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January 22, 2018

Angelique Kerber

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A. KERBER/S. Hsieh

4-6, 7-5, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It's a good job you can run forever, because you needed to today. Can you talk us through that last set in particular?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think that was the key at the end that I really could run forever, and I was feeling that I was running from the first point until the last point. A lot of meters, actually.

But, yeah, I think she played amazing match and it's always tricky to play against her. I played once against her like few years ago. Yeah, how she played today was really good. Actually, I'm really happy about how I was able to change the match and turn around and playing, then, good tennis again in important moments, especially in the third set.

Q. How would you describe the torture of playing her? She hits these very slow winners.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think she's a really talented player, for sure. She plays winners and had answers for every single shot I had in the first two sets, actually.

I mean, I was expecting that she's playing like this, because I saw a little bit of the match against Aga. But, I mean, I was just trying to doing everything. Yeah, she played amazing. She was also moving good the first few sets.

You know, it was tricky to play against her. But, yeah, I'm happy that I won the second set and then I could play my tennis again in the third set. I think, yeah, the key was that I was moving a little bit better at the end of the match.

Q. What was the mindset at the end of the second set? Because it looked like you had your back against the wall. It must have been boiling inside of you at some point.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, of course inside I was like, yeah, I was trying everything, and she had always the better answer.

In the second set when it was close, I was just trying to, you know, playing point by point and not thinking too much how she played the last hour before.

I mean, it was 5-5, 40-15 for her, and I was just trying to not thinking about the score, because I know that I can fight. I know that I can come back. I was just trying to playing until the last point.

I think the fight was also very important for me today.

Q. That forehand that you hit to break late in the second set down the line, I mean, in that moment, the willingness to be aggressive and to take control of that shot, do you feel right now that that is instinctual, that it's just natural for you to be that aggressive right now, or do you think that that's still, you know, Oh, I have to do it, that you're willing yourself to do it?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think it's both. I mean, first of all, of course, I know that I have to be aggressive, and I have to take the match then in my hands in important moments.

But also, I know that I have still to tell myself that go for it and just be aggressive in the moments.

But, yeah, I think the forehand down the line was the key in the second set when I break her.

Q. How satisfying was that shot around the net post?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It was good (smiling). I was, really, like inside I was so happy because I never played a shot like that. I saw a lot of balls, like, other players hit balls like that around the net.

But inside I was really happy about the point (smiling).

Q. Wim said, Our goal is to see she's going to fight for every single point this year. Were you not able to do that last year and why not?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Last year was different. A lot of expectation and everything around. Let's not talk about last year. This year our goal was really from the first match to fight for every point and also try to improving my game in every single match and just looking forward, not looking back again and trying to, yeah, just, yeah, going out there and playing my best tennis that I can play on this, on every day, actually.

Q. You have a very different opponent in Madison Keys next. Thoughts on that match? You have had some good finals in Charleston and Eastbourne and places. What do you think that match will be like?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, no, it's a completely different match. It will be completely different than today. I know what to expect. I know she's a hard hitter and has a great serve, and then the next few points, balls.

But, you know, right now I not thinking too much about the next match. I will just try, yeah, enjoy the moment now and then tomorrow I will get ready for Madison then.

Q. When you're frustrated, you go to almost smash your racquet but you don't. You hold back. Is that something you taught yourself psychologically almost as a release of frustration but you don't do any damage by dropping the racquet?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I'm actually not the person who is damaging the racquets every time, but of course my emotions are always a part of my game.

But I'm trying to control it now a little bit more than last year, especially. But, yeah, you know, a match like this is always with a lot of emotions.

Q. How much confidence does being able to come up with a different game style perhaps, you know, especially at the end of the second set and into the third set, how much confidence does that give you that you're able to find a way to win leading into quarterfinals and potentially semis?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: And of course that gives me a lot of confidence that I can also turn around matches, that I can also find always a way to come back and, you know, win matches like this, because the game style was really tricky, especially, yeah, the first, I don't know, two hours.

But, you know, it's just I was just trying to believe in myself that I can win the match already this year and I just try to continue this and trying to enjoying also the really important moments, because this is for what we are practicing and for what we are sweating during the practice and to have matches like this.

Q. Are you better now than you were in 2016?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: '16? (Smiling.)

I don't know. I think it's just the beginning of the year still, and of course I'm feeling good. I'm fit, and physically, mentally, I'm feeling really confident and very good. But let's see what a year will bring.

Yeah, I mean, I just enjoy my tennis again, and I think this is the most important thing for me when I'm on court that I fight, that I play my game, and, yeah, enjoying.

Q. When she's hitting the lines the way that she was and hitting the angles and things are getting frustrating, can you give any insight into the stuff you're telling yourself in your head?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, I was always like this is impossible how she hit the ball. All the time she had the better answer. If she go, like, down the line, then she had the dropshot. She went to the net, and I was -- I don't know where I was, but I hit the ball just, yeah, just a dropshot.

I was, like, yeah, it's unbelievable. You know, I was just trying to stay a little bit relaxed and say to myself, Okay, next point, forget the point, it's just, yeah, good point how she played.

Yeah, she really played good. So, you know, I couldn't do nothing then.

Q. Are you proud you didn't go completely crazy? Some of the things she was able to do, I think a lot of players...
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, but, you know, I was expecting how she was playing. When I came in the match, I knew that she will hit points like that. I was not expecting so much.

But, you know, I was trying to control my emotion. I think this is also a big part of my improvement, and this is what we try to do it even better than I did it.

Q. Is it more aggravating to play somebody who, like, instead of power, where the point's over quickly? You have to do road races just to win rallies? Do you curse more to yourself?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I think it's different, that's true, because the points are much longer, and, yeah, you just try to find the way to win the point. It's not so easy mentally, but this is the way you have to play then.

I was trying to really commit for every single point and going for it when I have the chance, and, yeah, playing my game then when I can.

Q. What are your emotions right now? Are you happy to get back into the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam obviously?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, it's great to being back in the quarters again. Yeah, in the first Grand Slam. I mean, I had a tough offseason, and right now I try to enjoy it. I know that I play good. I played really good the last few games and matches and completely different matches that I had.

You know, it's great. It's a great feeling to being back in the quarters.

Q. What made your offseason so good?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think I was really trying to improving my game, especially, like I said, my serve. And also, like, yeah, enjoying the tennis again.

I was really working hard, especially also in my fitness, because I knew this is a big part of my game. Yeah, and then I just came here with much better emotions than, yeah, the last months.

Q. Do you set yourself any expectations coming here after a good offseason?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, not really. I mean, my expectations are always now to play every single match my best. I am not looking too much ahead.

I just try to play like 2016 a little bit, like not doing too many things to complicate it. Not thinking too much about everything. Just going there, doing my job, loving what I'm doing, and that's it.

I mean, I have a great time on and off court. And I enjoy Australia. So, yeah, I'm not thinking about expectation anymore, no.

Q. Speaking of your fitness, I didn't think it was possible, but you look fitter than you did last year and in 2016. I'm curious, in the offseason, was there anything different from just the pure fitness side or just the same thing you worked harder? I don't know.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think we practice a little bit more with intense, like, specially during the tennis sessions a little bit shorter but really intense. Not too long.

But I think if you do this, like, for four, five weeks in a row, yeah, there's no way to not getting fit.

Q. Did you do like yoga or Pilates or Plyo, any of the...
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Not really. I'm trying to stretching a lot and also taking the time for myself, like, for cooldown and just the things just for -- yeah, cooling down a little bit more than, yeah, than I did it before.

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