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January 13, 2020

Belinda Bencic

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

B. BENCIC/D. Kasatkina

6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. After the start of last week, have you wiped it away? How are you feel being your game now?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I'm feeling much better. For sure I'm always little bit rusty at the start of the season. I definitely had a long season last year and wanted to kind of rest my body enough, in the pre-season not to push it too hard.

Of course, I had a great pre-season. I did many things. But for sure, yeah, I'm happy I played the tournament in China, in Shenzhen, to kind of get used to playing again, just tournament mode. That's why I'm also really happy and grateful to get the wild card here to get some more matches in.

Q. What was it like playing Daria today?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, it's really tough for me always to play her. We're good friends. We know each other really long time from the juniors. Yeah, she really has very different game style than me. I play also much different than her. That's why I think it's very interesting when we play each other.

I think it was a hard-fought victory today and hopefully I can get more of these.

Q. After the outstanding season you had last year, what it going to be like or how tough is it going to be to reproduce that all over again this year? You're more of a target now.
BELINDA BENCIC: Well, what can Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal say? I think they have more pressure than me. Definitely I don't feel that way.

I had a great season last year, and I had very much fun playing tennis. I like to play tennis, so that's why I'm definitely not afraid of losing because I'm a target now.

I'm still trying to become better and raise up the rankings. That's my goal.

Q. How have you found Adelaide and the new tournament so far?
BELINDA BENCIC: I love it actually really. First time here, of course. It's really nice. Obviously I love all Australia. But definitely we want to go to the beach later today or tomorrow. Yeah, just the morning runs along the river, it's super nice. Also the tournament is great. I practiced on the center court, so it really feels cozy with the roof.

Yeah, I just really like it here.

Q. What aspects of your game are you hoping to fine-tune in the leadup to the Australian Open?
BELINDA BENCIC: I think all aspects. It's always a learning process. You have to improve yourself to kind of keep going with the competition. For sure my serve, my return, just my overall game, mental toughness. I think there's plenty of things to improve.

Q. What impressed you with your own game today?
BELINDA BENCIC: I have to say I still can play better, for sure. I'm really happy with how I kind of found a solution today to beat Dasha. Also any obstacle that comes your way, you have to find a way to win. You can't play a perfect match, but you still have to fight for it. I had to work really hard for it, so I'm happy about that.

Q. Maybe Wimbledon is similar to this sort of rhythm. What does it feel to start a season, have two weeks, then right into the first Grand Slam? What are the unique challenges of that?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, it's really special. You don't have much time to prepare. Obviously the first tournament I think is really rusty for everyone. We kind of play the whole season, but then still we feel like we never played before.

Also especially I'm a player, I really need some time to get just used to everything, playing matches, finding my rhythm. So for me, I'm not trying to put a lot of pressure on me, yeah, this first month of the season. Just trying to play as much as I can, practice points.

Yeah, I mean, Australian Open I think everything is different because it's Grand Slam. You win the match, you have a match off. I think you kind of get into the rhythm. I'm not scared about that.

Q. How long did you get to leave the racquets in the bag in the off-season? With the time away from the courts, did you come back to pre-season refreshed?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yes, after I finished, that was I think 3rd of November, I had like two weeks off completely, then I had one week of fitness, light fitness, just trying to get into the movement again.

I can say I would really like a few weeks more, of course, because the season is long. I'm not complaining. The guys have even longer season. But still, yeah, I think it's all happening really fast, then you see yourself flying to Australia again.

I was really happy this year. I was home for New Year's and Christmas, which never happened before. That was pretty nice, so...

Q. What are the two main things you really want to improve and change in your game? What would they be?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, like I said before, everything. For sure, you know, my consistency with overall matches or in the match, I think I want to improve kind of the level of when I'm playing bad, that's going to be higher. I think that's really important because you don't play perfect most of the time in your matches. You just have to kind of find a way and still be able to win matches when you're not playing perfect.

Yeah, for sure, I can say I feel mentally tough on the court, but I want to try and keep my emotions little bit more calm.

Q. The two weeks you took off, did you do anything at all related to tennis or a total break? What did you do in those couple of weeks?
BELINDA BENCIC: Well, mentally you still feel like a tennis player, so you're still thinking of tennis sometimes.

But, no, I was home not doing anything, just maybe once or twice a week a 30-minute run. I don't feel like that's for training. I think that's just for well-being.

Yeah, in these two weeks I definitely tried to give my body complete rest, and also the mind. I did nothing. I was with my friends. We went out. I was being on the couch all the time. So nothing.

Q. Just TV shows and things like that?

Q. What kind of stuff do you draw inspiration from, whether it's another player or something within you?
BELINDA BENCIC: I think anything can really give you inspiration, whether it's something you read in the news, I don't know, or you see someone, you chat with someone. I definitely think, like, strong people give me inspiration when they really have something tough, I don't know how you say, destiny or something, and they overcome it. For me, it's a very big inspiration, a lot of respect I have from them. Yeah, just generally everyone who is fighting in the life.

Q. How important is it to go deep into this tournament?
BELINDA BENCIC: I wish I could control it really easy, like I want to finish in semifinal this tournament. It's little bit more tricky like that.

Every match I play, I want to win. Definitely I'm not thinking about, yeah, like this is too much and I want to go to Melbourne. I play this tournament, and every tournament you want to win, you want to give your best.

Q. You were talking about the Olympics a little bit. You know Roger. Other players from other sports want to meet Roger Federer at the Olympics. Are there athletes out there you would be incredibly excited to stalk?
BELINDA BENCIC: I'm not you, Courtney. I don't stalk people (laughter).

No, definitely I'm really impressed by track and field athletes. They're my heroes, just their bodies, how they train and run. I feel like they're the most athletic ever. I feel like we tennis players look like total, I don't know, grandmas compared to them.

Yeah, I definitely want to see that. I got to see one event in Monaco, it was Diamond League. We had a hot dog and a beer, we saw them. They put down everything, we could see the muscles (laughter).

Yeah, I'm most impressed with them and I want to meet them, see how they practice, eat, prepare, everything.

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