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October 7, 2016
MATTEK-SANDS - SAFAROVA/McHale - Peng Shuai
THE MODERATOR: Questions in Chinese.
Q. You actually played quite well. What is your evaluation of your performance today?
PENG SHUAI: I feel quite good today. We played them in the Wuhan Open. Our opponents were very good in terms of their level of play. They played together very well.
As for today's match, we played better than we played in the Wuhan Open. In the first set, we were level in the score. We didn't seize that opportunity.
In the second set, I remember in the key points, we didn't seize those opportunities. So in the second set we felt pressure from our opponents.
Q. What is your schedule for the near future with your partner and next year?
PENG SHUAI: In Tianjin we will team up with each other, so we'll go to Tianjin together. As for future matches, we have not yet decided.
Q. After today's match, the China Open is over for you. How do you sum up your performance in this year's China Open?
PENG SHUAI: I think my performance was quite good. This is my third premier level competition for me this year. Right now my performance has improved a lot compared with the beginning of this year. My performance is still improving. Of course, it's not my best level.
My level of play is improving day by day, so I'm very satisfied with my performance in the China Open. I will continue to play better in the near future.
Q. Before the surgery, Chinese people laid a lot of expectations on you. In the future, is it possible for you to reach your peak level of two years ago?
PENG SHUAI: Of course, I hope so. I can be back to my peak level, like 2014. Of course, it needs time. At the very beginning, I needed to see if I could play matches after the surgery. I started with doubles, but I like to play singles.
Right now, I have built up my confidence after these matches. My team and my coach have more confidence in me after the surgery. At the very beginning all things were uncertain. Right now the probability of success gets bigger and bigger. I can play quite well.
After each match, I feel quite okay physically. After the surgery, for example last year, during the off-season training, I had to lie in bed for three days after training because of the back injury. Right now I'd like to intensify the frequency of my matches because I feel okay physically with doubles and singles. I have played them for about seven or eight months, so I believe I can play better and better.
I would like to intensify and strengthen my training and matches in the near future.
Q. What do you take away from the China Open? It's at the end of the season. What are you the aspects you are satisfied with you and what aspects do you need to improve on further?
PENG SHUAI: Actually, it's not a whole season for me this year. I just played six months of this year. I did not play in normal conditions because I just came back from injury.
Because of the Rio Olympics, I came back three or four months before scheduled. I did not have the decision to choose the timing to go back to the court. When my physical condition is not 100%, I came back to the court in order to compete at the Rio Olympics.
When I competed in Rio, I wanted to protect my ranking. But I did not play at my best level. All I want to do is take the opportunities. As for the China Open, I am grateful for getting the wild card for doubles and singles. I am very satisfied with my doubles.
I played quite a lot of matches. As for some tournaments, I never played with those balls, for example. Maybe you're familiar with the pace of the ball, the speed of the ball, also the conditions at some tournaments. Of course, I may face more and more challenges in the near future in terms of my training and fitness. Sometimes I feel a little bit of pain in my back. But I still believe that I can go further.
I feel more confident to play more matches.
Q. You are recovering and would like to be at your best. Outsiders will look at your scores to see if you're back to your best. What is your evaluation of your best level?
PENG SHUAI: Of course, we should look at the scores and match results. For example, can I make five or ten moves within ten seconds. In the past, maybe I could jump only five times, but now I can jump ten times. This is kind of an improvement. Today maybe I can jump ten times in ten seconds. How about tomorrow? Can I maintain this level of play, this level of fitness? That's a key.
Of course, right now my level of play and performance is improving. After these matches, Wimbledon, US Open, Wuhan Open, China Open, I played quite good. I played many three-setters, so it's a good sign for me. In the past I could not play three-setters well, so it's a good sign.
Q. What is your score for your performance?
PENG SHUAI: It doesn't matter. After playing those matches, in the past, before the surgery, all my focus is to play 100% on the court. Right now, after the surgery, it's hard for me to tell you when I can play 100%, when I can play like I did in the past.
For example, right now I'm improving my serve. I can reach 180, these kind of speeds. Sometimes now I can hit 180, but maybe the first-serve percentage is not that high.
Right now I can move quickly. Maybe my performance is not back to the previous level, but on the whole, in terms of the serve, the volley, the baseline strength, all of those elements are improving. In terms of running and movement, I'm a little bit behind what I did in the past, compared to the previous Peng Shuai.
On the whole I'm improving. But right now it's hard for me to tell you a number.
Q. After Tianjin, what is your plan for this year?
PENG SHUAI: It's not yet decided. It is uncertain right now. Right now I'm sure that I will go to Tianjin next week. After Tianjin, whether I will play other tournaments, it is uncertain. Maybe I will go to other tournaments. Right now it is not decided.
Normally speaking, I like to take a break in the middle of November. Right now it's not yet been decided after Tianjin. Of course, I'd like to play more matches.
Q. In terms of sponsorship, in the past you said the national team gave you your clothing. Any thoughts about your sponsors? Do you have any contracts with sponsors?
PENG SHUAI: Actually, right now I don't know how to answer this question.
In terms of sponsors, whether it is important for me or not, of course it's important. But before my surgery, I did not worry about it. First I had my surgery and I slipped a lot in the rankings.
As for my practice and training, all those things remained unchanged after the surgery. The important thing is not to find more sponsors for me. When I chose to have the operation, I didn't want to maintain the relationship with the sponsors, all I wanted to do was play more matches.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports