. You decided where to serve?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I knew where to serve. I wanted to serve to her forehand. I did pretty good serve, then second shot. Then I went to take the volley.
I just wanted to play aggressive because I knew if she’s going to have a small chance to be aggressive, you know, she’s going to make the point. She stopped missing shots in the end of the third set, so I knew I have to be the one who is dictating the point.
Q. Do you think people will stop discussing now about your problems in Grand Slam tournaments?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Yeah, I hope they will stop. Even if they will discuss in the future, I don’t care anymore.
Q. What was going through your mind on your own match points you had previously?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, it was unlucky game because I wanted to risk the second serve when I was up 40-Love. Was a bad miss, double-fault. Then she did five winners in a row. I didn’t do much things bad. I didn’t serve first serve. That was a mistake.
But, yeah, she played everything great at that time. Obviously I was a little bit down after this game because I was so close. I believed I can close it in the last game for 7-5. But then I had to, you know, stay in the game because was last tiebreak in front of me. I couldn’t be just mad that I didn’t make it because I still had a chance to win the tiebreak.
Q. Do you think it takes a long time to learn how to play a match point the way you played the one against you, which is as well as it possibly could have been played?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I would say yes, you can have few good matches. But to win matches like this, it takes some time. You need to have experience definitely on the big stages, on the big tournaments.
I played against her, played good match against her in Zhuhai. Was also close, but I wouldn’t say it was like here. I was fighting with more things here, especially with the people as well. So it was more difficult.
Yeah, with years, with experience, I’m feeling better on these stages and against top players.
Q. Did you talk to Kristyna at all before the match or after the match? Any insight she can give you because she probably knows you better than anybody else.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Yeah, we talk all the time before the match and even after the match. She’s in China, so we have different times. She was sleeping when I went on the court. I think she was even looking, because she write me right after the match. But we talk every time.
Q. What is the most important thing she tells you before you go on court?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: We didn’t talk about tennis at all. I have three guys here with me, my boyfriend and two coaches. So I talk with them more.
Q. The expression most players use is, If I play to my game, to the best of my ability, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is. When you were out there today, what was your thought process as far as who was on the other side of the net and what relevance was that to your thinking?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I still had my game plan, but also a little bit difficult because the first few games she came up and she was playing really aggressive. I didn’t have much chance to do anything. I wasn’t serving well. She put a lot of pressure on my second serve. She was just the one who was playing aggressive and not me.
The beginning she was just much better than me. But I knew I still going to get the chance, she cannot hold like this. I don’t think there is a player who can hold like this for two sets, especially in girls. So I knew I’m going to get my chance. I got it even in the first set. Like I said, I wasn’t serving pretty well, so that was tough. I went through everything through the second serve. She is so aggressive on the return. I didn’t have many chance there.
In the second set I improved a lot my serve, even the strokes. I was the one who was more aggressive in the end.
Q. What do you think you do best besides serve?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I think I improved my return a lot. So I’m trying to going into every second serve. But with her it’s tough because she’s having such a good serve, even the first one, even the second. So sometimes it’s tough.
But I’m trying to go and be the one who is dictating the rally first.
Q. The crowd was pretty loud today. How did the crowd compare to other crowds you’ve seen before?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, that was the biggest stage what I’ve played. In States obviously against American girl, I knew it’s going to be tough. I knew if she’s down or if it’s somewhere close that the people will cheer for her.
But, you know, I just wanted to beat her, not the crowd, which is impossible to beat 23,000 people. I just were not thinking about the crowd there.
I had my box there. I had my people there. In the important moments, they helped me. I knew they are with me there, so was enough for me.
Q. In all of your matches this week you have been very calm and very measured, even. Were you nervous today, even in the dicey moments in the end?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I was kind of nervous. It was not nervous like shaky. I knew was big match. Maybe if I win it, I’m in quarterfinals. If I lose, I would be sad but still would be a good match. No one would say anything to me because was my first fourth round.
But I was little bit nervous. But in the end I was still saying to myself, I have to be aggressive, not be the one who is pushing. I was fighting with the nerves. I want to just go through and hitting as many first serves as I can.
Q. What were you able to take out of the match from Zhuhai and apply here, if at all?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I was going in my mind through that match, even with my coach. Even it’s not that far what we played, this one. And she played unbelievable match there, as well. Me, as well. I knew it’s going to be tough. Even if I’m playing well, doesn’t mean I will win.
I just, you know, tried my best. She came up the same way where she came up there. She started pretty well. She’s so aggressive, if she’s playing her game, you don’t have any chance to do anything. She’s returning well, serves well. She can serve four aces in one game. There’s not much to do about this.
But like I said, I tried to stay in the game. I got my chances in the first set. In the second set she slowed down a little bit on the first serve, I would say. So it wasn’t that fast anymore. It was more through the rallies. In the rallies, I have bigger chance to win.
Q. In Cincinnati you spoke about the experience of Fed Cup having helped you sort of be ready for the next stage up. You’ve had a lot of pressure matches. How has all that helped you be more prepared for the stage of the US Open?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Definitely that was one of the biggest step for what I did with winning Cincinnati. I had some pressure matches there, as well. Then the semifinal, final against top-five girls, which is never easy. Even if they are not playing that good, it is still hard to beat them.
So it was a big step and big success. So I took a lot from that week. I’m really happy that I took it here with me in New York, and it’s paying even here. I still continue to do the same things what I did before. Like we already talk before, I was struggling a little bit with my game on the Grand Slams. I knew I can play big tennis and good matches, but I couldn’t just, you know, put it in the Grand Slams. I felt little bit pressure on myself.
So happy that right now it’s all paid off and I finally find my game.
Q. You’ve joined the last eight club. Does that mean something to you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: That was the first thing my coach told me. Now since you are in the last eight club, you are going to have one extra badge every year.
I said, Yeah, that’s why I was fighting there.
Just excited to be there. For me this last eight cup doesn’t mean as much to be in the quarterfinal this year.
Q. Venus is 36 years old. How impressive is it to you that she can still play like that?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, it’s huge, huge tennis what she’s still playing at that age. I still have the feeling she can play for so many years because she’s moving so well. I don’t know how she feels. But she’s still playing so fast and serving.
If she stays healthy, I think she can still play few years. I remember her, I was little girl watching her, obviously Serena, on TV. They are still playing. They are still playing the best tennis ever. It’s amazing.
Q. Do you think you’ll still be doing that at 36?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Me? No.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Well, tennis is a lot for me, but I also want to do other things in the life. But I’m not even 30 yet, so let’s see.
Q. They said they wouldn’t be playing this long either, just so you know.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Yeah.
Q. Do you think you can win, be the champion? Have you actually visualized yourself being a champion? Can you see a picture of that?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I’m not thinking about this thing at all. I know it’s still far. It’s closer than it was yesterday, but it’s still far.
What I know, I’m waiting for Radwanska there, which is the girl I never beat, I never did a set on her. I mean, everything is different probably this week. But I have to take it step by step, so I’m not thinking about any trophy this week here yet. Well see.
Q. Now that you sit there making the quarterfinals, how big was that decision not to play the Olympics? Do you think it’s cause and effect at all?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely like I told you already, I did two weeks good preparation home, which probably paid off. But also could happen that I will lose, I don’t know, in quarters with Kuznetsova in Cincinnati. I could lose this one here.
Even if I lose those matches, I would not change my decision what I did because of the Olympics. When you have tough weeks like this and tough days like this, you cannot just play everything. It’s impossible. I just want to stay healthy and put everything into the tournaments, into the big tournaments like this.
That’s why I play the tennis. So for me this is more than Olympics. I’m just really happy that my decision, it wasn’t easy decision, but I’m happy that it paid off.
Q. The third set, you serve a first serve and you fault, some people cheer. Do you notice? Do you care?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Yes, I heard that. Yeah, I was a little bit mad sometimes on the people. But on the other hand maybe if I would be in Czech they would be the same. I was thinking, I cannot think about the people because if I would put it in my head, I would be missing. I cannot be thinking about the things around. I just have to be me on the court and my game.
But this was not nice, and it was some close situation, I’m not sure which score it was. But when you miss a first serve, it’s always tough. Even when she put the pressure on the returns and the people put the pressure between the first serve and second serve, it’s not nice, but I’m happy that I handle it.
S. WAWRINKA/I. Marchenko
6-4, 6-1, 6-7, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Being No. 3 in the world, it seems this US Open is very focused on Djokovic and Nadal coming from injuries, del Potro coming back. Do you find you’re flying underneath the radar? You haven’t been on Ashe. Does it bother you? Less pressure?
STAN WAWRINKA: I played first match on Arthur Ashe, first round. But it’s okay.
No, I don’t mind. I don’t mind. It’s normal that all the focus are on Novak and Andy. They’re the two big favorite of the tournament. Del Potro coming back from injury, playing really well again. He won here.
So I don’t really mind. I’m doing my tournament, and we’ll see at the end.
Q. Five-setter the other night, tough match today. How are you feeling physically right now?
STAN WAWRINKA: I feel good. I was a little bit tired yesterday. I didn’t really know what to expect today, this morning. But since the beginning, I was feeling 100%. I was feeling good on the court. Even if it was close from three hours, I don’t think it’s going to affect a lot in two days.
So far I think I’m feeling great.
Q. How can you look forward to the next round? The best backhand meets the best forehand in the next round. It’s on a surface which you’ve never met del Potro, hard court.
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, it’s going to be good challenge to play against him. I’m excited to play against him in the quarterfinal here at the US Open. We play each other already this year at Wimbledon. He beat me. So it’s going to be a good match again.
He’s playing really well. I saw him playing against Ferrer. He’s playing really strong. In Olympic also, is there, is beating the top guys also.
It’s going to be difficult match. But for both of us I think it’s going to be important to try to dictate and be aggressive on the court.
Q. (Question about comparing next round to past matches against each other.)
STAN WAWRINKA: Yes, there’s many things. But in the same time it’s different tournament, different surface. It’s not the second round, also. It’s the quarter. There’s many thing that’s going to be completely new. We never play each other on hard court, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it’s going to be also, how his ball is going to be, how he’s going to play also.
But for sure I have a few things I don’t want to do that I did in Wimbledon.
Q. Give us your assessment of the match today. What was working for you? What were the particular challenges he presented for you?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think in general was really good match except served for the match in the third set. Was really windy. Maybe we don’t see from outside, but on the court was really, really windy, so wasn’t easy to play nice and good tennis. I had to adapt a little bit. I had to play with those conditions, try to make it work for myself.
In general I’m really happy to have won again four sets. I could have won in three, but it happened in four. There’s a lot of positives to be in quarterfinal again.
Q. At all four Grand Slams, you’re in the last eight club.
STAN WAWRINKA: That’s good.
Q. Just wondering how that changes your life.
STAN WAWRINKA: No, that’s great. I think I never imagine having that career when I was younger, to have won two Grand Slams so far. So, yeah, I’m really happy with all the result I’m doing, especially in Grand Slam.
Q. In the club, have you enjoyed any of the benefits of that?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think not yet. As long as you play, you don’t enjoy anything in a Grand Slam. You just have some busy day, trying to make it work to go far in the tournament.
That’s something for sure you can enjoy when you retired and come back. I think it’s a great thing for explayer to come back and watch some tennis, have the possibility to invite some guests.
Q. When things don’t go well for you, we saw that in the five-setter the other night, you seem to regroup really well. There’s a strong belief you can get out of the situation. Is that how you feel when you’re in a bit of trouble?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, that’s most of the time what I feel. I always think there is a solution during the match. Always try to find what I can do better. The only thing I can really control is the way I’m fighting. That’s what I did the other night, is trying to fight as much as I could to win the match.
I turn it. For sure you always get a little bit lucky when you save match point. But I’m really happy now because I won again today and now I’m in quarterfinal.
Q. Against del Potro, do the tactics change because of the way he hits his backhand compared to the way he did before?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t really think so. When I play him on grass, he was slicing a lot, that’s for sure. But also was good on grass to do the slice he was doing.
If I look now the way he’s playing on hard court, against Ferrer, against all the other players in the Olympics, his backhand is strong. He’s returning. He doesn’t use the slice as much as he did on grass.
At the end I think the tactic is more or less the same.
K. NISHIKORI/I. Karlovic
6-3, 6-4, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Talk about how happy you are with your game against Ivo. Did Ivo seem a little off today or were you just ready for him?
KEI NISHIKORI: I don’t know. I just, you know, focus my tennis. Today I return really well. That’s for sure help my game today. Able to get the break, you know, first and second set early. So that makes me a little more relax.
And, yeah, my serve was much better today. Able to hit a lot of first serve in. Third set, it was a little bit tight in the end. But, yeah, really good focus today. Happy with my win today.
Q. For a big server like Ivo, did you work on your return?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, it’s never easy, someone serving like Ivo. You know, great first serve, and second serve too. It’s never easy to return those kind of serves.
I mean, I practiced little bit yesterday. But, you know, I tried to stay down. I been returning well, so that’s also helping today’s game, too. Yeah, especially today I think play one of the best match, serve, return, everything, groundstrokes. So was good match.
K. NISHIKORI/I. Karlovic
6-3, 6-4, 7-6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How were you feeling out on the court today? You seemed sluggish in the first two sets.
IVO KARLOVIC: In the beginning, it was horrible. I didn’t really feel the ball or anything. But then as the match was going on, I did begin to play a little bit better.
Actually in the end, was really good. But it was late already.
Q. Were you tired?
IVO KARLOVIC: Tired a little bit. Also all my earlier matches were in the night. It was day match. It was completely different conditions. It was also little bit windy, I guess. I don’t know. I just didn’t feel the ball at all.
Q. Did you see something different in Nishikori’s game since last time?
IVO KARLOVIC: No, nothing changed. I mean, if I hit an ace, there is nothing to change. I don’t know about the question.
Q. Are you happy with your performance? You’ve had a great summer. Are you a little disappointed?
IVO KARLOVIC: No, it was great. This was my best US Open ever. I never reached this far. Always you want more. It would be better if I played well today. But didn’t happen.
All in all, it was really great US Open for me.
A. MURRAY/G. Dimitrov
6-1, 6-2, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Describe what you were feeling out on court tonight.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, first, obviously it’s a great experience for me to get out there and play a night match on Ashe. Obviously I’m very disappointed from the result. I feel I’ve been doing really well the past five, six weeks, practicing-wise, winning a few good and close matches when I had to.
Obviously today I ran out of fuel I think physically and mentally. For sure I was a little bit overwhelmed to get out there, you know, playing that prime time match. Of course, it’s a great experience for me. Andy right now is the best player out there. Of course, he deserves all the credit today.
Q. How difficult was it to play against Andy tonight?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I knew what I had to do. I didn’t execute things the right way. I did a lot of unforced errors. First serve was gone. Andy was just putting everything back in the court.
I didn’t feel he played unbelievable tennis, but I felt I just did a lot of mistakes. For sure he has a lot of confidence right now, a lot of matches behind his back. For sure he knows how to play in moments like that. Pretty experienced player.
So, yeah, it’s all my fault what happened on the court out there.
Q. Did you feel early on that it wasn’t going to be your night tonight?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: The thing is I tried. It’s not that I didn’t try. This is what I just said to my coach right now in the locker room. I mean, I knew Andy is going to play good tennis.
Even the first game I had breakpoints. Pretty unlucky I think the first game, especially with the two serves on the line.
What else? I mean, how would you know? I mean, anything can happen at any moment during a match. Obviously the first set, I felt, I mean, okay, it’s just the first set. Slowly I think he was just getting his way into the court. He was moving me well, playing the right shots, just executing a lot of balls the right way.
Even if I just kept trying, I kept missing or I was going for a little bit too much on the shots. As I said, Andy is the best player right now out there for me, so he deserved the win today, for sure.
Q. How do you look at your US Open overall?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, as I said, I think it’s been a great almost 10 weeks of traveling for me, starting in Washington. A few stumbles here and there, obviously a lot of traveling, a lot of practice and everything.
I’m kind of looking forward to just step back for maybe a week, just rest a little bit, just analyze what has been happening. But, as I said, especially the past five, six weeks I feel I’ve been doing the right things, been really good with my professionalism on and off the court. Discipline has been better I think overall. My game plan is a little bit better.
So I think things are moving a little bit forward. Again, I’m pretty disappointed right now. It’s very hard for me to hide it. I expected definitely better from myself. But I just ran out of gas. I think not so much physically, but I think it was just more emotionally, mentally. I knew that I was just getting a little bit tired.
A. MURRAY/G. Dimitrov
6-1, 6-2, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Where does that rank performance-wise?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I played very well. Tactically I played a very good match. I don’t think I made any mistakes there. I kept good concentration throughout.
Yeah, I mean, it was a really good match. I think Grigor played his best, but I didn’t really give him a chance to get into the match.
Q. Is it just the way things eke out? It was so different to the way you played against Lorenzi.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, that’s the beauty of an individual sport. Just because you play badly a couple of days ago doesn’t mean I’m going to play badly tonight.
My best tennis is in there. Not every day do you play your best. When you’re not playing, as I said the other day, when you don’t play your best and win, it’s a really positive thing. A lot of people worry about that or panic, like, This is terrible. You played one bad match.
I won. I’m still in the tournament. I was able to play great tennis today.
Q. It seemed like Grigor was a bit overwhelmed by playing a night match on Ashe. Were you able to sense that and take advantage of that?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think that helped. I mean, I don’t think he started the match, like, really badly. He had a couple of breakpoints in the first game. I don’t think he started, like, really badly.
But once I got up in the score, wasn’t giving him any free points, I could sense it was getting tough for him. I just wanted to keep my foot on the gas, which I didn’t really do the other day. That was the one thing that I wasn’t happy with against Lorenzi. When I did win a first set that was tight, didn’t play my best, I kind of let him back into the match after I got a break early in the second.
I wanted too make sure today if I got ahead, I stayed on top of him, I didn’t have any dip in concentration or my level, and I stuck to my tactics that were working well. That was it.
It’s easier for him to him to answer how he felt about the situation or the occasion. I just know from my side, I didn’t give him an opportunity once I was ahead to let him back in the match.
Q. Did you do anything different to prepare, considering he’s had success against you in the past?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. Well, clearly not because normally if you’ve lost against someone the last time, that would suggest you might be more nervous going in against him or whatever. I didn’t feel like that tonight. I was well-prepared.
I try to, in slams, it’s maybe a little bit easier to prepare for matches than it is at other events because often you’re playing back-to-back days and you don’t have as much time to do a practice session beforehand to work on some of the things you might need to use against them.
Yesterday, had a good practice. Went over the game plan. Was pretty clear with what I wanted to do.
The last match we played I don’t think had any bearing on tonight.
Q. You’re going to play Nishikori. You have a very good record against him. Do you think you’re comfortable to play against him in terms of playing style or experience?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I think Kei is pretty experienced now. I don’t think that will be the difference in the match.
I have played well against him in the past. But, you know, he likes these conditions. He plays well in New York. He’s made his only slam final here. He beat Novak here. He’s obviously I think playing pretty well this summer. He played some good stuff at the Olympics and won the bronze.
I played a really good match against him when we played a few weeks ago. I’m aware I’ll need to do that again in a couple days if I want to beat him because he’s one of the best players in the world, plays extremely well on hard court.
It’s going to be very, very tough.
Q. (Question about serving fastest serve in tournament.)
ANDY MURRAY: I haven’t really. You know, I mean, I didn’t hit like a bunch of serves that were like 139, 140, 141. I think that was just a one-off serve. Sometimes the gun can be a bit wrong possibly.
I served a bunch in the low 130s, mid-130s, which was good. I got a lot of free points with my serve tonight, which I did the first match against Rosol but maybe not so much against Granollers and Lorenzi.
You know, the conditions do a lot for you to serve quick. You know, the balls are fast. I wanted to use that to my advantage as the tournament goes on. I did go up in tension a little bit from the last match. Maybe that allowed me to feel like I was able to swing a little bit harder.
Yeah, haven’t changed anything technically in my serve in the last 48 hours.
Q. I wonder if you saw much of Kyle’s match last night. If you did, what did you make of his performance and of Novak’s?
ANDY MURRAY: I saw like nine, ten points. I’ve been sleeping great since I’ve been here. I don’t know why. Last night I tried to get in bed early and I slept for 12 hours straight. I never do that. I never sleep that long.
I went to bed very early. I spoke to Leon a little bit today. It seemed like Novak played extremely well, and Kyle maybe didn’t play as well as he could until the third set.
But, again, it’s not maybe Kyle’s fault. If Novak plays great tennis, it’s not easy to play well against him. Maybe it wasn’t until the third set that maybe Novak’s level dropped a little bit which allowed Kyle to play a bit better.
It’s not easy playing against the best player in the world in a night match when you’ve never played on that court before. It’s tricky. I’m sure Kyle will learn from it.
But he’s had a great, great tournament.
Q. Do you already have the next Davis Cup semifinal on your mind? What are your expectations?
ANDY MURRAY: It’s kind of in the back of my mind, yeah. I’m not thinking about it too much. I mean, I’m guessing I’ll obviously be in the team. Yeah, head there pretty much as soon as I’m finished here. Maybe have a couple of days at home, then start getting ready for that.
But, yeah, it should be a good match. I mean, Del Potro is obviously playing very well just now, which when the tie was sort of first scheduled, we didn’t know really whether he was going to play or how he was feeling. But he’s playing great just now. They have a lot of players to choose from.
It’s going to be, I think, an exciting Davis Cup match. The crowd will definitely help us. There’s always a great atmosphere there.
Q. (Question regarding being in favor of shortening matches.)
ANDY MURRAY: I’m not. I’m not really pro shortening matches at the slams. I’m not necessarily against it either. If that is the way that sort of tennis is going and that is what fans and TV want, that’s what they want to see, then we go for it or try it at least.
That’s the thing. You don’t have to stick by something. You can try it, see how it goes, potentially go back. That’s also a possibility.
But, yeah, I’m not there to just sort of represent myself. You’re there to do what the whole tour wants. If the tour wants to go to shorter matches, then that’s fine. We can try it. If it’s a success, great. If it’s not, we go back to the old way.
But I think it’s quite a long way from happening. I’m happy to try stuff. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, then you can always change back.
Q. Now that you’re on the ATP players council, where do you stand on the fifth-set tiebreak or playing it out?
ANDY MURRAY: I think it doesn’t affect loads of matches really. I think shortening the matches, doing it by playing first to four in sets, first to five even, or best-of-three, whatever, is a better way of shortening matches rather than just the tiebreak in the fifth set. I don’t know how many tiebreaks in the fifth set has there been here. One, two. Do you know?
Q. I don’t know.
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know either. But I’d imagine it’s not very many. Then there would be like, I don’t know, 15, 20 five-set matches. It would make sense to look at that first if you were wanting to shorten matches rather than the tiebreak in the fifth, in my opinion.
Q. I’m looking at your match against Nishikori in the Davis Cup, for example.
ANDY MURRAY: What happened there? We didn’t go to a tiebreak in the fifth, did we?
Q. Sorry, excuse me.
ANDY MURRAY: Close, but not quite. I think, yeah, it was 6-3 in the fifth maybe. I don’t know, 6-3, 6-1.
Q. When you see other players playing well, does it affect how you play? Do you think about sending a message out to other players in the tournament?
ANDY MURRAY: Not purely because I know how much can change in a couple of days. Also matchups, as well. Like the way I would play against Kei would be very different how I would try to play against Grigor.
You know, it’s good for myself. I’m more sort of concerned about how I’m feeling just now. It was a very quick match, one where I played very well, got a little bit of confidence back after not playing well a couple days ago. That was very positive for me.
If it has an impact on any of the other players in the tournament, I don’t know. You’d have to ask them. But I certainly wasn’t out on the court thinking about Kei when I was playing, or Stan or del Potro, anyone else that’s left in my half of the draw. I’m just trying to win the matches as quickly and efficiently as I can.
A. KONJUH/A. Radwanska
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Describe what it was like on the court today.
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Well, she was playing pretty good tennis, serving very well. I just couldn’t do any more I guess today. I was really trying. I was just too slow today.
Q. With her power, it’s a difficult thing to defuse. What were you trying to do to get her out of rhythm tonight?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: I was just trying to mix it up and not play in one spot.
Well, sometimes is difficult when the ball is going really big from the other side. So it’s hard to control, really put the ball where you want.
That’s what I was trying to do. But, well, she was really solid.
Q. Did you feel like the match was in your hands at all tonight or was it really on her racquet the way she was playing?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Well, there’s always a way to turn it around. That’s tennis, so anything can happen. Definitely it was only one break in the beginning, then I was not really close to break again. Maybe there was one or two chances. Then I didn’t really hold my serve. I didn’t serve good enough.
Then, well, I’m here not as a winner.
Q. Do you think the roof made any difference? Would you have rather played that match in open air than with the roof closed?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: I’m not really sure why they close the roof.
Q. Did they tell you anything?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Well, the risk of rain. But, well, there was always risk of rain, I guess.
Q. So you would have preferred if it was open?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: I don’t know what would happen if that would be open. Sometimes I just don’t understand why they’re closing the roof.
Q. You’re the only top player that’s played her twice now. What is it about her game that makes her a top-rated 18-year-old?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Well, she’s really making good angles in the rallies. You go from very far from the court, then she have open court. That’s dangerous. She makes good angles from both sides, and of course good serve as well. That makes it really dangerous opponent.
A. KONJUH/A. Radwanska
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Can you just describe reaching your first quarterfinals of a major.
ANA KONJUH: Yeah, I’m just really happy. I played her in Wimbledon. It was a tough match. This time I took opportunities. You know, I was just going for it. It was the key of the match, so…
Q. Is it fair to say that’s the best match you’ve played on the pro level?
ANA KONJUH: Probably, yeah. My coach said so. I believe her. I mean, I’m obviously seeing that from the other side. I’m real excited about my performance tonight. My serve was pretty good tonight. I don’t think she had any answers.
So, you know, I just took the opportunity and went for it, enjoyed the moment.
Q. How much were you able to enjoy it? It’s Ashe, the roof is closed, sound is weird, playing Aga. How calm were you out there?
ANA KONJUH: Yeah, this is my first time playing on Ashe actually. Under the roof, it’s a new thing this year. I’m real happy I got to experience that. It’s a bit different than usual.
I think that suit me better than her. I didn’t have any wind or sun or anything that’s going to distract me, so I just played my game and gave my best.
Q. On court you said it’s been a tough season. What’s been so tough about it?
ANA KONJUH: I had a few health issues. I had my back. Then I sprained my ankle with Aga in Wimbledon. I was out for like two or three months. That’s kind of had an effect on me.
I’m still young. I still need to experience things. I think I didn’t have that many matches as I should. It was tough to come back every time.
But, you know, here I am in the quarterfinals of the Grand Slam, so I cannot complain.
Q. Some fans at the US Open are probably getting to know about you. Did you know until a few days ago when people went onto the website to look at your matches, your picture wasn’t even there. Did you notice that?
ANA KONJUH: I saw on the live score, yeah, on the US Open app, yeah, it says like bio or something. I don’t know if I have a picture now.
Q. Did it bother you? Are you fine with it?
ANA KONJUH: No, not really. Like probably most of the other players that are young or coming didn’t have pictures. I don’t think that’s a really big issue.
Q. What was your reaction? Did you know what was going on when that noise came as you served in the last game?
ANA KONJUH: Yeah, I heard players complaining about it. So when they told me that they are closing the roof, I was like, okay, let’s experience that. I didn’t play under it.
But it didn’t bother me that much. I hear the ball. I just didn’t hear maybe the umpire that well. But with the music and everything, I mean, I won tonight, so I cannot complain about anything.
Q. The last game as you were tossing the ball for a serve…
ANA KONJUH: Yeah, I don’t know what was that. I just got scared at the moment. You’re focused on tossing the ball. Then something’s happening. Yeah, I don’t know.
Q. Does joining the last eight club mean anything to you? Do you know much about that?
ANA KONJUH: Last eight, like quarterfinalists?
Q. There’s a club you get to join now.
ANA KONJUH: Oh, I didn’t know that. I do now.
It’s really a privilege for me to be here, just playing for the finals. I’m 18. I won the juniors here. I have good memories. I love the city. I’m just really happy just to have this chance.
Q. Lately in the women’s and men’s game, it’s been mostly older players at the top. Do you think you’re able to break through?
ANA KONJUH: Well, you know, my season wasn’t the best so far. But I’m enjoying every moment. I love the game. Just being on the Ashe tonight, feeling that atmosphere, it was really great for me.
Serena is still on the top. But I heard like Kerber is close or somebody. I think that, you know, things might change in the future. I’m really hoping that I’ll be one of them.
Q. You won the junior Grand Slam here. You are one of the best junior players. Your best friend and rival Bencic got into the top 10. Do you think it took longer than you were expecting to come to this level?
ANA KONJUH: I was really happy for her. Last year I think she broke the top 10. We are still really great friends. We grew up together. I remember I was playing under-14s. You have great memories together.
But well done to her. She had a great seasons. Now she’s been injured a bit, I think. She’s like top 30-something now. But I feel like she’s going to come back soon and she has the game.
Q. When you were 16 or 17, did you think you could get to this level?
ANA KONJUH: At that age, you know, you are still the juniors. I was just coming to senior tournaments. Maybe took a little bit while for me because, you know, I had a different path, chose different tournaments. I had some health issues before. Now she has them.
It’s just different road for everybody. She took the opportunities. She played well. I think my time is coming now.
Q. How frustrating were the last three years? In addition to the health issues this year, you also had the surgery.
ANA KONJUH: A little bit. But, you know, when you are 18, then you have a surgery behind you, a few months off, it’s not that easy to always, you know, come back. You need matches, you need the experience. Other players have that, but I don’t.
I’m just trying to enjoy every moment. Yeah, I was a bit frustrated at first. But, you know, now I’m just trying to accept things as they go.
Q. Was there special motivation today after what happened in Wimbledon? You had your chances.
ANA KONJUH: Yeah, last night I was replaying the match in my head. I had two match points or three, I’m not sure. I missed my forehands on all two or three. I just didn’t go for it. I had the opportunity; didn’t take it. I think that’s the experience I need right now.
Obviously, you know, I know that I have a game to beat her. She’s a great player. I was at my best tonight. The performance was really good.
Q. Pliskova, what are your memories of playing her? You’re not far off in age. What do you expect from that match?
ANA KONJUH: I don’t remember if we played in a senior match. But she’s, you know, a great player. She had a great season so far. Winning Cincinnati I’m sure she’s full of confidence. She’s a great server. Maybe we have a day off tomorrow so I hope to rest well and just try to practice, you know, just be 100% on the match.
Q. Does it feel at all weird to think or have you thought that you’re one match away from a Grand Slam semifinal?
ANA KONJUH: I’m trying not to think about it, as you know I did last night, you know, if I win this quarters. You know, I’m taking day by day. I didn’t know I was playing Pliskova till I heard on the court.
I don’t like to know who I’m playing if I’m in a match. After the match I hear that, then I prepare for that.
I’m just trying to focus on each player for the day for the match and just give my best.
(September 5, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY- Serena Williams set a record in number of match wins at a major at 308, while her sister Venus missed out on converting a match point on Monday at the US Open.
No. 1 Serena Williams seeking her 23rd major, beat Yaroslava Shvedova 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the US Open. Her win pushed her past Roger Federer in total match wins in the majors.
“It’s a huge number,” said the 34-year-old Serena. “I think it’s very significant actually. I think it’s something that, you know, just really talks about the length of my career, in particular. I’ve been playing for a really long time, but also, you know, given that consistency up there. That’s something that I’m really proud of.”
Serena will play fifth seed Simona Halep in the quarterfinals. “I just think with everyone I play, they play a step up and above their ranking,” Serena commented. “I think that’s the beauty, one of the reasons I’m able to hang. Everyone I’m playing is playing like they’re No. 1.
“To me it doesn’t really matter who I play because I have to expect they’re going to play the match of their life. That’s how I go into these matches now.”
Karolina Pliskova reached her first quarterfinal at a major when she saved a match point in the third set and rallied to beat two-time US Open winner and sixth seed Venus Williams 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) on Monday at Flushing Meadows.
For 10th seed, from the Czech Republic, this marked the first time she defeated the seven-time major winner and former No. 1.
Asked to talk about the match during her news conference, 35-year-old veteran Venus said: “Yeah, it was just a lot of errors. I still have to cut back on my errors.
“I think she started returning serve really well as the match progressed. She lifted her game. Definitely a lot of credit to her for hanging in there and staying positive.
Venus had a match point at 5-4 in the third set, with Pliskova serving at 30-40 “and she managed to stay alive,” Venus said.
“We both competed really well. Of course I’d like to come out on top of that match. Just kept fighting till the end, but I don’t know, she had a little more luck today.
“I had a few too many errors in the tiebreaker.”
“I think in the breaker I went for a little bit more but I didn’t put the ball in enough. You know, I went for some aggressive shots; didn’t necessarily put them in.
“You know, obviously she played well.”
The 10th seeded Pliskova has reached her first major quarterfinal at 24.
“To win matches like this, it takes some time,” Pliskova said. “You need to have experience definitely on the big stages, on the big tournaments.
“I played against her, played good match against her in Zhuhai. Was also close, but I wouldn’t say it was like here. I was fighting with more things here, especially with the people as well. So it was more difficult.
“Yeah, with years, with experience, I’m feeling better on these stages and against top players.”
Pliskova’s next challenger will be un seeded 18-year-old Ana Konjuh, who upset fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-4.
She was playing pretty good tennis, serving very well,” said Radwanska. “I just couldn’t do any more I guess today. I was really trying. I was just too slow today.”
In the first match of the day on Arthur Ashe Stadium, 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro became the lowest-ranked man to reach the US Open quarterfinals since 1991 when his opponent eighth seed Dominic Thiem retired with a knee injury with the Argentine leading 6-3, 3-2.
”I couldn’t bend it too much the last three days,” Thiem said. ”So I was all the time a little bit handicapped.”
”I never expected to play that many matches, of course, this year,” he said. ”For sure next year I’m going to change it up a little bit.”
Del Potro will be facing Stan Wawrinka. ”He will be the favorite to win in that match,” del Potro said. ”But anything can happen in this event for me. I got the power from the crowd in every match.”
“It’s going to be good challenge to play against him,” Wawrinka said after his 6-4, 6-1, 6-7, 6-3 win. “I’m excited to play against him in the quarterfinal here at the US Open. We play each other already this year at Wimbledon. He beat me. So it’s going to be a good match again.
“He’s playing really well. I saw him playing against Ferrer. He’s playing really strong. In Olympic also, is there, is beating the top guys also.
“It’s going to be difficult match. But for both of us I think it’s going to be important to try to dictate and be aggressive on the court.”
Kei Nishikori played the last singles match on Louis Armstrong Stadium and defeated Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4).
Nishikori will face No. 2 seed Andy Murray for a spot in the semifinals. Murray destroyed Grigor Dimitrov 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 to open the evening session.
“I played very well. Tactically I played a very good match,” Murray said. “I don’t think I made any mistakes there. I kept good concentration throughout.
“Yeah, I mean, it was a really good match. I think Grigor played his best, but I didn’t really give him a chance to get into the match.”
(September 3, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews throughout the day when allowed.
Carla Suarez Navarro
C. SUAREZ NAVARRO/E. Vesnina
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You’re now one of two women to reach the second week of all four Grand Slams this year. Curious if you have done anything different this season to find consistency at the tournaments.
CARLA SUAREZ NAVARRO: You know, when you play big events or important tournaments you want to be good or win a lot of matches. Last year in the Grand Slam I didn’t make the results. I tried to be more focused, more relaxed, because last year ^ Z everything in some matches.
Yeah, I tried to be more relaxed. And, well, I play good in the Grand Slams but, you know, I want more. I don’t want to lost in quarterfinals or the round before. I mean, if I’m staying in the second week I want more. I want to be in the final round.
Q. Do you feel under the radar here? Is that something that you like to feel when you’re at a Grand Slam?
CARLA SUAREZ NAVARRO: Well, you know, when you are in the Grand Slam you are really more motivated. You know, you have more points. Also the crowd, they feel more the sport, you know. They support really good all the players any time during the day, during the night.
I’m really happy always when I’m in the Grand Slam.
Q. This is not related to tennis. You not only have a great tennis game, but you have a great name and great initials, CSN. Are you familiar with the initials CSN and the music group Crosby Stills and Nash?
CARLA SUAREZ NAVARRO: Yeah, you know, I love my name. Yeah, I know sometimes the players, they only have the name and one surname. In Spain we have two, my father and my mother’s surname. I know it’s too long sometimes, so CSN is really good. I like. (Smiling.)
Q. And do you know what the initials CSN represent in American culture?
CARLA SUAREZ NAVARRO: No, I didn’t know.
Q. There is a famous musical group with the initials.
CARLA SUAREZ NAVARRO: Oh, yeah? Good to know.
Q. You’re into the fourth round for the third time. Can you talk us through how you’re feeling right now going into the next match?
CARLA SUAREZ NAVARRO: Well, I’m really happy, you know. Always when you won or when you reach the second week in any Grand Slam, it’s always a good result.
But I say before I want more. I’m happy for the next one. Try to be good (Translating the prior question.)
CARLA SUAREZ NAVARRO: I don’t feel like I’m in the — I’m focused all the time in the things I have to do with my family. Any time I go on court, I give my 100%.
Q. You played Elena once before coming into this match. You have played quite a few times in doubles with her. What’s that like having balance in singles and doubles and playing players you have played in doubles and on the singles court. What strategy do you have?
CARLA SUAREZ NAVARRO: It’s different, no? When you play singles you’re alone, and when you play doubles you’re with your partner.
But you have more support or if you don’t feel good maybe your partner can help you, and when you play singles you’re lone there.
So, yeah, I know Elena from a long time ago. We play a lot of times. Well, she was playing really good these two days before. I know that the match for me today will be tough, but I just try to be solid.
I just try to be focused, because when you know the other player really good sometimes it’s not easy, no? Because you want to make some things, but she’s there. (Smiling.) So you have to think more time.
A. RADWANSKA/C. Garcia
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How do you feel about that match? Better performance than against Broady?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Yes. Well, to be honest, I expect, as always, a long and tough match against her. I know what to expect. We know each other for a while. What can I say? Just very happy I could win that match that quick.
Q. You have had a good record against Caroline before. What is it about the matchup that seems to skew your way?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Well, every match is different. Every match is different story, different conditions. We played on clay last time, so of course that was totally different match.
Well, today I was really serving good and returning very good. Again, a player who was really serving really well, so I had a good warmup the second round.
Well, I was really doing everything right today, and I think that’s why the score was like that.
Q. Can you talk about the potential matchup either against Ana or Varvara next round?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Well, obviously against Konjuh I played at Wimbledon kind of a drama match, so there was not really that long time ago. For sure she make huge progress last couple of months and she’s really playing good tennis at the moment.
And against Lepchenko, we didn’t play for a while, play a lot of matches. I know I lost a couple of them. Not an easy one, as well.
Well, just very happy to be in the fourth round, and we’ll see what’s gonna happen.
Q. You mentioned a couple of matches ago that you thought you played some good tennis through New Haven. Do you think you’re playing some of the best tennis of your career?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Well, it’s always hard to compare if it’s the best match or the best tournament or the best tennis. For sure I’m just very happy to play a really good level, my best level.
Definitely really couple good matches in New Haven, especially semis and the final. So, you know, of course everything is going forward. You always have to go for it and make the progress and play better and better, trying to improve everything.
But definitely I feel good right now and I think I’m playing really good tennis.
Q. Anything you’re working on specifically in your game?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Well, to be honest, when I go on court I really trying to improve everything, so it’s not just one shot or one thing that I’m working on at the time.
So, you know, when it’s a practice, I practice everything.
Q. You’re known for your tennis smarts. How do you think you’d be as a commentator?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Oh, that’s a good question. Well, I hope I could handle commentating. I never did that really.
But, well, you tell me if I’d be good or not. (Smiling.)
Q. I think you’d be good.
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Thank you.
Q. Going back to the Wimbledon match against Konjuh you said after that you thought you were going home and already checked out of the match when she had match point. What did she do particularly well in that match to get in that situation where she really did have you on the ropes? What makes her a dangerous opponent?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Well, she was definitely serving very well, and what I remember is she was really, sort of from the beginning till the end, not really up and downs, and that’s why I was really struggling in that match.
Like you were saying, I was almost home. I was just lucky in the end, obviously. But, well, I just hope there will be different story on the hard court if I will play her.
Q. This is your seventh year in the top 10. How do you manage to maintain that consistency? How do you look after yourself, look after your body? Because it’s tough being on the tour for so long at such a high level.
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Yes, of course. Health is the most important thing for us, especially when the season is so long and you’re playing another year on that kind of level.
So of course rest, treatment, that’s the most important thing. So I have my own physio all the time with me at home and I’m traveling also with one.
So, you know, that’s what you need when you are so many years on tour.
Q. One more on the commentator thing. Do you think it’s easier for tennis players to be good commentators?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Yes, I think so, definitely. You know how it is on court, what can you feel on court, and maybe sometimes why you don’t have the good day or something is not going your way.
So it’s easier to imagine how it’s there on court. I think that’s the best experience to have.
Q. Second week in a slam I think at all four of the majors this year. I think off the top of my head. Yes?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Yes, pretty much.
Q. Thank you for verifying. You had talked about changes in your schedules, about wanting to peak at the big tournaments and maybe play less and things like that. Do you think that that’s a result of it, you know, being able to find that consistency at the majors, or is it something else?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: Well, I think it’s a lot of things that have to work together to play good tennis and to have good season.
Of course I didn’t play that much as the other years this year, so maybe that’s why I’m healthy now, fresh. And there’s still a lot of big tournaments till the end of the year, so it’s not over yet.
So, yes, I think probably there was a couple of good decisions. Yes, so we always have to double-check the schedule and think what’s gonna be in the end of the year.
S. HALEP/T. Babos
6-1, 2-6, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Does it feel good to get through a tough one to finish off the first week?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, of course it feels good that I could win the match. It was really tough. She played unbelievable second and third set. She didn’t miss at all. She was hitting very strong, so it was a good challenge for me and it was a good match.
I’m really proud that I could win it and come back from 3-1 down in the third set.
Q. She was hitting the ball incredibly clean. You said on the court that you have no idea how you came back. It’s been a little bit of time. Do you have any better sense of how you were able to win this match?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. I talked also with my coach, and I know now what I did. Because of this thing I won.
I just tried to open the court more. I was hitting strong also, but I was too far back and my ball was too short always. She had too much time to come in and be aggressive to dominate me.
Then I started to play deeper and I think that made the situation to be changed.
Q. What are you most pleased with in the tournament so far?
SIMONA HALEP: That I’m in the fourth round, first thing. (Smiling.) And I’m playing good. Even if today I didn’t play my best, I played good tennis, good level.
I was moving very well. I am happy to be back in the fourth round two years in a row, so it’s a good thing. I enjoy a lot being here, so it’s nice.
Q. Do you have the sense that the players that didn’t go to Rio are a little bit fresher than some of the other players that did?
SIMONA HALEP: Maybe, yeah, can be. You know, the trip is very long and it’s very tiring to go there and to come back.
But it’s enough time already from Rio to here. They have time to recover. But I did a good decision in my opinion and I’m happy with that thing.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, from second round the air conditioning was too strong on court. When I got back at the hotel I felt I could not move anymore. It’s nothing dangerous. It’s not like an injury. It’s just blocked.
So if I warm up it’s getting better. But still some points, some movements it’s tough for me to get up and to leave.
Q. It was chilly out there today. How did you adjust?
SIMONA HALEP: Because the roof was closed. That’s why they put air conditioning. Today was better. I didn’t feel.
But I had hot pack around my back and was much better to play with it.
It’s nice. The court is huge, and all the time is air moving there. For everybody is the same.
Q. What is your opinion of the acoustics, the noise level, with it open versus closed?
SIMONA HALEP: Closed the noise is bigger a little bit and you feel — it’s indoor so you feel different. When it’s open I don’t feel the wind that much than the previous years.
I feel better the ball. I think it’s a good thing with the roof. It’s good when it’s raining. I didn’t have to wait the second round to play.
Q. Have you ever done commentary? How do you think you’d be as a commentator?
SIMONA HALEP: Me?
SIMONA HALEP: No. Very bad, I think. (Smiling.) I’m not a good commentator. Even in Romania, not just in English. I don’t like to talk. I don’t like to speak. I feel some things, but I cannot explain them in words. So it’s better to stay with my job: playing tennis.
Q. In the past maybe three, four years ago, you maybe have occasionally those matches, especially at the slams, where you couldn’t fight back, where you struggled with it. I know you were frustrated with it back then, you know, especially the this summer we have seen you battle through these three-set matches. Can you talk about that evolution a little bit?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I was working on this thing. I’m stronger mentally and I don’t give up anymore during the matches, even if I’m down.
I think also that I’m feeling the game pretty well and I feel strong on my legs. I feel safe when I’m on court. That’s why I refuse to lose. I just say all the time, every point, that I have another chance to get back and to win the match.
Today I had in my head just that I can win the match, and I have just to take point by point. So it was a good thing, and I want also to improve more in this. I don’t want to go again to 1-3 in the third set.
Q. Romanian and Hungarian teams meet each other, there is always some tension because of historical reasons. Do you think in the future this is going to be changed, this one like positive, like with you, new generation representative and totally different approach and sports is going to be the first place?
SIMONA HALEP: I think this thing was in the past. I don’t feel that at all. Timea is a very nice girl. I’m talking with her all the time. She’s very, very cool and we have no problems.
So I never had problems with Hungarian people. It’s just normal for me.
I take it on court when I am I take all the opponents just to fight against them, but nothing bad or nothing just negative. Just positive and just who is is gonna be better or win.
S. WILLIAMS/J. Larsson
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. When you consider that no man or woman has won more matches at the majors than you have, what goes through your mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I thought I tied.
Q. He hasn’t won more than you have.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, okay. (Laughter.) Actually, it was a really good feeling, I have to say. (Smiling.) It is actually a really good feeling.
So to be up there with both men and women is something that’s super rare, and it actually feels good.
Q. What do you think it says most about you and your accomplishments that you have achieved this milestone?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I don’t know. I think, you know, in my career I have just been, you know, here for so long. Longevity, that already goes unsaid.
So it’s just yet another thing, I guess.
Q. It looks as though the shoulder is completely okay, but can you just detail for us how it does feel for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely feels solid. I’m doing a lot of work on it so I can keep it in this position. Definitely not going to stop doing all the rehab and therapy, so I don’t want to go down. It’s pretty good.
Q. Is that a lot of…
SERENA WILLIAMS: It’s a lot of post-match stuff, stuff I’m not really excited about, but at the end of the day I think it’s good for me.
Q. You talk about the longevity and whatnot. Of all of the numbers that you’re stacking up here, what amongst those things are you most proud of, whether it’s the Grand Slams and whether it’s the longevity? What is it that stands out to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, each number I’m definitely most proud of. Like I said, I was really excited to reach that, was it 306? 307? I was really excited to do that. Something I didn’t even know about until Wimbledon. I was like, Oh, I have a new goal (smiling.)
That was pretty cool for me. Obviously I want to keep that number going higher and see what can happen.
Q. Is there a particular kind of shot, kind of strategy, serve, return whatever it may be, that gives you the most satisfaction or pleasure during a match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think there’s no shot for me that’s more exciting than hitting an ace. It’s always just fast, easy, fun, and it feels really good.
Q. On that topic, in terms of like overall sort of energy expended this week, is it a good amount for you to sort of get the groove going? Make sure you don’t want to kill yourself with your shoulder, but is it a comfortable amount of energy expended this week, do you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah. I feel like I have been doing pretty good. I have been being moved a lot, so I’m able to do all that.
Yeah, so so far, so good.
Q. You mentioned on court the difference between the idea of being the greatest athlete or the greatest female athlete. Is there a difference in your mind by the way that men and women athletes are treated?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely think there is a difference between the way male and female athletes are treated. I also believe that as a woman we have still a lot to do and a lot to be going forward.
I think tennis has made huge, huge improvements. We just have to keep that motto going for all other female sports, as well.
Q. Obviously there have been a lot of fabulous athletes who are females: Althea Gibson, Nadia Comaneci, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King. In your mind, who do you feel is at the very top of the list, two or three or the finest athletes who are women who have performed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think everyone you named are someone that’s spectacular in what they do. Jackie Joyner-Kersee was someone that growing up you just watched the Olympics and you’re like, Wow, you know. That was pretty amazing.
Nadia Comaneci, an amazing gymnast. Like she was pretty cool.
Obviously playing tennis you’re looking at someone like Martina Navratilova. You only can dream of doing half as good as them. I think it’s hard to compare three different amazing athletes from all kinds of different sports, but they’re all great, great athletes.
Q. And Althea Gibson would be among that group, in your mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so. She had to break so many barriers and she had to play against things that a lot of us will never have to face.
I know she had to sleep in cars because hotels wouldn’t accept her. To overcome that mentally and still be able to perform really is a feat.
Q. Speaking of being amazing, Serena, which do you think you like best The Wall Street Journal did? I know you had a good time. Is this one you really enjoyed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: They were all really great. Yeah, it was a tough week for me, but they were all so amazing. Thank you.
Q. When you talk about the difference between the way the male and female athletes are treated, are you talking about pay scale? What exactly are you referring to?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I think there is a huge pay difference in terms of male and female athletes in lots of sports. Still so in tennis a little bit, as well. Also, male athletes — it’s just a big difference, you know.
But like I said, it’s just taking one step at a time. Tennis players were really fortunate to have pioneers like Billie Jean King and really take a stance for women in tennis.
I feel like we got really, really fortunate to have that. So now we’re able to benefit and still preach the message and have an easier time. Just hopefully that can work out for other females, as well.
Q. You talked about the sleeves earlier this tournament. Is there any chance that that becomes a permanent thing? You like it enough that you think you’ll just keep wearing it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I know they are in a few of my designs maybe in the future. We’ll see.
Q. You have played a lot of matches out on Ashe throughout the years and the ball crew is similar each year. I’m wondering if you recognize any of those faces and if that brings you any comfort out on that court?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I recognize a lot of the faces out there. They are a lot of the same people year after year after year. Yeah.
Q. I know you like comic books and stuff. When you go into these design meetings with Nike, is there ever an intention or something that these — kids, especially recently, have kind of had a bit of a comic book-type design with respect to a super hero…
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I feel this design in particular really is kind of like a super hero design. We design so far in advance, honestly I don’t remember if that was one of our inspirations. I mean, because we designed this collection well over a year and a half, two years ago.
But looking at it now, I can say that it definitely feels, like I said, like a Wonder Woman or a Superwoman, and like a really powerful, strong character that is strong but yet isn’t afraid to be soft at the same time.
Q. And that’s you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It is me. (Smiling.)
Q. You spoke earlier about the longevity that’s quite obvious, but in your mind, what has sustained you the most? Why do you think you have had a career that has been so successful for so long?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I really can never answer that question. I think a lot of it has to do with just my mentality. Just never wanting to quit and still being able to compete at a high level.
I’m not sure if I wasn’t able to compete at a high level how I would feel, but I don’t know.
Q. What is it that appeals to you most that keeps you wanting to be out there as long as you have been?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I just am not ready to throw in the towel yet or just to have enough yet.
I’m still having fun out there. I’m still able to compete with the best. I think that’s what matters most for me.
Q. You mentioned there is still a pay disparity in tennis in terms of men and women. How possible do you think that is to have that close up at the rest of the year-round tour even if it is equal at the slams?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think it is definitely possible. I think it’s going to take some work, but that’s what life is about. You have to work to create goals and you have to work at those goals and continue to knock at those doors until someone opens it.
It doesn’t happen instantly, but we just really have to be conscious of it.
Q. Do you think it should be a priority for women’s tennis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think so. I think it should be a priority. But like I said it’s, going to take time. I’m willing to work on it.
Q. Through the first week here, three matches, can you give yourself a grade? How happy are you or not happy are you with your first week?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel okay. Obviously I don’t feel like I’m Serena out there yet, but hopefully she’ll come around the second week.
Q. The greatest athlete campaign has struck a cord. You just spoke about many of the wonderful athletes or women, and of course with men, Jordan, Bill Russell, Ali, Roger Federer and so forth. Which of these iconic men’s athletes impresses you the most?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It’s hard to say someone against Jordan and Ali. I think they are probably really impressive. I would say Ali mostly because, again, not only what he did in his field, but also what he did outside. I think that’s what makes someone really truly great.
Q. Have you ever watched a tennis match and said, God, I have commentary on this match. I wish I could be out there doing commentary myself?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. (Laughter.)
Q. Can you just compare your emotional state of being on the court this year versus last year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I felt pretty good last year. I definitely felt more prepared. Hoping I can start feeling that way soon this year, as well. (The long list Bill mentioned of female athletes.
J. DEL POTRO/D. Ferrer
7-6, 6-2, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Victoria Azarenka was commenting on Twitter about the tennis match.
DAVID FERRER: I don’t listen you.
Q. Victoria Azarenka was talking on Twitter about your match.
DAVID FERRER: Yeah.
Q. Does it surprise you that a tennis player is tweeting commentary about your match?
DAVID FERRER: Yeah, but what comment about my match?
Q. She said you were serving well.
DAVID FERRER: It’s okay. He like comment about tennis, was okay. I don’t mind. It’s okay, yeah. It’s good. If is good for her and she is happy is the more important.
Q. Everybody is happy to see Juan Martin playing again. Must be so difficult when he has so much support from the crowd constantly.
DAVID FERRER: No, I don’t think so. The crowd, you know, this is a show, and the crowd was supporting Juan Martin del Potro. I am trying be focus my match. I don’t care.
Anyway, the first set maybe… I was 5-2 up, I lost a little bit my concentration. Was difficult in the second come back again.
But, anyway, Juan Martin was better. He serve better. He won the first set. He had some doubts in the first set. But in the second and third, he played more aggressive and he maked more free points with his serve.
Q. You have a good record against him. How do you judge his game now compared to the past?
DAVID FERRER: It’s different with the sensation. Juan Martin, he was always a very good player. Now he’s changing his game because is playing more aggressive with his forehand and with the serve. He was injury two years, problem with the wrist. He change a little bit his game.
But anyway, he’s amazing player.
Q. He changed his game. Is it causing more problems or less problems?
DAVID FERRER: I don’t know. You have to ask to him. I know he is playing more aggressive with his serve and with his forehand. Every year everybody is improving the game. You know, the game is faster than three or four years ago. I am trying also.
Juan Martin del Potro
J. DEL POTRO/D. Ferrer
7-6, 6-2, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What feeling do you get as an emotional person when you hear the way other players speak about you and the way you’ve come back?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I feel like proof of that. The best player on tour are talking good things about me. That’s important to myself, to get confidence with my level, with my play, with my game.
If they see something good in my game, that’s important, because I’m showing a good game at the moment. If I see my way to the future will be better, even better than today, and that’s important.
Q. But they speak about your character and your determination as much as your game. When you hear them talk about you as a person, what are your feelings?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: They are talking good or not (smiling)?
I have a great relationship with most of the guys on tour. I just do my job on court, you know. I’m trying to be focused all the time, trying to keep calm all the time. It’s important to play great matches, to stay focused in important moments.
And if you see the top guys on tour, they have a good attitude, as me, and that’s important.
Q. You had a little bit of a slow start but became very strong as the match went on against a tough competitor. What was your feeling as the match went on and how did you get stronger?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I got stronger mentally after the first set. Against David you never know when is going to finish the match. He never give up. He’s a really fighter. Also it’s a pleasure to play against him because he puts me all the time in pressure. I should play my best tennis today. I think I did really well in the second and the third one.
I’m so glad to be in the second week on the Grand Slam after three or four years. That’s means a lot of good things to myself. Of course, I’m looking forward to keep winning. But my next opponent will be really difficult.
I’m enjoying the things a lot.
Q. All the adversity that you faced. It’s one thing for somebody in that position to dream about playing the sport again; it’s another to return so quickly to an elite level. Did you ever imagine it would happen so quickly?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, no, of course not. I didn’t expect to be in the second week of this tournament. I didn’t expect to got a medal in Rio. I didn’t expect to play at this level in this part of the year.
Of course, I just want to be free with my wrist, trying to play in a good level as I did couple of years ago. But I think I’m surprised with my level at the moment. I’m surprising the guys on tour, my colleagues.
That’s great because I’m seeing I can be dangerous in the future once again.
Q. Was there ever a point when you thought, Maybe I’ll get back, and that will be enough, maybe never return to the level I was at?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, for me it’s enough just being playing tennis again. My biggest goal for this season is trying to finish healthy. Then, if I could do that, for the next years I will make another challenges to myself.
But now I’m doing well. I don’t care about ranking numbers or whatever. I just want to keep playing even better.
Q. Your slice is giving players a lot of trouble. Did you deliberately improve it knowing it would need to be important when you came back? Is this improvement from hitting so many slices while you were off?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I would like to play my backhand as I hit my forehand. But sometimes could be a good tactic, play different shots with my backhands. But in the end I need to hit harder because I need to make winners with my backhands.
Basically if I’m still winning, then my opponents will be tougher than today. Of course, I cannot take an advantage with my backhand. I need to play 100% with all my shots.
Q. You said a few moments ago that you’re very surprised at the level, what you did at the Olympics, being in the second week here. How do you think you’ve done it?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Working hard. I never give up. I trust on myself. I trust on my doctors, my team, my physical trainers. I know how hard should I work to be in this moment now. I know how can I get better in the future if I still working hard. That’s it. Nothing magic, nothing strange. Just work hard.
Q. Next round you play Dominic Thiem. There are people who consider you the favorite. Do you consider yourself the favorite?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No. No, he could be the favorite, for sure. But all depends on my physically, on my body, on my game. If I play like this today, I will maybe have chance to do a great match against him.
But he’s playing really well. He’s very dangerous. His backhand is so good. His movements are really fast. Will be interesting match for me.
Q. David said before that you seem to be playing more aggressive, you have a bigger serve, more aggressive with the forehand. Is this just a change in your game from years of maturity or a response because of your troubles?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, I have to do that because I don’t have a good backhand yet (smiling). That’s what I’m trying to play aggressive with my forehands, with my serves, trying to come into the net more often than years ago. I’m trying to find a different way to play as I did in the past.
But also I’m working hard to get my backhands back as soon as possible.
G. DIMITROV/J. Sousa
6-4, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Talk about how you’re feeling. Got to be feeling good, confidence high.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, I’m feeling good. Played a good match. A little dip I think in the third set, but I was able to control everything I think in the fourth set even though I was down a break. I’m enjoying playing tennis right now. Obviously I’ve been striking the ball well, having good results.
Just getting ready for the next match. Pretty pleased to be in the second week again.
Q. Do you find yourself getting looser with each round? Does it get more cranked up or do you relax more?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: For sure, it’s always good to be a little bit nervous. I like being a little bit nervous before matches. I think it helps you focus a little bit more in order to be good and be better when you get on the court. Of course, after a few games, you’re kind of into the match so it feels more comfortable.
Yeah, just with each match you get of course more excited. In the same time, it’s just another match.
Q. What has changed the past few weeks for you to find your confidence?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Winning matches. I think winning matches always gives you confidence. I’ve won quite a few close matches, which just helps me a lot to build up and be solid when I have to.
Today, that type of a match that I played really smart on the big points, I played good when I had to. Overall it was a decent match, I would say.
But, yeah, these kind of moments really, really help you mentally when you come out and play your opponent.
Q. Can you talk a bit about your coaching relationship with Dani, what he’s brought to your game?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, we’re still getting to know each other. He’s a great guy. First of all he’s a great guy. We share a lot of the same things. On the court we kind of think similar. We kind of want to just work right now. That’s what it’s about.
I know how to play tennis. Now it’s more the strategic way, how you’re going to prepare for big matches, big tournaments.
So far I think we’ve been doing a great job. Yeah, just simplicity. That’s the key right now. Just do your stuff, work, go out there, give 100% each match.
Q. How much do you think he might help you if you play Andy next?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Honestly, we haven’t thought about that yet. I think also I’ve played quite a few times against Andy. I think we both know our game pretty well. I don’t think there’s going to be any surprises. I don’t think I’m going to hear anything new in a way.
But we still got to prepare. I mean, obviously it’s going to be a great match. I’m excited to be in the second week. That’s just a good start for me. And, yeah, I mean, I always like my chances when I get to stages like that in a tournament, especially having to play, like, tough matches early on and feeling good and confident. Physically I’m good.
Yeah, just going to take everything onboard with me right now and bring it out on the court.
Q. You’re an exciting player because you can play all-court tennis. How do you find a balance with your ability to improvise?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: This is where the simplicity of the practice and the discipline comes in. Especially in those moments, 30-All, deuce, breakpoint, anything like that, it’s super important to, in a way, go back to the basics, go back to what you’ve been practicing, to the simple shots. For example, play with your big weapons, whether it’s your first serve or your forehand. So these things are pretty important.
But, yeah, some of the big shots that you hit sometimes, they just happen at the right time. If you start looking for them, of course you’re going to miss and you’re never going to be a sustainable player.
Like today, for example, on quite a few big points, I think I pulled the trigger quite a few times with my backhand. It was just the right moment to do so. I won pretty much all those points.
I pride myself actually on that today. I was just pretty solid when I had to play important points.
Q. Do you think going through several coaches the past few years may have changed your game style?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No, no, no. You know, obviously you know how to play tennis. You’ve played all your life a certain way. When I say discipline of how you’re going to play, I wouldn’t say that’s a change of style. I think it’s a change of plan, a change of a bit of your mentality.
But change of style, it’s too extreme to me.
Q. Sometimes you hear different voices, different speeches.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: You’re always going to hear different voices and different speeches regardless. People that don’t have much of an idea of tennis will come, Hey, man, you should have hit that forehand down the line a bit more.
Yeah, man, you want to do it for me? Yeah, go ahead.
But that’s just how it is. That’s why you need to simplify and make sure you have the right people, the right team around you, that first you’re loyal to them. This is the unity that puts it all together. You know these are the people that you need to hear from. This is what matters the most. Everything else is just a noise.
Q. You talked about how you’re enjoying your tennis now. You mentioned that as well during Wimbledon. Has there been a time in the recent past when you haven’t been enjoying it?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, of course.
Q. What has changed?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: That’s a tough one.
I think a lot has changed over the past I think year and a half for me. I fell in love with tennis again. It’s simple as that. It’s not only because I’ve been winning matches or anything like that. It’s because I started to enjoy the process again.
I’m enjoying the work again. I’m enjoying waking up in the morning early to come to practice. I’m enjoying doing the ice baths again. I’m enjoying pretty much everything that I do.
I think just these kind of things really helps you. You don’t think of anything else. I started to enjoy those butterflies before a match, complaining to your coach that you’re, like, short of breath because you’re so nervous to come on court. Those are moments I’m sure I’m always going to appreciate hopefully for the rest of my career.
Q. Del Potro, there’s some people that wondered after all the surgeries whether he was going to be able to come back, would he be at the same level.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Never a doubt.
Q. Never a doubt?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No.
Q. We’re talking about a second week, elite level.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I never doubted that. All the people that’s been around me have said the same thing. I mean, of course there’s a long, long way for him to come back like that. But the way he’s been playing throughout the year, I remember he started the year so-so in a way, but he was still hitting the ball pretty amazing.
I mean, with that forehand, you can close your eyes, hit the ball, it can get in. Definitely one of the best hitters in the game. The Olympics and everything, that really helps you to build up.
Of course, only time can show the rest, but it was never a doubt in my mind that the guy’s going to be back.
Q. Even the speed, how quickly it’s happened, you’re not surprised by that?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No, I’m not. Not really, no.
Q. You played some exciting matches with Murray. What is it about you two together that creates exciting tennis and what are the biggest challenges?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think we like our styles, I guess, just kind of fits our games. There’s going to be a lot of challenges, especially on an occasion like that, against Andy. I mean, he’s going to be, for sure, ready as ever. As I said, he’s just really confident right now. He’s been playing extremely good tennis. He knows what to do.
But in the same time, I know what to do, too. In the end, it’s going to come down to a few points here and there. Yeah, I mean, for me honestly it’s just another match. As I said, I’m enjoying that I’m at that stage of a tournament, second week for the first time at the Open. I’m just going to get out there and really focus on my game and on myself. This is what I demand from myself for the next match.
K. PLISKOVA/A. Pavlyuchenkova
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You said you wanted to take it one match at a time, not think too much about what was at stake in this match. To be in your first Grand Slam second week, what does that mean to you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely was always my goal. So really happy that I got there. I was trying to get there for a long time. Still probably wasn’t meant to be. So happy to be there, especially at the US Open, especially on hard court, which is my best surface.
I’m also really happy with the game, how I got through.
Q. In years past when you weren’t able to get past the first week, was that just because of draws or injuries as opposed to now? What do you think is the difference between the slams that you played before where you fell a little bit short this year?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I would also say it depends a lot on the draw. You can have players which you don’t like, which didn’t happen for me this time. I knew, especially today, I beat her three times, so I was confident about this match. I also knew I’ve been playing some good tennis last few weeks, all the matches actually what I’ve played.
So I felt good. There was not any reason for me to think about it, that I will lose this match today. So I was confident about it. Just happy that also on the court I could handle the situations ’cause, you know, it’s not always easy. First time to get through to the third round.
In the end of the second set she also improved a lot. I was not feeling tight, but the game wasn’t like in the first set.
Q. Was it something you’d been thinking about or unfairly criticized for?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: No, not really. I still believe, even if it would be 5-All in the second, that I can beat her because, like I said, I beat her few times already. Always was two sets.
But in tennis anything can happen and not decided till the last point and playing the best tennis. I was prepared for everything. Even though I lost the serve there, was a little bit unlucky 4-2, 40-15 that game, then she played quite a good game. Was a little bit windy out there. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t serve well that game. But I stayed in the game and I breaked her with Love in the game. It gave me a lot of confidence, that game.
Q. Is it fair to say that this is the most confident that you’ve come into a Grand Slam or have you been just as confident in the past?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Well, probably, yes. So far now, I can say.
To be honest, the Grand Slams before, I wasn’t feeling bad, any of them. But just somehow the game on the court wasn’t the way I wanted it to be. I was just a little bit tight, I wasn’t playing my tennis, wasn’t aggressive enough. If I’m not playing my game, I cannot beat those players like this. I cannot be the one who is running. It was like this before in the Grand Slams.
I happy I keep my game plan and was still playing aggressive today.
Q. You mentioned you’re going to watch this next match. Are you going back to the hotel or stay here?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: They’re playing at 7:00. Nice atmosphere on the center court. Tomorrow I have only doubles, so I’ll prepare also for the doubles which is important for me. I don’t have to go to sleep that early. So maybe I’ll stay for a few more games.
Q. You might play Venus. Do you remember watching Venus when you were younger before you started playing tennis?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Definitely I remember both sisters, Williams. We were watching on TV.
Q. That final in Zhuhai was a tough one. What do you take out of that match against Venus, if you play her?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: It’s not that far what we played. I remember the match. Was pretty good match from I think both of us. She was playing really good tennis there.
Obviously with her it’s tough. If she’s playing I think good that day, then it’s tough. She’s serving pretty well both serves, playing aggressive on the return. There is not much to do.
I just have to serve well. That’s the most important thing.
Q. How are you feeling physically at this point in the tournament?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I feel good. I didn’t play three sets yet. Every day I have a match not more than an hour and a half. So I feel fine.
Q. What do you think doubles is bringing to your game when you have the off days and have to come back and play doubles?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: For me it’s better than practice, to be honest. Sometimes those days off, you feel like you have a day off so you don’t want to really move. It’s still a match, so it’s better for me to play a match.
Especially playing doubles, I’m playing with someone who I know, I’m having fun on the court. For me it’s definitely better to be in the doubles.
Q. You’re known as a good server. What are the keys to serving well?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: There is lot of keys. I don’t know which the other players has, but I’m always trying to stay calm and concentrate on the serve. Especially when it’s a long game, long rallies, you just have to breathe and stay calm before the serve.
Q. Obviously it’s been a busy tournament because you are in both singles and doubles. Have you had time to unwind, to not think about tennis or pick up a racquet? What have you been doing to relax?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Since I’m in the tournament, I didn’t go anywhere, to the city. Just few nice dinners close to the hotel.
It’s tough here. Every day, if you have a match, you’re coming back late from here because it’s, like, one hour with the traffic. It’s not easy to get somewhere. I have been here a few days before the tournament. I see something. We did some obviously shopping. I went to a musical on Broadway. I had nice few days before the tournament.
Q. Which musical?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Chicago.
A. MURRAY/P. Lorenzi
7-6, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Was that tougher than you expected? Are you more pleased you came through what was a tough match or more concerned about what didn’t go right?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I mean, he’s ranked 40 in the world. He’s pretty good. So I expected a tough match. I expected long rallies. I’m just disappointed with the amount of errors I made. I was quite impatient at times. That cost me in the first and second sets.
When I did sort of play like I was planning on when I went out there, to be more patient, wait for the right balls to go for, you know, played much, much better, dictated more of the points. I wasn’t going for too much.
The unforced errors came down significantly and the winners went up. The third and fourth sets were comfortable. Obviously the first two were extremely, extremely tough.
Q. Did you think of changing things around at the end of the first set? That was tight and you made a lot of mistakes there.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, I went up an early break in the second. I broke first game in the second, then just kind of gave away a little bit. But also, I mean, he wasn’t giving me any free points. He was making me work hard for all the points.
Yeah, maybe it took me a little bit longer than I would have liked to sort of work things out. But I worked it out, won, got through, and I didn’t play good. So I’m happy with that.
Q. Lorenzi’s 22nd Grand Slam, making it to his first third round. When you see him, how hard he fights for each point, is that reflective of what you think he’s had to go through, or is that nonsense to associate somebody with their career and their playing style?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I remember a little bit playing against him a number of years ago. He fought hard then. I think what he’s done the last 18 months or so has been amazing for someone of his age to win your first title, get to your career-high ranking. That’s pretty rare, I’d say. At that age, you don’t see that much nowadays. He’s done extremely well there.
I think today, after the match he had a couple days ago, to come out and move like he did and work as hard as he did out there, you know, shows that’s a huge quality of his and it gets you a long way.
Q. You are starting to see a few guys who are hitting their peaks in their mid 30s. Is there anything specific you can point to regarding that?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, Stephane Robert has a different game style. I can understand why he would make it very difficult for guys to play against him.
Lorenzi, I’d say his is maybe more surprising because a lot of guys play that way. I think he moves extremely well. Maybe it’s a matter of confidence. When you win an ATP title at that age, maybe you realize I’m much better than I thought. Sometimes that can happen, as well.
It’s hard to explain. I didn’t realize, but they said when they were calling out the names before the match, he’s the oldest first-time winner on the ATP Tour ever. I would imagine winning a title for the first time would give him a big boost in his confidence, you know, to try and do more, keep pushing on.
But it is obviously still surprising.
Q. When Juan Martin del Potro was here earlier this evening, he spoke about surprising himself with what he’s done in his comeback, both at the Olympics and making it to the second week here. What are your thoughts on what he’s accomplished? What sort of feelings do you have for him personally?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I think what he’s done is amazing just more because he’s had the same kind of problems setting him back for, I mean, the last two-and-a-half, three years. It’s not like — you know, he’d hurt his wrist in practice, and then a few times he actually got back on the tour and had problems very early on in his comebacks. I can imagine how demoralizing that must have been, how tough it would have been to keep wanting to do it, keep fighting to do it.
Also your body, as well. Like when you don’t play matches, hardly any matches for a long period, it takes time for your body to get used to it again.
I think what he’s done has been amazing. I’m not surprised at how well he’s hitting the ball. He’s always been a great ball-striker. I don’t expect him necessarily to lose that. It’s more the mentality that he’s shown really has been the most impressive part.
You know, happy for him that he’s managed to get himself back competing in the big events at the top again.
Q. Seeing Dan do well today against Stan, Kyle winning yesterday, it’s great for British tennis. What do you think is actually behind that? What would you put that down to?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. I mean, Dan is a really good player. Evo is a really good player and so is Jo. That’s why they are where they are. They have to win the matches and put in the work. But they’re really good players, all of them. They all have a lot of strengths.
Dan’s an extremely good mover, very talented guy, great feel, great hands. Kyle has huge weapons on the court. And Jo doesn’t have many weaknesses.
They’re very different players, different game styles, but they’re all really good. That’s why they are where they are. Again, whether all of them always believed that or not, I don’t know. But now they certainly are, backing themselves in the biggest tournaments on the biggest stages.
It’s great for British tennis.
Q. You’re playing Grigor Dimitrov next. Can you talk about what is difficult in his game.
ANDY MURRAY: Well, he’s a very good player, obviously. You know, he does a lot of things well on the court. He has good feel, moves well. Yeah, he does a lot of things well on the court.
He’s obviously not played his best the last 18 months or so, but definitely the last few weeks has been playing very well, getting back to a level that he’s capable of playing at.
You know, it will be another tough one in a couple of days’ time. I expect it to be very hard. I’ll be ready for that. I’ll need to play better than today if I want to win that.
Q. Kyle said this year that one of the things he learned from you is the amount of work it takes to be at the top. Do you think you’ve an been an example for the other British players?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. I do think, obviously when we do training blocks together, they would see the work that I’m doing, you know, learning that maybe at an earlier stage than he would have done otherwise potentially.
But it’s one thing sort of saying, Oh, I went and did a training block with Andy, watched him train, and he works really hard. They still need to do the work themselves. It’s not like just because I’m working hard and then seeing it means they’re going to do it. They need to do it themselves.
I’m not with Kyle or Dan — you know, there’s probably 30 or 40 weeks of the year when I’m not around them. It’s down to them and their teams. They have very good coaches, as well, that works them hard. Mark Hilton, who works with Dan, was a very hard worker as a player, has got him on the right path. Ryan Jones, who is working with Kyle just now, the same thing. He pushes him hard. He makes sure he has high standards and expects a lot from him. That’s important, as well.
Q. They’re saying they could learn plenty from you. Is there anything you can learn from them?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, the thing that I like the most about practicing with them is I feel like when I practice or train with them, like, I have a responsibility to work hard and push myself. If I’m doing a training session with them, I want to beat them. I don’t want to lose to them. You know, if it’s on the bike or the Versaclimber, I really want to push myself and beat them.
It’s not so much necessarily learning, but I feel like when I’m on the court with them, I really want to work hard and show, like, this is what you have to do. Maybe if it was someone from another country, I wouldn’t feel like that, the same.
But, yeah, when I’m training with them, I really train well. I train better probably with them than I do with others, I think.
Q. Do they ever beat you?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, occasionally. I believe I’ve lost a practice set. Physical stuff, no, not yet. But I’d imagine that soon, as I’m getting older, they’re getting stronger, that will start to happen, unfortunately. But, yeah, not yet.
Q. What aspect of the sport of tennis do you really love the most?
ANDY MURRAY: I love traveling. I mean, I know a lot of players, as they start to get older, they don’t enjoy as much. But I love traveling. I enjoy that. I’m certainly not sick of that part of it yet.
I enjoy training. I like going to the gym, pushing myself, working hard maybe more than being on the practice court. You know, they’re the two things I enjoy the most. I like the traveling and also the training, because it changes all the time. Like I’m training a lot different now than I did when I was 24, 25. I like that. It’s never the same. Always trying to do new things to get better.
Q. The one or two parts of the world you like to travel are?
ANDY MURRAY: To travel to or that I would like to go to?
Q. That you like to go to.
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I haven’t seen loads of South America. I’d like to go to South America. My best friend is from Peru. I went there to play a junior tournament when I was there. I’d like to visit Peru maybe. I’d also like to go to Hawaii, Maldives on holiday. That’s something I’d like to do. Haven’t managed to get there yet, but I’d like to soon.
K. NISHIKORI/N. Mahut
4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How did you feel about the win today?
KEI NISHIKORI: Very good. It was tough first set. Didn’t start quite well today. But second and third start returning well, everything start working well. Was good match.
Q. How do you feel going into the next round?
KEI NISHIKORI: Yeah, hopefully I can recover well. That’s the most important. Yeah, Jared is playing well. He’s upcoming. Ivo is always tough opponent, especially here. Little bit quick and bounce high.
Yeah, either one, it’s going to be tough one.
V. WILLIAMS/L. Siegemund
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You seem to have a glow about you this fortnight. What’s going on? Are you just happy with your game to this point?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I’m happy with putting wins under my belt. I’m always in search for perfection. If it’s not perfect, I’m back to the drawing board, so…
Today was a more straightforward win, but not perfect. So I’ll be working on perfection.
Q. What is the difference between straightforward and perfect?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, the thing is, you never really reach perfect, so that’s why you always go back to practice (laughter). That’s just my mentality. I think it’s most players’ mentality, too.
Q. The first week is over. What have you been pleased with with respect to your game?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, the first week is over.
Just doing what I have to do. Being able to dominate when I need to. Being in control of the points. So even if I lose a point, I feel like, okay, I’m in a position to win the point. That’s where I want to be every single time.
Q. After the match you told a little secret that I never heard before about your mom’s tennis game. Can you tell us a little more.
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, my mom was the kind of athlete that could play anything that she tried. She was very competitive at tennis. She didn’t start tennis until I guess the early ’80s. So she started that later in life, but she caught on quite quickly. She could really hit the ball.
A lot of people don’t know that about my mom.
Q. How did seeing her growing up playing tennis inspire you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Clearly a lot because here I am, here we are. She spent a lot of hours with us on the court, and right until this day. It’s amazing how much time she’s put into this.
I don’t know how she does it, how she watches us. Even when I come to Serena’s match, I come in right before and get out. I don’t know how she stays and stays and stays. I guess it’s called true love.
Q. You are going to meet up with a server like yours and Serena’s in Pliskova. How do you prepare for a match like that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Every match is a little different. Today my opponent tried to play aggressively, but I played that game just a little bit better than her. My first round, I don’t know, I never hit so many overheads and swing volleys in my life.
Each match is different. I approach them differently. We play kind of a similar game. So it’s about one of us playing that game better.
I haven’t played her that often. So go out there and put the ball in the court, try to win.
Q. Just one match against her. What do you take from that? Can you take anything from that?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was nearly a year ago. So, yeah, I’ve had the experience of playing her. There’s people, like today I never played Laura. You never know what to expect. You have to see what happens. You never quite know what to expect.
At least with her I know what’s happening, I’ve seen her play. I can go into the match well-prepared.
Q. There was a time after the diagnosis where it was difficult to get into the second week of slams. Now it’s a pretty regular occurrence over the last couple years. What has been the trigger to get the consistency at the big tournaments?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, that’s a good question. It’s just a lot of willpower. That’s really what it is. I started to feel better more consistently this year, so I’m always trying to find things to help me feel my best.
But even if I’m not feeling great, I still manage to get a good fight in out there.
Q. Everything that you went through physically, has that helped you enjoy the game even more when you’re not reaching perfection?
VENUS WILLIAMS: I would say that everything I’ve gone through has proven to me that I love the game, because to be out here is an effort, to say the least. So it’s proved that I love this clearly enough to go through this. And to reach perfection is something I still expect from myself, no matter what, whatever it is I’m going through.
Q. You played all your matches on Ashe. I can’t remember if you did that last year. Is it something you noticed? Do you appreciate it more? I don’t think you played on Centre Court in the last slam.
VENUS WILLIAMS: I managed to get on Centre in the semifinals at Wimbledon, so that was cool. I was like, Yes, I made it back.
I don’t think about my court assignment that much. But Serena and I, we’ve been playing American tennis for so long, I think that’s perhaps where they want to put us. We’re playing at home. It’s clearly a little bit different when you’re playing at home.
Q. A little bit of discussion about perfection. Do you recall when you’ve been the closest to perfection on court, a singular match or moment where it was pretty darn close?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, but it doesn’t happen often. Just as good as perfection is just feeling like you are in a rhythm. When you’re in a rhythm, that’s good enough, because then you feel like you can get into points and find a way to win them. That’s a good place to be, as well.
Q. Do you recall when you were feeling like you were most in rhythm, everything seemed like it was clicking for you on court?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was in a pretty good rhythm at Wimbledon and this summer. I was in a decent rhythm at the French. Playing a lot of good matches.
Q. Serena won her 307th major match. No man or woman in the open era has won more major matches than she has. What do you think are the biggest reasons for Serena setting that record?
VENUS WILLIAMS: 22 majors. That adds up quickly, so… Not to even count the doubles. That’s pretty obvious to me.
Q. What in your mind is it that sets her apart to enable her to have won that many majors?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Well, she’s put the work in. She believes in herself. So between those two, you can’t beat ’em. She has awesome technique. She feels comfortable and confident.
Q. What’s it been like for you to see her accomplish this?
VENUS WILLIAMS: It’s great because when you’re in the stands, you feel confident, too. Because watching matches is really nerve — you get so nervous. I’m a lot more nervous watching than I ever have been playing. So you feel like you’re on the winning side.
Q. Can you ever see playing doubles in a Grand Slam at this point in your career?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Definitely. Playing doubles here is challenging on the schedule. The schedule’s tough for us here to play doubles, between the commute and the matches that they like us to play here. It becomes impossible for us to be in a good position to win the singles or the doubles. We get in a little bit of a disadvantage.
But we definitely want to keep playing when we can.
Q. Does the mindset change at all in the second week of a slam when you go from the third round to the round of 16? Keep plugging away? What’s the mentality?
VENUS WILLIAMS: For me, I want to be more like myself, if that makes any sense. For a player, you want to play your game, whatever that is, the best you can. For me, I want to be as aggressive as possible but still play smart. That’s what I’ll be looking to do each round, to be me.
Q. To find you?
VENUS WILLIAMS: Yeah, to find myself.
S. WAWRINKA/D. Evans
4-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What were your emotions about that match now having had time to reflect?
DANIEL EVANS: Just a bit of a heartbreaker really, yeah. I don’t really know what to say. It was a tough one to take. Probably hurt a bit for a while. Disappointing how it sort of played out, yeah.
Q. It got away from you a little bit at the start of the fifth. I was wondering whether you were feeling physically okay or was there a bit of a mental grievance about not having gotten that match point? How were you feeling?
DANIEL EVANS: I was physically pretty tired. Subconsciously, mentally as well I was hurt a bit. Yeah, just one of those things. In the fifth set, he’s obviously a class opponent. I sort of knew that was the chance in the fourth set, yeah.
Yeah, it’s just a difficult one really to sort of take.
Q. Could you take us through the apparent disagreement. Was it with the physio or the umpire?
DANIEL EVANS: The physio said I had cramp, which I didn’t have. My foot is sore. I actually asked for the trainer in the middle of the game, and he just wouldn’t treat me. He said he was just going to treat me for the normal timeout. I didn’t want to be treated by him because he was wrong.
Q. At one point in the match I think I heard him say he wasn’t happy you shouting, C’mon, with his errors, and at one point, That’s your fault.
DANIEL EVANS: I didn’t say anything to him. I didn’t say anything to him. I didn’t know he was unhappy with anything.
He was unhappy with the people in my box saying, C’mon, a bit too much too closely. I just told them not to say anything.
There was nothing between me and him anyway. I wouldn’t get involved with him. He’s obviously won — I’ve got much more respect for him to get involved with him personally.
Q. You’ve had big highs and big lows before. Obviously it’s a low now. When you look back on this whole week, how good are you at taking those positives and using it to move on?
DANIEL EVANS: Yeah, a bit difficult. Listen, I’m thinking about that smash at 8-All to put it away, or 9-All to put it away.
I don’t really know. I’ve never been in that situation before, especially against someone as good as him. Yeah, it’s just not easy, is it? I mean, being that close, I was thinking about winning the match. Whoever says you don’t think about winning the match at that point is full of it, yeah.
Q. Double Grand Slam winner, you obviously had him on the ropes. That must be encouraging that you can be on par with a guy like that.
DANIEL EVANS: Not right now it’s not. If I lost that match against any other guy, I’d be saying exactly the same. You have to take your chances.
Q. You mentioned that smash. Would that be the one moment in the match that you feel you’ll regret?
DANIEL EVANS: Yeah, I just hit it to the wrong side. Actually hit it down the middle. The small things in those matches make big differences. Why I hit it down the middle — I never hit the smash ever down the middle. Is beyond me, so… Such is life.
Q. I know you have doubles tomorrow. Are you still planning this holiday in Spain?
DANIEL EVANS: Yeah, there probably won’t be doubles tomorrow. I’m pretty badly hurt. I’d say that’s squashed probably.
Q. I think you tweeted about losing your passport.
DANIEL EVANS: I found my passport.
Q. Tell us the nature of the injury.
DANIEL EVANS: Yeah, it’s underneath my foot. You’ve probably seen me stamping my foot quite a bit in between games. I don’t know what it is right now. It’s pretty sore.
So, yeah, it’s been like that now for a few weeks. Yeah, it’s been good fun. Hopefully Nick wins. It will be a bit easier to tell him.
Q. Is there any question, or are you down for the Davis Cup, do you think?
DANIEL EVANS: I’m a doubt to get in the squad, yeah. I’ll be at Davis Cup. I just need some time off, I think. That’s it. I’ve had it before. It’s pretty sore in the mornings and in the evenings, sort of later on in the day, it gets pretty sore.
Yeah, I think taking a bit of time off now would be good physically and mentally. Yeah, it was difficult to walk off the court tonight without winning.
Q. Whenever Andy suffers a tough five-set loss like this, he invariably comes in and says to us, I’ve got to physically work harder, up the amount of work I do in the gym, track, wherever. Are you that sort of bloke? Do you subscribe to that point of view?
DANIEL EVANS: I missed the subscription. No, I didn’t lose that match because I wasn’t — I lost that match because I made the wrong decision on the smash. Obviously in the fifth set against him, yeah, I was tired, but I wouldn’t say I was physically tired. I was more mentally tired in having to go again after all four of the sets being so tight.
I’ve never been away this long either. To come off again losing that, after being in that position, is just something I need to get out of my head pretty quick, you know, get away for a bit. I think it’s a good idea.
Q. What did he say to you at the end?
DANIEL EVANS: He just said, Good fight, sorry you lost. That was it. He’s a class act. That’s why he’s won so many tournaments and Grand Slams. I doubt he was that sorry, but…
Q. You said you’re looking forward to getting home. What are you most looking forward to getting back to?
DANIEL EVANS: Just seeing everyone. It’s been nice to see a few of my friends come. I missed home. Yeah, sort of just come to a head tonight if I’m being deadly honest. When you miss that last ball, I’m ready to go now.
S. WAWRINKA/D. Evans
4-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. After the third set tiebreaker which didn’t go your way, you seemed a bit frustrated. What was your mentality going into the fourth set?
STAN WAWRINKA: Trying to make him work more. Trying to do less unforced errors. Trying to find my game.
I was frustrated, for sure, to be down two sets to one because I wasn’t playing my best tennis. But still had a chance. So I was trying to find the right way, how to keep fighting, how to stay in the match, and how to make it break.
Q. Can you talk us through the two tiebreaks. They seemed to be the crucial parts during the match. Keep fighting against match points, set points down. How was that?
STAN WAWRINKA: How was it (smiling)?
If you’re two sets down, you have a tiebreak going to 8-All, it’s important because if you lose it, you lose the match, that’s for sure.
In general, I think the second tiebreak was a little bit better from both sides. He was coming a lot to the net to try to finish the point. I had to play better, be a little bit more aggressive, more tough with myself. And I took it. I was, for sure, happy to took it.
But I had the feeling in the fourth set that I was starting to play a little bit better. He was starting to be down a little bit, but still playing really well in those important points, still being there, still being tough.
It wasn’t easy to stay calm with myself. But in general I think that was the key for the match. Was tough condition, windy against a talented player who is playing really well, who was pushing me a lot. He was coming with the right shot in the right moment.
Yeah, the court was a little bit faster than normally, than the other big court. So I’m happy to get through. It’s an important win for me.
Q. How does that match compare to other matches you played at the US Open? Is it one of your most memorable that you’ve ever had?
STAN WAWRINKA: It’s always good to win by saving match point. It’s always something special, that’s for sure. It was a great atmosphere again today on that court, tough condition. There’s many thing I can look at my game because it wasn’t the best game.
But I think he also deserve the credit to make me play not my best because he was playing well. He was changing a lot. He’s really talented. So was tough battle and I’m happy to get through.
Q. Your ankle, how much of a factor was that? Did it bother you during the match?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, it’s not the first time that I twist my ankle in match. Was painful in the moments, but after the pain went out, I just wanted to check and change the tape because that was the most important. It’s because of the tape that I don’t completely kill the ankle.
I didn’t feel any pain during all the match after, so that was okay.
I. KARLOVIC/J. Donaldson
7-6, 6-4, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Looked like you played a strong match tonight, a couple loose games. What were your thoughts on how you played?
JARED DONALDSON: Yeah, I felt that I kind of, you know, gave the best opportunity I could give myself on his service games. But the big key to that match is to hold serve and to take care of your service games.
I didn’t do a great job of that. Getting broke once every set isn’t ideal. I think that’s just kind of what let me down in the match.
Q. What’s it like dealing with his serve and massive wingspan?
JARED DONALDSON: Yeah, I mean, it’s tough. It’s definitely difficult when he comes to net because he closes so tight. Cross-court is pretty much impossible to pass. Down the line is very tricky.
He volleys well, covers the net well, has good hands at the net, knows how to cover the net.
The one thing I had a little bit of success with was the lob. When he was volleying deeper, it’s always tougher to get the good feel to get high enough because he’s obviously 6’11”, to have the good feel to then make it.
It’s definitely tricky when he comes in.
Q. Did you feel pressure if you got the serve back that you had to win the point?
JARED DONALDSON: No. Normally I think like I would feel the pressure more on my serve. I felt tonight I actually did a good job of kind of relaxing on my serve and just trying to play, like, a regular match.
But I think that, yeah, I didn’t feel pressure that I have to win the point if I get in it. He’s good from the net. He has great volleys, again, covers the net well. I was doing my best to get the return in play and then try to see kind of how the point progressed from there.
Q. What do you take away from this week? What are the learning pieces from these three matches, or the six matches?
JARED DONALDSON: Yeah, obviously, first, I think it gives me a lot of confidence and reaffirms the things I’m working on are improving my game. That’s number one. Number two, I think I definitely need to continue to work on all aspects of my game, but I think mainly fitness. I think that’s one of the key reasons why I’m starting to play so well is because I’m getting a little bit stronger.
Then I think just keep working on my serve, making sure I have good percentage, good accuracy. So I think those three big things, along with just making sure everything else keeps improving, I think I can keep progressing in my game.
Q. The second-set tiebreak, looked like you had a great chance. The 2-All forehand, is that one of those shots you’ll think about?
JARED DONALDSON: Yeah, I definitely felt confident going into the tiebreak. I felt like I was returning pretty well. I definitely felt like I was going to have my opportunities.
Yeah, I think obviously I missed that forehand, lost another point on my serve, I don’t remember how.
That point didn’t really haunt me because I always thought I’d get one back. I didn’t. But I don’t think I can really, you know, go back and say I would have played it differently. I felt I went for the right shot. If I hit it a couple more inches to the left or a little bit earlier, I would have made it, and it would have been 3-2 me. Who knows, we might still be out there now.
I went for the right shot. I have to live with how I played it.
Q. What particular moment on and off from this tournament might stick out in your mind the most?
JARED DONALDSON: I mean, I think just kind of when I go back and I remember this tournament, honestly I’ll think about every match. Kind of the one thing I’ll always remember is how awesome it was to play with the crowd behind me. I felt every single match they were kind of pulling for me, which is really special. I’m really kind of humbled that I had that much support out there. It was really special. It was great to be a part of that really.
Q. Did he say anything to you at the end?
JARED DONALDSON: Yeah. He told me, Good luck, to keep going. I told him, Good luck, I hope he has a great rest of the tournament.
Honestly I want him to do as well as he can because he beat me. Looks better for me. I hope that he continues to play well. I hope for a lot of good tennis to come.
Q. What are your plans this fall? Are you going to stay in Irvine or go back to Texas?
JARED DONALDSON: Right now I’m going to stay in Irvine because there’s a couple weeks before I go to Asia and play the tour events over there. I feel getting experience at this level is so valuable at my age because it definitely highlighted more things that I’ve needed to work on.
Obviously you want to be playing against the best players. The tour is going to Asia. I feel I need to be playing against the best players and to take away as much as I can from them and what they’re doing not only on the court but off the court. That’s how you learn, playing against the best. I definitely need to keep focused and keep working hard so I can keep up with them.
Q. Will Taylor go with you to Asia?
JARED DONALDSON: It hasn’t been decided. Either Taylor or Phil, I think.
Q. A lot of the players have brought in former players. What did Taylor tell you or what were things that stuck out for you that was emblematic of your work together?
JARED DONALDSON: Honestly, he hasn’t told me anything different from any other tournament. I think he always just says, Go out there and compete and fight and control the things you can control. There’s so many things out of your control.
That’s just one of the big hammering points. I think I’ve done a better job of that, definitely staying focused, in the moment, being able to analyze what’s going on out there.
I think before he would kind of talk to me about the match. What I would say would seem like it was completely out of rightfield or was not indicative of what went on during the match.
Now I’ve been able to kind of dissect the match a little bit while I’m playing it. So I think that’s one of the big things, that I’ve been able to kind of see what’s going on in the match and controlling the things that I can control. I think I’ve done a good job of that.
You never know when things will kind of click, so…
Q. Did you hear the chants of your name? Now that you’re in the top 100, is the goal to be a main draw in Australia?
JARED DONALDSON: I don’t know. I did pretty good qualifying, so maybe playing qualifying is the way for me (smiling).
Again, I heard the crowd pulling for me. I wasn’t trying to focus on — trying not to get too spiked from that because maybe I can go for crazy shots, too much adrenaline. But again, it was great to have the crowd behind me, it was really fun, an experience I’ll always remember.
Q. Top 100 is a big milestone.
JARED DONALDSON: Yeah, top 100 is obviously one of the big milestones in tennis. Everybody kind of wants to first get top 100. I don’t want to just stop at top 100 now. I want to keep going and I need to keep improving if I want to keep progressing up the ranks. There’s still a long way to go.
Q. When were you having the most fun? Was it the crowd support or being with your family, being a part of this?
JARED DONALDSON: I think being on the court and playing, just competing. I know I’ve played main draw here the past two years, but I felt, looking back, I never really put myself in a position to kind of win those matches. I played close matches, close sets. I mean, now I feel with the confidence that I have and how I was playing I was able to kind of really be in the match. I felt like I almost belonged on the court.
I think just competing, playing with that kind of energy is something really special that, again, I’ll always remember. Honestly, it was playing tennis, which is something that is so fun and so difficult at the same time, being able to have that kind of support and so forth was awesome. So that’s something that I’ll remember.
I. MARCHENKO/N. Kyrgios
4-6, 6-4, 6-1 (ret.)
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Must be really disappointed?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, obviously I’m pretty disappointed. You know, a great opportunity. He’s a solid player. I’m sure he’s going to do well next round.
But obviously, yeah, it’s not great, is it?
Q. How tough is it to pull rip cord on the match even when you know you’re hurt?
NICK KYRGIOS: It’s tough. I don’t like to retire. It’s probably like the second or third time I’ve done it. It’s never easy, of course. I’ve got a lot of belief in my game to still win matches when I’m not feeling great.
His strength is to make balls, you know, move you around. It’s not great. Yeah, I mean, to be fair, my hip was bothering me my first two matches and I got through. I guess it was just a matter of time.
Q. (No microphone.)
NICK KYRGIOS: I hit a couple wide forehands that didn’t feel too good, yeah.
Q. It got worse tonight than it has been before?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, it’s not going to get better by playing, I guess, yeah.
Q. Does this put you down for Davis Cup?
NICK KYRGIOS: I don’t really care right now, to be honest. Yeah, hopefully I get better in time. Obviously I want to play. But I’m not really thinking about that right now.
Q. What was the advice of the trainer? You might possibly do further damage?
NICK KYRGIOS: He completely understands what’s happening. He knows it’s painful. It’s almost just hard mentally to play with something like that.
He did everything he could. My physio has been helping me all week. I’ve been trying to fix it all week.
But it’s the whole year leading up to it with the whole schedule. I got to take more time and be more diligent with, you know, gym and everything so this doesn’t happen to me.
I. MARCHENKO/N. Kyrgios
4-6, 6-4, 6-1 (ret.)
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You’ve been playing on tour for a long time. Your first third round, first fourth round. How does it feel to have all this coming at once?
ILLYA MARCHENKO: Well, I’ve been improving last two years with my new coach. Yeah, my injuries were okay. I’m not saying that I’m 100% fit during the whole season, but most of the season I can play full.
Obviously, yeah, I’m improving month by month. I’m really happy with that improvement, that my game is improving and reaching a high level.
Yeah, well, I cannot say that I’m not happy with this result because I’m happy. It’s a big opportunity for me next round.
Q. You looked surprised when they said round of 16 on court.
ILLYA MARCHENKO: Yeah, I was not thinking about it. When you see it’s only 16 guys left and you realize you’re among the top 16 players right now. With my ranking, it’s quite an achievement, I think.
Q. When did you notice that Nick was hurting?
ILLYA MARCHENKO: I think start of the third set. But, you know, you never know if the guy’s just irritated or it’s really bothering him. So I tried to stay focused.
I lost a couple matches when the guy was like kind of thinking and then started to play. Yeah, I was trying to play same game I played before maybe to make him move a little bit more. And, yeah, of course, nobody wants to win this way, but I’m still happy to be in next round.
Q. You could tell he had trouble moving?
ILLYA MARCHENKO: Yeah, he stopped to move for the balls. But, yeah, as I said, you don’t know if the guy just doesn’t want to play or he’s really struggling with injuries.
Obviously now I understand that it was injury because nobody going to withdraw from Grand Slam without an injury.
Q. Not that you had much time to look ahead but you have Wawrinka coming up now. What do you think?
ILLYA MARCHENKO: Well, I played him this year already. He killed me completely, outplayed me in everything. But, yeah, it wasn’t my best match though. Obviously against him, what can you expect?
I mean, I’m going to fight as hard as I can and hope that I will have some chances and believe in myself till the end.
Yeah, Evans had a really good fight today against him. He showed me that you can play against him at this tournament well. We can discuss with my coach about tactics and stuff. Just another match and another opportunity for me.
Q. You just became the second-best Ukrainian player. Dolgopolov made a quarterfinal. Medvedev’s best result of runner-up at French Open. Do you have any hero who you looked up to in your career?
ILLYA MARCHENKO: Well, my hero was Lleyton Hewitt when I was growing up. I liked the way he was fighting. I liked the way he was showing emotions on court. Later on when I started to play, I saw him practicing and stuff. I saw really a great commitment, great work ethic.
So, yeah, he’s finished right now. Had a chance to play against him, but I lost round before. But still he was one of the guys who was my hero.
Then, of course, I was following the guys like Federer, obviously, now Djokovic and Rafa. I was watching. Not put them as heroes, but trying to learn something from them. Yeah, that’s about it.
Andrei Medvedev, I haven’t seen him playing too much, maybe that final.
Q. You were 12 years old.
ILLYA MARCHENKO: Yeah, I was young. I actually liked Agassi more at that time. I was not kind of supporting Medvedev. Now obviously I would.
I don’t know if you know from next week, I going to be No. 1 in Ukraine. It’s some achievement for me. I’m really happy about that. Yeah, I hope to get some confidence from that as well.
Q. How is the public expectation in Ukraine? Tennis?
ILLYA MARCHENKO: It’s not really popular, I would say. I think today I went on a practice. It was full stands. Obviously they came not for me. It was Djokovic next court (laughter). I mean, public for his practice, I think it was more people than on our Davis Cup in Kiev we played couple months ago.
It’s not really on TV. I mean, as you know, we have a lot of other problems. It’s not too much into sport right now.