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March 13, 2019

Karen Khachanov

Indian Wells, California


6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. After your great success in Paris, you had sort of a tough start to the year. Are you feeling back at your best now?
KAREN KHACHANOV: Definitely better (smiling), than at the beginning. Yeah, match by match, feeling better, of course, getting more confident. You know, confidence gets from winning matches plus, of course, feeling well in the practices, fighting, you know, and going through some tough points during the matches.

That's what I call confidence, and that is coming when you are winning these kind of matches, yeah.

Q. Did you have injuries at the beginning of the year? Were you hurt?
KAREN KHACHANOV: No, no, no, I was not injured. I was just a little bit sick, like some virus in February.

So when I was playing in indoors, that was reason I didn't go to Marseilles. But in general, physically I was okay.

Q. Can you comment on the match today? What you did well? You have such success against him every time. Can you explain that?
KAREN KHACHANOV: Yeah, in the first set, honestly I felt returns pretty well. Like, really I was guessing right in the right moments. He missed a couple of short balls, you know, maybe it was a little bit small breeze, like windy. And I did pretty well on that. Kept the break. Basically finished the set. And in the second set, just waiting for the right moment.

I think I played in general really solid and good in the key moments, like this. And especially with John, who is a big server, this is very important. I think that's why basically I won the match.

Q. You said the word "guessing." Is it always a guess or something you can see?
KAREN KHACHANOV: Not always, but maybe sometimes you can see. Sometimes you just read the serve. Sometimes you just, I don't know, choose one side that you think will be higher percentage that he serves there.

In the warmup I was returning quite a bit just to get used to his serves. My coach was serving from the service line to try to get the bounce, you know, high. Yeah, so in the first set it was really well. I felt really well.

Q. Can you talk about the tiebreaker specifically? Obviously you were strong in that. What were you able to do? What worked well for you during the tiebreaker?
KAREN KHACHANOV: In the tiebreak especially against him, you know, in the second set I had some issues with a little bit of sun and with the toss. I had a low percentage in the first serves on my first serve. I had some tough games. I had to face some break points.

On the tiebreak, I started to go again a little bit higher intensity and tried to push myself to serve faster. It went well.

And then especially against John, you try to lead from the beginning. And then that kind of lead gave me extra confidence, you know, after, on the return. So I started really well, 4-0. I chose the right shots. And, you know, that's a big advantage on the tiebreak against him.

Q. Completely different opponent now in Nadal. Can you just preview that match? And also, you obviously played that amazing match against him in New York. You're quite young. Is that one of the highlights of your career, even though you lost it?
KAREN KHACHANOV: Definitely, yeah. I think it was one of the best matches from last year and in general, maybe, like, in terms of fight, spirit, intensity, the rallies, the atmosphere. Everything was amazing.

What to say? He's one of the best tennis players, great champion. And nothing to lose, let's say. You know, I'm playing better. Feeling more confident. It will be a good challenge, good match for me. I'm really looking forward to have a good match against him.

Q. Can you just talk about your height? There are so many players, it seems, who are 6'6". Delpo and Zverev and Cilic, Sam Querrey, one or two others. Seems to be an increasingly common height of great players. Can you just talk about that, the advantages and disadvantages?
KAREN KHACHANOV: Obviously the advantage I think that we have more power; we have bigger serve than the guys who are a little bit shorter. Yeah, I mean, especially for me, I have more shots, more aggressive.

On the other side, I think the players that you named, we are moving really well on the baseline. It's not only serve. We do serve and volley. So we are kind of rallying and trying to play points against guys like Rafa, Novak (smiling).

Yeah, the other guys who are shorter, of course, they have maybe advantage in the moving, so they are even faster. But that's logical, right?

Q. Do you put special emphasis on your movement and footwork in training? Is that something you will concentrate on?
KAREN KHACHANOV: Not only. You need to practice always your advantages, let's say your weapons, and you need to improve the things that you think you could do better. So in my case, I'm moving well, but, you know, there is no limits. Maybe I can move even faster and better.

And the same when you practice your weapons, you want to -- in the tight moments or in the key points, you want to, for example, get the point with the serve, so you need to practice serve.

So it's all about this, you know, these kind of points when the match comes to close.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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