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September 29, 2018

Aryna Sabalenka

Wuhan, Hubei, China

A. SABALENKA/A. Kontaveit

6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How were the nerves today leading up to the court? Were you as nervous today as you were yesterday against Ash?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, I was nervous today little bit. You're always nervous before the final because it's different. But on the court I was pretty comfortable. I was confidence with myself.

It was better than yesterday.

Q. It really looked like you were playing inside of yourself today: you didn't do too much, you were playing a solid game. Is that what you think, as well?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I didn't think about that. I was just, like, playing and trying to find the way how to win it. Well, I was just show what I can to do today, and it works.

Q. What do you think was the key to the win today?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I don't know. We both play really well today. I was just -- I don't know. It's a good question. I don't know answer (smiling).

I don't know. It was a great tennis today. Was a great level. Probably I was lucky today.

Q. It's a huge tournament, a big final. You're only 20 years old. You're playing like you've been there forever. Is it the confidence? Is it the experience of the previous finals that make you play so solid in big moments?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I think I had a great experience this summer. I played a lot of matches. I didn't play before that much. Probably with every match I get more confidence on court. That's why sometimes it looks like I am long time on this level. But inside sometimes I'm like fight with myself.

Q. People looking at you playing, they're starting to say how anyone can beat Sabalenka when she's on. Do you feel whoever is on the other side of the net, it's always on your racquet?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, first of all, thank you for this thinking. It's really nice to hear it.

It's not always like that. I always have some problems on the court. You don't feel some shots, you're nervous or whatever.

I don't know, it's about to stay in the game, fight for every point. Well, I'm just in the game, just fight for every point. I don't think about, like, who there. It's no easy matches here. Everyone is really tough.

Q. It's a lot of matches, a lot of stress. I see you have an ice pack on the leg. Is it something that concerns you?
ARYNA SABALENKA: No, it's okay. Just a little bit tight there. I just want to make sure I will be ready for Beijing. I do everything what I can for recovery.

Q. You will be 11th in the race to Singapore. Have you thought about the finals yet or is it a good time to think about that?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Before the Wuhan, I was really thinking about Singapore, that I really want to get in there. It's makes me really nervous. Like, I couldn't move on the court, I couldn't do anything.

Then when I was speaking with my coach, understand that is not the main goal for this year, it's like not the main goal. Then I start to be more relaxed.

Now I'm 11 or 10. I don't know actually. I don't think about it. If I get in, I will be so happy. If not, what I can do? I just have to come on the court and play.

Q. In your discussions with Dmitry before the final, what was some of the advice and tips he gave to you?
ARYNA SABALENKA: He just say, You can do this. Don't get nervous. Just go on the court and enjoy it. It's another final. Just keep calm and go for it.

That was the main motivation for me.

Q. When somebody tells you to keep calm and not be nervous, does that work?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, I don't think so. It's all about me, if I want to be calm on the court or if I want to be like a small kid, like crying or something like that. Well, I think they have to say it for me just to make sure that they did it, they did enough, everything what they can.

Well, probably it works. I don't know. I think it's more about my mind.

Q. Obviously all the success you've had in China, winning so many matches, Tianjin last year, now here. Not everybody plays their best tennis during this part of the season. Is this now kind of actually maybe one of your favorite places to play?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, this is one of my favorite places to play. I really enjoy to be here. Always play well here. I don't know why, but I really play well here.

Yeah, always waiting for this part of the season. I always want to be here. I always want to play matches. I'm always so happy that I play well.

Probably they have to think to have more tournaments in China (laughter). Well, I'm kidding.

Q. Your next tournament is the China Open. Petra went to Beijing by high-speed railway. What kind of transport will you take?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I will go there I think by train because it's easier. You don't have to pay for the extra luggage (laughter). We have a lot with the coach. I will go there I think tomorrow by train.

Q. It's the biggest title of your career. Can you talk about the new trophy?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, it's looks really cool. I'm so happy to get this trophy. Last time it was just like a plate. I always wanted to have something special. This looks really cool. I'm so happy that I get this title.

Q. This is your fourth time to play the final. You won the championship. What has changed from your play? What made you successful?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, you're right, it's the first final of this kind of tournament, first title.

I don't know what, but I wish I knew. It's a lot of things. I just start to be more calm on the court, don't try to go aggressive with every shot, try to found a way. If I cannot put the ball in, I try to found a way how I can find the way how to put it in finally.

Well, I start thinking more on the court. Before, I was just, like, hit the ball as hard as I can, it's enough. From this summer when I start working with Dmitry, I start to think on the court. I think this is his job. Like 50% is his job, for sure (smiling).

Q. Are there any special precautions you take to take care of yourself physically to avoid the injuries we've seen with other players with tournaments coming so quickly?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, it's a good question. Actually, I don't know. Yeah, it's really important to be ready physically for this level. Till probably 19 years old, I was doing really hard - how to call it - fitness. I did a lot of fitness. I was run for two hours or three hours. I did a lot of skiing, bikes, everything what get me much strong. I think helps me to be, like, ready for this level, physically feel really good, even in final.

I think one year or six months ago I change my fitness. I get even more strong on court. Well, I just keep going with things which I am doing right now. Like yeah, it really helps.

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