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September 25, 2019

Aryna Sabalenka

Wuhan, Hubei, China


6-1, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Pretty great match up to a set and 5-1. What happened after that?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I mean, I lost her four times before. For me was really important this game to win it.

I don't know. I just start thinking too much again. Match point, where I have to go, there or there. This kind of thinking get me little bit tight.

She also started play really well, serving really great. She put a little bit of pressure on my serve. I mean, I just really happy that even she came back in the match, it was 5-All, I still was able to fight. Don't try to think about the past. I was focusing on each point.

But, I mean, she's a great player. What's happens? She just found a way to come back in the match, yeah.

Q. You called Dmitry at 6-5. Anything he said that helped you or more kind of refocusing?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Honestly, I knew what he's going to tell me. I just needed to call him to just little bit, like, relax, forget about the court, just little bit like cool down.

Just tried to stay in the point, don't try to overhit every time. Okay, she came back, but anyway you have good chances, you're serving right now. Just fight. Don't give this shit come out from you (laughter).

Q. You're having a great week, playing free tennis again. Do you feel like the tiger is out for good or you're thinking a bit too much through your shots? Do you have the feeling you've found the way back?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, I just feel, like someone said before, tiger is back. But, no, I'm just play free. Don't afraid of anything. Just go for shots. I'm just enjoying the game on the court.

Every time before the match I can't wait to go out and to play. So happy to feel this again. This is really important.

Q. Does that make you wonder why it wasn't like this through this season?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I think I was kind of need to go through all this stuff to understand what tennis actually about. I'm actually happy to had this experience. It's tough, but it's gave me a lot I think.

Q. In the tiebreak of the second set when you were serving for the match and suffered the double-fault, you seemed to be laughing, smiling a little bit. Was that a smile of resignation? What was going on?
ARYNA SABALENKA: It was lucky point before because she gave me double-fault. I was like, Okay, she's under pressure, she little bit tight. Jut stay in the rally. And I made double-fault. It's funny, isn't it? We just gave each other, like, a present, show to each other that we are nice.

Sometimes you just need to smile to relax your body. I couldn't get more angry on myself. I was like, Okay, this happened, go for the next one.

Q. On the men's tour there are quite a few team events popping up. Do you like team events? Now there's not even a Hopman Cup. Would you like to see the WTA Tour incorporate that?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, it will be really interesting. Why not? There will be great players. Will be interesting to play there. I think a lot of fun. I like team competitions. I like to play Fed Cup. Hopman Cup, I'd like to play if it's any chances.

Also, yeah, why not? Like Laver Cup, they're going to call it, I don't know, Billie Jean King Cup, Women's Cup.

Q. We've seen a lot of videos coming out of the Laver Cup with men coaching each other.
ARYNA SABALENKA: I would like to hear what Serena going to say me on the court. I don't know, like some great players. It's really interesting. Sometimes it looks really funny with Fognini sitting focusing, and Roger try to say something to him. He was like, No, no, no, you don't understand anything. It's really interesting.

Q. You mentioned Serena. Is there anyone else past or present that you would like to pick their brains, see them as a tactical genius?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I think there's a lot of great players from the past, actually from right now. I would like to hear their opinions. I don't know.

I need time to think about this.

Q. Back to the smiling on court. You were smiling with Dmitry around the match. In doubles Elise helps you stay positive. Do you feel more in singles you've been able to take on that positivity than before?
ARYNA SABALENKA: That's what happen. I start to be more, like I said before, free, enjoy the game. All these smiles coming out because I'm not putting a lot of pressure on myself on the court.

Every time when I win point, like with weird bounce, weird touch, whatever is it, because Elise tells me, Good enough. I'm like that during the match, Good enough (smiling).

Doubles helps a lot. I'm really happy that I find a great partner, we can compete on this great level, can go far on the tournament. It helps to find this confidence, to find this, like, right balance on the court.

Q. You talked about being more excited to be on the court. Was there a time earlier in the season when you were not feeling that way? What were you feeling before the matches?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, because when I was growing up on the ranking, every match was really interesting for me to play. I wanted to find the way how to win each opponent.

Earlier this season I had this feeling like I want to play, but I don't want to have these tough matches. I wanted to win it easily. I'm really happy that this feeling coming back to me, like this feeling to be interesting to go on the court, interesting to play each point, to fight, just to stay in the tournament, this feeling of like enjoying the game.

Q. Is there a specific turning point this season, the past few weeks, where you felt you're starting to feel yourself again on the court?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I think it's happened in San Jose, like for one week. Then again a lot of expectation because I was, like, Wow, I find myself. It's again same mistake.

After US Open we made a decision to send me alone on the tournament. I was kind of thinking a lot. Like every time I was with myself, nobody was behind me, all this stuff. On the court, I was alone. I couldn't look at anybody else. I was just was focusing on my game, focusing on myself, my thought.

On my game, like I said before, it's actually helped me to understand what happened this year. I just understand that every time I was trying to find excuses, like Dmitry, this is because of you, because of that, that, that. Everything was not about tennis.

I'm happy that just like few days alone I understand this big thing. Why they didn't send me earlier this year alone to tournament?

Q. You play Rybakina next. How will you play against her?
ARYNA SABALENKA: She's a great player. Kind of next generation, but I think it's my generation. I think she has same feeling like me, nothing to lose, one year before. Nothing to lose. She's going to bring her best game.

I just ready for great matches, for great fight, for interesting game to watch, and to play also. But I know she's aggressive player, great serving, great everything. Anyway, she's a great player. She's that far on the tournament, that mean she can play great. We'll see what's happen.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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