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October 20, 2018

Elina Svitolina

Kallang, Singapore

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Welcome back to Singapore.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about yesterday in terms of this field of eight players, personalities to spend time with, iconic photo in the holding room? And also the decision to go with the pants suit. It looked pretty good.
ELINA SVITOLINA: Thank you. Well, yeah, it was great. You know, I'm really happy to be back, to be one of the eight best players and, you know, it's always a goal to play here in Singapore.

Yeah, I'm very, very pleased that I'm here. Of course, it was fun, you know. Everyone is happy to be here. Everyone is smiling. It's the last tournament of the season, so I think this is also something that everyone is looking forward to. That's why we had a great time.

Q. It came down a bit to the wire to find out whether you're going to qualify or not for sure. Were you relieved when you found out? What were some of the emotions when you realized you were coming back?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, of course it was until the last moment almost we didn't know. But, you know, I was just trying to really don't think so much about it. Of course it was in my mind, but, you know, I was preparing to play in Zhuhai, actually (smiling).

Because, you know, I would be more sad if I would be preparing to play here and then not got in. That's why I was, like, okay, I'm going to play in Zhuhai, you know.

Q. How does the preparation for this kind of tournament a second time compare to that of a Grand Slam? Big points, big money, but just the eight of you, really intense focus on you. You get to hang out with the other players and the parties. What do you like about that and how does it compare?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, this event definitely makes you feel very, very special. When I realized that I'm one of the best players and competing here, definitely have goosebumps. And when you step on that court it's also, you know, it brings up lots of different emotions. I think, you know, you play for those kind of moments and you train for it.

Of course there will be nerves. This is normal, you know. Everyone is human. And then, you know, everyone is, you know, feeling different. But when I will step on that court, I will just try to stay really focused on my game, and that's I think what I can learn from last year, because last year I was maybe too emotional and too, you know, just not there competing against the opponent. I was just, you know, going with the flow, which probably is not the great thing to do.

Q. How do you prepare? How did you prepare to come here? When did you arrive? How do you feel the court is comparing to last year as far as speed and feel?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, I arrived on Wednesday here. The court is good. You know, I like the indoor courts like that, because makes you feel really comfortable with the crowd. They are really, like, close and the stadium is quite nice.

So I really enjoyed it last year. You know, I'm going to have three matches here. I'm definitely going to enjoy, enjoy the atmosphere and everything what's about this event, you know. It gives you lots of confidence, you know, going into the next season, as well.

Q. Three matches minimum, right?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Of course (smiling).

Q. And the speed of the court, is it different than last year to you?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I don't know. It's tough to -- you know, it was one year ago, so, you know, I kind of forgot already what was the feeling last year.

But it seems a little bit slow, but last year it was same, I think. But it's tough to say now. Maybe my memory lies (smiling).

Q. What do you think is the difference between the Svitolina of the first six months of the season and maybe the one of the last three months of the season? Where do you feel like your game has maybe shifted the most?
ELINA SVITOLINA: It's very difficult question to answer in, like, one word, because you have to -- I think there is a difference in physique, but, you know, also I think I'm moving better, a little bit better than I was at the beginning of the year.

There is benefits and there is, you know, some things that I want to improve, of course. You know, I will see, you know. That's why this is the last tournament and then I'm going to, you know, sit down with my team and, you know, see what I have to improve or what I do well, as well.

It's very important, you know, to stay positive. I think I had a good season to finish it here. It's definitely a really, really positive thing.

Q. The offseason is not supposed to be super busy. You want down time, but I know you will sit down and start thinking about putting together the new team and things. What are you thinking about in terms of how you want that team to look? What are the goals there?
ELINA SVITOLINA: The main thing is of course fitness coach for me. I already have a few names in my mind.

I think tennis coach, of course. So those two -- yeah, those two things that I want to find and what's gonna suit me, that's, I think, for offseason. I have Andy who knows me the best, and we have been through, you know, up and down and he definitely, you know, knows what I like and what I don't like.

Yeah, we're gonna see. I mean, I did pretty well with Andy overall, you know, when I was working even with Thierry when he was not there, and so we're gonna speak with Andy after this tournament and, you know, see what are the options. Because it's very tricky to change the coach, and to go into the new season with new coach is definitely a challenge, I would say.

So that's why, you know, I will have time to think and to make the right decision.

Q. Going back to Thierry, you worked with Thierry and then stopped. Is the reason the lack of results? I would have thought because of the fact that he was not really working that much with Tsonga, was injured, thinking he would have been more available for you? Is the partnership ending because of mostly results or him not being available to be with you more often maybe on the tour?
ELINA SVITOLINA: This was not the main reason. You know, I think it was a common decision, because for me, I'm the kind of person that I like something fresh, you know, quite a lot. I think we got a little bit stuck that moment. It was not about the results, because I'm not that kind of person. He's not that kind of person that gonna just give up, you know, when the things are not going right.

You know, for me, was just, yeah, the time to move forward and -- yeah, I think, you know, the career is not that long. You know, that's why I want even to try, you know, I want to find some things that are gonna improve my game. I think finding different opinion on my game is very important. Sometimes, of course, it's not gonna be the right decision, but, you know, at least I tried.

Q. Your second year in Singapore. Can you talk about the city on court and off the court? You mentioned Zhuhai. Obviously you have played many matches in China. Any expectations for the next couple of years of Finals in China?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, I like Singapore. Last time I was here, I went for a tour, so I saw quite a few things. This time definitely I want to go hiking after the tournament. I saw there is a treetop walk or something. It's really, really nice.

Yeah, there is lots of things to do, and this is the last year that Finals are here, so a little bit disappointing, because I really, really enjoy it, but I'm sure that Shenzhen is going to be as great as this event.

Yeah, there is lots of things to do. There is more and more tournaments now in China, so it's, you know, something I think good for Chinese tennis, as well, because as we can see, there is lots of players coming up. They invest a lot in tennis, and this is a massive deal for everyone.

Q. You won the Diamond Aces award last night. I know it can be difficult being on tour and wanting to sometimes just focus on your tennis and be insular, but that award kind of is a recognition of all the stuff that you do off the court in terms of helping support the tour and stuff. Can you talk about how you balance that and how difficult maybe it is or maybe it isn't to make those decisions week to week as to whether or not you say, No, I'm not going to do stuff, or to, you know, go do the sponsor visits and support the tournaments and the tour?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, to be honest, I didn't even know that this award existed. So, I mean, you can see that I'm doing these kind of events not just to get an award in the end of the year (smiling).

For me, it's very important to give back something to kids, to sponsors, to, you know, to the fans who are, you know, following us, supporting us week in and week out. For me, it's just the part of tennis, as well, because without the fans, without all the sponsors and, you know, all the people who are watching us, you know, there would be no fun. There would be no motivation, you know, for us.

That's why I think giving back is very important, and that's why when I have opportunity I always, when I have power, of course, I always, you know, go for the visits, to do clinics with kids. Because we are humans, that we like to interact. And that's why, for me, I think it's one of the most important things.

Q. It's been a very strong year for Ukrainian tennis. Not just you. Tsurenko, Yastremska, the young one having a very good fall. How much pride do you take out of that, in a small country with limited resources and you have been able to have this kind of impact on the tour level?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, you know, the country is very big, but we don't, as you say, we don't have the tennis resources for players to improve their game, money, of course, to travel, which is the most important, I would say, for young players, because we have lots of, you know, great young guys and girls, and, you know, that's really sad that they don't have opportunity to even start their career.

That's why, you know, I feel very, very lucky to be here where I am now and hopefully, you know, the young girls and guys, you know, who are back at home and training just gonna, you know, be a little bit more patient and try their best and strive for more.

Because tennis is that kind of sport that you have to invest in yourself or invest, you know, your parents, and to invest in you first and then you have to be really patient. So that's why I think it's very important for young players.

Q. Wimbledon has announced final-set tiebreaks. Do you have an opinion on that?
ELINA SVITOLINA: No, not really. I mean, I don't know (smiling). No. Sorry.

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