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October 2, 2016

Shuai Zhang

Beijing, China


6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Chinese, please.

Q. Did you have an expectation that you would have such an easy win?
ZHANG SHUAI: No, not at all. If I would have lost again, I would have thought it would have been as quick as this.

Q. Have you thought that all the training has been helpful for you?
ZHANG SHUAI: You must be a fan of me because you must have been watching my training.

Honestly, I exploited my full potential. My opponent didn't do very well. After the US Open, she did not play very much. She just came to Wuhan and Beijing. I feel very sad for her. She made a lot of mistakes.

If she plays well, I thought she could do a much better job.

Q. (Question about difficulty in the first round.)
ZHANG SHUAI: For me, a Grand Slam is not easy. For most of the players, they thought a Grand Slam was very easy. Altogether there are 128 players together with wild card players. If you are ranked 70 or 80, you can play against the No. 2 hundred oops.

However, in the China Open, mostly you're going to compete with one of the top 50 or you might run into the top four players. It's not easy for you to distinguish yourself.

Q. Have you ever considered recruiting more team members or coaches?
ZHANG SHUAI: I have a therapist who is working with me. He's responsible for my physical training. He's very helpful. During Wimbledon, I did not feel very well. Back in Europe, I felt it seemed impossible for me to do my best.

After the Rio Olympics, we went to North America and the Asian Games. I felt I gradually recovered and my scores were up. I'd like to say thank you to all the members of my team. We are a great team.

For some players, they have only one coach. It's like Williams. I don't think the bigger the team the better the results will be. So I'm quite satisfied with my team.

Q. In the Wuhan Open you lost because of your physical situation. Now are you doing better?
ZHANG SHUAI: Yes, back in the Wuhan Open I didn't feel very well. But this is not the reason for me to lose. My physical condition should never be the reason for me to lose the match.

Konta has made huge progress. Her skills, her performance was really great. Back in Wuhan she deserved to win. I was very happy to work and play with her, because only by working with good players can I improve.

I learned a lot and I'm happy about that. My loss has nothing to do with my physical condition.

Q. You continue to participate, but how do you feel?
ZHANG SHUAI: I continue to play, but I don't think the physical condition can explain my loss back in Wuhan.

Q. We had four Chinese players in today's competition. Three of them lost. Do you feel more pressure or relief?
ZHANG SHUAI: To tell the truth, I did not pay attention to my Chinese colleagues. I don't think it is good for me to pay attention to others. Each of us has met strong opponents. Myself, as an example, if I lost to any of the players I would feel okay about this. All of them are great players. They are excellent players. I don't think we should put too much pressure on my colleagues. Please encourage them to continue on.

Q. Last year you were ranked around 200. You talked about efforts producing results. It seemed to me today that efforts will bring good results. Within one year you are at the turning point of making new progress.
ZHANG SHUAI: You are a unique journalist, following us closely over the past year.

When I was down, you were with me. We were in the same press conference back during the Grand Slam. You were with me 10 out of 14 times during different competitions.

If I was asked about could I sustain my courage and ability, if I were asked to go through the competition again, I'm not sure. But now at least I feel much more confident and brighter.

I was not my old self. I was not thinking about taking care of myself. I was not going to talk about emotions. I just want to grow together with the media community when I was down. Thank you for accompanying me. Thank you for your encouragement. I do appreciate your help.

Q. You used to hear 'c'mon', but now you hear 'congratulations'. How do you feel about the difference between the two?
ZHANG SHUAI: I was recognized by most of the fans. I know clearly how difficult the day has been. I do enjoy the moment. I know how much effort, time and energy I put in. I should continue my efforts to improve my skills. I'd like to do more for myself, for my fans and for my team.

You are with me, and we are the same team. We are not to be laughed off.

Q. For the next match you will play Alison Riske. She is the champion of the first Tianjin Open. You have played her twice.
ZHANG SHUAI: She's really a brave competitor, intelligent and diligent player. From the ITF to the China Open we were working together shoulder by shoulder. We were having similar rankings. We respect each other. We encourage each other.

Back in the U.S. I worked together with many people and played with different opponents and friends. We have good relations. I hope both of us could provide you a real quality performance.

This is my first match. I beat a seeded player. For the next match, I will be more confident so I really have the chances to stay longer in the China Open. It's great for me.

Q. You did a great job in Wuhan and now in Beijing. Could you share with us your experience and your feelings about the year's performance.
ZHANG SHUAI: Based on my efforts over the past few years, I feel much better. Part of the reason also comes from my ups and downs. I played well years ago, but it's very hard for me to sustain my performance.

In the past, I did a good job, but after several months I would lose some games. It's hard for me to stay consistent. But this year things are different. After Aussie became much more confident. Now I feel much more mature than years ago. I find that my body is doing really well. Those are the reasons how I can sustain the highly competitive games.

2016 is a good year for me, a critical turning point for me. I hope I can sustain my status.

Q. How do you feel about the logo for the China Open?
ZHANG SHUAI: 'My court,' I appreciate the slogan. The WTA award came from the China Open. In 2009, I was recognized as the top player. I developed special feelings towards the China Open. I do not remember clearly how many years I have participated in different Grand Slams or the China Open. At least I was on the stage nine times, including this time.

I'm one of the witnesses of the China Open from the Lotus Court to the Diamond Court. Those are beautiful memories.

This year and this evening I come back to the China Open. Winning is fantastic. For the China Open, it is my court. I do love the feeling of creating each games as my own court.

Chinese people are throughout the world. In Australia there are many people. Even in Aussie found it was my court. In New York, we are having the game in the city of Chinese. It is also my court. In Japan, most of the moms and middle-aged woman congratulated me. Even overseas students are saying hello to me. Even in Japan, it was my court.

I do enjoy the feeling of having my friends with me and staying in my court.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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