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August 21, 2016

Barbora Strycova

Sania Mirza

Cincinnati, Ohio


7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations, you guys, first question: What were you thinking in the first set when you were down 1-5?
SANIA MIRZA: I mean, nothing really. Like honestly, after the match I told her we were down 5-1, 40-15 and she didn't know.

BARBORA STRYCOVA: It was 30-40, I think.



SANIA MIRZA: 40-15. But anyway, it doesn't matter. Honestly, I think the biggest quality we both have that we discovered together, that we both fight no matter what the score is. We are not focusing on that at all.

Even in the whole week we were down 3-1, 3-0 in the other match and we were just fighting. That's how we felt even today.

BARBORA STRYCOVA: Also at the beginning we lost three games on deuce, so it was kind of close.

SANIA MIRZA: We were not playing bad. We were just not winning the important points. We could've been up 3-0, and instead it was 2-1, so we were down.

We had break points to hold. I think it's just about belief. With this scoring pattern, when you play doubles and the scoring patten, it changes very quickly for both ways, and that's what happened. In both sets, to be honest.


Q. Do you guys feel like the fact you had played more matches together, looked like you were a little bit more of a cohesive pair out there.
BARBORA STRYCOVA: Of course. As more matches we play as better we can maybe know each other. In the beginning, like Sania, said we had a tough draw. We had to play our best tennis from the beginning.

Q. How strange is it for you play against Martina with the No. 1 ranking on the line?
SANIA MIRZA: No, I mean, I'm not going to lie. It's a very difficult situation. It's not a easy, A, because we are still good friends. It's never easy. The first we tournament we split and we come and we have to play each other. Of course there is no better match to play than the final, so was difficult I think for both of us.

I would being lying if I said it wasn't for me. But having said that we are professional tennis players. We have to come out and we have to give our best and we have to try and win. That's all we can do, and we both tried to do that.

But it was going to happen eventually. We had to play against each other at some point. I think it's better that it happened earlier, as soon as we came out, because next time it's obviously less difficult to play.

But for me and Barbora we have to focus on ourselves. That's all we kept saying to each other. We have to focus on ourselves as a team and on ourselves, and that's what we tried to do.

Q. Maintaining your No. 1 ranking on your mind at all this week?
SANIA MIRZA: No, not at all. As cliche as it sounds, ranking is really just a number. At the end of the day you have to come out and you have to play your best tennis. That's what we did, and that's why we feel like we won the tournament, you know.

Next time somebody else plays their best maybe and we don't win the tournament and they win.

No, not really. I mean, for us it's important to win every time we play. We both fight; we both like to play and we both like tennis obviously.

Q. How validating is it to have the first win against Martina?
BARBORA STRYCOVA: I don't look at it like that at all. I look at it like any other match. I mean, it's difficult on terms of a personal level to play each other right after we split from the things we achieved.

Having said that, I don't look at it like I am one up and she looks at it now one down. Not at all. We're not children. We are professional tennis players. Next time they play better they can beat us. We will try to win again next time we play.

It's as like any other match. We came here wanting to win the tournament. We were 7 seeds. We were handed probably the toughest draw that was possible starting from the word go. We played the Chans; we played Babos-Shvedova; we played Jurak-Rodionova. We played everybody that was possible we could.

We have to look at it like that. You know, CoCo and Martina are a great team, and I'm sure we'll have some great matches against them.

Q. A lot of talk about No. 1 being up for grabs in singles today. What's it like being No. 1? If Kerber gets it today, what would you tell her?
SANIA MIRZA: I think as tennis players it means a lot to us. Imagine being No. 1 at what you do in the whole planet. I've had that privilege for the last year and a half.

We've shared, me and Martina have shared amazing memories together being No. 1. I think if you ask any athlete, if you ask Barbora, that's probably her goal as well.

We all want to be No. 1. That's why we play tennis. Very few people get to be No. 1 in the world. For Angie, if she becomes No. 1, it would mean the world to her I'm sure. You can ask her.


SANIA MIRZA: It's the thing as an athlete you dream as a child. The be No. 1 in the world is the most amazing thing.

Q. Do you feel the target on yourselves as well?
SANIA MIRZA: Of course. Everybody comes out; they have no pressure. They come out, they play incredible against us because they have nothing to lose. We have to always bring our A Game.

But pressure is a privilege and we're happy to be in that spot.

Q. Barbora, I wanted to ask you a question?
BARBORA STRYCOVA: Really? (Laughter.)

Q. Specifically about your player box. You have a lot of personality on the court.

Q. And you interact often with your box, looking at them. Do you think that you would do that less if there was nobody to communicate with? If you couldn't see your box and turn around and look at the people who know you?
BARBORA STRYCOVA: That's a good question actually. Well, I would find someone in the fans.


BARBORA STRYCOVA: Yeah. Well, obviously when I'm playing singles, like you say, I'm very emotional player. I need the communication. I need to put the emotions away.

But you have to see the balance when it hurts me or when it or helps me. I'm 30 years old and didn't still find it, but I'm working on it. (Laughter.)

Q. Have you both given any I thought to what your joint name would be going forward?

SANIA MIRZA: No, we haven't. But somebody on Twitter message me and said Mistry, M-i-s-t-r-y.

BARBORA STRYCOVA: That's a pretty god one.

SANIA MIRZA: I thought that was pretty good actually. Even though, no, we didn't think about it. We don't know if we were going to play. We just speak for two weeks for Cincinnati US Open.


SANIA MIRZA: Good chance we'll play together.


Q. How did you guys end up deciding to play together? Were you looking for something specific?
SANIA MIRZA: Barbora is gonna talk.



BARBORA STRYCOVA: We talk in Montréal about it that maybe there can be some possibility, and then in Rio we said we gonna play Cincinnati and US Open.

SANIA MIRZA: Well, I approached her obviously because, you know, it was a split. Like no nobody anticipated that, including me and Martina.

But I think that we -- I mean, it happened and we decided, me and Martina took the decision, and then we obviously had to find people. She was obviously one of my first because I felt like we could play well together given our games.

We know each another. To be honest, we have not been like friends so to say, but we know each other since we were 15 years old. We've always had mutual respect for each other and our games. At least I have had.


SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, I am grateful she agreed.

Q. Is there any apprehension when you approach someone for the first time?
SANIA MIRZA: I mean, it's not like dating. It's a professional decision. Whether it's splitting or getting with someone, it's a professional decision.

You have to see. We could be best of friends, but if our games don't match doesn't make since. It's great that we both felt that we could be good together on the court.

Q. Looking back before that, what made you think it was time to split with Martina?
SANIA MIRZA: I mean, we didn't. We didn't know honestly. I think it was something that sometimes you just feel something clicks, and both of us felt at that time that maybe it's time.

I mean, you know, it's really not as dramatic as everyone wants it to be. It wasn't like we were going to part ways. It was literally a professional decision.

We both spoke right after our match in Montréal. We said we'll sleep over it, wake up the next morning, and that is literally what happened.

We woke up the next morning and we felt, Okay, let's with other people and see what happens. I think it's great they made final and we won the tournament. It's obviously good. They had a good tournament as well, and so did we. Maybe it was the right choice and that's it.

Q. A lot of relationships will last a little bit longer through a stretch of maybe not getting the results that you want, so I think that's why people were surprised.

Q. Can you talk us through that aspect of it?
SANIA MIRZA: I mean, guys, I think it's important to understand that we are here for our post-match press conference, and I don't think we have to keep talking about what happened in the past.

Me and Barbora both -- and Martina and CoCo -- have to focus on what we have today. What me and Martina achieved is amazing, and the things we achieved haven't been achieved in a long time or at all. We have to respect that.

We have to also respect my partnership now here. I have to focus on that and have to give positive. I cannot dwell and she cannot dwell on what happened in the past.

As much as I want to answer your question, I think it's not fair on Barbora to sit here and listen to what happened between me and Martina.


Q. Barbora, you played doubles with Pliskova before. This will be her biggest title. Did you see this coming from her?
BARBORA STRYCOVA: I mean, she was playing good tennis already before in Montréal. I saw her couple matches. I think these courts and the ball suits her so good here.

So if she wins this one it will be big -- this gives her a big confident for US Open.

So I'm happy for her.

Q. How is Czech tennis feeling after a bunch of bronzes?
BARBORA STRYCOVA: We won three bronze medals. Czech feels great. They were very happy about that. For such a small country we tried to do our best, and I think we have also five finals from Fed Cup and three from Davis Cup. I mean, what they can ask for more? I mean, we cannot do more.

Q. Given the change and wanting to focus on that, you guys grew up together. You've known each other for a long time. Is there a particular personality trait that you both appreciate about each other right now?
BARBORA STRYCOVA: We have a little bit similar personality, I think. She's calmer on the court.

SANIA MIRZA: (Laughing.) That's not tough to do. (Laughter.)


SANIA MIRZA: No, she was really good. You go first.

BARBORA STRYCOVA: No, you say. She does it better.

SANIA MIRZA: No, for me, I think the biggest personality trait in her that I felt this week honestly is that no matter what happens, she fights. She had three incredibly tough matches. It was really hot. I mean, I know how tired she was.

She came out on the first round that we played and I know she was dead, but she didn't let me feel once that she -- and I don't know if people know, but she's been sick for the last few days as well.

She didn't tell me once that, Sania, I don't feel this or I don't feel that. For me that is a huge personality trait, because I know that she gives out a lot of emotions. We are similar; she's right. I'm calmer. I don't let it out as much, but she doesn't care. She wants to win and tries to win.

I think that that's its most important thing for me. That's how I felt this week. Maybe I'm wrong.

BARBORA STRYCOVA: No, you're right. But I mean, to play with her and then she approach me to ask to play doubles with her, I mean, it was a privilege. I had to go for it.

I think this is the prize we got, because I was looking forward to play here with her. I enjoyed every match because we are there and we fight. This is what it's all about. If you win or lose, doesn't matter.

But we are a team and we go there and fight every match, and this is what I love.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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