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May 15, 2018

Elina Svitolina

Rome, Italy


6-1, 6-2


Q. How tricky was it the way the day unfolded and the weather we're playing in right now?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah. It was a bit tricky.

But, you know, everyone was in same conditions. And I was just trying to rise, just relax and to don't think so much about the match. And, yeah, this was really important for me to just stay focused on what I have to do, not have negative thoughts on what can happen.

So, yes, this was very important.

But, yeah, very happy with how well I played today. And it was a good start. So, yeah, I will see how it goes tomorrow -- or after tomorrow.

Q. And just in terms of your day, this can be a bit of a packed tournament. I mean, is it hard to find peace and quiet when seemingly every player seems camped out all around the grounds?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, it's a bit tough. But, you know, I have my headphones always with me. And, yeah, just found a small corner where I could just stay and, yeah, relax, read a book, and listen to some music. Of course, it can be tough. But, you know, I always find a way.

Like on court (laughing).

Q. When you played Petra Martic at Roland Garros, you were really close to losing. Is that in the back of your mind at all when you play her?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Of course. I remember that match.

So I was just trying to take something from that; what I did good, what I did wrong. Because I was down 2-5 or something, and I was down and out against her. It was a very tough match.

So, I was expecting a really tough match. I knew the game style that she's presenting. And, yeah, just was just trying to work from the beginning and work really hard with my legs.

And, you know, yeah, of course, enjoying playing as defending champion. Not every day happens.

Q. One of the features of tennis is that players employ their own teams. Do you feel like a boss of the other people on your team?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, it's like -- my team is like a big, you know, like a car, you know. Without an engine, without wheels, you know, you cannot go.

Everyone on my team - - my coach, my hitting partner, my fitness coach, my physio, my parents - - they are small details in the car. You know, if there is -- someone is missing or something is not working well then, you know, you have to change or you have to, yeah, do something, improve.

And every one on the team knows their job and, you know, gives what -- gives me something, what they think is the best.

And, yeah, that's, you know, all the system. It's not like someone's the king of the hill.

Q. Is it a challenge, if there is a problem, that you have to decide to change and make the right decisions to further your career?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Of course. Life is about decisions. I always follow this. And for me, I make decisions and I try to commit to the ones that I make.

Of course, there's some decisions can be risky. Some may be wrong. But, you know, we learn from the mistakes and we always try to, you know, improve, to do something different or to add something.

So that's what I know. Life is about decisions, and it's very important to learn from the bad ones and move forward.

Q. Does it feel different to come to a tournament as a defending champion? And if so, what is it about it that just makes it feel different?
ELINA SVITOLINA: It is different because probably it's good and it's bad at the same time. Because you're coming as a defending champion, so probably like you did something good here. So you can play very good tennis. Maybe you know something (laughing), something about this.

It's also like everyone is expecting you to play well. That's the other side of being defending champion.

So first, you know, there is - - I try just to take one match at a time, to think about what I have to do on the court and, you know, take one challenge at a time.

The opponents that gonna be in front of me, they are gonna fight as much as me. And, you know, it's gonna be - - it's gonna go down to, you know, to the small decisions that I'm gonna make.

And, you know, I really enjoy the fans here. You know, they are really crazy. And that's something what makes it different to the other tournaments here in Italy, as you know. It's something, ha-ha, really, really different.

So, I really enjoy it. And it's fun to see so many people on the practice courts. And, yes, it's nice.

Q. Has it gotten easier to defend titles compared to the first time you had to do it?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, I did it only once, I think maybe --

Q. I mean but like after coming back I mean.

Q. Coming back to defend your title. You've done it more than once.
Q. In Baku. But it was many years ago, seems like.
I did it in Dubai. It was different, you know. I cannot take -- I took, first, some experience from that when I arrived and when I had lots of pressure.

This time, it's different, of course. So for me, of course, I learned from that experience. And, yeah, I -- you know, I'm happy the way I played today, the way I handled the pressure.

Because, you know, she could really be dangerous. And I had to produce at really high level. I did lots of winners. I was going for my shots.

So, you know, there's lots of positives from today. And, you know, I'm really satisfied with it.

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