February 8-16 2020, SIBUR ARENA
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  • 01.02.2019, 19:36


It is believed that the second, the third and the fourth day of acclimatization are the most difficult ones. Did you feel that acclimatization was taking its toll on you? How did you try to cope with this?

Yes, you’re right, I’m pretty tired to be honest. I slept okay, but there is the time difference and the weather is different, tool. But I was really trying my best, especially for one set. I tried to fight and win the first set, and at the beginning of the second set, too. But then she came and played really strong, didn’t give me anything for free and it was difficult for me to stay in the match and play great tennis. I felt a little bit slow today, so I made a lot of easy mistakes, a lot of double faults, I think I didn’t really have a great percentage on the first serve either, so it’s been very difficult for me.

Probably, the main goal for you now is to become world’s No.1. Do you feel some extra pressure about that being so close to this goal?

Well, I’m the kind of person who never really concentrates on rankings that much. Of course I’ve been close to No.1 already and didn’t make it. Somewhere in my head I probably have this goal but for me it’s not really important. If I’m going to play good tennis, good results will come, and I think the ranking will come as well. So I don’t feel any extra pressure with respect to the first position in world rankings ,I  just want to improve my game and that’s how it is. And I think with time I’m going to play better at Grand Slams.

You were hitting pretty close to the lines, but still made errors. Is it because of you were really tired or it’s just bad luck?

Yeah, I know I was pretty close. I think I already mentioned that I was pretty slow and tired, and I think there is this small percentage difference between inside the line and outside the line – just a few centimeters – and I think in tennis it makes the biggest difference. If I’m a little bit slower, that’s how I make mistakes, unfortunately.

People have been saying lately that you somewhat changed your game. Prior to that you were trying to win a rally in one-two strikes. Now you are engaging in longer rallies. Why is it so? Is it because you have changed your style on purpose? Or is it just because you have improved your fitness level, and now you can afford to play longer rallies?  

I didn’t change it on purpose. I think it’s kind of the result of how I improved my fitness, and now I know that I can play longer rallies. Of course, sometimes I’m trying to kind of make space for the final shot for the winner. Not long ago I was just playing winners from the first or second shot making mistakes, but now I’m really trying to get the space and have a good ball for the winner. Of course, when I improved my fitness, I became able to move better, and play a little bit longer rallies. If I’m not really playing my best tennis, I think that I still can get to do it. I think I’m trying to play more consistently as well. So that’s how it is.

 Maybe you have noticed that the crowd was behind you today at the stadium, and even the Consul General of the Czech Republic came here to cheer for you. Could this defeat of yours today prevent you from coming back to this tournament next year?

For sure not. It was really nice to play in front of such a crowd. I saw many Czech flags. I didn’t know that the guy from the Czech Embassy came to watch the match, it’s nice to know. Unfortunately, I didn’t make him happy with my game probably. But I definitely didn’t change my mind. I still really love this tournament, and I won it last year. I played good tennis this year here as well. The tournament is still great. So nothing has changed. Nothing will prevent me from coming here next year.

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