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June 23, 2016

Monica Puig

Eastbourne, England

M. PUIG/K. Mladenovic

7-6, 4-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Quite a battle, wasn't it?
MONICA PUIG: Yeah, I would say. I would say so. (Laughter.)

Q. How do you think you were able to win it in the end?
MONICA PUIG: I think just staying mentally tough, because we are both, you know, putting so much pressure on each other's serves. So it was basically about me staying focused and doing what I had to do, which is be as aggressive as I could and just keep my head together.

Q. Talking about your fighting spirit, I wonder, is it a natural experience or you get something from sports psychology?
MONICA PUIG: Well, the sports psychology part, my team takes care of. My coach and everybody on my team tries to get me mentally prepared for every single type of situation that I'm going to encounter on the court.

It comes from within, yes, it does, but I think it just gets stronger due to the experience I have had in the past. You know, I have had several matches where, you know, I have been in the same situation and I have been the softer one and I have caved to the pressure.

But now I feel like, you know, I have some of these matches under my belt where I have been in difficult situations and I have been able to pull it out. So experience definitely plays a big part in it, too.

Q. It seems like you are hitting in very good form. Yesterday was a great win against Caroline and today another one, three sets. Seems like you're building good momentum.
MONICA PUIG: Yeah, I don't think today was the same quality match as yesterday. I missed a little bit more, there were more double faults, felt like a million to me, but, you know, the most important thing is I was able to put those behind me and just keep focusing on what I had to do next, which is very important.

I always try to stay as positive as possible, but it definitely does feel good to get this win under my belt and move into the semis.

Q. You spoke in Nottingham about qualifying for the Olympics and the pressure was off. Now on the grass court, playing extremely good, do you feel like the pressure is off and you can enjoy it?
MONICA PUIG: Yeah. I mean, I'm just trying to enjoy every moment on the court. Now obviously with the pressure of the Olympics off, well, it takes a little bit of the stress off of my shoulders because it was a goal that I really wanted to accomplish for this year so I could check one off my list.

Obviously there is a long way to go and I have a lot more goals that I want to accomplish, so those are my new target points and focus. You know, I'm just really happy with the way I have been progressing since the year started and where I am now.

Q. Looking ahead with Wimbledon, on the side, have you heard the part about the Nike dress problem, a problem with the clothes?
MONICA PUIG: No, I haven't heard anything.

Q. All the white stuff is too light and it blows up, so Nike said they have to take their gear to a Nike house before Wimbledon to get it all fixed. Is that kind of a distraction if it were you?
MONICA PUIG: Well, I'm with Ellesse, so I'm just -- yeah, I don't really know too much about this. This is brand new news to me, so I didn't know. (Smiling.)

I just like what I'm wearing and I feel really good on the court with it. That's all I'm going to focus on.

Q. Why do you think you have adapted so well to grass this year? You're having more success this year than you have had before. Why the change?
MONICA PUIG: Well, before Nottingham started, I worked a lot with my fitness coach on, you know, getting low with the legs, making them stronger, basically lowering my center of gravity a little bit more so I can be able to absorb a faster pace that comes with the grass.

So I felt like getting myself physically fit for this season, for this short grass season, was extremely important. And also, the amount of time I have had on the court with matches and practice, it's also helped. Just the advice that my team gives me every single day, just trying to keep that in my mind.

Q. We can see that you are very fit, long hours on the grass. What about recovery?
MONICA PUIG: Like I said, I have a very good team behind me. I have a chiropractor who I work with who makes sure that I'm 150% ready for tomorrow. Yesterday was a tough day, and I woke up feeling very good because of the work that we did yesterday.

So there is no doubt that with a good session of treatment, some good dinner, and a nice dress I'm going to be ready to go.

Q. Are you the kind who looks at the draws when they come out? The Wimbledon draw is coming out soon. You will not be seeded but I don't think anybody wants to draw you.
MONICA PUIG: Well, I like to look at the draw but then again I'm not really putting too much of an emphasis on it this year, because at the end of the day I have to win whatever match I have first before looking into the future.

So, you know, I didn't even know who I was going to play next after this match. They told me on the court. I was like, Okay. (Smiling.)

But at the end of the day, yeah, like I said, you have to win that match before you can look into the future. Always trying to stay in the present.

As far as Wimbledon, I won't look at the draw until I'm done here. Whoever I draw in the first round, that will be my first focus. I'll try and get ready for that as best as I can.

Q. What do you think it means for people back home to see you do well in these type of tournaments?
MONICA PUIG: Well, it's a big thing, especially because sports is so big in Puerto Rico. You know, all of the people from Puerto Rico take a lot of pride in their athletes and to people who represent their country with dignity and who are proud to represent their country.

So a win like this and how I have been doing this season, everybody is super, super happy. I really like giving that back to them because, you know, Puerto Rico has been full of not-so-positive news as of late. I feel like it's always a boost of something to my country that every time that a sportsman does well or qualifies for the Olympics, which is our main focus -- you know, Puerto Rico is all about the Olympics right now -- so every time you hear that a new athlete qualified or that somebody won at something, you know, it automatically puts a smile on everybody's face. That's, I think, our responsibility to help Puerto Rico through those bad times.

Q. That plays on your mind a lot?
MONICA PUIG: Yeah, I mean, I'm very proud of where I come from. I always, you know, try to give back to what they have given me and all they have given me is unconditional love and support. That's the least I can do.

Q. I have been hearing people are asking the players about the football. Do you follow the Copa America?
MONICA PUIG: Unfortunately I don't, but that doesn't sit very well with my team because I have two Argentines on my team and one French. So I occasionally watch football a little bit, but it's not something that I follow religiously like they do.

Sometimes they wake up at 2:30 in the morning to watch a game. I'm like, No, I'm snoring at that time. (Laughter.)

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