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October 1, 2017

Zhang Shuai

Beijing, China

ZHANG S./Y. Putintseva

6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Chinese, please.

Q. What do you think of your performance today? Previously you were playing more aggressively and put a lot of pressure on your opponents. How do you see today's performance?
ZHANG SHUAI: I think you paid very close attention to my play (smiling).

Recently I was working on that to improve my aggressiveness. I'm happy I could effect those improvements that I've been practicing on lately.

Today's opponent is good at counter-striking, has a lot of topspin on the forehand. Each point is quite difficult. So I feel very happy to win today's match.

Q. Just now mentioned you were working on some things. Could you be more specific? What are you working on lately to improve?
ZHANG SHUAI: I hope to improve my power from the baseline. The great players, they are good at hitting the ball from the baseline, and are also good at playing defensively. Without great offensive power you cannot win because they are all great at defense.

I hope to reach a higher ranking in terms of my skills, in terms of my play. That's why I want to come closer to the net to get points. I want to get more points on my serve.

Previously I didn't do so well on the above areas. For example, from the baseline, I was only doing okay. I want to be more aggressive. I've been working on that lately.

Q. In the previous two answers, you said you were improving your skills. Are you surprised by looking at tape of matches from five to six years ago by your improvement?
ZHANG SHUAI: Well, I don't want to watch my previous tapes because, well... No wonder I couldn't win a game in the Grand Slams, and no wonder I couldn't reach the top 100 in ranking.

If I play the style I used to play previously, I couldn't win, I could never make the top 100. I couldn't win a single set in a match against the top players.

I think for all various areas I have improved compared with five to six years ago. I hope to be able to continue on this path.

Q. In Wuhan, you played against Pliskova. She was asked her opinions on several Chinese players. She commented that your baseline skills are very solid and you're good at serving. You mentioned you are working on improving your skills. Now your play has improved significantly. When was that? You also mentioned you didn't want to watch tapes of your matches from five to six years ago. So when have you significantly improved?
ZHANG SHUAI: I think Pliskova, she serves much better than me. If I could serve like her, I would be much, much better. That's the thing that I've been working on. That's why I practice really hard every day.

I think there are many, many things that have not met my expectations, not good enough to beat the top tier players, my peers. I feel I don't have enough time to practice every day.

As you mentioned, compared to a few years ago, I have improved quite a lot. But that's not enough. In order to compete at the top level, in order to fight at the top level, I need to arm myself with better weapons.

Q. Could you comment on the referees? Are you happy with today's refereeing?
ZHANG SHUAI: I think I have no authority to comment on that (smiling). I think that's not a question for me. I think anything about the referees, you can ask them. I don't want to comment on this question.

To me, winning the match is most important. I won the match today. I'm very happy. Thank you very much.

Q. I want to ask a question about tonight's gala. You are going to attend. Last year you won the best dressed, best outfit award. You're going to win that again tonight, right?
ZHANG SHUAI: Well, first of all, I want to thank the China Open and also I want to thank the sponsors for the outfit. Also I want to thank all the makeup artists. I thank them for making me very beautiful and being able to win the award. Thank you, guys, very much.

This year I will attend the gala, but you will see tonight, yeah (smiling).

Q. Your next opponent will be Radwanska or Witthoeft. Radwanska is slightly more aggressive. What will your tactics be?
ZHANG SHUAI: Well, until the winner is decided, I won't think about it. It's of no use, because they play very different styles.

At the moment, I'm focusing on the joy from winning today's match. For the next match, I will leave it for tomorrow.

Q. Just now as you interacted with the fans, you were quite emotional. Perhaps there's some touching stories you would like to share. What is the most touching story regarding the fans?
ZHANG SHUAI: Well, I don't know. I think everyone has their own stories about admiration, or they are inspired by different people because of the beauty, other attributes. I'm not sure why people are attracted by someone. Maybe for no reason, perhaps.

First of all, I want to present my true self in front of everyone. I won't pretend or just do something to please other people. I want to show myself so that you will be able to see that in my daily life.

I feel really grateful for so many fans, so many people that are supporting me. I will play for them and continue to do that on the court.

Q. Today during the first set, could you share with us what your coach told you? Did you play the match as you had planned?
ZHANG SHUAI: Well, when you ask these kind of questions, I couldn't really remember what my coach told me on the court. Sometimes I was momentarily suffering from amnesia, so I couldn't really remember what he told me.

One thing for sure, he told me that I did something very well which helped me win the match, but I couldn't really remember that clearly.

Q. I want to ask a question not about the match. Sharapova is here in Beijing. She's publishing her book 'Unstoppable'. You also are having a wonderful year. What would you name your autobiography?
ZHANG SHUAI: For things that haven't happened yet, I won't put any thought to that. I have many things to do every day. I have many things on my mind. I don't have enough time to do the things I have planned, so I won't worry about the things that might happen in the future.

Player-wise, I'm a big fan of Sharapova. I admire the style she plays on the court, the way she fights till the end. I really want to learn from her and fight like her. Even when the opponent has a match point, you still fight back and win the match.

During yesterday's match, she defeated her opponent despite her opponent having a number of match points. That's why there are so many fans totally crazy about her in the world. One day I want to be like her.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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