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January 27, 2017

Lucie Safarova

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


6-7, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you compare with either the US Open last year or two years ago here?
LUCIE SAFAROVA: It's hard to compare, no? I mean, it's a Grand Slam victory which I don't think it ever will be fading or will be anything less.


LUCIE SAFAROVA: I enjoy it all the time.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: We were celebrating like five-year-old kids out there. I mean, it still feels amazing to win it. It's a Grand Slam. When we got the trophy, we saw our names written on it. We know we get it written on there again. It's just special.

So many great teams are on there. We played a lot of great teams to get to the finals. Part of it is really enjoying the journey, enjoying each match. Really, the celebrations kind of go quick. We're going to make sure we enjoy this moment for a little bit.

Q. What was the key to turning that one around after dropping the first set?
LUCIE SAFAROVA: I think we were improving throughout the first set. I felt like our game was throughout the match getting better and better. We stick together. We were positive. Never doubted that we would be able to pull it out.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Lucie is my rock out there. We play aggressive and we have fun. That's how we're going to play, that's how we're going to keep going. Yeah, that's what we did.

It was a close first set. They were playing well.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: Tough match, yeah.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: You go into a final expecting the other team to have confidence. They've won a lot of great matches. They beat two really good teams in the semis and quarters in two straight sets. I knew they were coming in confident.

Like Lucie said, we're positive out there, we stick together, and we have fun. I think that's one of the reasons, if we're up or down, it doesn't matter, we keep playing our game.

Q. It looked like a different level of intensity, especially later in the second set, early third set. In terms of amping each other up, who is the trigger?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I'm normally the one that's a little up here. Lucie is, We're good, come back down, still got some games to play.

I think we really balance each other out. We talk a lot during points, on the changeovers. It's all positive. I know there was a couple games we were up 40-Love and we lost them. It's easy to think you had an opportunity and you missed it. But it's not the case.

We play every point new, fresh, and we play our game.


BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I know, I keep talking, too. I'm sorry.


Q. You guys have won four Grand Slams in the last two years.

Q. Surprised?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I mean, I don't think so.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: It seems like one would expect it, but...

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: No, I mean, again, we go out there and have a blast. I mean, I think our first one here in 2015, I hadn't played a lot of doubles the year before. Lucie and I had never played together as a team. We came out strong. I think it really has clicked from the beginning. It really hasn't stopped. I think it's gotten better.

Lucie is one of my best friends off the court. We talk about life. We talk about tennis. I think more life stuff. But there's a little tennis in there every once in a while.

Q. Lucie, are you surprised, too?
LUCIE SAFAROVA: I mean, I think I agree with what B said. It's not like you would expect it, but after what we've been through, I also feel like our game got better and better. I believe we are one of the best teams out there.

If we play our game, we are positive, keep like sticking together, pulling it out, I think we are going to hopefully get even more, yeah.

Q. A tactical question. Conventional doubles suggest you go to the net together. Beth, you frequently came in after your return of serve. Lucie, you stayed at the baseline. Is that something you've worked out as a tactic or just a question of you play to your strengths?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I'm Spiderman at the net and she's the Czech wall (laughter).

LUCIE SAFAROVA: We stick with our strengths.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: But also we use tactics where we mix it up. A lot of times some great doubles teams get used to seeing one thing. That's why we'll play I-formation. Against the Japanese team we stayed two back. We actually mix it up based on how our opponents are playing, where they're returning, what they like. Then we go with what we like, too.

I think that's a big part of our success, is we mix it up. We can both be at net. We can both be at the back. I think it makes it tough.


Q. Obviously you're both singles players. How much does it impact you mentally or even in your games to know if you go out early in singles, et cetera, et cetera, you have this, especially at the biggest tournaments in the world, to continue to chase, that your tournament doesn't end the minute the singles result comes in?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: We're gamers, we're competitive. Doubles is another chance to get out there and win a match.

There's so many things that help us on the singles court: you're returning, serving under pressure. At the WTA events you're playing deuce points. That's big.

To play those matches and to get some wins over some good teams... There's a lot of singles players that are playing doubles right now.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: I think doubles is a great competition. I really enjoy playing it.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah. I think there's some amazing matches. It's different strategy. I think it's fun to kind of talk with the fans, too. So many of them play doubles. They really get into kind of the tactics of it, the teamwork. It's a completely different game than singles.

I think it's fun to watch. I watch a lot of men's doubles and women's doubles when I'm at tournaments because they're exciting points.

Q. Lucie, you were a Grand Slam singles finalist a couple years ago. You're 30 next week, which we know is not old from this fortnight.
LUCIE SAFAROVA: Thanks for mentioning it.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Dirty 30. We're like a fine wine, getting better with age.

Q. Are you becoming a fine wine in singles and doubles?

No, I mean, luckily I feel healthy. I had a tough draw here, Serena in the second round. I feel my singles is improving. I feel good and strong again. I will fight to jump in my singles ranking, as well. Keep doing what we are doing in doubles.


Q. Bethanie, are you going to work closer with Phillip?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: If Phillip wants to travel some more, definitely. But I know I'll be going back to Slovakia during the European season.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: You're going to Czech.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: This is the year I'm visiting you in Czech. Pinky promise.

Q. Can you speak Czech?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Oh, my gosh, no. It is the most impossible language. I'm throwing out some words out there. What is, I love you?

LUCIE SAFAROVA: Don't go there (laughter).

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Every time I've asked Lucie for a Czech word, it's so long. I'm like, There's no short words I can remember? We have the word 'team'. I'll work on it. It's been a couple years.

Q. Tomorrow night, who is going to win? Serena? Venus?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I mean, I feel like it's tough to call. Sisters playing against each other. There's so many emotions. I don't think it even matters who had a tougher draw, who played more tennis, who is playing better. I think it's a whole different competition when you're playing a family member. I think that's what makes the finals exciting between them.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: It's a huge achievement for them to be together in the finals again. They've been playing great, both of them.


Q. How much pride do you both kind of take out of this trend and surge towards veterans in every discipline?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I just feel great. We're young ones now (smiling).

Q. Was there a time, for example, as you're getting older where you think the best is behind, whereas now it seems like there's all this possibility for success after 30?
LUCIE SAFAROVA: I think it all depends how you feel. It's individual. Also what you believe. If you believe you can still make it, you feel healthy, that's the way to go for it.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: And mentally, too, I think the schedule, the WTA schedule, is a little bit of a grind. I think some players really haven't even stopped because they physically can't go any more or because they're not playing well. Some of them, the grind is tough. They've been doing it since they were 12, 13, 14 years old, juniors. They want a normal life.

It's a great decision if they're in that place. I'm lucky enough to travel with my husband. I feel at home when I'm on the road. I'm still feeling fresh in my 30s.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: You look fresh.


Q. If you could change one rule or tradition in tennis, what would that be?
LUCIE SAFAROVA: I feel like you would change crazy clothing.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: The Wimbledon whites. Wimbledon kind of crushes my style a little bit.

LUCIE SAFAROVA: Trying to put the color there, anywhere possible.

BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: On a serious note, if we're putting that out there, I think the deuce points in doubles is something that some of the doubles players, they want to play the ads out, because that's something we're used to doing. That's been a topic as of late. I would probably throw that one out there.


Q. How does it feel to be able to leave Melbourne with the No. 1 ranking? Could have been a situation where you had it and lost it.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: True. It's a tight race now. Kiki and Carol are close to it. Had they won that semifinal match, it could have been up for grabs.

I don't do a lot of math on the rankings, but I know it was close.

It feels great. I go out there and play my game. That kind of stuff really takes care of itself. If you're sitting there at night trying to figure out 50 points here, 20 points there, you're probably not going to have as much fun as you want.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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