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August 31, 2016
New York, NY, USA
C. WOZNIACKI/S. Kuznetsova
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Obviously it's been a tough year for you for many reasons. When you go out there, the first four games weren't blowout games, but what are you thinking when it's 4-Love?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest, I wasn't too much. I looked at the stats and I think I had six winners and two unforced errors. It's not like I was playing bad. I was actually feeling the ball pretty well. She started off on fire, and I was just, I need to keep fighting and keep going. Hopefully I'll find a way to change the score.
I was just thinking, you know, I just have to try and step up a little bit and be closer to the baseline, even if I lose the first set, and then I'll have the momentum going into the second set.
Q. At Wimbledon you kind of alluded to how you just have to keep working and working until you get a moment where you can have another breakthrough. Do you think this is that moment for you, getting a big win?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I always believe in myself and I always think that in my head I belong to the top of the game. You know, I'm going to have tough draws because of my ranking but in the end of the day I'm healthy, and that's the main thing. Then I can start building from that.
Q. Beating Sveta has been a good omen for you in the past. What do you remember about those past matches? How different of a player do you feel now from then?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Definitely a much different player. I love playing here at the Open. I have great memories here. I have had matches against Sveta so many times before here where she's been killing literally on court 6-1, 4-1, and then I have managed to come back and win the match in three sets.
It's like, You know what? Just keep going, wait for your opportunity and your chance, and I did that today.
Q. Can you talk about the match at Wimbledon? Anything you learned from that defeat a couple months ago that you kind of used to get yourself back to the match today?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it's a little bit of a different game because it's on hard court. It's not on grass. Grass is a little different. My game plan from the start was to stay close to the baseline and kind of, you know, move the ball around and make her run and obviously play to my strengths.
But she started off well. I was running a little bit too far behind the baseline at the beginning. As the match progressed, I just tried to step in a little more.
Q. I wonder, have there been any times this year when you've wondered, Do I want to carry on playing tennis? You're someone who has a lot of interests outside the sport. Get the impression that you don't necessarily need tennis. Have you ever thought of quitting?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Um, I think, you know, when you're home for a big amount of time you realize that, you know, life goes on and you kind of get a rhythm at home. I was actually enjoying my time, making the most of the time that I had.
I haven't been able to be home for three months in a row for the last probably over 10 years. So, you know, if I have to look at the positive of things, that was a positive.
But I always had in my head that I just have to keep working hard and I'll come back and hopefully play strong and play well. I knew that it's not easy to come back, and especially, you know, you are going to get tough draws. I'm a player that needs matches to kind of get into the tournament.
But, yeah, I wasn't thinking about quitting. I mean, I know that I have a lot of opportunities, I have a lot of other interests, and my life is going to be good regardless.
But, you know, I'm still young. Hopefully I have a few more years in me.
Q. You're a player who has been devoted to playing in New Haven the week before the Open. Players are split. Should we play in a tournament? Should we practice? Where do you come down on it now? What do you think is most advantageous?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it depends on the player. For me, again, I think I'm a player who likes to play matches. I like to be on a roll and kind of just practice a few things inside my matches and kind of get that feel for it.
So for me, it's been working well in the past.
Q. What has been the toughest part over the past few weeks when you've been getting to the point where you can beat a top-10 player like Sveta, getting to that level?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think the toughest part really has been mentally. You know, I started the grass court season thinking, I just need to start somewhere. My foot is hurting a little bit, but I have to start eventually. I'm going to start there, not really expecting much of myself. Kind of start getting back.
I was hoping that the US Open Series was going to be my time. And then, you know, hurting myself in Washington was a setback. I was playing really well. I thought -- I was like, I'm finding my form here. I usually play really well in Montreal but had to withdraw from that tournament. And then going to Rio, I played Petra in the second round who played really well. Then played Cincinnati, so it's not how I was expecting my US Open Series to go.
But, you know, I made the most of it. I have been training here and working really hard. I feel healthy now. I'm feeling like I'm playing well. I'm excited for that.
These are the fun matches to play on the big courts, big crowd. I played on Grandstand the first day, which was really cool, too, because by the end of the second set it was packed and the atmosphere is really great. So I love that.
Q. Two or three years ago you ran the marathon, which many people applauded as quite a feat. Now it's Marion Bartoli, who was fighting a virus and lost quite a bit of weight, is going to be running the marathon here in New York. What are your thoughts on that? What would be one tip for her?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think she needs to get healthy. I really hope she gets her health back. Obviously she's been struggling with the virus or what's been, but I hope she's happy and healthy. That's the main thing.
And then if she wants to run a marathon, then that's cool. I support her in that. It's very hard.
Q. Facing a wall in a marathon or going deep into a third set, what's tougher?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Facing the wall in a marathon is probably the hardest thing I have ever gone through physically. I am used to playing three set. I can be out there four hours and I am fine.
I think when you push your body to something it's never done before, I think that's really tough. When nobody tells you that Fifth Avenue is uphill for like three miles, it makes it even harder.
Q. Obviously every player has her ups and downs during a match, but I think the perception is that Svetlana has bigger ups and downs than perhaps any other player around. Is that something that you would agree with? Is it in the back of your mind when she's playing so amazing in the beginning?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Oh, I don't know. I mean, she's had a great year. Actually, great year and a half. She's been playing really well. I think she's been very consistent.
For me, I was thinking, I need to grab my chances, be more aggressive. I was thinking more about myself than anyone else. It wasn't like I went out there and was playing terrible for the first four games. That's a different feel you have. I felt I was playing pretty well. I just needed a bit of momentum for myself.
Q. Does the past success you have had at this tournament mean anything today for you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Oh, for sure. I have so much experience playing in Arthur Ashe. It's my favorite court. Grandstand, the old Grandstand used to -- old Grandstand and Arthur Ashe used to be my favorite courts in the world, and those that I looked forward to play on every time.
And now the new Grandstand is really awesome, too. It definitely gives you some experience going out in these matches and knowing that you've been there before playing tough matches, winning tough three-set matches, especially when I played her before in here.
Q. With some of the ups and downs that you talked about already, what would it mean for you or how important is it for you to have success again and a deep run here maybe the way you have had in the past?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Um, you know, honestly I just have fun now. You know, like I enjoy playing. I love playing tennis. That's why I play. At the end of the day, I know my worth. I know how good I can play. I know that, you know, with hard work hopefully I can get back there.
Today was definitely a step in the right direction. I'm really proud of the way I just kept fighting. You know, I'm just enjoying myself and happy that I get another chance in two days.
Q. Playing for the first time on kind of a new Ashe Stadium, did it feel like it was louder in there throughout the match and not just during the cheering?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think so. I think the echo in there is a little louder, but it already was that last year. When I played night session on Ashe I could definitely hear it was louder.
But it's part of the US Open. The crowd is loud. The crowd gets into it. I love that about this tournament.
Q. Next up is Monica Niculescu. Can you give me some thoughts on that matchup and your head-to-head?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I have played her a few times. I have won I think a couple of times we have played as far as I remember.
She's a tricky player. She gets a lot of balls back. It's going to be long rallies. She's got a slice for forehand and backhand side. She's going to mix the pace.
It's definitely going to be a match where I need to keep cool and just have fun with it, really.
Q. You were saying now it's all about fun now, but still believe that you can win Grand Slam titles, that you can get back to top 5 in the world?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, of course. I mean, I wouldn't be playing if I didn't think so. At this point I feel like I like the game. I love playing. You know, I believe that I can still be up there and challenging the best in the world.
So, yeah, that's why I'm here. (Smiling.)
Q. Just going back to today's match, I mean, in the second set you were playing well. She said that she was frustrated. You're up 5-2. Then all of a sudden she's serving at 4-5; I think it was 30-Love. Did any doubt creep into your head that she'd creep back like that?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I mean, it's not fun when you're up 5-2 and all of a sudden it's 5-4 and she's serving 30-Love. You're like, Did I just let her back into the match? I actually, you know, kept going for it.
It's not like I was thinking, Oh, I am tentative and that's why I'm losing. I had 5-4 and she was serving. She had a second serve to my forehand. I went for it down the line. I missed it by a little bit. You know, it wasn't like I was just playing the ball back.
So that kind of kept me cool. I was like, I just have to keep the pressure on her.
Q. I understand you have a place in New York. My question is outside of your place and outside of tennis, what would be, in New York, your favorite go-to place, your single favorite?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: (Smiling.) I have a lot of favorite places here. Let me think.
Actually, last night I went to this restaurant. It's called Mercer Kitchen and it's really good. I love the food there. It's a nice little chill spot.
What I love about New York is that it never sleeps. I know everyone says that, but it's true. Even if I don't want to do anything, I know that outside my window I can do something if I want to. Just that feel is great.
I love going to shows on Broadway. Love to go to the movies. I love just trying new restaurants.
And then I have my favorite candy store in the city, too.
Q. What's the best people-watching spot in the city?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Oh, there's so many. Union Square is a good one. I think obviously Central Park. You see a lot of different people there.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports