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QATAR TOTAL OPEN


February 14, 2019


Elina Svitolina


Doha, Qatar

E. SVITOLINA/K. Muchova

6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What did you make of today's match? What do you think got you over the finish line?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, I didn't really know much with her, so I was just trying to focus on what I have to do on my game, you know, on my strength, what I had to do. I had to serve good, had to return, had to move quickly.

So just everything had to be good. In the end, you know, I found a way to have to beat her. Yeah, I was very happy I could do it in two sets.

Q. Does it make it easier, in a way, knowing you don't have that much to go on with your opponent, that you can just focus on yourself?
ELINA SVITOLINA: In some ways, yes. Sometimes, you know, you want to know what to expect.

But I'm sure, you know, it's quite normal, because there is lots of players coming up now. Makes me feel a bit old (smiling).

I mean, there is lots and lots of players that are coming and so you have to adjust. And tennis is that kind of sport that you always have to adjust. Doesn't matter to the conditions or to the player. But the main thing, for me, it's always been I have to really stay focused on what I have to do on court. That matters the most.

Q. What did you make of her game today?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, she's a very good player, and I really like her game style. You know, she's not as a typical young player, because most of the players now that are coming up, they are smashing the ball. She has lots of variety in her game, and that's, I think, very good for tennis.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the conditions? It's really quite warm in the day and gets really, really chilly. What time do you practice? How do you adjust?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, the conditions is very different here. You know, it changes, like, in split second. You find yourself in cold Doha.

So when I'm warming up, normally it's hot, the sun is burning. Then when we start the match, I think middle of the first set it change completely so you have to adjust.

I mean, tomorrow I think matches are gonna start a little bit later, so it's a different story. Yeah, just have to adjust. It's a little bit chilly, and the ball doesn't fly so much. So we are both, you know, in the same conditions, everyone who is here. Just a matter of adjustment.

Q. Next match could be the match of the tournament.
ELINA SVITOLINA: Why?

Q. You tell us why.
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, first of all, I don't even know who is gonna win, because they are both good players and they both play really good tennis. So we'll see.

I mean, there is still, in the draw, I think, some good players. I'm expecting a tough match, definitely. Doesn't matter who it's gonna be. Yeah, I'm just going to try to bring the best tomorrow.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about adjusting physically, going from Australia, the heat, and then where did you go from Melbourne? Did you go back to Ukraine or were you in Monte-Carlo? Did you practice at all? And then here again where it's outdoors and, you know, windy, very unpredictable weather, what is the physical adjustment that goes on for a player?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, for me, every week we adjust. Doesn't matter, you know, if we are playing in Mexico or here or, you know, in Australia. It's all the time different.

We change the balls. They are very different, each one, if it's Wilson, if it's Dunlop. Every brand is different. So you have to adjust to this.

This is just a process for everyone. That's just tennis, and you always adjust yourself. You always try the best. And who is more prepared, who finds the way quicker gets more wins and the titles. That's always like this for me.

From Australia, I went to Geneva. It was very cold. I think I had one meter of snow (smiling). Yeah, I was practicing indoors. It was a big change.

Then I went to Sofia to support Gaƫl, and then I went here.

Q. Caroline and Karolina were both sick and had to pull out. Kiki Bertens has been a bit under the weather. Is that nerve-wracking to hear so many players are sick at a tournament? Do you take any extra precautions when you hear of things like that?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, I think it was different. I think someone was ill; someone was just not feeling good. I think there was different injuries.

It's tough, because after Grand Slam, you know, you're coming then to some tournaments. It's not easy, because you're a little bit tired emotionally because after break, after you're going back into, like, stress, so, you know, it's just -- it happens, and unfortunately it happened here.

But didn't know what to expect. In the end, there is still lots of good players. We can see quarterfinals good matches today. For sure, you know, semifinal/final going to be lots of good players.

Q. Unrelated to the match today, WTA introduced a new clothing rule for this season allowing leggings and mid-thigh-length compression shorts to be worn without a skirt or dress. How do you feel about this step? And what does it mean for you?
ELINA SVITOLINA: For me it's great, because these conditions like we are playing now is very cold, and you have to wear something long, and, you know, otherwise you get sick and you can pull the muscle or you can, you know -- for example, if someone is playing today at 8:00 and it's very cold and you're not allowed something to wear something long and you get sick for your semifinal, then you lose semifinal match. You know, it's a very smart and wise decision to make up that rule.

Q. There was some controversy around Serena Williams and her cat suit at the French Open last year, and then at the US Open Alize Cornet had an issue with changing her top on court. Do you feel that the rules around clothing are a bit stricter for women compared to the men?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, I think every problem that they had with the cat suit or with Alize changing shirt has been sorted, because the referee didn't really know what to do. I probably would do the same. But now we know. Everyone knows what's the rule.

So, you know, we learned from that. And from the Serena's situation, she had a message behind it. It was for the women. I completely support her on that.

Q. Let's talk again about semifinal. If that will be Halep, you have a positive score against her. What do you expect? You played very tough today and she played the same.
ELINA SVITOLINA: It's gonna be definitely good match. We always have some tough matches in the past, so we are both playing, you know, maybe similar game, and lots of long rallies is definitely -- I'm going to expect that. So, yeah, it's gonna be another good match, and I'm looking forward to it.

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