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September 23, 2018

Elina Svitolina

Wuhan, Hubei, China

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is Nick Saviano with you this week? Have you come up with a formal coaching arrangement with him here?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, he's here with me. I've been training in Miami for past two weeks after US Open. For me, it was something new. Yeah, we are trying to work till the end of the year.

Q. Can you talk about, since it's the first time we've seen you since New York, the decision to switch up your team a little bit? How did you end up finding Nick?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, I mean, I decided to stop, yeah, to try something new, to have a different opinion on my game because I think, yeah, I need fresh look. I think Nick is that kind of person that can bring the experience.

For me it's very important, you know. I'm more looking forward to, like, bigger picture, going into new season, as well. Yeah, just something different.

Q. From the initial impression, what do you think is his kind of philosophy or the way he's been coaching you? I know it's early, but what is the first impression?
ELINA SVITOLINA: He shares a lot of his experience. He worked with so many great champions, great players. That's why it's something that I've been looking for. You know, he worked with so many players, you know, he can compare, he can straightaway see what's missing and what I have to change.

Obviously I'm not going to change massively. I'm not going to hit one-handed backhand straightaway, but maybe next season (smiling). Well, we will see.

I'm always looking for something that can help my game. I'm up for this, yeah, changes, finding something new what can help me. Of course, you know, maybe not going to see the results straightaway, but I'm there and I'm going to try my best to achieve my goals.

Q. What do you think wasn't working in your game, things you need to change to get to the next level, that you were dissatisfied with?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I don't say the things didn't work because I'm still top-10 player. I won big tournaments this year. We had great run with Thierry, with everything what we did together. So it's just, you know, my kind of personality, I would say, that I like to add something new, something fresh into my game.

It's not easy, I would say. To have these kind of changes in the middle -- not middle, but still end of the season, it's not easy. But I'm ready to take this risk. I'm ready to go 100%.

Q. When you're already next to the very top, it must be challenging to find the last percentages to get even better. Where do you think they are?
ELINA SVITOLINA: There's lots of small details. All the great champions, they only look for those small details that can change. It's really tough to say. If I or anyone would do exactly the things that you have to change, everyone would be at the top, everyone would be winning every single match.

You know, it's finding the balance between your fitness, between your mental conditions, and obviously putting everything together. When you are ready, then you're going to take your chance, you're going to win the tournaments. Yeah, that's what I'm striving for.

Q. Are you still based in London?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, I have my place there. We'll see. I cannot make a decision after two weeks of training. I'm going to finish the year, then I'm going to sit down somewhere nice and think about my next, yeah, actions.

Q. What is the challenge of this part of the season post US Open mentally and physically? How do you get yourself pumped for this part of the season?
ELINA SVITOLINA: It's not easy, I would say. Definitely I still didn't qualify for Singapore. For me that's the goal. Obviously it's a huge motivation for me.

After US Open, I had couple of days off. I was straight into training. I was really pumped to go to Florida to train with Nick, you know, to play well in Asia.

For me, it's definitely going to mean a lot for next season also. And, of course, to play Singapore, it's always been a huge motivation for me.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Naomi Osaka, the way she won the US Open, and also making the final in Tokyo. Have you seen any of her matches, did anything stand out to you? What are your thoughts?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, I always knew that she's a great player. She has that, you know, different game, I would say. She's very powerful. She can strike the ball really, really good on the run, from the middle of the court. She has the game.

When I played against her, because I think we played four times maybe, I always was trying to find the ways to beat her because I knew exactly that she can be very, very dangerous.

For me, it's not a huge surprise that she's having great results. She been working really hard. We can see it. I mean, anyone could see that.

Q. When you look at the last 12 months, how your game has developed, maybe the last couple of years, as you sit here now, even after the US Open, do you have an image in your mind as to kind of the game that you want to play that maybe isn't actually the game that you are playing at the moment? Or is it more just, like, I want to tweak things here and there?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, for the last two years, I would say, I'm more clear with what I can do, what I cannot do on court, what works under pressure, what doesn't.

Of course, it's not going to work all the time. But I try to find the ways all the time to find my game and to fight back. That's tennis. That's how you have to take it, one match at a time.

The experience definitely helps a lot, being on tour for a couple of years, now playing higher level. I remember my first semifinal here in Wuhan probably was, like, first tournament that was here. I remember that feeling when I couldn't really beat anyone from top 10. This was a big issue. Now it's different story.

You know, those kind of moments definitely help. Sometimes they are really hard to bear it, but this is the journey. That's why, you know, tennis is such a great sport, that you can have ups and downs. When you are finally through, you feel really, you know, great that you achieve something.

Q. You look a bit tired, jetlag adjustment. Do you feel quite different compared to last year? Are you more prepared to be a champion this year?
ELINA SVITOLINA: No, I don't feel tired at all. I'm feeling good. I'm ready to play.

I think I played well here before, so it's nice to be back here in Wuhan. Last year I couldn't make it here, but it's good. The tournament definitely improved a lot. It's very, very nice. We have different hotel now. Everything is organized pretty well. So I'm very happy to be here, looking forward to my match.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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