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September 28, 2018

Aryna Sabalenka

Wuhan, Hubei, China


7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Does it seem like everything is happening so fast that maybe you don't realize? Do you feel you've been expecting to play that way, that you're enjoying every moment of that?
ARYNA SABALENKA: No, I didn't expect this level from me. I'm so happy that I am on this level. Now I really like to fight. I think this is, you know, like why it's going really fast. Someone is afraid of it, but I really like it. So probably that's why.

Q. If you are to explain to somebody why now, why you're playing so well now, what would you say?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I don't know. Probably because I'm always on the game and I always fighting. So probably that why.

Q. Can you talk through in the beginning of the match she was playing very well, a lot of variety, about how you solved the problem against Ash.
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, on the beginning of this match, I didn't feel my serve. She was serving really well. Actually didn't know what to do on the court. When there was nothing to lose, when she was lead 5-3, then I start to play well. It was nothing to lose. I just tried to put her serve in. It works.

Q. Your serve got a lot better as the match went on. Was it just a matter of mentality? Were you finally going for it? Why do you think the serve came online quickly?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, probably was nervous and I couldn't found my serve. Then, like I said, when I was nothing to lose, then I start to put it in. I was just, like, relaxed. Probably before the match I was really, you know, really want it. That makes me, like, crazy little bit, I mean with mind. Then when was nothing to lose, I found it.

Q. Did you feel as though when you look at the way that you are playing right now, your reaction in those pressure moments in these big matches, that you're more experienced? Do you feel like the experiences you had, especially over the summer, in Eastbourne as well, come into these moments more?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, I know before when I was down with one break, before I get crazy and I lose, like, three games straight after that, after I lose my serve. Now I understand that I can play. I can still win return games, can make breaks back. It's makes me in the game. Well, I'm trying to found the way how to come back.

Probably, yeah, I have more experience at the moment.

Q. Do you feel naturally more calm on the court right now or is it still something that you have to remind yourself you're getting a little too excited, to stay calm?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, like now with nature, I'm enjoying fighting. Yeah, I think it's natural right now. Of course, sometimes you're getting crazy on the court, but it's normal. It should be. You cannot be calm on the court like full match I think with my mind. Well, now most of the time I'm calm on the court and it's nature.

Q. You said you were really nervous at the start today. Tomorrow is the final. How are you going to try to not be that nervous?
ARYNA SABALENKA: On the final, you mean?

Q. Yes, to avoid having the same nerves that you had today.
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, tomorrow it's a another chance to take one more title. I hope I will come on the court without any nervous. I will just try to show my best and enjoy it.

Q. This time last year you reached your first tour level final in Tianjin. 12 months later you are back and in a final. What do you think is the biggest change in your game in the last 12 months?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I think that I am calm on the court. This is the biggest change.

Q. Talk about the difference between male coach and female coach.
ARYNA SABALENKA: I never worked with a womans. I don't know the different. I think the mens, they can give you more - how to say it - they can give you something from men's tennis. It will works in the women's tennis. This is the difference. I like more work with the mans. I never played with the womans, but for me it's more comfortable to have a coach that is man.

Q. At the US Open, Naomi Osaka won. She's the same age as you. Did you get any inspiration from her win?
ARYNA SABALENKA: She's one year older than me (smiling).

Yeah, that was great match. I was so sad that I lost it. After that match, after I saw that she won the US Open, it's give me more power. I wanted to work more to win next time. Now I'm more confidence on the court because I know what to do, for what I am doing it.

Q. Wimbledon's chairman said they're going to reconsider the rules for on-court coaching in the Grand Slams. Is that something you'd like to see?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Right now it's a big difference on the Grand Slams, between the Grand Slams and WTA tournament. I think it's will works really well if they make coaching on the Grand Slams. Sometimes you really need something to listen from a coach. I mean, not about tactic, but probably try to motivate you, like help you more with nervous on the court.

Yeah, I will be really happy if they make it.

Q. You've never played Anett Kontaveit. What do you think of her game? What do you know about what you might need to expect?
ARYNA SABALENKA: She's kind of aggressive player. Today she had a lot of winners down the line. It looks really unbelievable, really powerful. She have a good serve. Well, she's a great player. She's in the final. Of course, she's great. It will be another tough match.

I don't know, I will try to show my best, to enjoy it. Well, it's a final. It's time to enjoy it. It's not time for nervous. Just I'm ready for the match.

Q. Dmitry used a phrase to describe you, which is 'beast mode'. Do you know what that means?

Q. When you are competing, your ability to, I don't know...
ARYNA SABALENKA: When you're down, okay, I understand it.

Q. What do you think of that as a quality that you have? Why do you think that you have it?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I don't know. It's a lot of energy in myself when I'm down. I think this energy, it's going out. That's beast mode (smiling).

Q. Like the tiger on your arm.
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yes. Sometimes he come on the court and say, Just look at your arm and go do it.

Q. When you talk to him, he says that you are capable of doing more than just hitting the ball hard. When you first talked to him about that, did you believe it, you could change your game to do more on the court than just hit big?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, I believe it. If I not, it's no chance to change anything. I knew that I have to change it because it's impossible to be on this level only with hitting hard the ball.

Yeah, I really trust him. I was just listening him, just do what he say. It's works.

Q. He said the reason why your game was like that 12 months ago, mostly power, is because when you were younger nobody told you to play the way that Ash Barty plays, for example, slice. Is that accurate?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Actually, I don't remember what coaches say to me when I was young. I remember when I was 15 or 16 years old, they always told me, Don't think on the court, just hit the ball, it's enough. It's all what you need to do on the womans tennis.

I believe that. It works. It works on a little bit lower level. On this level you have to learn something more.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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