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May 28, 2017

Monica Puig

Paris, France

M. PUIG/R. Vinci

6-3, 3-6, 6-2

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Congrats. Your reaction was quite emotional so just walk us through those emotions and why it meant so much to you.
MONICA PUIG: I mean, it's no surprise that I haven't had the most amazing year. And, you know, I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, and when you get to a Grand Slam it's just a different feel. You want to do well. You want to pass rounds. You want to have some big wins. And, you know, I've never beaten Roberta in competition before, and she's such a tough player, especially on the clay.

And today was just all about the heart and the fight and just I was willing to go the extra mile to bring out that match. And I'm just glad that, you know, there at the end was able to maintain my composure and close it out.

Q. When we spoke in Doha, it felt you were more positive about things and then perhaps the previous period leading up to here hasn't been great. So why do you think that is?
MONICA PUIG: Well, I mean, just it's been difficult overall. I'm not going to really expect myself to really have consistent results throughout the whole entire period. I know that, you know, this year is a year of me learning about a lot of different things, especially with what happened eight months ago. I know that I'm not always going to be at my best and I know that there's going to be some times where I need to figure myself out and figure out a way to surpass these types of moments.

And I think that, you know, I'm continuing to learn and my team is trying to stay as positive as possible to help me and to push me forward. And I feel like little by little I'll continue to find myself and to grow. But right now what is most important to me is leaving everything that I have out there on the court because, you know, that's the way that I'm going to learn the most.

Q. You said that you put a lot of pressure on yourself. Is that pressure just, you know, general your personality or does it linger from what happened eight months ago when I'm sure what you know you can achieve?
MONICA PUIG: Well, I think it's a little bit of both. I've always known what I wanted to do with tennis. I know that I want to be one of the best players in the world, and I think I have put myself a little bit too much under the radar there and when things don't happen I get down on myself quite a bit.

But I have to realize that I'm 23 years old and I still have a long career ahead of me. Maybe it might not happen this year again like it did last year, and I'm just going have to work through that. But at any given time I can come out and I can play some really great tennis like I did today.

I'm just going to take it easy and not be so hard on myself because this sport is already hard as it is, and I just need to take it day by day and continue to be positive. And I think that today was a step in the right direction and I'm just going to build from that.

Q. Petra Kvitova won her match today. I just guess what is your reaction to her being able to come back six months after what happened and winning? Can you draw inspiration from?
MONICA PUIG: Of course, my agent also works with her so I've been, you know, getting a few updates here and there on how she's doing. And I was really surprised to see she was coming back so quickly. I was caught off guard, I was like, Wow, she's already back. And you can tell by her results in the past that she's a fighter and things like that won't knock her down.

So I was playing my match and I heard that she won, because Chatrier is not too far away, and it was really incredible and I was imagining what her reaction must have been like, because to get your first win, especially in a Grand Slam after what happened to her after such a traumatic experience, it's incredible. And I'm really happy for her and I'm glad to see all of the players giving her a warm welcome back because she deserves it and she's such a great champion and a truly amazing person off the court that, you know, she deserves that and more.

Q. We all say that tennis is a mental game. I was wondering if you work on that particular aspect of the game since you said that you're handling the pressure in a different way?
MONICA PUIG: Yeah. I mean, tennis definitely is more mental than it is physical because it doesn't matter how good physically you are. At one point in time I feel like everybody reaches a level of tennis where we all can compete and I feel like the mental difference is really what carries a player over that extra line.

So yeah, that's something that I put a lot of work into and something that I'm going to continue to try to work on so I can become much stronger mentally.

But, you know, that's definitely a top priority and I am working on it every single day.

Q. You're playing Jelena in the next round. Your previous match with her, I remember it was in Rome and it went so well.
MONICA PUIG: I know. I remember.

Q. A few words about that and also you're playing someone that is younger than you today. You played someone that is older. Is it easier to play someone at your age or maybe it is easier to play someone older because you're like, Oh, I just want to show her what I got, something like that?
MONICA PUIG: Like I said, there comes a point in time in tennis where you all reach a level where it's just, you know, you all can play tennis really well. You can all do the same things. So I don't think age is really a factor there.

I know that last year when I played her, it was a terrible match. But you know, it's one of those things that at least I can look back and learn from my mistakes in that match and try and see what I can do better going into the next match, and it's a completely different match. It's a new year. It's a different Monica, different attitude. Things change from one year to the other.

And I'm really looking forward to this next match and just trying to build on the good form that I had out on court today. And just, again, leave everything out there and know that at the end of the match no matter what the result is, knowing that I gave my hundred percent, that's always a victory for me.

Q. You mentioned having a long career and you have seen players that are extending their careers into their 30s. Just after what last year sort of took out of you physically and emotionally, do you sort of see yourself taking longer breaks in the course of your career, during the season; is that something in your thinking at all?
MONICA PUIG: I'm not really sure. I mean, I'm young and I, you know, I want to try and take advantage of, you know, the way that my body is feeling and everything while I'm still young. When you get a little bit older I think it gets a little bit harder to recover and, obviously, you do have more experience so you know how to handle situations a lot better.

But you know, when the moment comes and when the time comes to make those types of decisions I think I'll have a clearer picture, but right now, you know, I'm just trying to go to, you know, the tournaments. I have basically my schedules already planned out from the beginning of the year and we start making adjustments here and there, give and take, if I win or if I lose, adding more, taking away.

But that's also up to my team. I think we're very smart in the way that we put our calendar and the way that we feel the tournaments should go.

So you know, when the time comes and when I get a little bit older we'll see how those things go, but I'm going to enjoy my last few months as a 23-year-old and see what else happens from there.

Q. Will you be practicing some smashes after this match?
MONICA PUIG: I think so. You know, at least I wasn't afraid to go for them. That's the thing. At least I didn't hit them in the net. I hit them well long, well long. But you know, that's another thing, at least a positive I can take away from that is I was staying aggressive throughout the whole match and when I saw the opportunity I wasn't afraid to go for it.

There's fine-tuning, obviously, and that's what the off days are for, you know, to practice and to fine-tune your game a little bit better so then you go into the next match a little bit sharper. But thank you for telling me I'm going to tell my coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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