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January 15, 2018

Belinda Bencic

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

B. BENCIC/V. Williams

6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You were pretty stunned to see so many of us here in this room.
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, first of all, first time in the main room. It'll also very special.

Q. What does it mean to you to see so many of us here?
BELINDA BENCIC: Well, yeah, I was kind of expecting that after a big win. Probably you guys are interested as well now.

Q. After everything that you've been through, what did that mean to you?
BELINDA BENCIC: I mean, obviously a lot. It was amazing, this match. I think the level was great. Also, you know, she beat me four times before, so I was really happy, took my chance this time.

Yeah, obviously just happy to be back playing. It was a very, very long time when I was out. I couldn't wait to come back, so it means a lot.

Q. What did you do differently or better today than the prior four matches?
BELINDA BENCIC: I think I was thinking a lot about the last matches. For the first matches, I think I had a little bit too much respect, played a little bit careful and safe.

This time I really tried to come out and, you know, hit it big. Also tactically be smart on the court. It's really tough to play her. You really have to be on the limit of your game. You have to come out with everything you have. I tried to do that today.

Q. What has winning the Hopman Cup done for your confidence?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, a lot. So relieved when we won it. We were so close the last year. I had four great singles matches, and also the doubles was so great with Roger.

It was a very fun week, you know. I came here relaxed, with couple matches under my belt, which I played good, so it gave me some confidence.

Q. Is it winning the Hopman Cup that gives you confidence or playing with Roger?
BELINDA BENCIC: I don't know, both. I think both.

Q. It seems like he supports you and boosts you up.
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I think all the week it was so great learning from him on the court or off the court. Even now, I think it's amazing he's giving me advice, trying to give me tips, help me, like, looking how I'm doing. That feels great.

Q. Did he talk to you about this match?
BELINDA BENCIC: I saw him after the match really short. Yeah, he was very happy for me. I was happy to see him. But we didn't talk about the match.

Q. Not before?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, little bit.

Q. What was he saying about the match before?
BELINDA BENCIC: I'm going to reveal all the tactic now (laughter).

No, just to stay point for point focused, to enjoy it. Not to be worried about the sun. Today was raining, but normally the sun is right in your eyes in that time. About that, as well. He has experience on that court.

Q. Was that his parents in your players box?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah. I was really happy they came.

Q. On court you said you grew up watching Venus and Serena. What do you remember watching of her when you were young?
BELINDA BENCIC: Of course, they were dominating. I was watching a lot of players. They were winning Grand Slams and obviously being at the top of the game, playing powerful. That's what I can remember. Obviously big champions.

It feels amazing to have the chance to play against both because I never thought I would ever play against them when I was a little kid.

Q. When players come back from injury, you expect them to take some time to get back up to where they were before. It seems like you're serving better, moving better. What do you put that down to?
BELINDA BENCIC: Actually, the first tournaments I started at the lower level a little bit, tried to work myself back up. I don't feel like it went super fast. I wanted to take my time, to test my body out, see how I'm playing, get the confidence back up.

No, I just feel like when I'm healthy that I for sure, you know, can play some good tennis. Yeah, I'm happy about that.

Q. Despite the injuries, do you feel you've improved as a player?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, for sure as a player, but also as a person. I got a little bit more mature, I think. I have different perspectives now. I hope I'll keep that.

Q. Do you think the tweener you hit this morning is a good omen?
BELINDA BENCIC: Did you see it (laughter)? Yeah, it's a good omen. It's the first time I did it. I tried for so long. I actually gave up already, but today I tried again. Hit the frame and went in. Hopefully a good omen, yeah.

Q. Is your self-confidence now as high as it's ever been?
BELINDA BENCIC: I don't know if it's as high as it's ever been. I really try not to compare myself with how I've played before the injury or how I've been or how it felt. I just try to be in the moment and enjoy right now, keep positive, keep playing, yeah, good matches, keep hitting the ball well. Yeah, I'm just focusing on that.

Q. You came in with a lot of confidence. What did you think when you saw that draw?
BELINDA BENCIC: Obviously, yeah, the first reaction of everyone was like, Oh, bad luck, bad luck. But I don't know, you cannot change the draw, you cannot influence it. You just play whoever it tells you to play.

I wasn't really thinking about it, if I was unlucky or lucky, if it's fair or not fair. I tried to use this chance. I played her today for the fifth time. I was just preparing for this match. I was not thinking about anything else.

Q. Now that you've beaten Venus, there's other highly seeded players who have fallen out of the draw today, you've been ranked as high as No. 7 in the past, do you feel a bit more pressure now?
BELINDA BENCIC: No, I don't feel pressure. I just came as a huge underdog. I'm not feeling any pressure, obviously. Even the next round is quite tough, I think, whoever wins.

To be honest, I don't care if people expect me to do well or to lose or win. I don't care about that any more so much.

Q. You mentioned you may have given Venus a little bit more respect in previous matches. Do you see any difference in her game today compared to the previous matches you played?
BELINDA BENCIC: No, not any difference. It's always tough to play her. I think she's so incredibly fit, she plays very good, still so consistent. Yeah, I'm not sure if she played differently.

I think it was a key today, for sure, I returned really well. I think that I didn't do in the matches before. That was, for sure, the key. Maybe she didn't know, was not so confident like last time. Last time I was not returning. She hit much more aces and everything. Yeah, I was happy about that.

Q. Can you imagine playing at 37 years old the level she plays at right now?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, it's unbelievable. I don't think I would, like, be near that when I'm 37.

Q. How does your wrist feel?
BELINDA BENCIC: Good. I didn't have any pain since the surgery. We started super slow with little racquets, soft balls. We took it very, very slowly so it can, you know, heal and recover. Until now it's really nothing. I'm not even taping it. I hope it stays this way.

Q. A big question in our sport is what makes Roger Federer a special player and person. What would your thoughts on that be?
BELINDA BENCIC: That's a big question. I don't know, he just plays amazing. I really admire about him that before the match in the locker room he's so relaxed, being funny with his team, or even with everyone. Then on court, he's so focused. I think that's the main thing I want to learn from him. Yeah, even off the court, a normal, humble person, yeah, really happy and trying to give advice and help also someone like me. I think that makes him pretty special.

Q. Does it ever feel unreal when you're out there playing with him?
BELINDA BENCIC: All the time. It's not just sometimes. All the time.

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