– Let’s start as always with your serve and how you managed to enforce your characteristic game after which you bloomed in the second set?
– Yes, these were the slowest serves in history, at 93 km/h (both second serves). But I won both points. Actually this is what my game is all about – in changing the height of the bounce, varying spin and I am glad that girls are not comfortable playing my signature tennis. In the first set I rushed a lot and not everything worked for me while Veronika, on the contrary, Veronika started the match confidently and faired well. In the second set I managed to make a break, held serve and turned the tide.
– You’ve just been awarded received a jersey of Zenit basketball club from Alexander Medvedev. And he reminded us that last time four tennis players from one country participated in a semi-final was at US Open in 2017. And now you are a part of such historical event – four Russians are in the semi-finals in St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy. What does this mean to you emotionally?
– I didn’t think about it at all, I am just stepping on court everyday and trying to enjoy the game. And it does not matter to me which nationality does my opponent belong to. But I am sure that this is amazing for the tournament and for the development of the Russian women tennis.
– You’ve lost just three games after the first set, so what kind of adjustments did you make after the first set? It certainly seemed like you were a different player out there.
– Obviously, I started to put more balls inside the court (laughter). I started to make rallies longer, and I was trying to put her in the situation, where she feels most uncomfortable. That was the key today.
– You started a really good season. You have 13 wins so far and you are in your second semi-final. What are you learning about yourself this season?
– I’m learning every day about myself (laughter). I’m learning something new every day, every tournament. My team is also helping to develop myself and helping me to become better. We are talking a lot about tennis, life and everything. It helps me a lot to understand myself, how the things work in general. They are helping me to grow up every day.
– You played well last year in Rome. Then, however, there was no continuation, and now you are returning your positive feelings, is it correct?
– Well, you know what happened: I played well in Lyon, and then there were no tournaments for 5-6 months, then there was a tournament in Rome, I played well there, then there was Roland Garros, and then I got injured. After all that I played well in Ostrava, and the season was over. Therefore, now I’m retrieving my good game indeed, that I had back then. And I hope that I will play at this level for a long time.
– Couple you, please, clarify what exactly you improved in your game or is it just mental things?
– I would say that we worked a lot on all aspects of my game – on the steps, swings, serve, everything, and I was working on the mental part with a psychologist as well. In tennis it is important to improve absolutely all aspects of the game because all the small details decide everything. It is important to improve yourself as a person.