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January 16, 2020

Aryna Sabalenka

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Barring that little comeback from her in the end, it feels like you really didn't miss a beat. How did you feel about how you played? Were you as comfortable as you looked?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, actually, it was tough match. I knew she'll fight till the end. Doesn't matter what the score.

When the score was 5-Love, I kind of expect that she'll try to do everything she can to come back in the match.

So I wasn't really disappointed after that two games. That's help me to stay in the match and to not lose my mind (smiling).

Well, yeah, and of course I'm happy with this win, especially against, like, big fighters like Simona and the great players. Yeah, feels good.

Q. Would you count this as an upset or just a good win? Because obviously Halep is a formidable one, Wimbledon champion. You're still very close to her in the rankings. Do you think it is an upset or not?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I don't know, actually. What can I say?

I think it's a good win. I don't know. I don't know what to say on this question. It's a good one or it's upset, doesn't matter. It's a win. Well, I'm happy.

Q. How encouraging is it being able to get these wins this week heading into the Australian Open?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, after first week in Shenzhen, I didn't feel really well on the court. I'm so happy that I got wildcard here and I have some opportunities to play some matches, especially before Australian Open.

It's really important every match for me because I'm kind of find this, like, fight spirit. It helps me a lot.

Q. Playing the week before a Grand Slam, not everyone does it. For you, how do you see it?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, I actually that's why I didn't sign on this week. I thought, again, I thought I will play better in Shenzhen.

Well, it's didn't happen, and still I need to get some matches. Well, some way if you play really well in the first week, then there is no sense to play the second week, especially before Grand Slam.

But if you feel like you need to play some matches, why not?

Q. We spoke a lot last year whether with you or your coach that you were saying that you want to know how to use your power and control it and all that. Where do you feel you are right now in terms of that, in terms of progress with that?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Somewhere in the middle. Well, because I don't know. It's depend of the day. Some days I feel like everything is under control. Some days I'm, like, Well, I don't control anything today (smiling).

So, well, it's like somewhere in the middle. It's a good balance, you know.

Q. Dayana Yastremska said that her next match with you is probably going to be boom, boom. How would you describe it? And what do you make of her progress?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, she's doing really well. She's aggressive player. It will be really quick tomorrow there.

But I like this game. I think it's, like, interesting to watch, like powerful players. Yeah, like she said, it's going to be boom, boom. We'll see.

Q. You said after your first match here in Adelaide that you're kind of gunning for the World No. 1 rank. Do you think that win over Simona has showed the rest of the tour that you can be World No. 1 one day?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I knew it before, so like everyone can be World No. 1 one day (smiling).

Q. Can you tell us how well known you are back in Belarus? Do you have a very big public profile there, or are you still a bit under the radar?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I think people know me there. That what you ask?

Q. Yes, how well known are you? You're obviously a very good tennis player, but for example, Simona in Romania has a huge public profile. I was wondering what your profile is like in Belarus.
ARYNA SABALENKA: I think people know me. We are a small country, and there is not so much athletes.

Yeah, people know me there.

Q. Is that okay?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, it's okay. It's good.

Q. Obviously it's an Olympic year. Just curious, are you already thinking about it? How high is it on your priority list?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, when I'm in Belarus I'm thinking about this, because people, like, keep pushing me about the Olympics.

But right now I'm focusing on, like, match by match. That's it. It's so far, like, Olympics. I don't want to focus on the future. I want to focus on the moment.

Q. But hopefully you'll be there. I'm wondering, if you do the whole Olympic Village experience and everything, who is an athlete from another sport who you would really, really want to see?
ARYNA SABALENKA: What am I seeing? I don't know. Let me think about this and ask me tomorrow.

But for the moment I want to meet everyone. (Laughter.)

Q. Obviously you've got the semifinal to focus on first, but what's the goal for next week in Melbourne? Is it to get to a second week of a Grand Slam, or...
ARYNA SABALENKA: Just to keep going, like, keep winning. We'll see what happens. I can't control the result, right? We can just control ourself.

I'll be there. I'll be fighting for every point. Who knows what's gonna happen.

Q. Obviously Simona is quite popular in Adelaide because of her coach. Did you feel like the crowd might have been a little bit against you today, or...
ARYNA SABALENKA: I didn't feel. I actually felt like people was supporting me also really well.

Of course people want to see, like, big fights and, like, crazy comebacks and drama on the court.

When the score was 5-Love, there was more supporting her more. Actually, it's okay. I don't feel anything -- like, I don't feel like it's unusual.

Q. Are you playing doubles in Melbourne?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah. Yeah, of course, if Elise want to.

Q. Can you maybe tell us about your tattoo you have on your arm?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I just keep getting this question. It's a tiger, because I was born Year of Tiger. And sometimes on the court, like, I feel like I fighting like a tiger.

Especially today when I was going out from the court, there was song like, Because I am a tiger and you're gonna hear my roar. (Laughter.)

Yeah, but mostly I was just, like, born Year of Tiger, and I like how it looks. It shows my character, so...

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