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June 22, 2016

Monica Puig

Eastbourne, England

M. PUIG/C. Wozniacki

4-6, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A long match but you were never really in trouble all the way through, were you?
MONICA PUIG: You know, I thought I was in trouble quite a few times just when the match started getting very even. She's a great player and she makes you work for every single point, so it was really up to me to stay very focused in my game plan and what I wanted to accomplish out there in the court.

All in all it was a really tight match. Like the score I think doesn't really reflect just how tight it was. I'm just really happy I got through.

Q. If you had to pick one characteristic you're most proud of coming through that final set, what do you think it would be?
MONICA PUIG: Well, I think just the way I was aggressive there at the end. You know, it's never easy also to close out a match when you're serving, especially when it's 5-4. You know, anything can happen, and then all of a sudden you're 5-5, fighting to get your lead back.

Just the way I stayed with my game plan the whole way and the way that I was just extremely positive throughout the match.

Q. You're in the midst of a great season, career high ranking after this. What's the difference between the Monica Puig playing now and the one playing two years ago?
MONICA PUIG: Well, I think I just started to understand how I function a little bit. (Smiling.)

When you're starting as a professional, you need to work your way through it and understand your body and how it works, especially at this level.

I don't think I really came to glimpse that in the previous years. I think, you know, maturity is a big part of it, as well.

But again, I'm not in any rush to force myself to mature right away. I'm enjoying the ride, and I think that's what's helping me right now, having fun doing what I do best and just enjoying every single moment out on the court. I'm really happy. (Smiling.)

Q. On the first match point, a double fault. You get a second one, ace down the T. What happened in between the two?
MONICA PUIG: I was praying for an ace, to be honest (laughter). You know, you just get to match point. Even though you're 40-15 up, there is still always the nerves because the other player might play much looser and she can all of a sudden hit one or two winners. Because it's happened to me in the past. I was just thinking I just need to get the first serve in the court, so a double fault wasn't the way I wanted to start the first one. I was just praying for that ace on the second one. I was kinda lucky it just went right on the T.

Q. Does the unpredictability of speed of grass at that moment, does that add to that tension?
MONICA PUIG: I think maybe it just takes a little bit of the pressure off when you're serving, because you know if you place it well, the grass pretty much just helps you out. I feel like the surface is so fast that, you know, you don't really need to do too much with the serve. You need to place it well and everything else will follow.

It's not that way on the other surfaces where it bounces maybe a little bit higher, where it's a little bit slower. There is always that advantage on grass. But also you have to take care of getting a lot of first serves in the court, because the second serve sits up a lot more here and just doesn't come as fast.

You know, it has its pros and cons, but I always try to use the serve to my advantage on grass.

Q. How is your game adapting to grass?
MONICA PUIG: Well, I'm pretty aggressive so I think it's favoring my game a little bit. I have had up-and-down results with grass courts in the past. You know, I had fourth round at Wimbledon last year, early exits in all the tournaments. So it's a surface where you have to really work at it in the first week and a half, you know. Tried to use Nottingham as a good preparation for Wimbledon and getting used to the body on how I'm supposed to get really low and just feel everything out.

I got to the semis there, so it wasn't really that much practice for me. It was more like an actual competition. But I did prepare very well the week before and just really happy with how my team has helped me.

Q. Where did you feel like you could take advantage of Caroline today, like tactically or on the court? Where did you feel like you can impose your game and exploit her a little bit more than maybe in the past?
MONICA PUIG: Well, I think, you know, sometimes with her game she gets a lot of balls back in the court. I just felt like today if I got a lot of looks at the shorter balls and trying to come in behind it, you know, she's going to keep running the court. So I just had to try and find a way to take time away from her.

I think that when the balls did come a lot shorter, I was trying to take my chances and being a little bit more aggressive, because I know that if I were to get in the rally-rally with her, there was a chance she was going to make a few more balls than I was and she was going to chase down a few more. It's just a lot of respect for how she plays and finding a way to counteract that.

Q. With so many wins, as you said in Nottingham and here, how confident are you moving on to Wimbledon?
MONICA PUIG: Yeah, I'm feeling really good going into Wimbledon. Obviously I want to get as far as I possibly can here first and then focus on that, but, you know, it's the last -- Wimbledon is the last tournament before kind of a half-season break, so obviously I want to finish off with a high.

But I'm really, really happy with how I have gotten used to the grass courts so far and with pretty consistent results on them, as well.

So I'm just, you know, taking it match by match and day to day and seeing what I can improve. Especially going into a Grand Slam you always want to be in top form there. I know that there are some things I can improve even off of today's win. I'm always looking for those tiny little things that will make all the difference in the end.

Q. How much do the Olympics loom for you? Is it something you're thinking about at all, or are you just focused on Wimbledon and things right now? I know it probably means a lot to you.
MONICA PUIG: Yeah, it was a huge pressure for me actually at the French Open. My coach was like, Don't worry. You're going to qualify. Just don't think about it.

Obviously there were so many people fighting for that last few positions there at the French. I put a lot of pressure on myself, but I was lucky enough to get to the third round and secure my place.

You know, that was just a main focus for me at the beginning of the year. I didn't really have a shot at qualifying for the team, being almost outside the top 100. And all of a sudden being able to qualify and my ranking still going up, it's something really special. But for me, representing my country at the Olympic Games is always something I've wanted to do, and I know I'm going to enjoy that moment as much as everybody else is, you know, but it's going to be very memorable being my first Olympic Games.

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