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January 1, 2017

Destanee Aiava

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

D. AIAVA/C. Witthoeft

6-1, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Well played.

Q. It was very hot out there today.

Q. How was it for you out there?
DESTANEE AIAVA: I'm kind of used to it now. I acclimatized myself to the weather. So, like, I trained in trackies around 30 degrees, get used to it.

Q. Up here? Training in trackies --
DESTANEE AIAVA: Before I came here, also.

Q. What sort of a kick-start do you think gives you ahead of -- you know, a wildcard into the Australian Open, the opportunity to play some games?
DESTANEE AIAVA: I think having a lot of confidence in my game now. That's given me the opportunity to get there, get where I am now.

Q. What are the strongest parts of your game from your side? What do you think are the best parts of your game?
DESTANEE AIAVA: I think my serve and my forehand has improved a lot. I'm really confident with that, as well.

Q. Can you just quickly tell us your path to playing tennis? I know you come from a family where I think your mum is Samoan and your dad is Maori?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Oh, no, they are both Samoan.

Q. Oh, Wiki is...
DESTANEE AIAVA: They always get it wrong.

Q. How did you get into tennis?
DESTANEE AIAVA: I was watching the Oz Open on TV and I was watching Serena, and I was, like, I want to become No. 1 in the world (smiling).

And they're like, Oh, tennis? They were like, Oh, we didn't know anything about tennis.

Q. I'm guessing it's a big rugby family? Is that probably more of a sport they would watch?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Yeah. I support the All Blacks, not the Wallabies. (Laughter.)

Q. That's okay. Was there a push for you by your family to play rugby? It's in your blood, so...
DESTANEE AIAVA: No, I didn't really know how to play rugby. I didn't know the rules.

Q. How old were you when you first saw Serena play in the US Open?

Q. Watching on TV?

Q. You started playing tennis just after that?

Q. What kept you interested about Serena? The power, the accuracy, the emotion of the way she plays?
DESTANEE AIAVA: I think it was just her vibe. Like, I couldn't feel it from the other side of the TV, but it was just, like, her energy, and that kind of drawed me to the sport.

Q. This is your first WTA Tour event?

Q. You played...

Q. Where do you want this to go? What would you like to do in the first Australian season? What would you like to achieve at the end of the Australian season?
DESTANEE AIAVA: I'd really like to try and get past the first round of the Oz Open. That's my main goal.

Trying to get as far as I can for this tournament. Yeah, we'll see where we go from there.

Q. What do you put your success down to this week? Like, you have played opponents much more experience, a couple that have been in the top 100, been around a bit. Why do you find it so easy to...
DESTANEE AIAVA: I think I'm really starting to enjoy tennis and just being out there and enjoying the challenge. Not thinking about winning or losing too much.

Q. Do you feel like the other players have struggled to cope with the power on some of your shots?
DESTANEE AIAVA: I think so. (Smiling.)

Q. Who's coaching you at the moment?

Q. Your mum made herself into a tennis coach because you wanted to play tennis?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Yeah. She's been watching my training, so I think she's learned a lot. So, yeah. That helps a lot.

Q. Going from not knowing anything about tennis, she's now your coach?

Q. What sort of coach is she? Is she tough on you?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Yeah, she's really hard on me, but I think that helps a lot. So I don't get like too complacent, you know.

Q. Talk about modeling your game and about Serena.
DESTANEE AIAVA: Not so much a girl's game. More a guy's game. More variety.

Q. There is not too many Polynesian tennis players going around. Do you feel like, you know, you've got that extra power and muscle that gives you that advantage?
DESTANEE AIAVA: They're mainly big. (Smiling.)

Q. Have you finished growing?
DESTANEE AIAVA: I don't think so.

Q. Do you want to develop a bit overseas or tour a bit overseas?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Yeah, after the Aussie.

Q. (Question about end of the match.)
DESTANEE AIAVA: Yeah, I was pretty tight, and then I was just trying to stay composed and not think about the end result.

Q. You mentioned your goal in Melbourne. What would you like to do here, achieve here this week?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Maybe try and win again tomorrow. Just -- yeah.

Q. You have had three wins to get to the main draw. You must be a little bit fatigued. What do you do now between now and your first main draw?
DESTANEE AIAVA: I had an ice bath the last three days, so -- yeah, I stretched a lot.

Q. Your dad also coaches mixed martial arts? Is that true?

Q. That might come handy on the tennis court?

Q. Did you get into that too?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Sometimes. He just takes me through boxing, as well as cardio. I don't really get in the ring.

Q. But you do some sort of that combat training? Do you find that's good for you and that helps you?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Yeah, that's pretty fun.

Q. Do you know who you're playing tomorrow? Has anyone told you?

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