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February 20, 2021

Jennifer Brady

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

N. OSAKA/J. Brady

6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. 45 minutes after coming in off court, how would you describe your first Grand Slam final experience?

JENNIFER BRADY: Not the way that I wanted it (smiling). But, yeah, I would say it was exciting to be out there. You know, I enjoyed every single minute playing in front of fans in my first Grand Slam final, and I hope there is many more.

Q. You looked a little tight, understandable, starting off?

JENNIFER BRADY: Definitely. I mean, I think, you know, both of us I'm sure were nervous. I was definitely especially nervous, I knew I was going to be nervous. But, you know, towards the middle of the first set I started to get a little bit more comfortable and then, you know, I just didn't feel like I was playing my best tennis out there, which is unfortunate.

But, yeah, I came a little bit nervous in the beginning.

Q. Can I get you talk through those key moments in the first set, what your memories are of them. Breakpoint at 4-All, then 40-15, 4-5 in the first set, and then that ball dropping on the baseline, then the short forehand into the net. Have you had a chance to think at all about those moments now?

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, no, I actually forgot about every single one of them and you just brought it back up. But it's okay (smiling).

Yeah, unfortunate being 40-15 and then, yeah, I missed a backhand long, backhand down the line long, and then or -- yeah, no, that wasn't it.

Yeah, in the one point I think I went for a second serve T, double-faulted. I was just trying to mix it up, trying to do something different, because I just felt like I was kicking wide, kicking wide second serve. My first-serve percentage was only at 40%, so I felt rushed, like she was applying pressure.

And, yeah, the set point where I missed the forehand in the mid, bottom, middle, bottom, whatever, of the net, yeah, it obviously didn't go as planned.

Yeah, I probably wasn't completely focused on that specific shot. More just in the fact that I just let a 40-15 lead slip.

Q. The conditions looked tough out there. Seemed quite windy. There were some issues with ball tosses from both of you. Was that a factor?

JENNIFER BRADY: A factor in the loss or just in general? Yeah, I mean, I felt like it was pretty windy. It plays a lot different, the court plays a lot different at night compared to during the day. During the day it's a lot more bouncy, more lively. At night the balls aren't bouncing as high, the ball is staying a lot lower.

That didn't really favor me so much. But, yeah, I mean, it was a little bit windy, a little bit cooler. The balls felt a little bit heavier in those conditions, yeah.

Q. What has the fortnight, five weeks, including the quarantine, taught you about both yourself and where has it left you in terms of where you think you could be in the tennis world?

JENNIFER BRADY: I think I belong at this level. I think winning a Grand Slam is totally achievable. It's within reach. You know, playing out there, obviously I was nervous, didn't go my way, but at the same time coming off court, I was, like, Okay, that feels a little bit normal. It felt different than what I was expecting it to feel like. If you were to ask me maybe a year ago, I wouldn't think it's possible or it would feel like it's, like, going to Mars.

So I would say just being more comfortable at this level, yeah.

Q. I think you just touched on it, being more comfortable. Is there anything else when you look at yourself in terms of what you need to do in order to go that last mile coming off a good run at the US Open, obviously a very good run here, what the difference is between being in this spot and lifting the trophy?

JENNIFER BRADY: I think maybe just playing better in key moments or having a first-serve percentage higher than 43%.

Q. 48.

JENNIFER BRADY: Okay, 48. She was 42 actually in the first, and, yeah, she still won the first set. It's unfortunate.

Yeah, I would say just -- I mean, keep improving on my skills, my game. So that way when I come to these moments I don't have to play great tennis. I just have to play good enough just to win.

Q. Right now, what are your overall emotions? Is it sadness and disappointment? Is it, I've achieved something pretty fantastic by reaching the final of a major? How do you feel right now?

JENNIFER BRADY: I have mixed feelings. I'm pretty proud of myself, my team, for what we achieved here. We came here, you know, and I reached my first Grand Slam final. But also, you know, I'm walking away with the runner-up trophy, not the winner's trophy, so that's a little bit sad.

But I would say I'm pretty happy with my performance over the past couple weeks.

Q. Following up on what you said there and earlier talking about you feel like you belong at this level. Does it make it easier to know you were creating chances in that first set, that you were right in the match, or is it tougher looking back at that?

JENNIFER BRADY: I think it's easier knowing that I had chances, I had chances -- I mean, I should have capitalized on the fact that she wasn't really making many first serves, and I think that's a huge weapon of her.

Yeah, I think it's, you know, a bit reassuring knowing that also maybe she was feeling a bit nervous. So we're both humans out there, we're not robots, and, you know, you can have bad days, great days, but, you know, in the end I think maybe the better player usually wins.

Q. Feeling like you belong, take me back to your college days and how that sort of really turned your career, I guess, and gave you confidence. What were you studying? Were you actually studying anything at college?

JENNIFER BRADY: Was I studying (smiling). Great question, actually. I don't know what I was doing, to be honest (smiling).

No, actually, I went for, like, technically a year and a half, I took the fall off of my sophomore year, so I didn't declare a major. I was just basically just taking pretty much general classes. So I didn't have a major when I was there, because I didn't go for four years. I only went for almost two.

Q. We understand that you are in hard quarantine, not allowed to train outside. How did this quarantine affect you? In general, what do you think about these COVID measures for this year's Australian Open?

JENNIFER BRADY: I mean, I made my first Grand Slam final, so maybe if I wasn't in quarantine I would have won (smiling). Maybe.

Yeah, I don't think it really hampered me much. Who knows? You know, you really don't know.

But I think Australia is doing a great job. I mean, their cases are, I don't know, correct me if I'm wrong, zero right now? But, yeah, I mean, we're able to live a normal life, go out for dinner, and that's something that, you know, we haven't done in a long time.

I don't want to leave Australia. Unfortunately I have to. Yeah, I'm a little bit sad about that.

Q. You're part Australian being Ash's doubles partner.

JENNIFER BRADY: I'll take it (smiling).

Q. On the set point in the first set and that ball went into the net, did you have a bit of a sinking feeling at that stage that you felt this is going to be pretty tough to come back from, because then she raced to the 4-Love lead?

JENNIFER BRADY: Not in that moment, I didn't think so. I was just bummed that, you know, I'm so close to the net and I missed the ball in the net, and it happens maybe one in ten times or hopefully less. But, yeah, it took a hit at my confidence a little bit, just because I lost focus just for a few seconds.

You know, it obviously helped her, yeah.

Q. You said you believe following this fortnight that a Grand Slam title can come. Will you be readjusting your goals? Do you have an idea about when that could come by, or will you be very relaxed about letting progress develop as it develops?

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, I'm not one to set a date for things, but I would say I would just, yeah, it would just happen when it happens.

I'm not planning for it to happen at Wimbledon, you know, 2021. Yeah, it will happen when it happens. When it happens, I'll be thrilled. When I'm put in that position or given myself that opportunity, I think I'll be ready for it.

Q. I just wanted to ask about the impact of Michael and Daniel. I know you've been with them for I think 18 months now maybe. You know, it seemed like when Michael flew out to China it had a pretty instant impact on your game. Can you maybe talk about some of the specifics that you worked on with them and what it's done for your game?

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, you know, clearly since I started working with both of them my ranking has only gone up. Obviously we're doing something good, something special.

Yeah, he's developed my game from the bottom up, just working on -- you know, I have always had the strokes, the shots, but it's more just putting it all together and making it more solid, repeatable in every single match, not having huge spikes and playing really well and then playing really bad or playing just up and down like a roller coaster. He's made me a lot more confident in my game, a lot more solid.

Then Daniel has obviously, you know, transformed my physicality, made me -- we work really hard in the gym, getting stronger, fitter. Yeah, I think all the work that we have been doing I have only been getting better.

Kudos to them too for pushing me day in, day out, and hopefully we keep getting stronger and faster and better (smiling).

Q. What would you say Naomi did best today against you? Is her ability to maybe bear down at key moments one of her best traits as a match player?

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah. She played really well when she had to. She hit good shots when she needed them.

In those moments, that's the toughest time to find those shots. You know, to put you on defense when, you know, when it's the big moments.

And just to serve out the match like that, you know, she did that also in New York against me. She obviously has confidence in her serve and serving out matches and playing high-risk tennis when it matters. So, yeah, it's tough to face.

Q. I'm wondering, because you mentioned out on the court you said that you see Naomi as inspirational. I'm just curious, what do you make of what she's been able to achieve? She's won four major finals, she's on a streak now, and the stuff she also does on the court, what do you make of what she's been able to do so far?

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, she's played in four Grand Slam finals and she's won four of them. I think that's something that is tough to do. Even just to -- I won't be able to say I have done that, in all finals that I've played I have won, I won't be able to say that.

But, yeah, she plays so aggressive that she puts so much pressure on you to perform well, and that's something that not every tennis player, you know, has that ability to do that.

So a lot of respect to her. But, yeah, she's a great player.

Q. When you think about the other surfaces, the clay of Paris and the grass of Wimbledon, what do you think is most important for you to do to become formidable there as you are on hard courts? And the same as far as Naomi, your thoughts about her in that regard?

JENNIFER BRADY: I would say, I mean, Wimbledon is playing more like a hard court. Maybe even slower. I mean, and also, Roland Garros is playing pretty good, faster.

Yeah, I mean, obviously there is things that you have to work on to better prepare for the surface or specific shots that work better on each surface.

So, you know, obviously I will prepare for those surfaces and try to, you know, shift my game around those types of surfaces. But also maybe not try to play to the surface and just play my game.

Q. And your thoughts about Naomi in those surfaces?

JENNIFER BRADY: I would say the same. I mean, obviously her serve is going to be tough to return on the grass, but -- yeah.

Q. I would ask also, you've known Naomi for a long time, since you were kids, and tonight she won her fourth Grand Slam which puts her in a pretty sort of elite group of active players who've won four. It's basically just like the Williamses, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Clijsters, if you want to count her as active, and then Naomi. Is there something you sense about her either on court or off court, some sort of like champion magic quality, tangible or intangible, that you get from her that sort of explains what's made her so elite at such a young age?

JENNIFER BRADY: I don't know. I don't really see her much. I don't think there is something that's intangible about her. I think, you know, she's human, like the rest of us in this room. She's just, you know, brings out her best in the big moments and, yeah, she's obviously -- like you said, she's won four Grand Slam titles. She knows what she's doing out there. She's confident in herself, her game, her team.

But I don't think, you know, she's God (smiling). I think maybe Serena is (smiling). Maybe she'll get there, I don't know.

But, yeah, I mean, obviously she's a great tennis player, but maybe we're not so different from... so, yeah.

Q. Congrats on a great tournament. I'm curious right now, what is it that is your impulse right now? Do you want to like curl up and shut down and relive everything? Do you want to get back on the practice court and, you know, you want to get back into tournaments? What do you want to do after what has been three very, very -- well, five very, very tough weeks?

JENNIFER BRADY: Go for dinner. Super simple. Definitely not go on the practice courts, let me tell you that.

I mean, I'm planning on playing Doha, starts a week from today, I think. I'll definitely take a few days off here, enjoy being in Australia and Melbourne, living my life, you know, and then get back on the practice courts. But not right now. I don't want to look at a tennis ball. Yeah.

Q. You have now had the experience after US Open, that was a big tournament for you, and you went through the emotions after that and you had to play right away again and everything. What did you learn from that experience, from the mental perspective, to kind of also have continuity and back up this run at the Australian Open?

JENNIFER BRADY: You know, after US Open I went to Europe and I played then on clay court at Roland Garros, so it wasn't long after that, maybe a couple weeks. But I didn't really have much time to prepare for the surface change.

But, you know, that match that I lost, I actually felt like, after that I felt like I was demoralized. I felt like the weeks that I had at the US Open were kind of, they just kind of vanished from my mind and I kind of had to tell myself that one match or one tournament doesn't change or it shouldn't reflect how you are as a tennis player.

So, you know, this week or these couple weeks coming in here and making the finals here, after making the semis at US Open, I think, you know, just proves to myself that it's totally achievable week in, week out. And, you know, there may be great weeks, there may be bad weeks, but I think that, you know, if I approach every single one the same, I think, you know, there is going to be a lot more good weeks than bad weeks.

Q. The rankings are still sort of frozen and not totally representing what's going on on tour all the time now. People staying put, not being able to rise or fall like they normally would with all the new rules. With you having made a US Open semifinal, final in Melbourne, a title in Lexington, do you feel like one of the best players in the world right now, one of a handful of top players, regardless of what your ranking is?

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah. Yeah, I think so. I mean, I have clearly had some great results over the past six months or -- more than that, eight months. I think, you know, I can only get better from here. I just have to take -- you know, especially this experience from the, you know, the last two, couple slams and, you know, just work harder and keep improving day in, day out. And, yeah, I think the results, they show, you know, the work you have been putting in.

Yeah, I can gain a lot of confidence in that.

Q. Is it any consolation that you won as many games off Naomi as the person that you call "God"?

JENNIFER BRADY: Ha! I mean, I don't know. Not really, no (smiling).

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