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September 25, 2019

Elina Svitolina

Wuhan, Hubei, China

E. SVITOLINA/S. Kuznetsova

6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I saw yesterday you said that every match counts, you're really keen to get to Shenzhen. When you have a goal like that, what is the balance like between having that goal, really chasing it, but not putting too much pressure on yourself at the same time? Have you mastered that or are you still trying to?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Definitely after the past few years I've been under this pressure. I had to play well at the end of the season.

The way that worked for me is more was about focusing on the work that I put in on the court. Then when I step on the match court, I just focus on myself. Nothing about my opponent, anything that can distract. Just what's going on now in this moment and on myself.

Q. You and Sveta played some tough matches in the past. What was the key to getting it done in two today?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Today I think it was a lot about tactics. Just tried to keep the ball out of the middle, try to work with the ball, try to get the angles and don't rush. Obviously she gets a lot of balls back. If you rush or you go for too much, you can lose it little bit.

For me it was important to stay patient and try to find the angles.

Q. Sveta was saying how important it is for her at this point in her career to find other interests outside of tennis. Are you able to have enough time to do anything else? If you do, what's anything you feel this year you may have an interest in or have done off the court?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, definitely for me already for past maybe three years, maybe four years, it was important to do something else.

For now I'm working a lot on my charity, on helping kids in Ukraine. For now in Ukraine, I'm doing some camps. Also building some playgrounds, tennis courts. We have lots of projects.

Now actually I think in one week we're going to have a camp in Kiev, which is great. There are a lot of kids signed up. It's amazing to hear that.

Also at the end of the year I'm going to have the event that I'm hosting for my charity, the auction, which the money going to go to my charity, then they're going to build the courts and playgrounds, which it's amazing.

I'm very proud of the team we're working with. We're doing the right stuff. Makes me very happy.

Also I'm doing study. I'm doing nutro-therapy it's called, about nutrition, anything that happens to us or our body through the food or through the weather or anything, pollution, everything.

Yeah, I'm doing some stuff around which I think is very important to don't only focus on tennis. Of course, tennis is a big part. You need to balance it because you never know when your career is going to end.

Q. After the match, I noticed you were throwing in a lot of sweatbands. Is that something you always do?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I do it time to time. Sometimes I feel that with the time that we have to get off the court, we don't have enough time to sign the autographs. That's why I try to have lots of sweatbands, I thought why not give it to fans. It's something useful, as well. That's why I take sometime in the evening only to sign on the sweatbands, give them to the fans. It makes them happy. We're in China, they love it. It's nice.

Yeah, not something recently, but I do it sometimes time to time.

Q. Your court position today was close to the baseline from the beginning. Yesterday against Garbine, not so much. Is that where you want to find yourself more often or does it depend on who you're playing?
ELINA SVITOLINA: No, it's more matters on who I'm playing. Svetlana is a completely different opposite player to Garbine. I had to find my way today. Yesterday was the other story. I had little bit more time and to change more pace, I would say, to get opportunity after to dominate.

Today I had little bit more time, so that's why I moved forward. I always change. Depends on the player. I'm not that kind of player who has, like, one game plan for everyone. I always do things different each player, each day.

Q. Seeing some videos from Laver Cup with the players coaching each other, if you were in a position to get any coaching from a former player, a current player, anyone you think is a tactical genius, who would that be?
ELINA SVITOLINA: That's interesting question. Maybe Steffi Graf, yeah. Obviously Andre Agassi is my all-time favorite, yeah. He was not, like, extremely tall, so he was smashing everyone off the court. He was a great mover. His game was about tactics, to find a way to beat some players who are stronger, who are hitting stronger shots. It's similar to my game style, so I try to find a way.

I think Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf. If they could come together...

Q. When players first come up on the tour, they can be very 'it's just about your tennis', you're just trying to make it on the tour, build a career. You won the Diamond Aces award last year. You do a lot of the fan-related things and support the tour. At what point did you start to look outside of just your individual career and start to really kind of take in the broader scheme of things?
ELINA SVITOLINA: As I said, it was maybe three years ago when I start to be already maybe top 10 or 15, something around that time. I think that's the right time.

Before, of course, when you're young, upcoming player, you have to focus on your game. You have to invest in yourself more than I would say like now.

Now I already have a set team. I know what I need. All my, like, attention. Now I can move into something that's going to change my mind, and I will think about it differently.

I think when you are just starting, when you're going on to where you have to think about what's the best way for your team, what's going to make you feel good, how you going to handle the pressure, what's going to help you. It takes time to find it out. That's why I think, yeah, I started maybe three years ago.

Q. Up next you could play Wang Qiang or Alison Riske. Against Wang Qiang, what it would be like to play in that type of atmosphere?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I played against her one year ago in Hong Kong. She played unbelievable last year at the same time. Haven't seen much of her results recently. I mean, she plays quite quick. I have to be ready for her shots.

Riske, she's a little bit different player. She takes the ball very early.

It's going to be another tough challenge, doesn't matter who I'm going to play. It's another chance for me to try to play my game, try to enjoy. These kind of matches you want to go out there, do your job, try to play well, just enjoy the challenge.

Q. When the season ends in a couple weeks, you look back on 2019, how do you think you'll compare this year with the Grand Slam breakthroughs versus last year with all the titles?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, before I reach the semifinal of Wimbledon, I was very upset with the season. I didn't start bad, but I was like, Okay, what's going on? The only thing I gain was probably the weight (laughter). I was like, Okay...

Semifinal Wimbledon, it didn't give me the confidence. I can't say that. I always try to have a confidence in my game. I trust the work I do. It give me just a little push mentally I would say more than anything else that I'm doing the right thing. Keep positive and you will get there.

Then another semifinal.

For the moment I think I'm playing quite solid. Of course, there is some weeks that they are tough, but you cannot be at the top of the game every single week. You have to accept that. You have to move forward.

So I think my season, it's been up and down. In the end, I'm happy where I am now. I try everything what's in my power to play well and to reach my goal in the end.

Q. Random question. You played Zhuhai final a few years ago, right?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, it was like three years ago, I think.

Q. I was curious about your experience at that tournament. There's been a history of players who make the final there having great seasons following. I'm curious if that event at all, when you reflect on it, was significant for you?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, actually as I said before, my career always been like one step at a time. I was there twice. First time made semifinal. Then I made the final the next year.

Yeah, it's actually very, very nice event. I really enjoyed playing it. It's just like another big events that you want to play well. It's very interesting group draw. I think it's little like a small preparation for the Singapore. It was at that time.

It was nice. Really enjoyed it. I think definitely it gave me the small step and small push towards where I was going. Yeah, it was nice to play there.

Q. The men's side have all these team events coming up. Hopman Cup is gone, lost an opportunity for the women. Do you like the concept of team events? Do you see the WTA Tour, is there room for that?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, definitely I like it. On the other hand, the season is very long. I spoke with Gael about it. He almost have no, like, holidays. I will be on holidays already one month, and he's just finishing with Davis Cup.

I'm not jealous about that (smiling).

If we could manage it, good, for sure. But now it's tough to say because in the end of the season, it's tough to give a clear opinion on that. If you asked me in Australia, maybe for sure I would be up for it. You want to play lots of matches and stuff.

Definitely I love to play as a team. It's very different. That's why you want to change something. I loved playing World TeamTennis. It was really great. I love to play for Ukraine.

For sure it would be interesting, but just if we could manage it maybe somehow differently with the schedule.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Chinese.

Q. Your next opponent is either Riske or Wang Qiang. What is your comment on these two players? Which one do you wish to encounter in the next round?
ELINA SVITOLINA: So I played against Wang Qiang pretty much one year ago. I know little bit of her game. She can play very good. She was very tough match last time I faced her. Also we played in US Open, where I was playing very good. Pretty much I know the way that she plays. I will try to speak with my coach to have a game plan.

And for Riske, she's playing very aggressive, tries to take the court, to try to be very, very aggressive from the baseline. I have to be ready for that.

I don't really have a preference. I know for Chinese fans probably will be better if Wang is going to win. It's going to be more intense, going to be a great crowd.

Q. Can you remember your experience in winning the Singapore final, how will that have an impact on your performance this year?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, for sure I had amazing Singapore. It was very special. In the same time, I had this year already some great memories, some great results. In the Grand Slam, I played very solid against some very talented opponents. I was very proud of my effort, that I really went for it.

I think those tough moments that I had in the past, in the Grand Slam, really helped me to go through. Hopefully next year I can play even better.

Definitely those kind of moments like Grand Slam semifinals, like Singapore, all the titles that I won, definitely it's a buildup of small memories that hopefully can help me to play good next year, as well.

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