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September 2, 2019

Kristie Ahn

New York, NY, USA


6-1, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. She's been bulldozing the field. Impressive tennis. What did you find she did well?
KRISTIE AHN: Yeah, I thought she played really smart. Obviously we played each other in San Jose. It's very different circumstances. But she definitely made adjustments.

I always say when you lose to someone, you do get the upper hand because you can make corrections, and the person who won kind of has to figure out how to adjust to the other person's adjustments.

But I thought she played very smart. She had a game plan, and she executed it very well.

Q. What do you think of your own game today?
KRISTIE AHN: Yeah, it was weird because I felt like I wasn't playing badly. I looked at the scoreboard, I'm like, You're getting whooped.

I feel like there was moments of good, just couldn't really string them together. I think a lot of it had to do with her kind of breaking my rhythm or not allowing me to have rhythm. I don't think she allowed me to see the same ball twice.

It was very well, well played.

Q. Breaking the top 100. What do you take from this going forward?
KRISTIE AHN: Well, according to Courtney it's not official until it's official.

COURTNEY NGUYEN: It's official.

KRISTIE AHN: It's crazy. It's not like all encompassing euphoric as you think it will be. Maybe it's because in years past I've hyped it up so much. Right now, like, it feels good. At the same time it's like I want more versus I think in 2017 I would have, like, thrown a party for making top 100.

Like I've always said, I'm happy I'm playing good ball. Hopefully that just opens doors to who knows what number is the limit.

Q. Is that because of some of the successes that you had this year? Has the bar moved in your mind?
KRISTIE AHN: I think it's a little bit of that, but it's also more just kind of how I'm approaching things. If you do the right things, the end results will come.

Versus two years ago, I felt like I was kind of playing lights out, out of my mind. Oh, wow top 100, doesn't feel like it's my level. It's, like, something that you hype up so much in your mind. When you're right on the cusp, it actually breaks you more than it, like, helps you.

Q. You had your knee taped again today. How is it feeling?
KRISTIE AHN: It felt really good with the tape. Pretty sore. I don't think my movement was inhibited at all today, which I'm really happy about. Everything is feeling so much better than it was in the beginning of the week. I'm quite happy about that.

Q. What is the practical effect of breaking the top 100? From a practical perspective, what changes for you?
KRISTIE AHN: The tournament schedule. Yeah, I would like to obviously play a lot more WTA tournaments. It's just kind of funny because, like, I think other than Monterey and Bogota, I barely played any until San Jose.

I can definitely set my sights higher. Hopefully I can peak at the right times, play a less ITF heavy and more WTA heavy schedule. But have the flexibility that if I play ITFs, I'm not stepping down, not putting that extra pressure on myself.

Q. There's got to be a difference between feeling good about things and feeling proud about things. How proud, without being narcissistic, are you right now?
KRISTIE AHN: Yeah, it's been a really whirlwind of one week, one and a half weeks. So I'm very proud of not only my tennis, but also my effort. I feel like my ability to be able to step up in moments, obviously not today like I would have liked, but the past couple days.

It's my first time in 11 years of not letting something like that eat me up, actually being able to embrace it. I think I've come a long way for that, as well. So, yeah, definitely proud.

Q. As of today there's only 12 women left in the tournament. What is it like to look around an empty locker room and realize you're one of the last 12?
KRISTIE AHN: Like, it's weird because I noticed that yesterday. The gym, the locker rooms, everything kind of empties out. You're like, Whoa, there's not many of us. Pretty much the people who are in the locker rooms are still in the tournament.

I share locker room space with Serena Williams. That's pretty cool (smiling).

Yeah, that's something I'm trying to get better at, is holding my head up high, being proud that I am one of the 12, not just like, Oh, my God, googly eyed, I can't believe I'm here. It's being able to own it, walk the walk as well.

Q. I'm not saying you're equals, but do you feel you're in the same world as Serena now?
KRISTIE AHN: Well, she spoke to me, so yeah (laughter).

Q. What did she say?
KRISTIE AHN: I don't want to. But she said, Kristie Ahn. I spun around. I'm like, She knows who I am. We had a little conversation, it was great.

But, like, I'm always going to be star struck from seeing her. Yeah, definitely this gives the confidence that no matter who I step out on court with, I can believe in myself. Every top player, it's going to be a different matchup. I think the belief is finally starting to come together finally.

Q. You're the first Asian-American to make the round of 16 at a slam since 2000, Lilia Osterloh. That's a pretty big achievement. What does that mean for you?
KRISTIE AHN: I mean, for me, this is why I play, to hopefully be able to reach out to those Asian-Americans. We're a pretty small community, but I think a lot of our parents are immigrants, so we kind of all feel the same way, had similar upbringings.

To be able to do this, what others haven't been able to do, haven't been able to do for a long time, it's kind of like putting us back on the map. You can strive, you can have both, you can have the education, keep your parents happy, but also be able to have your own ambitions and go for it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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