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January 19, 2019

Kimberly Birrell

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A. KERBER/K. Birrell

6-1, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You looked pleased, but I'm sure you're disappointed. Talk through your emotions.
KIMBERLY BIRRELL: Yeah, obviously I'm disappointed. Each match you lose is tough. You put everything into it when you walk out on the court. Yeah, obviously I'm disappointed.

But I'm just going to look at the positives from this whole week. The last few weeks have been such an incredible experience. I've learnt so much about myself on the court, off the court. Yeah, definitely going to be focusing on the positives.

Q. What would you have told yourself 10, 15 years ago if someone told you you'd be playing the Australian Open in the third round on a Friday night, Rod Laver Arena?
KIMBERLY BIRRELL: You're crazy (smiling).

Yeah, it's still so surreal. Yeah, these kind of opportunities happen once in a lifetime. Yeah, it's definitely going to be sinking in, what just happened. I'm definitely, yeah, going to be looking back at that moment for the rest of my life. Yeah, it was a dream come true.

Q. Angelique is a top player. How did you find her tonight and the challenge she presented?
KIMBERLY BIRRELL: Yeah, she played really, really well. I knew she was going to be incredibly tough to beat. I knew I was going to have to play some of my best tennis. She just played unbelievably well tonight.

You can definitely tell a difference between -- I had the chance to play those top ranked girls a couple times in my career so far, and you can definitely tell a difference. She makes you win the point so many times. Yeah, she just makes so many balls. She's an incredible athlete.

Yeah, I definitely learnt a lot from the match tonight.

Q. When you go back to the drawing board, what is the first thing you think you need to do?
KIMBERLY BIRRELL: Yeah, I think as soon as I walked off the court and I saw my team, I said, I need to get so much fitter. Yeah, that was what really hit me first, is how well she retrieved. As I said, she just makes you play an extra shot in each rally.

I mean, today was 6-1, 6-Love, and I feel like I kind of played a three-setter almost. We had some really long rallies. I feel like I showed a little bit of some good tennis, but I just wasn't able to sustain that level. That's something you need to be able to do against these top women, incredible players.

Yeah, I just have a lot of work to do now. Still early in my career. Hopefully I have a long way to go.

Q. How do you see the next tournament or the year after this?
KIMBERLY BIRRELL: Yeah, obviously my schedule is probably going to change a little bit now that my ranking has improved. That's really exciting. I'm super pumped for what the rest of 2019 is going to have in store for me.

Yeah, I'll definitely be sitting down with my team in the next couple days, figuring out my schedule. It's probably going to be a little bit different than what I expected it to. It's awesome.

Q. She had some really kind words to say about you on court afterwards. Said she envisages you to be a top-100 player. Did she have anything to say to you after the match, any advice?
KIMBERLY BIRRELL: That's really cool. I haven't had the chance to see it yet. But, yeah, I'll definitely be watching that. She seems like an awesome person off the court.

When we shook hands, she just said, Congrats on an awesome week. That was definitely nice. She didn't have to do that. I just said, Happy birthday.

Q. Have you picked out a car yet?
KIMBERLY BIRRELL: Not yet (laughter). That's definitely going to be on the agenda, though, in the next couple of weeks as soon as I get home. But, yeah, we've been talking about it a little bit. I definitely need a smaller car with the reversing camera because I need all the help I can get with parking (smiling).

I'm going to get a Kia, yeah. I don't spend that much time at home, but it will happen at some point.

Q. How was the experience of coming down after the Vekic match two days ago? A lot of elation. What was the experience like being the biggest win of your career? Was it easy to refocus and think about tonight?
KIMBERLY BIRRELL: Yeah, it was definitely something I haven't experienced before. There's definitely been a lot of firsts for me over the last few weeks. Yeah, there was kind of a lot going on, a lot of media. My phone was going crazy. I just had so much support from so many people.

I just tried to stay as focused and as grounded as possible. I spent heaps of time with my family. Yeah, just tried to treat it as kind of a normal -- as normal of a tournament as I could. I had doubles the next day, so I kind of, yeah, just tried to enjoy it as much as I could for the couple of hours after the match, then refocus.

Yeah, it was just a totally new experience, hopefully one I'll get the chance to have again. I think each time I keep putting myself in that position, I'll get better at handling situations like that.

Q. Did you find it draining, all the media? Did that take a bit out of you?
KIMBERLY BIRRELL: Yeah, it probably did a little bit. But yeah, as I said, I just tried to stay as focused as I could. I kind of had that day to let everything sink in. Yeah, I think just if things like that happen again, I'll get better and better each time.

Obviously playing later tonight was a challenge, as well. I've never really played this time of night. I had so much adrenaline and stuff, I think, yeah, I didn't find it too draining. Maybe tomorrow it will hit me.

Q. What has been the best part of all of this?
KIMBERLY BIRRELL: That's so hard to say. Probably just walking out on the court tonight, hearing everyone clapping, them saying my name, it was such a surreal experience, yeah. I'm still going to be replaying that moment over and over in my head forever probably. I'll never forget it. Just to have my friends and my family, all of the support from everybody the last few weeks has been incredible. I'm super grateful.

Q. What was it like to be a part of your home slam when there's so many Aussies hanging around in the third round?
KIMBERLY BIRRELL: Yeah, it's awesome. I feel, yeah, incredibly lucky to be a part of tennis in Australia at the moment. I think it's super exciting on both sides, the men and the women. Yeah, it's going to be I think a really big year for Aussies. It's super exciting. We all support each other. I think it's awesome.

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