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January 7, 2017

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Sania Mirza

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did you guys know that this No. 1 scenario was up in the air when you agreed to pair, like, back whenever?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I don't know if I was really thinking about it. No.

SANIA MIRZA: Contrary to what people believe, like, we don't actually check rankings every --

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: We don't do math.

SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, we don't really do that. I don't, at least, and I know she doesn't.

No, I mean, we actually decided to play right after Singapore. So, like, it was not like we were thinking --

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I think because we both knew our partners were not playing this week.

SANIA MIRZA: The thing is, as tennis players, I mean, sure, we want to be No. 1 in the world and we want to get there, but I've been there for a very, very long time. The thing is, even if I won every week till the Australian Open, I was still probably going to lose my ranking, so I don't think it mattered as much if I was No. 1 for 91 or 92 weeks.

But I think the most important thing for every tennis player is to win tournaments. That's what we try to do. I actually found out, like, from Twitter that that was going to happen, like, in midweek.

We went to dinner the other day, and I was like, Oh, if we win the semis, you're gonna be No. 1.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: She told me if we win the semis.

SANIA MIRZA: It was true. WTA didn't calculate it properly. (Laughter.)

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I was like, I don't think Sania would have told me if...

SANIA MIRZA: No. It was like that.

But anyway, regardless of that, we still want to win the title, and we'll go next week and we'll try and win the title again. That's how it works.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: We're competitors. I mean, I want to win every match I go out on the court to play. I mean, I have a lot of fun with, you know, whether I play with Sania or Lucie or Jack or Mike and Bob, like, it's a lot of fun, but at the same time, you want to go away the winner.

Q. Was there any awkwardness whatsoever as you got closer to...
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I mean, it's really awkward because we are not that good of friends. (Laughter.)

SANIA MIRZA: I think not at all. I mean, honestly, I mean, maybe if I would have never been No. 1 and she would have never been No. 1 and we're both, like, going for it, you know, and one of us was going to become, maybe we would have thought about it more, but I think it's, like, hard for people to understand, like, where I'm coming from, like, it's been almost two years that I have been No. 1. For me, it's very important to win tournaments. I feel that if you win tournaments, everything else follows, like, numbers follow.

Whether we win this week, I mean, if we're that close to each other and whoever is having a good year, I mean, I was happy to finish No. 1 two years in a row. For me, that was a huge achievement, and, I mean, like, what kind of record, there's a record in everything.

So I just want to try to play Sydney and try and win that, and, yeah, see where it goes from there.

Q. For both of you starting the season, now that you have played through the match and stuff, how are you feeling, like, just on the court, physically and...
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Other than my left butt cheek being the sorest it has ever been... (laughter).

SANIA MIRZA: It's, like, a week I'm hearing about her butt cheek.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: No joke. There's like one muscle fiber in my left butt cheek that is holding it all together.

SANIA MIRZA: No, I mean, I feel good. I feel okay. All my butt cheeks are fine.

Don't write that. Don't write that. No, I'm joking. Don't write that.

No, I feel good. I mean, like, she's got a few days to recover before Melbourne. I feel good. We have to go tomorrow. But the first week is always hard because your body...

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, I think every player in the locker room was walking in...

SANIA MIRZA: Like, sore.

JUSTIN SANDS: That was probably one of the best matches I have seen you two play.


JUSTIN SANDS: It was an outstanding match. I mean, it was like late-season form.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: It's nice to start the year like that. I mean, Sania and I, like she said in the interview, we play once a year, we have done pretty well, considering -- so we have won the last three tournaments we have played.


Q. So why not...
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: It's not because we don't want to. I think, like, we have had great seasons with our other partners.

SANIA MIRZA: Results with other people.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: It's one thing to stop in the middle when you're kind of doing well with someone else, and it's not for a fact that we don't want to play.

SANIA MIRZA: But, like, last year we kind of spoke about it, and we were, like, Okay, so the weeks that Barbara and Lucie aren't playing, let's play together.


SANIA MIRZA: So that's how this worked out. And maybe if it works out in a year --

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Couple times this year.

SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, I mean, it will probably happen. I mean, we have a lot of fun, but, like, obviously, we also have fun off the court, and we're obviously very good friends. It's really nice to play with someone that you get along so well with.

Q. It was tough for you, I think, to put words together out on court.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I know. It kind of took me by surprise. I don't shed too many tears.

Actually, the last time I did, was that French Open I was with Sania. I was, like, this is the last time I'm crying over a tennis match, and Sania was there. But, yeah.

SANIA MIRZA: I was in the locker room, and I was like, Are you crying because we lost the tennis match? Don't do that.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: She's like, Don't go that low.

SANIA MIRZA: Don't go that low. It's, like, a tennis match.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Just give me one minute and I'm done. But, yeah.

SANIA MIRZA: These are good tears.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, it took me by surprise, but it was really -- it's something that, I mean, I'm the person that really, I lose track of score during matches. I have celebrated early, and I have also not realized I have won matches.

And so I think it just kind of hit me when I actually kind of got announced as being No. 1. You know, you really -- it is in the back of your mind, but I don't -- I didn't want to think about it too much during the tournament, and so I think it all just kind of hit me there at the end.

But I'm really excited about it. I mean, it's something that no one can take away from you, and, you know...

SANIA MIRZA: I think it's special when you win the tournament and you're No. 1, too. I think it's really special. Like, I had that. Yeah, Charleston.

I feel like that's the best way to do it. Like, I could have probably become No. 1 if I just went on in Rome, because people were losing points and stuff, but it's so good to, like, actually go and get it.


SANIA MIRZA: Yeah, and it feels really good. I mean, I'm so happy -- like I said, I'm so happy for her to achieve that, as well. I feel obviously if not me, then her.

Q. I think a lot of the talk now on the tour is about majors and about titles, but the No. 1 has perhaps lost its luster. At least it's talked about in a less-important way than majors and titles. How does it feel that...
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I don't think it is. I think it's just when you have some players that stay No. 1 for a long time, then, like, you can't always talk about No. 1. If Serena is No. 1 for a long time -- I mean, Sania has been No. 1 for two years. You know, it is a coveted spot.

Not a lot of people -- it's not like there has been 10 No. 1s in the last couple years. I think it is a coveted position, but, you know, you can't -- there is just not a lot of people getting there. There is more title winners a year than there are No. 1s.

It's just more to talk about it, but I don't think that takes away being No. 1 in any capacity.

SANIA MIRZA: I mean, I think, as children, we all dream of being No. 1. Any child that you speak to, they want to be No. 1 at what you do, in anything. It's great to be No. 1 in your class in school.

So to be No. 1 in the world at what you do, it's, like, the most amazing feeling. And I think that, like, whoever gets to that No. 1 deserves it, regardless of whether they win a slam or they don't win a slam. I think they deserve it because they have been consistent for the whole year or two years or whatever.

So, yeah, I mean -- yeah, sure, I think winning tournaments is very important. That's how you're going to get to No. 1, you know. But, I mean, like, for me, winning a tournament is extremely important, but am I going to be shattered that I lost my No. 1? No, but I will try and get it back. Because that's the goal, at the end of the day, you're always trying to be the best at what you're doing.

Q. Can you process it at all, just the idea, you're the best at what you do?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I know. It's pretty cool. Like, in the world.

I think we kind of, I don't want to say, shove it off to the side a little bit, because we are around great players all the time. I mean, I'm around top 10 players. I'm playing with someone No. 1.

So you just, you know, you kind of -- you just don't think about it. I think -- I mean, ask me tomorrow, maybe.

Q. I think you need to process it.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, like, I'm definitely gonna have a shot of tequila tonight and let it sink in. (Laughter.)

Q. Or two?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah. Yeah, obviously, but I feel it will help my butt cheek recover. (Laughter.)

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