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March 12, 2019

Belinda Bencic

Indian Wells, California

B. BENCIC/N. Osaka

6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I know you had a win over her before, but where does this win tonight rate for you?
BELINDA BENCIC: Tough question. Obviously very high. I mean, she's the No. 1 player in the world. She, you know, won everything in the past couple of months.

Definitely high. I played I think a great match. I'm really happy with myself.

Q. Watching you guys play each other, seems like your games really resemble each other greatly. Your patterns are very similar. Going into the match, strategy-wise, did you feel like you needed to do something different? Just seemed like you guys were mirror images of each other but you just were a little sharper tonight.
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I definitely think we both, you know, like to take the ball early. So definitely my plan today was -- I mean, not just today, but I'm trying to take the ball early, trying to dictate the point myself. I think definitely she has a little bit more spin on her ball than me.

Yeah, just as I said, I think I served really good. The first set was great for me, and then I just, you know, tried to keep it like that. It was a little bit more windy in the second set, but I think tactic-wise, I played very solid.

Q. On court, you seemed fairly confident. You looked like you know how to play against Naomi in order to beat her. Did you feel like it that way? Are you confident? Did you figure out how to beat her during the match?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I figured it out during the match. Of course I didn't play her for a long time. It was a complete different match in Hopman Cup.

But, you know, I really wasn't focusing so much on her. I was focusing on my game. I'm very confident with my game right now. I'm hitting the ball well. So just things worked out for me (smiling).

Q. You're on this incredible run now, but a while ago it seemed like it was one injury, then another one, then surgery, so many. During that period, could you talk about your toughest moment? Did you have real doubts?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, obviously it was very tough moments when your body isn't playing along. But of course then you see all the other athletes, and actually it's very normal. You know, so many athletes, it's just part of our life to have some injury, to have some setbacks. Tell me any top-10 player that didn't have a surgery yet. Definitely it happened a little bit earlier for me.

But as I said so many times, it changed my perspective. I'm so happy to be on the court again. I'm actually enjoying I'm healthy, and I'm not putting the pressure on myself. I know how frustrating it was when I wasn't able to play at all.

Q. During that tough time, was Roger in touch with you at all? Any communication with him when you were going through...
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, definitely he was always checking up if I was doing better. Even last year when I got injured in Miami, I ask him, you know, and his physio took a look at me. And actually, you know, he tried to help me with, you know, getting the right people for my injury because, I mean, he's a pro at everything. Definitely he gives me advice.

So I was really happy he was checking on.

Q. During the time you had to go through this kind of tough moment, like players who is similar situation to you, Naomi, Ostapenko, Kasatkina, they have been playing really good, Naomi became No. 1. So did you feel like I should have been there? I should have been No. 1 or that way?
BELINDA BENCIC: No. Honestly, no. I think always someone is No. 1, so you don't feel, like, Oh, I should have been there. I was just really focusing on getting back to the court. I was really happy with my recovery.

When you're injured, you don't compare yourself to players that are playing currently. Obviously I was following tennis and I was really happy for them that it was working out.

As I said, the '97 generation, we are so strong and we all are pulling each other up and inspiring each other. Obviously they inspired me, and maybe I inspired them. I think it's a win/win for everybody.

Q. Earlier this afternoon, Simona mentioned that Court 2 can be a little difficult because of all of the talking and all of the noise. When I went in to watch your match, I sort of took note of that, as well. Is that maybe a flaw in the design of that court? Is that something that the players talk about as more sort of annoying than it should be for such a new, nice court?
BELINDA BENCIC: First of all, the court is so nice. But I think because it's a little bit open and the people who are waiting to get in, because obviously they don't know, they are talking with each other.

So, yeah, it can get a little bit loud. Especially I was pretty annoyed when that garbage bin or something was going, like, all around the court until where it started. I was, like... And I was serving. So it was pretty annoying (smiling).

I mean, I'm a little bit special. I hear all that. There are some players who don't hear it so much. Actually, my team is like, you shouldn't be hearing that; you should focus. Today it annoyed them, as well.

Q. I know we have been talking about it for what feels like a decade, but your ability to take the ball so early, to hold the baseline, today, it really showed, especially in comparison to Naomi's ability to do it. Curious when you look back at your development as a tennis player when you were younger, do you remember certain drills or certain moments where that was something that suddenly became natural? Because it doesn't become natural to a lot of players.
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I am definitely a player that learned it at a young age. There was no question for me how to go back. Sometimes even that is necessary, but definitely it's very natural for me. Of course when you're a child and your coach tells you something, you just do it. You don't think about why and why not that? You just do it.

So it's very natural for me. With the injuries, I lost the confidence in my game a little bit because I was focusing on my body and getting back. I think I lost that a little bit, but it's just naturally what I do. I don't have to think about it. It's just instinct, I guess.

But I don't remember drills.

Q. You were talking about perspectives just a moment ago. From what you went through before and then the injuries and all that, is that the biggest change for you, your perspective has changed of the game?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yes, I can say so. Because of course also the hard work when you are, you know, when you're healthy again, of course you can play and you can practice and you can get better, so that's also one point.

But another point is also the mental side that you are more relaxed, I think, because you know that it's not the most important thing if you win the match or lose the match, and you have another chance the next week.

And I think before that, I didn't realize that so much. I was, like, you know, every match was life or death to me. Now I'm just really, yeah, the perspective is also one part of now.

Q. You play Karolina Pliskova, another top 5 player. Nonstop. Can you talk about that matchup, and do you think that's a different game plan than what you had to execute tonight?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I don't think -- did I ever play her? I don't know.

Q. Once, but I could be wrong.
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I'm not sure. I know her well. We are good friends also with her sister. We practiced a lot together. Obviously she has great serve and she's playing very flat and fast.

I think, you know, again, just focusing on my game, of course, a little bit tactical things, but I will think of that tomorrow. I don't like to think so much ahead of the match.

Sometimes I feel like the less I think on the court, the better it is. I'm going to try not to think.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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