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May 20, 2017

Elina Svitolina

Rome, Italy

E. SVITOLINA/G. Muguruza

4-1 [ret.]

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It can't be the way you wanted to get into the final. Were you aware Garbiñe wasn't moving particularly well? Did you see anything from her side?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Of course we all saw her big tape on her leg. But yesterday was watching a little bit of her match, and she was actually moving really, really good. I said to myself, Just focus on the game. Don't think about anything what's happening with her.

Yeah, I mean, it's very sad that she got injured in quarterfinal -- or I don't know when she got injured. Especially before the Grand Slam where she won Roland Garros and she's coming as a defending champion.

So hopefully she will recover well. We all know, all tennis players know how it feels to get injured.

Q. But it was actually her neck.

Q. Yeah, it wasn't her leg.

Q. You weren't aware of any difficulties she was having serving? Nothing?
ELINA SVITOLINA: No. I mean, I saw the tape. I thought she just kind of jumped -- I thought this was, but if it's neck, yeah, I hope she recovers, seriously.

Because is the worst thing when you get injured for a tennis player, because you work every day. Every single day you give 100% and then try to get better, and one small injury can just ruin everything.

It's very sad.

Q. The other day, before the tournament started, you said that clay wasn't your favorite surface. Have you maybe changed your mind?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I didn't say that it wasn't my favorite surface (smiling). I said that I need time to prepare. I need to adapt to this surface, because physically it can really damage your body. Because, you know, you're sliding and it's very strange. Can be very, like, strange emotions sometimes.

So that's why I need to be prepared 100% for these kind of things. So, I mean, I like the surface. I like to play here. But, you know, also last week I lost in the first round, so... Yeah, it was sad.

Q. How do you feel about your year overall at this point?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I feel good (smiling). I heard that for now I'm No. 1 in the race.

Q. Yes.
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, it's very...

Q. I don't mean this to sound mean, but does your year feel like a No. 1 kind of year so far, or are you surprised you're No. 1 in the race?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I'm a little bit surprised, and I still cannot really believe that it's really happening like this. I have played so many finals already this year.

Of course I work for it. But for me, you know, I didn't really expect this kind of thing. I just try to put my head down and don't really think about it, even though I play well and I need to expect this and I work every single day to make it happen.

I'm very happy the way I'm playing now, and I will just keep going and don't really think about the ranking and what can happen and what cannot and stuff (smiling).

Q. Just with the success that you have had tournament to tournament, do you arrive to events with more expectation than maybe you did this time last year? Like what do you expect of yourself these days?

Q. At events, tournaments?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I expect -- of course when you are higher seed, you expect that you're gonna win couple of rounds and go, you know, confidently, go through confidently.

But still, you know, there is so many players that can play really good one day and then another day they are struggling. So if you are playing someone that maybe like 70 or 80 in the world and then it's their best day, they can actually beat you.

So that's why I don't really have any expectations. Of course I want to win every single tournament, but, you know, I need to be realistic with my goals. First, I just try to think about my game. If I have my game, then even if I lose sometimes it can help me more than even like some ugly wins.

Q. You're coming back to the top 10 on Monday. How much important is, you know, to stay in that group in terms of confidence?
ELINA SVITOLINA: That's not my main goal. It just comes, you know. I'm playing in the final of such a big tournament. That's more confidence for me than ranking, because ranking, there is so many changes can go, you know. Some players play well. Then you play well but you don't move any spots in ranking. So the ranking is kind of like a very tricky thing.

I try to don't really think about it. Of course if you are No. 1 you don't really care, because you can be 1 or 2, maybe 3 if you have half a year really bad. But when you are 9, 10, you know, you don't really care. You just want to get higher, much higher. So then you don't -- then you're always, like, top 10 and you don't really have this thing in your head.

And for me, I don't think about it so much, because I don't need this pressure. I don't need this kind of things in my head. I just want to focus on my game. The way I'm playing now, I think I can be higher and play very consistently. I just hope that I will keep going same.

Q. Playing Simona tomorrow. Thoughts on that matchup. She's on a good run here, winning Madrid and making final here, semis at Stuttgart? What do you think will be important in that match?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, it will be important to recover quickly and to go straight into the final mode, because I was not expecting today this kind of day. Was really preparing for long match and long day.

It's a final, so of course I'm already very proud of my performance here. I played very, very good here and very, like, focused.

So I will try to do the same thing and hopefully, yeah, it will be a good day. Of course, she won Madrid and she has confidence. But I'm also playing good this year, and I think it's gonna be a good match.

Q. I ask you a particular question. Are you happy for Alexander Zverev victory?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah. Yeah, of course. Actually, he plays so amazing now. I saw his match before I went on court, and he plays so impressive, actually. I like the way he dominates the game. Like for his age it's something really impressive.

Q. When you have a shortened day like this when you said you were prepared for a long match, is it a benefit at this stage in the tournament, or do you feel that actually you would have preferred to have a longer time on the court before a final?
ELINA SVITOLINA: No, I think it's good, because I played lots of matches this year already. I can recover. Of course, I went to train maybe half an hour more after, to do some things which I thought that I need to work on.

But in the end, for me, it's good that I didn't spend so much energy, you know, like so much that can really tired me mentally. So I think I will be fine. I have more chances for tomorrow than if we would play, for example, two full sets or three sets. I think it can benefit me.

Q. We didn't have the chance to talk to you yesterday, but the match from yesterday was an important one? Like the first two players in the race? Can you talk about Karolina and the rivalry you had? And how big a win yesterday win was?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, it was huge win for me. I was playing very good. I was very happy the way I handled the pressure, handled the big points. She came back into the match in the second set and was really, like, playing like in Brisbane, for example, when I lost to her.

So I was really happy that I could came back into the match on important moments. She was serving 5-4 and then the tiebreaks when she had couple of set points.

So, yeah, was very happy and very proud of how I handled it. For sure, it gave me a lot of confidence.

Q. Talking about playing with or without expectations, were you expecting to reach -- of course I guess you were not expecting to reach the final like it's so easy, but did you have expectations towards this tournament? Or it was, like, maybe I will lose in the first round, second round, whatever, I'm just gonna play French Open next, given the fact that clay is not your favorite surface?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I mean, when you go into the tournament, you want to win it. You want to win every single match. For me, I don't really think about at the tournament, you know, like, oh, I'm going to win this one. I just take match by match. I want to win. I wake up, I want to win this match.

So I go match by match always. For me, it's very important mentally to stay in the moment, like, when you go on court, I always try to play point by point. So if I'm going to think, okay, I'm going to win this game and then maybe I'm going to lose this one or just try to go to do something crazy, you know, for me, I have the mentality of, like, every point, every match, you know, every moment matters a lot in tennis.

Because such small detail can really change the game and change the momentum. So that's my mentality. I think for a moment it's working well, so, yeah, I try to keep the same thing in my head and keep going, and, yeah, for a moment I feel very confident about it.

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