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September 10, 2016

Lindsay Davenport

Mary Joe Fernandez

Martina Navratilova

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario

New York, NY, USA

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Well, we could well have at least two, three new slam champions in the morning.
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Are you asking about our match? I'm joking.

Q. Okay. In the second set, why did you go crosscourt... (Laughter.) We could have two or three new names as Grand Slam champions. They have been around a little bit, but relatively new forces in the game. How do you see the women's game moving? Is it the dawn of a new period? What are your thoughts?
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Well, I think it's exciting for women's tennis to see new faces. I think Karolina Pliskova, we know her because we see her during the year and we see how many finals she gets to.

I think the last couple years she's been in ten finals. Doing so great during the season and had trouble getting to the majors. When I talked to her in Cincinnati she said she overplayed before majors. She got to the majors and was a bit tired and had letdowns.

So that's why she didn't go to the Olympics this year. You see she's got a power game, one of the best serves out there. You know, I was surprised at how well she returns. She's been returning and winning first and second serve returns almost as much as Kerber throughout the tournament.

Just to see her grow in confidence and have all these top 10 wins in the last month shows you she belongs and she's the real deal. I really like her game.

Kerber, what would happen had she not won that match point in the first round of the Australian Open? Mentally for her to get through that and then have the tournament of her life beating Azarenka and Serena in the final. She's grown as a player. She's improved. She doesn't just play defense anymore.

She plays aggressively. I think her forehand down the line is one of the best in the game. She threads the needle beautifully. It's in the corner every time. And now mentally she's strong. She's really a tough out.

So it's nice to see. I don't think Serena is going anywhere. I think she's going to win more and break Steffi's record, but it's going to get tougher. It gets harder the older you get and the young ones coming up. But it's exciting. I'm looking forward to the final today.

ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO: My partner is completely lost. I know you want her, but I don't know where she is.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That was a beautiful answer.

Q. And also, she's progressed year after year of getting better, little better than even more so. Talk about that progression. What does that say to you about her as a player and a professional?
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: Well, that's what I'm saying is we have been seeing her do well and get better the last few years. It's all come together now, this summer, against the top players consistently, but she's getting better. She knows what her weaknesses are.

She said on court the other day, I know I'm not the fastest out there and I'm working on the foot speed. You see her when she defends; keeps the ball low with her slice; she's improved that shot a lot.

That's what you want to see. You want to see people continue to improve. That's what we have seen in Kerber. Kerber has improved tremendously I think this season with her transition game. I feel her serve is a little bit better, putting more on it.

So, yeah, can't stay status quo. You have to keep improving.

Q. Lindsay, congratulations. When you were coaching Madison, in terms of sort of game planning and diagnosing, what was the plan to attack Kerber in terms of how -- if you were coaching Madison and trying to come up with a game plan, where do you go to put pressure on her?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I don't think she played her.

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: I was just with Madison at the Olympics when she played her. The plan -- didn't work, but the plan was to go up the middle on the first or second shot. Avoid her getting out wide and opening up the court on you.

So she has very set plays that she swings you out wide, and if you don't hit it well you're running immediately. That was the first idea. Hit hard up the middle and then open up the court.

You have to be able to -- if you're a player like Madison you have to be able to take balls out of the air. The minute you get her stretched out wide you have to move forward. Now she's going to start the point over again, and the longer the point goes, advantage Kerber.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: We were looking at some of the numbers from Cincinnati, and Pliskova beating Kerber, she was really using her T-serve on the ad side, and Kerber doesn't have tremendous reach.

Also, if you hit that serve well and it swings away and she barely gets it, she's in the middle. It's a great play. Pliskova served something like 90% there in Cincy. He was obviously hitting her targets and it was setting her up for an easy shot.

Pliskova has the game to hit her off the court, but you have to be able to make six or seven off those, not just one, two, or three like you can against most players.

Q. When you become No. 1 in the world, can you sort of describe what the pressure, how it becomes different and what it's going to be like for Kerber on a week-to-week basis when you have that No. 1 next to you as opposed to being No. 2, No. 6, No. 5?
ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO: Me? Thank you. No, I think that obviously when you are going for No. 1, you know, you have no pressure because you want to get that goal. Once you get there you know that you're probably -- you know, have to win most everything that you have to play.

It's a bit differently mentally, but depends how you take it. I think depends on the player. I think that Kerber has been handling really well all the pressure. She is just going like playing match by match, don't think about it, and just wants to win the tournament. Doesn't matter if she knows she is already No. 1.

But definitely, from now on she will have to do probably more with that pressure, but you just do your job and concentrate. You know what you have to do. Then it's even better because, you know, everybody from now on wants to beat you. Before you didn't have that. You want to beat the others. So it's a big difference and I think it's more in the mind.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I was really impressed with Kerber the other night. It's an emotional moment, even if you know it's inevitable. Maybe she wouldn't have got it here, but maybe in the coming weeks, when it's finally a reality that you are No. 1, so she had a good 15 minutes between matches to digest that and try and calm down and catch her breath.

She still came out and started so strong against Wozniacki. It's obviously a huge match. She was able to reset and refocus.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah, there is so much focus on it these days. There is so much talk about so many different things. To compare it, when I got No. 1, I won Wimbledon and I found out either in the press conference afterwards or the next day in the paper. I can't remember which. It wasn't even on anybody's radar. You just played.

Now everything is so much magnified. That was a great effort on Kerber's part. At the same time, for me I think it may have taken a lot of pressure off. In a way, she didn't have anything to do get to No. 1, but amazing effort either way.

Q. I want to ask same question to all of you guys about pressure. Because recently we talk a lot about pressure, like Serena has been struggling to catch up with Steffi's record, and maybe Kerber lost to Pliskova in Cincinnati because of the pressure. What is the pressure? I mean, when is the time you, in your career, you felt the biggest pressure?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think sometimes the media makes the pressure out to be an excuse for the loss. There is pressure in every single match and there is different ramifications if you win or lose.

There is still pressure in early rounds of slams because the goal is to win them. You're always the favorite if you're a top player. I think the most pressure I have ever seen a pressure have to deal with would be Serena here last year when she was trying to win something so rare that it just seemed to affect her game.

But other than that, I mean, the players get pretty used to handling it. Every match there is pressure. Every tournament there is pressure if you're good.

So I never really love to hear that, to make an excuse for the losses, because that's just part of the game.

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: You have to embrace it. If you're going to be a champion, if you're going to do well, you want the pressure. Billie Jean King famous quote: Pressure is a privilege. The better you get, the more pressure there is. Everybody talks. Like Martina said, everything gets magnified now: The records, the rankings, the Grand Slams.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Payouts are bigger.

MARY JOE FERNANDEZ: The payouts are a lot bigger. You have to learn how you deal with it. Everybody deals with it differently.

ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO: You deal with it. I think every player is different, but you have to deal with that. It's part of what it is in the game.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Everybody has their own pressure story. Talk about the top players, but when you think about it, a player that all of a sudden has a career day and plays great against Serena or Roger, they will never be in that position again.

This is their one chance to maybe shine and beat that player. That's a different kind of pressure. Then you have someone like Kiki Bertens at the French Open. The federation said, If you don't get into the round of 16 you don't go to the Olympics. There is that.

Everybody has their own pressure within your own country, within your own family. So it just depends. As Billie beautifully said, pressure is a privilege. Nice problem. (Smiling.)

Q. Mary Joe answered this earlier, but did you see this tournament in terms of Serena? Everyone tries to look for these moments where maybe the sport shifts, somebody drops down and someone moves up. Do you see this year or this tournament for Serena as anything larger than just a singular loss and that we should maybe look next year for a little bit of a changing of the guard, or one tournament and let's see what happens come next year?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I think it's not changing of the guard, but it's definitely narrowing of the field. Now, actually, we have the real shift that Kerber is No. 1. But we also know that had Serena played a full schedule, most likely she would not have lost that No.1 ranking.

At the same time, how can you be No. 1 when you only play eight tournaments? Amazing that she was still No. 1 having only played eight tournaments. So there is a whole bunch of stuff going on, but the younger generation is definitely catching up.

To me, the biggest surprise was Serena had lost the two finals at slams and then a semifinal. Usually in years past she gets more caught out in the first week, not the second week. People are maybe feeling now -- I think Kerber set it up. Once she beat Serena there, everybody thought, Oh, we have a chance.

Collective confidence the field gets depending on how the other players do against that player, not just how they do it. So it's funny how that affects other players.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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