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January 21, 2017

Ekaterina Makarova

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

E. MAKAROVA/D. Cibulkova

6-2, 6-7, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Well played today. How do you assess your performance?
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: Thank you. Well, yeah. I never beat Dominika before. But I lost two times in three sets, and I knew that it would be tough match, tough battle. And she fight until the end.

Even I was winning 6-2, 4-Love, then maybe two games a little bit -- I got tight, yeah. I really wanted to win the match. But after that, she play amazing tennis.

It was tough in the end of the second set, and all third set, I think it was such a great tennis and fighting tennis. And I'm so happy that I could stay with all my focus and with my aggressive game.

Q. The start of the third set, it looked like you were starting to get frustrated and talking a lot on court, trying to get maybe your nerves out. I mean, how much tighter when you feeling in the early part of that third set?
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: Well, after the second set I went to change. I think that helps me a lot, because I calm down a little bit. Like, all right, this is it. Let's just fight and who will better, today will win?

I started very good, started 2-Love for leading, like, not too much talking. For me, it's much better when I'm not talking too much to myself. I think my head was more clear.

Q. Since I don't speak Russian, what are you saying to yourself on court when you're starting to get a little bit vocal?
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: Oh, well, that's every time different things. So why I played this way or why I didn't play that much aggressive, or start talking to my coach, like, tell me something. Why are you just sitting? Some different things I need to go these emotions out for me.

Q. Looked like you were having a hand problem. Was it, like, cramping? What was going on there?
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: No. When I fell down, maybe I didn't put in the right position this hand. And it was a little bit kind of nerving. But then after the treatment, she did the (indiscernible), and it's fine, yeah.

Q. It could be Jo Konta possibly in the next round. You had an amazing match here last year. Will you look at that match again? What do you remember of it?
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: Well, I don't remember anymore this match (smiling). It was, yeah, very good, of course, match. But I lost it.

Doesn't matter who will win, Wozniacki or Konta. They both leading, so I never beat them both. So for me it doesn't matter with who to play.

And I want to relax today, get recovery, and tomorrow play in doubles. Then I will be ready for the next one.

Q. Have you been surprised by Jo's rise? Because I think last year she was about 40th or something at this time, and now she's No. 9 in the world.
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: Yeah. I thought, like, I got her, a lot of, I don't know, emotions or more to believe in herself. Because after that match, she start to playing really good and all year on kind of top level.

So I didn't surprise, because I played three times against her, and she's showing great tennis. I think she deserve to be there.

Q. How important -- was it the 4-All game, the long game you had in the third set?

Q. 3-All where you were able to finally hold. How big was that game?
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: I think that one was the most important game in the set, because I was serving and was leading 40-Love. Then Dominika, she had so many break points, and finally I won that game.

And I was against the wind, so I think this one was really important moment. After that, when we changed, I felt a little bit more aggressive on other two games.

Q. You still play a lot of tennis. Are you still super motivated? What keeps you going?
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: Well, you know, for me it was motivating the Olympics games before, so it was very important for me to win any medal. I really wanted to have any medal, doesn't matter.

And I was keeping playing because I really wanted to play Olympics. And then, when we got there and we won the gold medal, I just happiest person in the world (smiling). Kind of so happy than I did in like a year.

Now it's totally different that I'm really enjoying that kind of the relief, it comes out. And I'm really enjoying to be here, to play tennis. I'm kind of the Olympic champion. It's a totally different status.

Now, yeah, I will play couple of more years but with different emotions, for sure.

Q. In what way has it -- how does it manifest itself?
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: I don't know. I was so nervous sometimes. I really wanted -- I don't know how to explain. Like I wanted so much in all my career that medal, and now it's, like, it happens, I'm so happy, I'm so proud of myself.

I start more enjoying the tennis and myself on court than it was before.

Q. Where is your medal at the moment?
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: At home (smiling).

Q. Was it more just about the Olympics, or do you think that would have happened if you won a slam? In other words, that you got a big result, a career best, important result for you, and now you can relax?
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: I won in doubles and mixed, but it's totally different emotions. Maybe because I'm from Russia, and in Russia the Olympics game is so big. And in the end of the year, we did so many things and we got the government award of Russia.

It's such a big deal in Russia. Maybe that's why I want from the kids to have much more than the Grand Slam.

Q. There are a lot of very, very good Russian tennis players. Can you imagine what it would be like, or do you think it would have helped you if you had been in a nation where you got wildcards and you played in a slam at a young age? Or do you think you don't need that?
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: For me, I don't need that, for sure. Because we have Kremlin Cup. And I'm from Moscow, was born in Moscow, and my parents from Moscow.

I'm getting so nervous to play out there. When my friends, whole family is watching, and my all coaches from juniors, they are coming, for me, it's a lot of pressure. I think much better to have it somewhere in different world.

Q. Physically, how are you feeling after all the injuries and everything from last year? Are you 100%? You're back? You're good?
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: Yes, I'm 100%, and so happy, yeah, to be here.

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