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October 21, 2017

Elina Svitolina

Kallang, Singapore

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It's your first time here. Is it as big as you thought? Different than what you were expecting? What are your thoughts on this?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, I mean, I didn't really expect this big event and this well organized. I mean, I didn't have any expectations, of course. I'm expecting a big event, but, you know, we have everything here set up perfectly. I mean, there is not even like a small thing that pops in my mind that is missing.

So, yeah, it's exciting tournament. Perfectly organized for everyone. Yeah, I'm looking forward to start the tournament.

Q. What are your expectations? I guess you want to do your best. It's end of season. I guess a lot of matches. What's your mindset you come to the last one, it's a big one, and you have to deliver?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, it's last tournament, so everyone is gonna fight and give 100% what's left in tank, and gonna just go out there, fight. And, you know, myself, the same thing. I'm just gonna leave everything out there. You never know. Even if you lose one match, you can still, you know, qualify for semifinals.

So for me it's very important to stay positive and, you know, just be out there and try my best each point, each game.

Q. You have played and won five finals this year. Coming into Singapore where every match is like a final, what kind of confidence -- I mean, what's your level of confidence coming in this year?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Of course I have lots of confidence. I mean, I won five tournaments this year. It was amazing year for me. Lots of good memories. Hopefully will continue this tournament, as well. I'm looking forward to each challenge, you know, and it's been amazing year with so many good things.

Of course there have been some very disappointing losses, as well. For me, you know, just the road to the top is never, you know, straight. It's always with some curves (smiling).

Q. How do you build up that confidence? Is it mostly from the wins that you have had or also the close matches where you have almost managed to cross the line but didn't manage to?
ELINA SVITOLINA: The confidence comes of course with winning, but, you know, I try to work on my mental strength. Of course, it's a big part of tennis to, you know, to be mentally ready, always fresh, and, you know, it's been really good thing for me that I improved, I think. It's really worked well on the important tournaments, important finals this year. I had couple of them this year, so for me it's -- yeah, everything just clicked together. You know, confidence, there is lots of things connecting to this word.

Q. It's not a good memory for you, but Caroline Garcia, she qualified mostly because she won against you in Beijing. Were you surprised at the good run she had past weeks and to see her here in Singapore?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I mean, it's well-deserved if she did this amazing job. You know, she was 17 or 18 before Wuhan, I think, and then she won two tournaments. I mean, you cannot wish for better end. For her, you know, she always played good tennis. So it was, you know, kind of well-deserved to be here.

She had a great year. She played quarterfinal Roland Garros. She was playing pretty solid all year. So, you know, everyone who is here deserve to be here.

Q. What are your thoughts on your group in particular, especially given that you have got Caroline in the same group as you? What are your thoughts on your group?
ELINA SVITOLINA: On my group. I mean, you cannot choose the players here. Everyone is very, very tough. It's gonna be lots of interesting matches, you know. Not only my matches but the rest, you know. Every match is going to be very interesting.

So I will try to prepare and be ready for each match. It's a tricky tournament, because you need to be ready straight into first points to be at your best tennis. So that's quite challenging. So, yeah, that's very exciting.

Q. I'm curious about that format. You were in Zhuhai last year. It was a bit of a modified round robin situation. Do you feel like that might have prepared you at all for what you're coming into in Singapore?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah. As I said, all my career has been step by step, and, you know, it was quite good thing to play in Zhuhai, something like preparing you to be here. I made semifinal, then final last year, so yeah, I think it can help me.

We'll see how it's gonna go, but for sure I enjoyed my previous years in Zhuhai and this year in Singapore. It's of course a big achievement for me. I'm very, very happy that I did it this year.

Q. And you've gotten the chance to practice on the courts. I'm curious what you make of the conditions and the surface.
ELINA SVITOLINA: The surface, a bit tricky, I would say. I didn't play so much indoor tennis this season, so it's a little bit different.

But I was here from Monday, so I had some time to adapt, to prepare. I didn't leave Asia after Beijing so I could stay and be ready, you know, adapt for the hit. And, yeah, I'm very happy to be here.

Q. Congratulations on a great year. What, according to you, is the difference between the eight people here compared to the rest of the field? What do you think sets you guys apart outside of the results and titles, of course?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I didn't hear the question.

Q. What, according to you, sets you eight players apart from the rest of the tour? Outside of course of the results and titles.
ELINA SVITOLINA: I think the main thing is good results, consistent results. This is one of the things that top players do. You know, everyone, of course, can play well one or two matches, tournaments during the year, but for me it's always been a goal to be consistent throughout all the year so I can, you know, not only play few good matches but also be ready, you know, to compete on a high level for a long time.

So everyone is, I think, striving for this kind of goal in their career, to be consistent, to be always at the top. I think this is what separates the players. It's very tough, because our season is quite long. It's very tough to be fit for all year long, to be, you know, mentally fresh, because at some point, you know, you can just break a little bit.

So it's very important to, you know, to have the right team who can prepare you well, as well, to be ready for these kind of moments.

Q. You have been in Singapore since Monday. I know you enjoyed your visit to the zoo. Have you had a chance to try any of the Singapore food? Is there any food in particular that you enjoyed so far?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Actually, I didn't try any food. I have been asked about it already and given some suggestions, but, you know, I forgot. Probably I have to make a list what kind of food I have to try (smiling).

Still, I have, like, one week here, so hopefully I'm going to experience something new.

Q. Going back to what you said about confidence, you said there are many things tagged to that word "confidence." So what does it mean for you? Does it mean being braver, going for shots in matches, or does it mean you feel better at practice, that sort of thing?
ELINA SVITOLINA: The confidence, of course it's comes from matches, but I try to be, like, very, very focused on myself and don't really think about negative things. And I think that's what is important, you know, to have your confidence all the time, you know, throughout the year. Even when the matches, if you lose some matches, you know, you try to come back and to play your best tennis, because you never know when is the right time for, you know, when is the moment for you to have successful week.

So, you know, confidence is a tricky thing, but I try to work on this so then I have my confidence, like, most of days.

Q. You have achieved many milestones this year. You have another chance at reaching year-end No. 1. How important is that for you?
ELINA SVITOLINA: For me, No. 1, of course I know there is a chance that I can become No. 1 by the end of this year, but this is not a goal for me at the moment. The goal was to improve my game, to play better on the Grand Slams, to play better -- yeah, to feel better on court and, yeah, just improve my game each day. And then the ranking is gonna come if you're playing well. If you're playing consistent, then the ranking will come.

Q. You are playing Wozniacki in the first match. You have a perfect record against her, beating her in two finals this year. What is it you have figured out about playing her?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, always had tough matches against Caroline. She always plays very solid, so it's gonna be good match, I'm sure. I mean, everyone is very strong here. Everyone is playing well.

So it's just another match. I'm going to try to prepare and be ready for her kind of tennis, what she presents. You know, everyone is different. Everyone here playing very different, so you need to be prepared to play your best and, you know, just take the moment.

Q. Congratulations for your qualifying WTA Finals first time. When you were younger, teenager or child, did you watch WTA tennis on TV? And which match or which year of WTA Finals gave you the most appreciation?
ELINA SVITOLINA: When I was young, I didn't really watch WTA Finals, because, you know, I don't know. I just didn't watch. I was playing the tournaments probably during this period of time.

When I was a little bit older, I start to watch it more and more. Always lots of good matches. Always was very interesting to see, yeah, how the players handled the pressure, because here, for sure, you have like lots of chances, lots of pressure, as well.

So it's the last tournament. Best eight players competing, you know, for the last trophy. So it is exciting. So, yeah, it's always been interesting to watch these kind of battles.

Q. You won five titles this year, and you have the most wins against the top five players but unfortunately couldn't make one Grand Slam semifinal. What's the explanation for that? What do you think? What was the reason? I should ask, like, would you change one of your titles to a Grand Slam semifinal this year?
ELINA SVITOLINA: That's actually a very good question, but I don't know. I didn't really think about it. Maybe -- I don't know. The big one, you mean? The Premier title, if I would change it for semifinal?

The small one maybe I could change, but the Premier event I'm not sure, because they have all been very, very special. You know, winning Dubai and turning first time Top 10 for me was a massive, massive deal. Then winning in Rome on my favorite surface, clay court, it was amazing.

And then Toronto, also -- you know, all the tournaments Premier that I won gave me something new and really pushed me to, you know, to go for more.

Of course I would love to be in semifinal of a Grand Slam, but it didn't happen this year, so I'm going to work hard and try to earn the chance to be there to, yeah, to be in semifinal and final maybe, try to win the title, of course. This is the main goal.

Q. It was just a question of luck or something that you couldn't achieve something similar what you did in Premier tournaments or smaller tournaments compared to the Grand Slams?
ELINA SVITOLINA: No, it was just different, you know. Winning Premier event and Grand Slam, they are a little bit different. It's a different preparation. I will try to prepare -- you know, I will sit down with my team and go through the year after this tournament and see what were the mistakes we did and try to prepare better for Grand Slams and, yeah, do something different, maybe change or add something. But, you know, it's work in progress, and, you know, we never stop working. I also want to play better in Grand Slams, but unfortunately it didn't happen. So we will try again and try again.

Q. If you're looking back on the year, what was the most painful match or moment in this year? If you can say, If I can win that one, then everything would be different?
ELINA SVITOLINA: There was couple of matches that I lost were painful. I don't really want to go back on these kind of matches to, you know, to have bad memories. I learned a lot from each match I lost. You know, I only look forward and because I'm going this way (pointing forward). You know, I'm not going back. So I don't want to go back and look at these kind of matches that were painful, no.

Q. Which win gave you the most confidence for the next tournament? Which was the win you are the most proud of?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I think that the tournament in Toronto, because I was pretty tired. I had such a tough draw. You know, all the players were very, very tough.

Yeah, I went through this and, you know, it was -- yeah, I was very, very happy I could really go through with trophy in my hands.

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