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October 3, 2016

Mao-Xin Gong

Ze Zhang

Beijing, China


3-6, 6-3, 10-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Chinese.

Q. We know you did not attend Grand Slams this year. Any reasons behind that?
ZHANG ZE: I like to get more scores. In the beginning of this year I decided to take a rest from the busy schedule, so I did not attend the Australian Open.

The US Open was at the same time with internal games in Chengdu, so I decided not to attend the US Open. I decided to participate in the games in China.

Q. You fought a tough game. It will be more difficult in the next match. Do you have plans to prepare?
GONG MAO-XIN: I will go to the Lotus court and watch Nadal. He's a great player and Olympic champion.

Q. You are playing a great game in the China Open. Last year you made it to the second round. Do you have more expectations for 2016?
ZHANG ZE: I like to be focused on the current games instead of having high expectations for the future. Each player is strong. Anybody who missed me will find it was a lucky game because I'm not as strong as they are. My focus is on building on myself, on my capacities.

Q. So next year you are going to work together with foreign coaches. Do you have specific details about that?
ZHANG ZE: I'm not finalizing the plan about identifying a foreign coach. My current coach is good to me. We are friends. He's with me for several years.

In 2017 I might find a foreign coach. It is really difficult for me to find another coach within a season for we have signed our contracts. At the end of the year it might be more convenient for me to do so.

Q. Are you going to prepare for the doubles for the Chinese games next year?
ZHANG ZE: Not really. We are from the same province. We are teammates. We know each other pretty well. We are partners for the past six months.

The Chinese national games, we're going to consider that in 2017. Right now we're focused on the games in 2016.

Q. More tournaments are coming to China, so you have more of a chance for wild cards. You'll have opportunities and pressure. Are you adjusting your mentality accordingly to get more wild cards?
ZHANG ZE: In the beginning of the Asia games, more and more opportunities come to us. It is really great. Presently speaking, I do treasure each of the wild cards. I like to maximize the opportunities to learn from the great players. I'd like to find more opportunities in learning their skills.

Anybody who is capable of getting a wild card will be very happy to be chosen. If my partner gets a wild card, I will also be happy for him.

Q. You talked about not participating in the Grand Slams. You would like to become more consistent and improve yourself in the long run. Do you have feelings if you are going to make new breakthroughs?
ZHANG ZE: It is very important for us to select the games you are going to participate in. Based on the right games, you will gain more points.

In 2016, I did not attend the Grand Slams for one reason. I didn't feel very good physically, and I'd like to gain as many Chinese scores as possible. This is one of my strategies. I'd like to improve my ranking as fast as possible in 2017. I will attend the Australian Open. In 2016 I didn't attend the Australian Open because I liked to leave myself more time for rest.

Q. (Indiscernible).
ZHANG ZE: I worked together with coaches to identify the high-quality games because that will help me to improve my skills and capacity. Next year I will move to the Grand Slams. It's still depending on my physical situation and guidelines from the authorities.

Q. How do you feel about your ranking, presently speaking?
GONG MAO-XIN: I feel I am recognized by the professionals in the community because I'm more a doubles player than a singles player. Compared to singles, it makes me happier and more convenient to make it to the top 100.

If we could win the China Open, we will go back to the top 100 doubles players in the world. Of course, I'd like to participate in the big tournaments and move my ranking up.

Q. In 2017 do you have more plans on ATP tournaments?
GONG MAO-XIN: To be one of the top 100 doubles players will never secure your singles ranking. The point is I'd like to compete with players with even higher ranking to move my ranking in singles.

Now I'm in the China Open. If I could do a better job in the challenger competitions, I would go to the Australian Open next year.

Q. You talked about a foreign coach. Do you have the authority in picking up a foreign coach? Are you able to have your voice heard? Could you have some plans which type of coaches you prefer?
ZHANG ZE: I prefer a young coach who could compete with me in my training program. I hope that I can find a young coach of the same age and we could talk to each other.

I prefer a professional coach who is committed to improving the skills of the players. We will have a shared vision.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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