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May 26, 2015

Taylor Townsend


T. SMITKOVA/T. Townsend
6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It's been a while since I think any of us have seen you. Catch us up on what's been happening since Indian Wells.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, unfortunately I got injured at Indian Wells.

Q. (Off microphone.)
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I had a stress reaction in my ankle, so I was in a boot for a couple weeks. I had to make sure I got healthy, because it could have turned into a stress fracture if I wasn't careful. So I just tried to take a couple weeks and get healthy. Just mentally, physically, just everything was just trying to get healthy. I made a couple of changes to my coaching situation. I moved back home to Atlanta, and now I am training with my old coach, Donald Young, Sr. It's going well. That's pretty much the story.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what prompted your decision to change coaches and go back to where you were originally from?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, that's pretty much what it was. I was just trying to get back to basic things. You know, it's very rare that you can have someone that's willing to coach you again who basically built your game up. He taught me how to play tennis, so he knows my game like the back of my hand. He know my strokes and everything, the way I'm supposed to be playing. He knows the best way that I can play. He's seen me when I'm at my best playing the game that I know I can play. So I just wanted to get back to that and just go back to basics. Get back with my family and just try to build a strong foundation, base, and just get back grounded again.

Q. Something that was geographic? You just want to be back around family in Atlanta; is that fair?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, for sure. That was pretty much it. Then I think that it was more so just a change for my career as well. I thought it would be the best thing for me and for my tennis game and my career. I was just trying to make a good professional decision as well.

Q. Did you feel as though you were moving away from your core game over the last few months? What does that mean to you?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, I think so. I just think I was losing a bit of my variety and what makes me special, using my slice and coming into the net and just trying to incorporate something that's not the same. I wasn't doing that a lot. I was coming to net and being aggressive, but I wasn't using everything that I know I have. My coach saw that, and we immediately jumped on that. Just trying to get me back to doing thing that I know work for me and just using variety and being creative out there.

Q. Is that variety something you feel like will give you that success down the road? The game has gotten so powerful. You feel like there is still a place for a player like you when you go back to the game you started with?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, definitely. It's something different, so when you don't see it often, it's definitely something that can give players a hard time because they don't see it often. When you see one game, one way that things are, when you have something that's different, everybody has to adjust. So, I mean, I just think it's something that makes me special and something that I can do. So I just want to incorporate it more and make that a more natural part of my game again.

Q. Did you feel that Zina and Kamau were trying to steer your game in a different direction? I am just trying to get a feel for it.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: No, I don't think they were trying to steer me in a different direction. I just think that with what we were doing I was just becoming -- I wasn't using everything that I could do. I wasn't using everything and all the strokes that I have, which was the different spins and the angles and dropshots and slices, chip and charge. You know, all the stuff that kind of I would normally do I wasn't doing. I was hitting more flat -- well not more flat, but more powerful and with more force. I was still trying get to the net, but it wasn't happening has often because I was hitting with more velocity versus spin or angles or something to make the other player move. So I don't think they were steering my game in a different direction. I just wanted to get back to someone that taught me how to do that. What better person to go to than the person that started your game and taught you how to play tennis.

Q. Tell us a little bit more about the injury. How it is now? Is it anything you have to look out for or be careful with going forward?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: No. I did a ton of rehab and I did a lot of strength training and exercises and things to make sure that I was 100%. I wasn't going to go back on the court if I didn't feel like -- or if I wasn't confident with my movement, just because ankles, feet, knees, they're just nothing to play with. Once they told me it could turn from a three-week to a six-month injury, I just made sure I was completely ready to go back on the court and ready to go. Once I knew I was ready, then we started training and going all out again.

Q. Your ranking will slip a little bit now. Probably be more in quallies range. What are your goals for getting back up to top 100 and obviously further?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, unfortunately that's the reality of things. You can go up and you can go down, and that's just the game of tennis. Overall I just want to get more matches and continue to play. I mean, I was out for a couple weeks. I missed three really big tournaments that could have given me some really good points if I would've been able to play them. I'm just going to try to play as many matches as I can just to get match confidence, keep working on what we've been working on, and hopefully play Wimbledon quallies and see where it goes from there. I have a lot of tournaments and a lot of tennis to be played in the summer and the latter part of the season. Just looking forward to playing and being out on the court.

Q. I can't remember if it was here least year, but at some point Andy Murray tweeted about how much he likes your game.

Q. What was that like for you to have a top men's player give you that compliment in such a public manner? And just for him in general, I think he really enjoys women's tennis overall.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I think it was great. The reason that I think he even commented on that is because he sees something different; he sees that I use variety and stuff like that. So he obviously saw something that was a little bit different for him to comment on it. Just to be able to watch my matches, it was really cool. So just for a top player like that who has won slams and been at the top to see and recognize my potential and what I do was really great. I think it was a huge confidence booster to continue to do what I was doing and be different.

Q. Take us through what happened out there today.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, she played really well. At the beginning she was swinging out and definitely playing a really, really strong game. She plays like most of the Czechs where they hit really, really flat and deep through the court. So unfortunately my balls were kind of landing short so she was able to step in quite a bit and take some control of the point. As I continued to play I got more of a rhythm on her return of serve. She was serving really well as well. I was just trying to play my game. I mean, she was the better player today. I mean, I'm upset because I hate losing. Obviously I'm not happy that I lost. But, you know, there are some things that I can definitely walk away with knowing I did well. It's just another building block for the next couple tournaments I'm going to play. No reason to get down. Just going to keep working and keep building.

Q. Do you still feel young? You know, everybody answers the question differently, but do you feel like you're at the very beginning of your tennis career? Do you feel you're somewhere on that spectrum?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah. I mean, obviously this is -- I mean, last year I didn't even play a full year on the tour, because for the first half of the year I didn't play in the tour events. Indian Wells was my first tour event. I mean, that's three months. A slam and some other big tournaments that you missed. Yeah, I think I'm still at the beginning of my career. This is still like the stage where you want to have a strong base, a solid foundation, and you want to really know your game inside and out so that you're solid. These are the times that you need to work on stuff so that as you get older and you play the older players and you become one of the older players that you're solid, that you don't make the mistakes that you would make when you're this age and experimenting and trying things. So, yeah, I think I'm still young. But each year you get older, so you just have to keep working and keep building. That's really it. As long as I keep growing, that's all I can ask for.

Q. What is your schedule for the summer coming up?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I mean, that's kind of up in the air right now just depending on the tournaments that I'm getting into. It's kind of up in the air. For sure I'm playing World TeamTennis. I am planning on playing most the US Open Series events: D.C., Cincinnati, hopefully Toronto, New Haven, and just trying to get as many matches as I can in that series while we're in the States. Hopefully I can get into the US Open as well and get my ranking up. Just trying to figure out what we're going to do as far as playing in these Europe tournaments or go back home and train a little bit and just get ready and maybe play some lower-level tournaments. It just depends. We have to kind of talk about it and see.

Q. Taylor, ever stay at like an airbnb or something like that, or just hotels?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: No, we've done airbnb before.

Q. Okay. What have those experiences been like?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Um, well, you guys are going to laugh at this. Lord have mercy. We were in New York, and the guy walked outside and he greeted us and he had no shoes on first. I was like, Oh, my God. Then he told us when we were in the elevator, I hope you like cats. We're like, Yeah, cats are fine. He was like, But you can't let down the toilet seat because the cat uses the toilet. So we were like, Ha ha, No. We were leaving. So that was our airbnb experience. After that I was like, I think hotels are safer.

Q. Where in New York was it?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: It was a couple of blocks away from the Hyatt, so really like you would think it's a nice area. The building was beautiful. It just kind of went downhill from there. So I'm just like, Yeah, I'm just going to stick to hotels. It's a safer option.

Q. It's a big thing in New York, though.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, it was terrible. So, yeah.
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