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February 23, 2020

Elina Svitolina

Doha, Qatar

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Semi-finals of Grand Slams, what does it take to get beyond that? Do you think it takes something more? Have you been working on it, have you been talking to other players or your coaches who have been through this and won Grand Slams. The second question is, do you think there's a possibility that players of your generation can have a sustained run, a long run like how Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova in the past?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I think it was a great experience for myself to play two semi-finals and definitely it gave me lots of confidence that I can play consistent in the Grand Slams and definitely was something that I was trying to achieve. But also in the same time was a little bit sad that I couldn't -- I was so close to the, to get the trophy, but you are still at the same time very far, because you have to win probably two of the toughest matches of your life. So definitely it's an experience, like mixture of things and it's, you have to take this experience, painful probably more than good in that time, try to work with it and try to improve your game and don't get so down on yourself.

Regarding the second question, it's very tough question because I think everyone is playing and trying to do their best and you cannot predict the injuries, so it was a little bit different I think back then when Steffi Graf was playing. Now everyone is extremely fit and obviously the prize money is much higher so we can have a fitness coach with us, we can have a coach, fitness coach, so the players are investing more in themselves and that's, I think, why the game is much higher level, because I think the top 100 is playing very good and all the time very fit and can give you trouble from the first round.

Q. On that point, do you feel as though when you look back at those days, of the Steffi days and Seles and Navratilova and they didn't have these entourages, maybe some of the top players had coaches, but a lot of times they were just traveling the tour by themselves and kind of living that life, which sounds very different from the lives that you guys have now. Can you imagine yourself in that situation, how different it would have been to have to go about this virtually on your own, without that kind of team support?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, I did this experience two weeks ago when I was in Thailand, I went alone and for me it was different. You don't call so much on your coach, you know you have to do everything by yourself and it's a bit different, because you are there, you have to check everything that you gave your racket the string, if you sign for warm up, just little stuff. Which sometimes I think can take off your mind and distract you, but in the same time it's good because you are in check with yourself and you know that you have done everything, you practiced everything and you're ready to go.

So there's both sides, I think and maybe in that time they didn't not know the other way, no one really thought that they could maybe have few coaches with them. So it was different and I think now sometimes I would even like maybe in some small tournaments go only maybe with my friend or alone, just so I can try to focus on myself and what I do. Because now we have like a luxury life almost, everything is done for us and we have to, we just are going on the court and playing. But I think there is both ways have advantages and both have negative.

Q. And then just on the consistency question, what then makes a difference -- you're a player who has spent, especially the last four years or so, pretty consistently in the top-10. Do you, what separates you, Simona, Karolina, the players that do sit in the top-10 pretty regularly from the rest of the pack, do you think? Because there is a little bit of a pack that's separate from everyone else.
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, it's interesting question, I also try to think about it because I think I saw just the stats maybe last year that it was me, Simona and Karolina played in Shenzhen or Singapore and it's maybe just the consistency of the playing well on the small tournaments. And it's tough to say because, from my side, I try to just be focused on every single match and don't separate the Grand Slams and the other tournaments, so all the matches that I play that I step on the court are very important and I try to give my 100 percent. So it's very tough to answer, there's no one thing that stands out.

Q. I wanted to ask you about the coronavirus outbreak, obviously it's spread to a lot of countries and as tennis players, girls, you guys are always on the move traveling. How concerned are you about the situation and what precautions are you taking to protect yourself?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well I think the tournaments are doing their best, especially I was in Thailand and it was, I think before going there I was a little bit concerned about it, but I spoke with the tournament director and the tournament people who organize it and everything was perfect, everything was organized very well. They were checking the temperature, they were checking everywhere the sanitizer and everything was sanitized like three, four times and for hours, so everything was very clean. And the tournaments I think are doing their best for the players and it's in their interest as well. So we just have to trust and it's, from us, I think it's just the matter of trust and I think everyone is doing their best to protect us.

Q. Finally on that, a lot of events in China and a lot of other Asian countries have been cancelled and postponed. I know the Asian swing and Tokyo are still a few months away, has your outlook changed on your participation going forward?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, definitely I know that Japan is very clean country and they will not host such a big event if they would be some problem. So I think regarding the Asian swing it's, we still have a little bit of time and I know that there's been cancellation of the tournaments, which is I think the right thing to do at this point, but later on I think that WTA and that will look into it and try to do our best to protect us. I'm sure that they will do the right choices and so for now I think it's too early to say about the Asian swing, it's too far ahead, but I trust and I think we trust the decision of the WTA of anything.

Q. Just on yourself and your game, kind of where, what's your mentality at this point in the season, obviously probably not the start that you necessarily wanted in terms of getting match play and the wins, but how far off do you feel you are from where you want to be on the court?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, definitely there have been not the most amazing start of the year, but I tried to take the positives every single day, not really focusing so much on the loss that I had, for sure they have been very unexpected I would say in some ways, in some ways surprising for even for me because I couldn't show my best, my proper game, even in the middle level. So that's for sure it's disappointing because I've been working really hard during the off season and still continually working hard on the improvement, but every single day is trying to put the right work and in the end I know that's been being on the top-10 for few years now, I try to just regroup and each week takes a new challenge and for me that's what matters the most now and there's no point of focusing on the negative because they will only drag you down and there is no improvement on if you really just focus on bad matches or bad feeling.

Q. I think you've got Baghdatis on board over the past year, your coach, so how has it been working with him, what has been the experience, what new things have you learned -- have you learned a lot of new things, do you feel you're more prepared. And if you come up in a semi-final Grand Slam semi-final again this year would you look at it differently or would you let the pass affect you or how would you look at it if you come into a semi-final this year?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, it's definitely is nice to have had Marcos with me during the off season because we try to work a little bit differently and I think that's why it takes a little bit of time now this year to really adjust my game and to put everything together. That's why I'm not really panicking now because still have a long year ahead and lots of matches and any tournament you can just turn into the good and I will feel much better. So we're putting lots of work now within those days trying to find a way to make me feel better on the court, so that's what's we're trying to do now.

Regarding the semi-finals, for sure when you are in the semi-final you want to win and to not do the same mistake as you did in the past time. So for sure it will help me a little bit of experience, maybe I will be not that nervous because I think in the first semi-final that I played at Wimbledon I was maybe too nervous and didn't play like I wanted and follow the game plan that I had to because I was too much into thinking that I'm in semi-final. I think this experience for sure helps you in the future and you have to just try to focus on your game and not think about that it's such a huge match.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Thanks so much.


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