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September 4, 2017

Coco Vandeweghe

New York, NY, USA


6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you have played Karolina, and you have had tough matches and gone both ways, what have been the keys?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: I think it's definitely the first strike kind of tennis, I think is the easiest way to simplify it. If I'm hitting my shots, I'm definitely doing a lot better job in the scoreline than she is and vice versa.

So I think it's pretty much as simple as that.

Q. She said that there are similarities in the speed of your shots, but otherwise, she wouldn't put you two together, not even personally, and that you go for your shots and even if you miss by five meters, you don't care, which isn't her style. What do you make of her characterization of things?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: Of my tennis? I don't know. I don't know what five meters means (smiling).

I think -- I don't know. My tennis -- I don't know if I could describe my tennis in so many words. I think my tennis is a little bit more complex than hers, than as simply as she put it, but I don't know.

Q. Safarova seemed to be a little bit out of breath in the second. Did you pick up on it? It seemed like you picked up the tempo.
COCO VANDEWEGHE: I think I just picked up more my pace. I didn't notice that, but I knew in the stickier points of the second set where it was getting tight that I had to show her that I was going to hustle down a few more extra balls. I was going to be present inside the court for her short balls and not let her dictate, but she did a good job holding serve at 5-4 and at 6-5. She was hitting her spots very well. She did that a lot throughout her whole match.

Q. (Indiscernible question.)
COCO VANDEWEGHE: Yeah, hopefully.

Q. When you played Lucie in Indian Wells, it was in the middle of that post-Australian Open period for you, and I'm curious what you learned from that time that maybe you're now taking into this part of the season?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: Well, I think she played a really good match in Indian Wells, and I think it was a good tennis match overall. There wasn't anything in particular that went wrong for me. I think I got a little bit nervous at a certain stage in the second set where she was definitely swinging a lot better.

Also, I got a little bit stubborn in my play. I think I have allowed myself a little bit more variety in what I'm able to do, and that comes from practice reps, from being confident there.

Q. You're still very young, but you have been on the tour for quite a while. All this success this year, what do you think has led to that, great year at the majors for you?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: The beginning part of the year, I think it starts with the offseason work. I went into the offseason first time without an injury, and I was able to have a full offseason there.

I was really confident in my fitness. I was confident there. Tennis just kind of followed suit afterwards.

I also had a great time playing Hopman Cup. Hopman Cup was a lot of fun. Beat a lot of good players there. That just carried over into the Australian Open. Match after match fell into place. I got lucky in certain areas, which you kind of need in a Grand Slam over two weeks. That's the most difficult place to play well for two weeks is, you know, show up every day and perform well.

And then, you know, from there, a lot of things happened in between from Australia to the French Open. Probably the only good thing that happened there was Fed Cup. I really enjoyed playing Fed Cup. Having a big victory there against the Czech Republic helped boost me confidence-wise to pushing forward into the clay court season where it's no secret that's not my favorite place to be.

But then into Wimbledon, under Pat, it was good results. Good, hard work in between. Even after Wimbledon, I was stuck there practicing with Pat, which it wasn't always the best feeling when you've already lost in the tournament. You're still on-site practicing and seeing all these people that are winning and you're stuck there practicing. That's not always the best feeling.

Coming to the U.S., I was happy to be playing back on the hard courts back at Stanford. I really love that place. It's a fun tournament. And then here, all is going well.

Q. Your Uncle Kiki is a basketball celebrity around these parts. What was it like to have him here today? How long do you think he'll stick around?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: That's up to him. I can't judge his schedule. Maybe the NBA offices can let him off for a few days. Who knows?

Q. The women have been doing pretty good for the U.S. What's it tell you or what can you tell us about the future of tennis from the women's point of view?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: Unfortunately, I'm not a mind reader. I can't read the...

Q. You guys are, like, three so far maybe to the quarterfinals.
COCO VANDEWEGHE: No, it's good results. Unfortunately, I can only talk about myself, because that's the only person I know what I'm doing, of how hard I've had to work to get here to this point and how much I've had to sacrifice to get here.

So I think it's great to have three, maybe hopefully four tonight, Americans in our American Grand Slam.

Q. What's the biggest difference between being top-20 player versus when you were kind of outside, 50s, 60s? How has life changed?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: Life hasn't changed that much. I think I'm pretty much the same individual. I think it only helps me in tournaments where I'm seeded instead of having to maybe play a top seed in the first round.

But outside I think it's pretty mundane in my life. I don't have much going on. Hopefully it will start to change where I will have more things coming my way to promote, be a part of, and that's definitely my agent's job to get that done.

Q. Basketball and tennis obviously are very different, team sport, individual sport. It's sometimes said that tennis players and basketball players are the two most accomplished athletes. Could you compare the athleticism just from watching basketball with tennis players, just eye/hand coordination, speed, explosiveness?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: I have never watched basketball with another tennis player, but I know from playing myself, it was completely different. I have never actually heard that comparison of basketball and tennis being compared to each other.

I have heard more tennis and hockey or tennis and boxing being compared more to each other, where it's more short spurts of sprints and breaks in between. Basketball is a long game. You have to run for a long time.

But hand/eye coordination, I think there is a lot of sports that can compare, not just basketball. But tennis is a lot more complex. I think more so in just -- because I only played till about high school level, so I know now it's a lot of reps, a lot of time out on the court. I can't really speak too much on that with the basketball side of it, because I didn't spend that much time out there to practice the reps. I just enjoyed playing.

Q. May I say that even if everybody would like to see Serena Williams back, probably, without her, the tournament is more open. I mean, do we have this feeling that everyone can really win, we are all discussing, who's going to get No. 1, winning the tournaments, Pliskova, if you beat her, she can't be No. 1? All these kind of stories, because Serena is not there. Normally when she was there, she was always the strong, strong favorite. Do you agree with that? Do you see like that or not?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: Well, I don't think Serena is invincible. She's lost in Grand Slams before, but she's definitely the pinnacle of our sport. I think a lot of players chase after what she's done, which she's one of the best of all time. To try and have to reach that level isn't easy, and I think that's what a lot of players are aspiring to do.

Q. So much of Serena's success or all the top players' success is based on belief, confidence in your game and in yourself. How have you developed that belief, and how will it be tested when you face the No. 1 player in the world?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: Well, first, it comes from the practice court. I think John Wooden has it done best where it's a "Pyramid of Success" and you have to build from the bottom up. From there, you get into match play, and you're actually proving yourself right. Because practice, as good as practice is, it can put doubt into different things that are going on, because you need to prove it to yourself, at least for me, out on to the match court where, yeah, okay, that was worth practicing for that long and that hard (smiling).

So I think that's how my confidence starts is from the ground up.

Q. And then when you play a No. 1 player, what goes into maintaining that belief? How is it tested?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: I don't think it's much different than any other match. If you are so in awe of someone being No. 1 in the world, then I don't think you're going into a match all focused and all there, ready to go.

Q. In the last match, you said that there was a need to be more selfish with your time in New York. I'm curious what sort of things you were doing maybe at US Opens in the past? Catching up with friends and family that maybe took away from the tennis when you were here during the two weeks? How were past US Opens that you can compare to this one?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: Well, I think previously leading up to the US Open, I was playing a lot. I was scrounging for points at every single tournament, playing quallies. Coming to the U.S., you're kind of done physically but most of all mentally. It takes a lot out of you to go in, reset every tournament. I think that's something that shouldn't be taken lightly. More so than the physical aspect of our sport, is the mental aspect of it.

At the end of every tournament, there's only one winner. Most people have to deal with a loss at some point and reset themselves.

Sometimes you can; sometimes you can't. Like, for instance, Stanford had a great tournament. Went to Toronto. Was completely mentally done. Unfortunately that's the way it is. We play week to week.

But other than that, I mean, it's more just saying yes to hanging out with friends and saying yes to doing things around the grounds, along those lines. Not so much anything else.

But this year it's been -- a lot of my time has been spent on the court. I play all three events this tournament. There wasn't much time for me to kind of do any of that. This is probably the earliest day I have finished so far.

Q. You are a Grand Slam second-week regular now.
COCO VANDEWEGHE: That sounds good.

Q. Is this how you have always seen yourself?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: I guess so. When you start playing tennis as a kid, you dream of trophies at the end of the week, so I guess I could say yes.

Q. You mentioned John Wooden's "Pyramid of Success." Have you looked into that? Are you familiar? If so, could you just talk about that?
COCO VANDEWEGHE: Yeah, I'm familiar. I have it in my bathroom since I can remember. So, yes, I am very familiar with it. I spent a lot of time under that kind of protocol of where you start.

I mean, a great example of that is my grandfather was always very particular using that "Pyramid of Success" to start from just putting your socks on correctly without any bumps, because that gives you blisters. As a kid you don't care. You just want to go and play and get started. Even though your friends are already out there shooting or kicking the soccer ball or whatever, it was more about getting the little things right.

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