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September 4, 2016
New York, NY, USA
C. WOZNIACKI/M. Keys
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. When do you remember playing as well as you're playing right now? Could you characterize your confidence level after the Keys match?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, it's been a good week. I'm really happy about the way I played. Obviously Madison is a strong player. She hits the ball really hard.
But I managed to really, you know, play well, get a lot of returns in. I served well, which I was pleased with.
Yeah, I'm just happy that I got another win.
Q. You said in the on-court interview you were surprised. You talk about the balance of being surprised that this great run came this week after this year, but also that you still believe you have this in you. How do you sort of balance those two emotions?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don't remember saying I was surprised. Did I say I was surprised? Okay.
Q. Which is usually surprising...
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it's crazy, meaning, it's crazy to be out there again and just playing really well. It's nice to play in front of such a big crowd.
Yeah, it's been a good week so far. Obviously it wasn't an easy match today. She plays the ball really strong. She has a great forehand, good serve.
She was really hitting some bombs which I was really pleased the way I was able to return a lot of those serves back and just kind of getting those actual balls in play.
Q. So you're not surprised?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I just -- not really. I mean, I'm not surprised that I could make it this far because I always believe in myself and I always think that -- you know, when I got on court I always believe that I'll win the match.
But it's nice. It's a nice feel.
Q. When you get an injury like that and you don't win a lot of matches, people don't talk about you very much. You know, you have been very quiet. Does it kind of give you a chance to kind of reset everything and make a fresh start like here?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest, I don't know. I haven't really noticed whether it's been quiet or not. At the end of the day I just do my thing. I know I can play well. It doesn't matter what ranking I have.
I know that, you know, when I play my best I'm tough to beat, and, you know, I just do my thing.
I have a lot of people here who are supporting me every day, and that's really the most important thing. I love having my friends and my family here kind of just doing dinners and enjoying my time off the court, as well.
Q. Do you feel you're improving from the Caroline Wozniacki who was No. 1 two years in a row?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think so. I think every year we are trying to improve obviously a lot of -- everybody knows how I play, and you always have a target on your back once you've gotten somewhere and reached something.
Everybody wants to beat you. No matter at this current moment what my ranking is, I always feel like I'm a target. I have to keep improving to beat everybody. I feel like I have been serving well this week, especially today, and returning well and really having good court coverage.
Q. Your next opponent, Sevastova, expressed surprise that she's this far. What are your thoughts on the arc of her career, having retired and now being at this stage of this tournament?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, I have had -- I had some tough matches against her in the past. I think we played Fed Cup a couple of times, but also we played the Australian Open.
She's a tough player. She's a tough opponent. She has a lot of grit and good hands. It's not going to be an easy one, but I'm excited just to have another shot.
Q. What do you make of what's gone on in her life and career though to have stepped away and to now be back?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don't know. I mean, it's all personal. I don't know really her decisions to retire. I just realized that she didn't -- she wasn't around very much. I thought maybe her ranking dropped.
But, yeah, it's good to see her back.
Q. Do you think that being back on Arthur Ashe Stadium court after a season that's not been so good has allowed you to focus more on a place you've been comfortable and had great success, great support? I mean, everything coming together to allow you to play better at this point.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Um, I mean, it's tough to play well or not well when you're injured. I think at that point you're just thinking to get back on court and feeling healthy. The fact that I have been playing good the last few weeks and really my ankle feels good, the rest of my body feels good, I think that's the main thing.
Then I'm just happy. I know that the court here suits me, the balls suit me, so I'm going to make the most of the opportunity that I get here.
Q. You were down 4-Love against Kuznetsova a couple rounds ago. Have you made any adjustments since that moment to have you here at this point?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Not too much, actually. I felt like I played really well even when she was up 4-Love. I just kept kind of kept focus. Maybe stepped into the court just a little more.
But I just kept fighting. It was like eventually hopefully her level will drop a little bit, but if not then it's just going to be too good.
And, yeah, I just enjoy being out there. I enjoy every moment of it. I just have fun. I think that's the main thing.
Q. How is your body right now? Having come through the injuries you did this year, do you feel any of the effects? This is the first time you have played five straight matches in 18 months or something like that.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I actually feel good. I mean, the fact that I have been working really hard in the gym and in everything else I could do -- I mean, you train -- I trained maybe four hours a day in the gym and everything else.
So, I mean, my body is used to being through all that. Clearly it's different to play intense matches and it's different adrenaline, but my body is ready to go through like a beating.
The main thing is right now I don't feel any pain anywhere. I mean, there is always some small things, but, no, nothing significant. That's the main thing.
Mentally, as well. That makes me feel much more relaxed.
Q. Does it feel different? And if so, how when you're staying at home? A lot of the players play here, they stay in Midtown, but for you with the home base here, how does that change versus a normal tournament and those patterns?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It feels so much better. I just can cook -- or I don't cook, actually. (Smiling.) Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. My mom has cooked. She's staying with me this week, which is nice. She's cooked a couple of meals. She does my laundry, as well. It's nice to have mom around. Usually I have to do all that myself.
It's nice just being able to sleep in your own bed. Kind of, you know, just more -- it's a more relaxed feeling. Also, I have so many friends here, so every day I have been going out for lunch or dinners and just kind of enjoyed the city, as well.
I think that's kind of recharged my batteries.
Q. There is positivity in your game; interesting how you carry yourself. Did that get tough to uphold as the wins hadn't been coming the last couple of years?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I feel for the last probably five years since I lost my No. 1 ranking I think -- it's been five years -- everybody has been telling me, Your ranking dropped. It's been a tough year.
I'm like, No, it actually hasn't. I am still in the top 10 or top 8 and I feel like I am hitting the ball well. At this point, the main thing for me is just enjoying what I do and being healthy, because when I'm healthy, mentally I can get around things in my head and I can actually do this and I can play at my highest level. I can get through the harder times.
I know that, you know, once I get going, hopefully it's a start of something good.
Q. You're pretty far out of the top 10 now. You have had a rough year. You have had to adjust to things. Just wondering if any of those sort of dips have inspired you or challenged you or driven you any more.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest, I think at this point I'm very much like I don't care. (Smiling.) I know it sounds bad, but honestly, at this point I'm like, I really don't care what my ranking is.
Because if I'm not in the top 5 I feel like it's not where I want to be, so at that point, whether I'm 20 in the world or 100 in the world, it doesn't matter because I'm going to play the same people anyway.
So, you know, I'm just working my way through. The main thing is that when I'm on court I have to believe in myself. That's what I care about, that I know that I can do it. I know I can beat anyone. I think it just sucks for some of the other players who have to play me early.
Q. You were talking a little bit about when you lost No. 1. But sitting there, how different is the Caroline Wozniacki from just a maturity level, just being, you know, older these days, than the Caroline Wozniacki that was sitting there when she was No. 1?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it's a huge difference. I think I have gone through so many things. Clearly to get to No. 1 you have to go through a lot of bumps and things.
I think you just learn so much about yourself over the years, as well. I have been -- yeah, it's just been a great experience, a great ride. I think maturity-wise I'm so much more relaxed now than I used to be.
Before it was all about, Okay, I have to win this; I have to do that. Now I'm like, I don't have to do anything. You know, whatever is meant to be it's going to be, and I'm just going to give myself the best shot out there. I'm going to work hard and give my best shot every time out on court.
And I think I'm enjoying the whole atmosphere and everything else so much more.
Q. That pressure, though, of back then wanting to get the wins, get the rankings, get all these accomplishments, that can be motivating. If you're a little bit more relaxed now, what is motivating you? What keeps the fire burning for you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think the love for the game. I think my motivator is clearly winning tournaments. It's winning big matches. It's being out there on Arthur Ashe Stadium and playing in front of a big crowd.
That's motivating. That's the thing that when it's gray and cold outside and you have to go practice at 7:00 a.m., that's what you think of. It's being out there in the big moments.
So, yeah, I just think I get to kind of reflect and enjoy these moments more, because I'm like, You know what? You never know. Could be injured tomorrow and I may not be able to play out here again. I mean, I know that's very negative thinking, but at this point I'm just gonna have fun with it.
Q. You broke down her backhand very effectively. You got every ball back, waited, and she inevitably made the errors. Your consistency is terrific. How important is that to you? How do you maintain that consistency throughout a match like that, especially in pressure conditions? Do you actually have to remind yourself? Is it something you need to tell yourself to be patient and consistent?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it was a very fine line between being patient, consistent, and also trying to be aggressive and not step too far behind the baseline.
Because when she's on fire, she's on fire, and there is not much you can do about it. Especially from the forehand side. I know my backhand is great and I can push her off the court from that, and that was my main focus. It's like, Okay, when I had the ball on the racquet I can do something about it.
And my main thing was just like, Just go for your shots. Don't hold back. You know, just go for it. If you miss it's fine, but at least you tried and you did what you needed to do.
Q. You spoke about what a plus it is to have your family here with you and also your friends, but when you step in that packed Ashe court, the fans are very much on your side, too. What is it about the relationship with you and the fans at the Open?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I love it here. They have been behind me since basically the first time I stepped out on the big court and people realized that I may become a good player one day.
I think it's just been equal love, you know, for New York and then the crowd for me since I reached the finals in 2009. It feels amazing.
To be out there on Arthur Ashe and really feel like -- I know my ranking maybe is maybe not the best right now, but still, you know, being put out there -- even in my last match where I was playing Niculescu. They could have put us anywhere. But it just feels so good to me to be out on the big court and somewhere where I feel so comfortable and familiar.
Q. What's the most difficult part coming back from injury and knowing to get matches under your belt you need to win matches, but to win matches you obviously need the match play behind you? That's kind of a unique situation you find yourself in.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, of course it's tough, especially you'll play against great opponents from the start. But at the same time, you know that if you beat them then your draw may open up.
You know, I just take one match at a time every day. I just feel like I'm improving every time, and, you know, eventually you just get through it and you get some wind with you and you kind of start going on a roll.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports