February 17, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
J. BRADY/J. Pegula
4-6, 6-2, 6-1
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Talk us through how you came back in the second half of that match.
JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, I think it was obviously different conditions today. The court was playing a little bit faster, maybe a little bit more bouncy. It was way hotter today than it was in the previous days.
I think today I came out and was maybe pressing a little bit too much, trying to overplay, and was making a few unforced errors in the beginning of the first set. I was able to find my way towards the end of the first, but unfortunately got broken, then was a little bit frustrated, lost the first set.
I found my way in the second set just playing more aggressive on my terms. I think towards the end of the third I was just really dialed in, tunnel vision, just kept going for my shots, playing aggressive.
Q. Given that was your first three-set match, does that give you more confidence of what's to come ahead?
JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, definitely. I think I felt really good out there physically. I could maybe see on the other side of the net maybe Jess was a little bit tired there. That definitely helped me mentally. It just gave me a little bit more confidence knowing that I'm doing pretty good, maybe she's a little bit tired, now is my chance to really step up here and take advantage of that.
Q. Does getting to at least the semifinals for a second straight hard court major, is that sort of the confidence equivalent of consolidating a break? Did you need to do that to prove anything to yourself about what you did at the US Open or are they separate entities?
JENNIFER BRADY: I think they're separate entities. But it definitely helps, just helps overall confidence. Really just knowing that I belong at this level, I can compete in the second week of Grand Slams consistently, and hope to continue to do that consistently.
I think, I mean, it obviously helps me, it benefits me moving forward, definitely.
Q. What did you learn in the semi in New York that would be helpful?
JENNIFER BRADY: I think both of us played a really good match in that semifinal. I think we won match of the year on the women's side. I think that definitely solidifies the fact that we both played an impressive, high-quality tennis match from start to finish.
I'm looking to hopefully replicate that in the next round tomorrow for my semifinal match. Yeah, I think just really going out there knowing that if I just give my best effort, I can be proud of myself, yeah, just knowing that walking away from the court if I have no regrets, then I'll feel good.
Q. How do you take that sense of belonging and keep the hunger, still want to win the semifinal and perhaps win the tournament?
JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, I think it's just not being too comfortable, not getting complacent. I think once you start to get complacent, then you probably won't succeed week in, week out. You have good weeks, bad weeks, but majority you probably wouldn't over the course of five, 10 years have the success just because you lose that hunger, that drive, the dedication, really just the overall hunger to win.
Honestly, I'm just happy to be competing. With all that's going on, the pandemic, I think all of us are just happy to be out here doing what we love, playing the sport that we enjoy, just having another opportunity to compete.
Q. In your bio you mentioned Lleyton Hewitt is one of your favorite players. Have you had much to do with him? What sort of qualities did you like about the way he went about his game?
JENNIFER BRADY: I think when I was younger I enjoyed watching him. I'm not sure if my bio has been updated recently (laughter). I may have just made up a player, to be honest with you.
I loved watching Lleyton Hewitt play. I don't know if he's my favorite player any more. I love watching him play. I love watching Kim Clijsters. Kim Clijsters was always one that I enjoyed watching, the way she would just slide around the court. I mean, I think she invented sliding. I was actually talking about that with Jess, Jess Pegula. We were talking about how Kim was really the one that invented sliding on hard court.
She was always fun to watch growing up.
Q. I know it requires a tunnel vision to do what you do, but are you ever able to take a few steps back and marvel at the era you find yourself playing tennis in with Serena, you see Rafa and Djokovic and Federer doing their thing? Are you able to take the 36,000 feet view of this bubble you're in?
JENNIFER BRADY: Now that you said it, probably not. I probably will now. But I think just being in the same draw as Serena is obviously -- when she retires, if she retires, it's going to be something I'll be extremely grateful for. I hope I get to play her before she retires.
Yeah, I think she's the G.O.A.T. She's the greatest of all time and definitely will be the greatest of all time.
Q. Do you find yourself checking out her scorelines when you're going about your off days?
JENNIFER BRADY: I definitely watch. I try to watch as much tennis as possible. I mean, every single day, whether I'm playing a match or not playing. On my day off, when I'm back in the hotel, I'm always watching matches. I love watching tennis matches.
I'm not really paying attention specifically to her, but just to everyone in general, yeah.
Q. When you were told you were going to be locked down for two weeks, did you get rid of all your expectations for how you were going to perform this tournament? Jess said you told her you thought it might be good for you.
JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, I was pretty much going non-stop since June of last year. I was playing World TeamTennis, then played tournaments in the U.S., then went over to Europe and was training in Europe till December.
I didn't have any weeks off. Mentally I was feeling a little bit fried, to be honest. I think I used that two weeks to kind of reset mentally and also physically, just give myself, my mind, my body a little bit of a rest.
Yeah, I would say I didn't really have high expectations on myself to do well. I came out of the quarantine, and then we were lucky enough to have a separate tournament for us who were in the hard lockdown. I was lucky to get a couple matches in there before starting here in the Australian Open.
Q. Some players, when they're not playing, they don't watch anything. Do you really like love the sport, I suppose?
JENNIFER BRADY: I've grown to love it. When I was younger, I used to hate watching tennis, I didn't really enjoy playing either, to be honest. I would say as the years go by, I enjoy it more and more.
I know Ash Barty is probably one of the best. She knows everything about every player. Her tennis knowledge, her tennis IQ is impeccable. I hope to learn a little bit from her, as well. But I definitely enjoy watching the sport.
Q. Why did you keep playing tennis if you didn't like it?
JENNIFER BRADY: I didn't like to study. I didn't like school. I found that out real quick when I went to college. I was like, okay, studying isn't really for me. I'm not made for a desk job. I enjoy playing tennis.
So it took me to get away a little bit from the sport to realize that, okay, this is what I want to do.
Q. Your next opponent, you've only played the one time. What do you see in her game?
JENNIFER BRADY: She's crafty. She looks to move forward. Has an all-court game. She's really athletic.
I mean, I hope it will be a good, competitive match. Yeah, I'm looking forward to it.
Q. What were your earliest dreams as far as going deep in major tournaments?
JENNIFER BRADY: I didn't really have many dreams, to be honest. I would say if I did, this would definitely be one of them.
Q. How about now as far as that kind of abstract notion of keeping a dream alive to win a major every time you win on that road to the finals? What is that feeling like?
JENNIFER BRADY: I'll let you know when it happens. I'm not really looking ahead or looking to have those feelings yet. I'm just taking it one match at a time.
Q. Could you take us back to Beijing 2018 when you first met up with Michael and he hopped off the plane and you went to the practice courts. In the conversations you had then, then in the weeks following, what was the vision of how your game to change? How ambitious was he in terms of how he expressed to you what he thought you could do?
JENNIFER BRADY: I hate to correct you here, but it was 2019.
To be honest, we didn't even talk before. There was like a middle person who was engaging in conversation between the two of us. I literally had never said a word to him before we met. So it was extremely awkward once we met up in Beijing.
I didn't ask any questions. I just let him just take over, and I put my trust in him and believed that, okay, he's a great coach, he's a good person. I think whatever he tells me, I'm just going to do it.
That's how we developed our relationship. That's how it's been going ever since.
But I think he's given me the structure that I needed on the court, off the court. We've focused a lot on my serve, which as I think stats can tell has improved a lot.
I think my first-serve percentage is higher. I'm winning more points off my first serve. Also on my second serve. I think that definitely helps. That's the reason why I'm winning more matches.
Q. With you and Serena and Naomi, you were semifinalists in New York, now at the next hard court slam, what does that say about you and your game and where it belongs right now?
JENNIFER BRADY: I think it says a lot. They're obviously great, great tennis players, champions of the sport. To be categorized in the same group of them, I'll take that as an honor.
I think it's a huge achievement for me to make the semifinals here. I look to make the finals, so we'll see (smiling).
Q. Hsieh Su-Wei was watching your match and Instagraming about you.
JENNIFER BRADY: Oh, what an honor. You just made my day. I can't wait to see it (laughter).
Q. Talk about being a big fan of hers and what it means to have a legend be such a big fan of you?
JENNIFER BRADY: I'm speechless. Su-Wei, I'm honored. I love Su-Wei. She's awesome. I mean, her personality is very strange. She's a character. I think more people should watch this sport because of Su-Wei. The way she plays tennis is something that you have never seen before. I've played her several times and it's a pain in the ass. It's not easy. You have to stay focused on every single point because you don't know what Su-Wei is doing. I don't think Su-Wei knows what she's doing (smiling).
To know she was watching me, that's nice. Thanks, Su-Wei.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports