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August 31, 2019

Taylor Townsend

New York, NY, USA

T. TOWNSEND/S. Cirstea

7-5, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I think there are four American women into the 16th now. Tonight's match could also add Coco. How does it feel being part of that group?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, I think it's awesome. It just shows the depth. Kristie Ahn who is a wildcard, and I think it was her second time or first, maybe debut playing in the US Open.

I think it's amazing. I think that everybody's journey should be highlighted. Just not when you're doing well. I think that is amazing. I'm really happy to be a part of it.

Q. How tough was it to manage the emotions from last round and come back and play again?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, it was tough. I was, like, I've never been through that before. I mean, I made it to the third round of the French before. But it's different being in France versus being in America. And so like I said, I got a lot of texts and a lot of stuff. I mean, it was weird.

Honestly, my coach and my friends did a good job of just keeping my centered. And like I said yesterday, I was really glad that I was able to play doubles just to keep me on track and keep me in my rhythm of being out on the court, doing my routines and doing what I have to do, and keeping you in that competitive state of mind and in that competitive mind frame.

And we played well and we got a win, so it's always good going into your singles match, as well.

Q. We ran this video on US Open Now of you in 2014, you were about to play Serena and you went out and interviewed people. Do you remember that?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Unfortunately. I looked a mess (smiling).

Q. You handled it really well. I guess I'm curious, you were 18 then.

Q. What would that Taylor think of all of what you have been through and what you have been able to do this week getting into the fourth round?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: That Taylor is in the garbage (smiling). The hair, all of it. Gotta go.

Needless to say, yeah, I just think, like I said the other day, it just attests to the growth and the beauty of the sport having consistent people around for years, being able to track people's progress, how they come through the sport. You get media attention from such a young age, like Coco, 15, 14 years old, even 13 from getting to the finals of the junior US Open.

So, I mean, you're able to kind of follow these players through so many years, and you never know when things are going to happen. You continue to work and you continue to kind of pluck away. And some people's paths and some people's, ultimately their journey, everyone's journey is different. Some people's happens quicker than others.

Mine took, what? Six, seven years? You know, I feel better than ever before. So, I mean, I'm just thankful for where I am now and kind of the things I had to go through in order to be here and appreciate where I am.

Q. When are you going to stop coming into net?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Never (smiling).

Q. Speaking of that, it seemed like today was a similar game plan. Is it just a testament of how clear you're feeling on court that it goes from something you're capable of doing to being the primary plan on court?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, I think so. I mean, it definitely showed against Halep that it works. You know, I played my first round and I definitely didn't come in as much, but I was doing it and I was trying to be a little more cognizant of it. Once I saw that it worked and, you know, the effect that I had, I tried to implement it as much as I could.

I got passed. She hit good shots. It's just something when you play this game style it's just a part of it and you just have to keep plugging way. I think that's the hardest part.

Honestly I just go into it and try to deal with each player that I have and each opponent that I have and what will be the best strategy in order for me to win.

Q. Does it seem kind of surreal, Ellen DeGeneres, Samuel L. Jackson, Kobe Bryant tweeting? What goes through your mind?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Oh, my God, I lost my mind when the Kobe thing happened, because I love him. Just from an athletic point of view, I appreciate so much what he brought to the game of basketball but just athletics in general.

But, yeah, I mean, Ellen and all these -- like, it's insane, honestly. Like being on a social media sabbatical like a few months ago to getting 10,000 followers overnight is weird (smiling).

But honestly, like, I'm thankful for it, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I know it's a part of the territory, and I love it. I'm embracing it.

Q. I'd just like to have you reflect on your serve-and-volley style. After all, thousands of players have played this game over the years, and yet you're really a kind of pioneer. Does that give you real satisfaction? Is it tough when you get passed again and again? Just go in a little bit more in depth about that and put it into perspective.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I wouldn't say I'm a pioneer. I've always been this kind of person where I wanted -- not wanted to, but I always felt like I stood out, like I did stuff differently than the rest.

I was that way as a kid. Just forever, you know. Yeah, I mean, I always -- Martina Navratilova was my idol in terms of game style because I just loved how she was on the court, her energy, what she brought to the equation. She made it so interesting to watch tennis. It was more than just hitting a ball. You know, it was emotion, it was passion. You know, I always loved watching her play.

So, yeah, I mean, it was definitely tough because not a lot of people do it, and it is kind of like a mental thing because the game moves so fast now, that is where you have to just say, All right. Like, it's part of the territory, you know.

I mean, tennis is a game where you win and lose points constantly. It's just about how you manage those things and you manage how you get past it. You can come back, you can hit a great serve, a good volley, and it kind of balances itself out.

So you just try to bounce back the best you can and just try to continue to pluck away. And it's just about how you manage that on court.

Q. You are obviously very confident in your game right now. Following up on the serving and volleying and chipping and charging, you also seem to problem-solve very well out there. First set, maybe trying to come in. Then you saw you were getting passed. How impressed are you and how proud are you about problem-solving and knowing, I can hit from the baseline a little bit and come in at this point?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Yeah, well, I just think that tennis is 90% mental, 95% mental. I mean, forever I've heard the analogy it's like chess. Chess is very strategic and analytical and you have to understand, like, what's happening out on the court.

You know, it's about adjustments. I mean, like I said, you win and lose points constantly. So you have to kind of see what's happening and do make that adjustment.

And, you know, I can serve and volley. It's a strength of mine. But if I have to be able to stay back and rally and work myself into the point, then I can do that, as well, which is great.

You know, you do make those adjustments. She was playing really well. She was returning very well in the beginning. So I did have to kind of make those adjustments. Eventually as the match progressed and I kind of got more confident, then I was able to kind of work my way back into serving and volleying, first and second serves, and stuff like that.

Yeah, I mean, it's just about using your brain up there. It's there for a reason, right?

Q. Have you felt any of that thing people sometimes feel when they go through a long struggle, they were glad they went through it because it had value?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: Totally. I said it the other day: I wouldn't change anything because I appreciate so much where I am, because I know where I came from. And I think, like, it's easy for people to forget where they came from.

I mean, I remember when I was grinding quallies at 25s, when I quit tennis for three days, that's how long I lasted (smiling).

But when my ranking went from 90 to 400 literally over the course of a day, I went from being main draw of slams to quallies and 25s. Losing. I went one year and I won four matches in a calendar year.

So, I mean, I understand and I'm appreciative where I am and the growth I've made because you're able to kind of say this is where I came from and be able to not go through those same things again and you can kind of learn from your mistakes and move on.

Q. Feels like in this tournament sort of a wave of young women of color showing up in tennis, boxing people's ears. A generation past, the Williams started taking over. The "see it, be it" thing, does that apply to you, as well, or is yours more you're here because your mother played tennis? How does that affect you and young people?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I can't speak for other people. I can only speak for myself. But, I mean, yeah, when you see people that look like you in a sport and you have representation, it gives you hope that, you know, that can be you.

I mean, I think in tennis we have had Venus and Serena for a really long time. You know, they're from America, as well. It kind of gives you that perspective. But in other sports there is more representation, in basketball, football, baseball, of different ethnicities doing things like that.

Ultimately I don't think that it comes down to anything with color or race or where you're from or anything like that. It's just about your exposure and, you know, how you invest in yourself in the sport and how much you love it and your passion.

But I'm thankful and appreciative for the people who have pioneered from the years prior, and I don't think -- I mean, Venus and Serena have done amazing things but I was wearing an Althea Gibson shirt the other day. She was, like, the OG. I think it's many generations of people who have kind of paved the way, and I don't think we should just specify to just color. I think it's a lot of other elements that go into it, as well.

Q. You have a game that's not like too many other people. Is there any current player or past player who has given you a compliment that really meant a lot to you?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND: I mean, Rafa just said, Well done. I mean, like, Jeez.

Yeah, but, I mean, honestly there are so many people that have just kind of been super congratulatory, just saying congratulations and just sending me really nice messages. Honestly, I was just shocked because I didn't think that many people, like, cared. Do you know what I mean?

It's amazing to see that the tennis community, quote-unquote, is watching and embracing and appreciating something that's not the norm, you know. There are people that get into the second week easily of a slam and stuff, like, do it every slam or every Masters event.

But this is my first, and, you know, it's really amazing. I appreciate it. You know, so much love to the people who have just come up to me and said, Thank you, and appreciating the things I have done. They didn't have to do that. They went out of their way. I appreciate it.

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