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February 23, 2020

Kiki Bertens

Doha, Qatar

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. After St. Pete -- after you won St. Petersburg you said that it was an emotional win for you because you had arrived there probably a little heart broken from Fed Cup. Can you just elaborate a little bit on that, how gutting it was that weekend for you and how were you able to steal yourself and get the title in St. Pete?
KIKI BERTENS: Yeah, it was a really tough weekend, of course, the weekend with Fed Cup is always really nice, but it brings also a lot of tension with it. I like to play for team but also I get so nervous, so I was nervous for all of my matches. And then when you lose the deciding doubles 7-6 in the third and it ended in a tie breaker, it's just a tough one. So I think Saturday night I didn't have any sleep and then Sunday I was flying to St. Petersburg and there still I was physically and mentally so tired, so on Monday I was only able to practice like 40 minutes, Tuesday same, but then you have to compete again. And I was lucky that my team was there and getting me through all my matches and, yeah, it still was a special week if you end up with the trophy.

Q. Did they, I mean, what were the important things that they were telling you throughout the week to kind of keep your head in the game?
KIKI BERTENS: Well they were just trying to or they were saying to me every day, just put all the energy in your match, you can do whatever you want on the court, it doesn't matter. Like I also acted maybe not like great to them sometimes, but they were just dealing with it because they knew that I was so tired, so sometimes I just had to let it out. And, yeah, they were just there for me and really, really supportive, yeah.

Q. And then just in terms of rest and getting the time off to recuperate, do you think that, was it, I mean it's never enough, but was it quote unquote enough for you to be able to kind of gear up for this tournament?
KIKI BERTENS: Yeah, for sure, yeah, it was a good decision to go home, take a few days off, just rest completely and come back here again. So, yeah, that was the best decision I think we made.

Q. Just in terms of this season so far -- well, first, how would you rate your start so far? Like positive, negative, what do you think?
KIKI BERTENS: No, I think positive. I'm feeling good on the court, another title my 10th, so that was also a really special one, of course. And in Australia the furthest I've been in the Australian Open. So for me it's only positive things and I'm trying to just keep it positive. Even like if negative things happen, of course, but just trying to, yeah, keep in there and trying to fight every day.

Q. How different does it feel on the court and even off the court obviously you've been working with Elise for awhile, but this is the first kind of full season that you started. Do you feel different on the court, do you feel like you're playing different, that mentally you're different at all?
KIKI BERTENS: Well I just feel fresh and rested I would say. I feel confident, I don't have much stress, except from Fed Cup then, but that's different, I think. So I'm just playing a little bit more relaxed, I would say, yeah.

Q. And do you feel like it's -- is that just because of a different mentality from you, is it because of Elise and just kind of the way that she is, she's a very calming presence, what do you think is the reason for that?
KIKI BERTENS: I think it's a little bit of both. Of course I've changed also over the years. I have so much more experience than I would say a few years ago. But I think every year I'm still growing and learning and Elise is such a relaxed person as well and always when I watch her or like when I look at my box she's just there really supportive. Not really emotions, I would say. So it's just, yeah, it doesn't take any energy and it's feeling good.

Q. With a lot of players coming up now like Kenin has won the Australian Open, Osaka has done it twice last year. Where do you place yourself and how do you see the women's tennis scenario? Do you still feel it's a seesaw, anyone can do it any day or do you see that the challenge is becoming tougher now?
KIKI BERTENS: No, I think it's a challenge for everyone, I would say. I think you have seen over the last few years so many different winners and I think all the girls also have the feeling that they can really do it and I think that's true because that's what they showed over and over the last few years, over every tournament, especially also in the slams, so, yeah, also for me it just motivates me and to just keep on going.

Q. And what would you say about Doha? How do you find it here?
KIKI BERTENS: I like it here. It's just my third day so I have not seen a lot I would say, I just have been practicing. It was tough again because I played indoors the last few weeks so now outdoors again. Really happy that I just played a nice doubles, we didn't get the win, but it's always good to start with another match and I'm ready to compete again tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you very much everyone.

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