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September 8, 2019

Elise Mertens

Aryna Sabalenka

New York, NY, USA


7-5, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You started the singles tournament with a tough win over Azarenka. You end the tournament with a tough win over Azarenka, winning the slam. How happy are you?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I mean, the Belarus start from this crazy match and finish US Open with another crazy match.

But I try not to focus against who I'm playing. Like, first time we played against them in Miami, I think, like first three games was something crazy because Elise was telling me, Just cool down a little bit. Don't overhit to her. Just breathe.

And this time, I was just trying to focus on each point and try to bring my best on the court.

Yeah, I think it was crazy good match today. Great level. Good atmosphere. I don't know. I'm just happy with the result (smiling).

Q. Elise, you won the Sunshine Double with Aryna. Does this feel different?
ELISE MERTENS: Well, of course, a Grand Slam is still something different, still something bigger, I guess. I think we managed our nerves well.

We didn't really have nerves, I think? Just at the end maybe a little.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Maybe some, a little bit. But that's normal.

ELISE MERTENS: I didn't see them.

But, yeah, it's something big. And I think from the start of the season, start of the year actually, well, we were, like, We're going to play together. We didn't think we would achieve this big thing.

Really happy about it, and I think we are growing as two doubles players playing together. So, yeah, really happy.

Q. What do you think made the difference today?
ELISE MERTENS: I think maybe the consistency. I think we started off a little shaky with the returns.


ELISE MERTENS: But after we tried to make those returns, tried to stay aggressive. She made some amazing shots at some point.

ARYNA SABALENKA: So close to hit Elise, like that close (indicating with fingers).

ELISE MERTENS: It's okay. I get hit once in a while, but I'm okay.

Q. Do you think doubles has become more popular now?
ELISE MERTENS: I think so.

Q. Why?
ELISE MERTENS: Well, more singles players are also playing doubles. More singles players, more big names playing doubles.

But I think it also -- I mean, we love both. We love to play both. I think it's a good game also for singles players to play, because the serving, the reactions at the net, even the returns.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, I think, like, because of the singles players playing doubles, the level going up. It's more interesting to watch. It's something, like, reaction and all the moving stuff.

Yeah, I think the level of doubles right now is a little bit higher than it was before. Right? I don't know. I guess so (smiling).

ELISE MERTENS: You're looking at me (smiling)?

Q. Wondering if you could go back to when you first agreed to play together in March. Was it maybe the first practice together or first match when you felt like this was something special?
ELISE MERTENS: We actually played in Australia was the first time. We were a little bit lost. We didn't know what to do.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Takes a little while.

ELISE MERTENS: Like, Oh, you're going there? But the dynamic was there at the beginning. We needed to play more together to get those big results.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, it takes a little while to adjust to each other. Right now I think we have, like, feel each other better on the court.

Q. I'm curious what your coaching situation...
ARYNA SABALENKA: Can you answer this question? I don't know.

DMITRY TURSUNOV: I always get the funny questions.

ARYNA SABALENKA: I don't know. I don't know.

ELISE MERTENS: No comment?


Q. It's interesting, having sort of an "It's complicated" coaching situation. But you still won a slam this week.
ELISE MERTENS: She's mentally very strong.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Maybe. I don't know.

Q. Could you just walk me through match point? It was pretty wild. Did you expect to win that point?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I don't know. She did everything.

ELISE MERTENS: No, it was a pretty good point. I was, like, Give me this ball, I want to finish it.

But she got that overhead. I don't know how. But, yeah, really happy that we got it from the first match point.

Q. Can you talk about the commitment it takes to play doubles when you have the highest ambitions in singles?
ELISE MERTENS: I think if we play a match, we go for it. Even if we lose singles, and it's always tough, we still committed to play doubles.

Of course in a Grand Slam you want to win, you want to win matches. You want to win this title. So we're just 100% committed to both, and of course singles is a priority still.

Q. Is there a moment in the fortnight where you have to make some choices?
ELISE MERTENS: Well, I think if you're really, really tired, then maybe yes. You know, I can't.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Especially on the Grand Slams, you can play one day singles, one day doubles.

ELISE MERTENS: There is one day in between. It's more "easy" to combine both.

Q. Just looking ahead to Asia, will you play Wuhan and Beijing together? What have you thought of through the rest of the year?
ELISE MERTENS: We'll still see. Trying to figure it out.

ARYNA SABALENKA: We don't know yet.

ELISE MERTENS: If we're qualified or not. We are trying to figure it out. We don't know yet.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Maybe Beijing. Maybe both. We don't know.

Q. You will be world No. 2 on Monday.
ELISE MERTENS: That's nice.

Q. Next step is No. 1. Do you have any idea how to make goal the next two weeks, start of next year?
ELISE MERTENS: It's definitely a big goal to be No. 1. That's for everyone, I think. But I'm not going to change the schedule because of it. I'm still focusing on singles, and I think if we're going to play more doubles, yeah, let's see.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Chance to be No. 1.

ELISE MERTENS: But I won Wuhan last year. Semis in Beijing. So I have to do better.

ARYNA SABALENKA: You'll be No. 1.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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