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March 16, 2019

Elise Mertens

Aryna Sabalenka

Indian Wells, California


6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You played them before in Australia. Was that match in your head at all today?
ELISE MERTENS: Yeah, I mean, a little bit of tactics, of course, seeing how they play, how we have to play. I think that was on our mind, but not really the result, no. We were there as one team, and, you know, it came out great.

Yeah, I think we -- you know, it clicks. Aggressive both on the net. Yeah, it was a really good match.

Q. What do you think was working out there for you guys today?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I think that we were playing quick and don't really give opponents time to do anything. And I think today was the key actually, yeah?

ELISE MERTENS: Yeah, I think we don't make really easy mistakes, especially serving and returning was very important because in the rally they can do a lot of things. They can come to the net, go with the volleys. So I think we really played aggressive, those two shots.

Q. I think this was just your second time playing together. I was wondering how it is that you two decided to start playing together?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, same question. I don't know. Just like one day we decided to try to play with each other. It's worked really well in Australian Open. Now we are, like, keep going in the big tournaments, I think, yes? The slams? So Miami we are playing, yes? Yes or no?

ELISE MERTENS: Yes. I signed us.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Okay. Just ask her if she want to, she said yes, and we start to play. Easy. That really is special.

Q. Are you surprised how good it's going for you right now? Because you don't have a lot of experience together in doubles. You're beating seeded teams. Are you surprised it clicked so quickly?
ELISE MERTENS: I think, like, in Australia we still had to figure things out, first time together and already playing three sets against those top seeds. I mean, I really felt there is really potential, us in a doubles team.


ELISE MERTENS: Already felt it in Australia. Of course, first time it's always mixing things up. Oh, you should get it; Oh, I'll get it.

But this time, we filled each other in. It was better, much better.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, yeah. In Australian Open it was, like, learning each other. And now we are, like, Okay, so she's doing this. I'm doing this.

So we are good (smiling).

Q. Have you adjusted your schedules at all to make sure you will be available each time at tournaments, like Charleston? You're playing Charleston?
ARYNA SABALENKA: We play Charleston, yeah, but in singles. But we are not playing there in doubles.

ELISE MERTENS: No. It's been long weeks already then. As we both focus on singles, we do less doubles. But the important tournaments we play doubles and, you know, as it goes well, we might come far in doubles, too. It's kind of a mixed thing.

ARYNA SABALENKA: It's easier to play in these tournaments because it's, like, two weeks. So you play one day, you rest, you can play singles in one day and then doubles. It's good schedule.

But when you play two matches in one day you're going, like, really far with the singles and with the doubles, then you're completely dead after the tournament. So it's better to play big tournaments instead of playing all the tournaments.

Q. Top players are playing doubles and especially together. Do you think it's still possible at this level?
ELISE MERTENS: Yeah, it's fun. There is no pressure. And we try to improve ourselves as a singles player, as a doubles player, too.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Just enjoying there. Just, like, enjoy practicing returns, serves, like I said before, volleys. Just enjoy. No pressure on us.

For us, it's just like, you know, like practice. I mean, a little bit like a pressure. But, yeah, just to feel this pressure on the matches, not like this pressure like usually it is but...

ELISE MERTENS: She's talking now. Okay.

ARYNA SABALENKA: I need to stop. But you get my point.

Q. Do you guys find that the emotions, the pressure, it's the same or different when you're playing a doubles final versus a singles final?
ELISE MERTENS: It's never the same.

ARYNA SABALENKA: It's never the same. Same when you win the title in singles. It's --

ELISE MERTENS: On a cloud. Wow. Doubles, yes, it's nice, but, you know, looking...

ARYNA SABALENKA: Miami, I need to practice this, this, this, on my singles. And, Oh, yeah, we won the double title, yes? Okay. Good.

It's different. Different emotions.

ELISE MERTENS: Still really nice.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Good to have one more trophy in your collection.


Q. When do you leave for Miami? Today?
ELISE MERTENS: For me tomorrow.

ARYNA SABALENKA: I leave today at 10:00 p.m.

Q. Is it easy to switch mentally already to, okay, another big tournament coming? Fatigue is still there for you?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I mean, when you come there, you switch. You forget about last week. You're already in the next event.


Q. Have you seen the photos for Miami? Excited to see the new facilities?
ELISE MERTENS: I have seen a couple Insta stories.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, the color. It's, like, ocean.

ELISE MERTENS: Totally different from here, but also has its charms.

ARYNA SABALENKA: I like the color of the courts. It's good they change the stadium.

Remember last year it's something new, like, you like to switch sometimes. Different atmosphere. We'll see. We'll see what was better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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