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October 6, 2020

Danielle Collins

Paris, France

Press Conference

D. COLLINS/O. Jabeur

6-4, 4-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I know that yesterday afternoon you twice did warmup in the rain and the cold to try to get the match on. Then this morning it was a little chilly and you looked like you had the sniffles, blowing your nose at every changeover. Are you like everybody in the workroom dealing with a cold or how are you physically?

DANIELLE COLLINS: To be honest, no. It is cold outside, and I have a runny nose. And it has nothing to do with having a cold or anything that happened yesterday.

Yes, the day got drawn out. We were at the courts for a very long time, as I was expecting to play second match on. Because of the weather being a little bit unpredictable this time of the year it got drawn out, the day got drawn out longer than what anybody would have liked.

I don't really think the tournament could have done anything differently unfortunately. Maybe if it was an indoor tournament it would have been more convenient.

I'm pretty happy playing on the clay right now. And the tournament, the people working the tournament did everything they could to try to get us on, and we couldn't get on because of the weather.

I don't know how in the world that would somehow you seeing me blow my nose equate -- I just, I don't see the thought process there, and I think it's not a very good question, to be honest.

Q. With all due respect, Danielle, the health of the players in your controlled environment is a topic of conversation with everything going on in a pandemic. So that's where I was coming from. Thank you.

DANIELLE COLLINS: (No response.)

Q. We saw with Jen Brady, she went to Germany, got a German team, had great results. You're working with Nico now. Just talk about that dynamic in general and particularly from a competitive point of view and in match intensity.

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, great question. Nico has had a great impact on my tennis already because he understands what I go through on the court because he's been in this position many times before. He's had a very long, successful career on tour.

So I think we relate to each other a lot, and he's able to use his experiences to try to make me a better player. So even though we have only been working with each other for a short period of time, I do feel he's having a positive impact on my performance and my game.

I think it makes a really big difference when you have a coach that has been in the positions that you have been in on court.

I think it's very rare to find somebody of Nico's caliber as a player to be coaching at this level. I mean, maybe it's not extremely rare, but it's certainly very difficult to find the week before a tournament starts, especially Roland Garros.

So I was very grateful to be able to have him here on such short notice. Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling together.

Q. Nicolas won all of his 13 titles on clay. What's he been able to teach you in the short time that you have worked together?

DANIELLE COLLINS: I think the mentality. We have been focusing a lot on my mental strength on the court and using that as a weapon. So that's probably the biggest thing.

Q. You just touched on something there, because watching the match from afar, it's clear that you play with high intensity and you've got a really big will to win. How much do you attribute today's win down to your skill set on the court and what you were able to bring in terms of your tennis game and how much of it is just that dynamic attitude and you're just going to leave it all out there on the court?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I think that's probably 80% of the success behind winning my matches, honestly. I think I have some good tennis skills, but I think when I have a positive attitude on court and I'm getting fired up and I'm showing positive energy, I think that helps me perform my best.

I think it helps me, especially in the tough situations, when it could be easy to be negative or I could kind of fall into little slumps here and there, and I'm still trying to show positive energy, still trying to say, Come on, still trying to be the best that I can be (smiling).

Q. My question to you is that this tournament has been so, I wouldn't say weird, but there has been a lot of upsets and a lot of seeds going down. I wonder your take on how the tournament has been going, qualifiers making quarterfinals and now you, so I just want to get your take on that.

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I mean, I think on the women's side we see in a lot of the Grand Slams and different tournaments throughout the year unseeded players going very far in the draws, and people coming through qualifying and having great runs.

So I don't think it's actually too unexpected. I think sometimes for the top players it might be more difficult because they feel a little bit more pressure and maybe the people in qualifying draws, people that are unseeded feel a little bit less pressure and that maybe they can play a little bit more freely. I'm not really sure.

Yeah, it's been interesting how everything has kind of turned out this year and there has been some really fun matches. I have been loving Trevisan's matches on court and I just love her attitude. I have been watching her a lot in the hotel room, and she's been one of my favorite players to watch.

Q. You have been preoccupied with the tennis so you may not be aware, but Paris today was put on greater restrictions, sports clubs, gyms are closed, bars are closed. I'm just curious whether you find yourself being even more careful in the controlled environment of the hotel since you do have, much like Greenbrier, outsiders coming and going.

DANIELLE COLLINS: You know, I think one of the best things about sports is that people get to watch sports. They get to engage in something that's not COVID related, not political. I'm not going to comment any further on anything going on in terms of the bubble or COVID protocols or what's going on in Paris.

I think that this event brings a lot of positivity to players' lives, to people's lives watching, and I would really just like to focus on the great tennis that's being played here. Really, those questions are quite frivolous.

Q. Why do you think it's frivolous? I mean, what's political about COVID when you and all the players are under difficult restrictions, understandable restrictions, but it affects your day-to-day life at a tournament and it's something that affects all of us?

DANIELLE COLLINS: I think they're just kind of the same questions being asked over and over to players, and I think that we're here to play tennis. Obviously we're in a pandemic and it's a very serious situation, but I think you should be reporting on the tennis.

Q. We are.

DANIELLE COLLINS: I just played a three-set match and I won 6-4 in the third, and I haven't gotten one question from you or the woman from The New York Times asking about the match. I'm just a little bit baffled by that.

Q. Sometimes when we ask questions to you about matches, not just to you, to other players, they will say, Oh, it's boring to be asked all about tennis. It's not a case of being boring. This is something that is affecting all of us as we cover the tournament, as you play it, it affects your day-to-day life at a tournament in terms of what you can do, what you can't do, where you can go, what you can't do, how does that affect you during a tournament.

DANIELLE COLLINS: You know, I'm just focused on going out and competing. Even though we're in a pandemic and there is more restrictions, there's limited activity that you can do at the site, in the hotel, and obviously not being able to leave the bubble, I'm so consumed with my day-to-day.

I mean, last night we were at the courts for 8 to 10 hours waiting to go on, just like we would at other tournaments. I mean, the same thing happened to me when I was playing in the qualifying in Australia a couple years back.

So we're still having to focus on our matches, having to focus on getting warmed up, having to focus on getting treatment, having to do all of the things that we need to do to be able to go out and play matches. And I would love -- I mean, I would love to talk more in depth about the things I have been doing, but that's all I've got for you. I don't know what else to say (smiling).

Q. I guess the sense is that tennis is such a wonderful sport and it's international and throughout the world, and this year it's so intertwined with a major pandemic that is impacting everyone everywhere. I think that's the basis of the media's concern on these issues. My question actually goes way back to when you were young, and you took a bus ride from Tampa to Miami. You spoke of it as being one of the experiences in your youth that sort of gave you a little fire if I recall correctly. Could you go back and talk about that and the early days of being a young player trying to make it on the tour.

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I think those are the experiences that give us the strength to go out on court and play so intensely in high-pressured moments. When we get to stay at nice hotels, you feel grateful to be able to be in these situations. When you get to ride in a nice luxury car that's being brought to us by the sponsors of the event, it's a good feeling. Because I know what it's like being on a Greyhound bus. I know what it's like having $50 in my bank account and being worried if I'm going to be able to get to the next place that I need to go.

So I think those experiences make us stronger in the long run. I know I'm not the only tennis player that's had those experiences. I think most of the tennis players on tour have had those types of experiences and use them to feed their hunger or to be the best they can be.

Q. I'm wondering what your experience was during the lockdown and the break from the tour. I think you were in Florida. Seems like so many top players are based there. I think you played some exhibition events there. Just how beneficial it was to be able to do that.

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, luckily in Florida we have nice warm weather throughout the year so I did spend a fair amount of time in Florida training every day, spending a lot of time in the gym, working on my physical fitness.

I was able to play the UTR event in South Florida I guess in the earlier days maybe of the pandemic, probably in April, let's say, or May, I'm not sure. Losing track of the days now (smiling).

But, yeah, and then I spent some time in Virginia as well when I was preparing for the US Open as my house was being remodeled in Florida. Charlottesville is like a second home for me. I was lucky to be able to spend some time there and get some good training in.

Q. You mentioned on court how difficult it was to return some of her dropshots, that she was wrong-footing you and that seemed to be coming out of nowhere from all angles. How difficult is it for you when you don't really know when that starts coming and you can't really prepare for it? Is that really frustrating?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah. I think she's a really tricky player and she has so many tools under her belt that she's able to use in really clutch moments, particularly I think it was maybe when I was up 3-0 in the second set and there were a couple of really strong groundstrokes that I had hit. She was able to hit a dropshot off of those. You don't usually see too many players being able to handle the pace that well and then being able to have the soft touch with their hands to hit an effective dropshot.

So I found that to be very challenging, because it just wasn't something I was always expecting. Then I would, yeah, like you said, get wrong-footed.

Yeah, luckily though against playing against Niculescu in the first round I felt like that prepared me a little bit for a lot of the dropshots that I had to run after today.

Q. You went to college in the States and you obviously know the USTA system very well. I wonder how in the U.S. do young players have access to sports psychologists? Is that something that you have used as well?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah. I don't know -- I'm not really 100% sure what the USTA does in terms of that. I do think they provide some access to sports psychologists. I like to use my own sports psychologist.

When I was in college I was very grateful to be able to utilize a sports psychologist pretty much whenever I needed as we had one that was working with the team, and he was great. I worked with him for three years and I really felt like he had a strong impact on my game, because I think tennis is mostly mental, just as much as it is physical.

So I had a great experience working with a sports psychologist then and I still work with a sports psychologist now.

THE MODERATOR: Comments about your next match against Kenin.

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, we've had some great matches in the past, and she's obviously had a lot of success this year playing some really great tennis here.

So I know that it's going to be another battle and another fun match.

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