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February 15, 2021

Jennifer Brady

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

J. BRADY/D. Vekic

6-1, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Jen, through to another quarterfinal. How do you feel?

JENNIFER BRADY: I feel relieved. Excited but a little bit relieved. Yeah, I mean, happy to be in the quarterfinals here in Melbourne.

Q. Why relieved?

JENNIFER BRADY: I was just, just a couple of the matches, I was feeling a little bit tense closing out the match, especially not this match but the previous round. Just putting a little bit extra pressure on myself. But yeah, I think, I mean, I shouldn't say relieved, like a little bit of relief at the end, but not complete, fully, yeah.

Q. Just with the hard lockdown was a massive issue a couple weeks ago. What's the secret? How did you get through it and others didn't?

JENNIFER BRADY: I mean, I think pretty much everyone got through it. But a lot of people were complaining and I told myself I wasn't going to complain. I mean, there's way worse things going on in the world than me being stuck in a hotel room for 14 days. Tennis Australia provided us with a bike. The last few days I had a treadmill. I had weights. I was able to train to work out. It was a small hotel room, but I was able to do everything that I needed to do to stay as fit as possible. If I started feeling bad for myself or started complaining, I think it would have made the 14 days a lot harder than it was. There were a couple of us that were pretty positive and tried to each day just be like, okay, only five more days and, yeah, we're out.

Q. Was the mental side the hardest?

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, I think so. Like I said, just trying to stay as positive as possible. We weren't the only ones doing hard lockdown. Every Australian that comes home has to do the hard lockdown. Of course we're trying to prepare and be as fit as possible before playing a Grand Slam, but things happen and things happen for a reason, so...

Q. Before you came to Australia in the off-season did you spend much time in the fitness training and do you think it paid off?

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, I spent a lot of time in the gym working on getting stronger, fitter, yeah, and I think coming into Australia I was definitely feeling really fit and that definitely helps. If you're not able to practice or train the way that you want to, I think, I don't think you really lose your fitness levels in two weeks if you're still staying active, training, doing everything you can. So I think coming into the tournament being fit definitely helped.

Q. If you think back to maybe a year ago, how surreal is it now for you and Jessica to be meeting in a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the two of you, and then also how do you kind of set that aside and what would be your approach to playing her because she's playing some great tennis?

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, I think -- I mean, I'm super excited for her making her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. I know the emotions that she's feeling. It's, you feel like you're on cloud nine, definitely. She's playing great tennis. We have played before. I think we both know each other so well and, yeah, I'm really looking forward to it. It will be a lot of fun. I think everyone back home in America will be watching, definitely, and there's guaranteed American in the semi-final.

Q. You've won so many matches lately, but I think it's, what I've noticed is just the nature of how you've won them. Almost all of them have been in straight sets and I just wonder if that's been something about your focus or your killer instinct that you've really honed in the last couple months, maybe dating back to the States when you were winning all those matches that is working for you.

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, I think during the matches I'm not drifting in and out with focus. I'm staying present. I'm trying to win every single point that I play regardless of the score, regardless of if -- if I'm down 40-Love in a game I'm still trying to come back and win that game. So I think just trying to stay as present as possible and focus on each and every single game I'm giving myself the best opportunity at making it straight sets. And, yeah, definitely, I think every match that I'm playing I'm gaining confidence and, yeah, there's not much that I feel, I don't feel like I have many weaknesses on the mental side right now.

Q. On the court interview you said that going to UCLA is one of the best choices you made in your career. There are more Bruins in the doubles, Ena Shibahara, so I was wondering if you know her in person. And also can you talk about the benefit of going to UCLA and maybe is it an advantage?

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, I know Ena pretty well. She's one of the kindest, sweetest very nice girls on tour here. I'm super happy for her that she's having success, both her and her partner, Shuko. They're very nice people and I wish them all the best and hope that they continue to play well. And, yeah, I think our coaches at UCLA were great coaches, Stella and Rance, and we were, both of us are pretty fortunate to have them as coaches at UCLA. I left the year that she came in, so I wasn't able to spend any time on the team with her, but from other players on the team and staff also, they said the same thing, she's very nice and she works really hard.

Q. Stella Sampras?

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, Stella Sampras.

Q. Naomi was in here the other day and she said that the US Open semi-final against you was one of the top two matches of her life that she's played. I wanted to ask you what you thought when you heard that because obviously you came close to beating her. Yeah, what do you make of that kind of assessment from her?

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, I think that's, I think I can take confidence away from this interview from that, but I think that was just a really high quality match from both of us. During the match I felt like, I was like, wow, this is a great match. It got to a point where I was feeling like I didn't want it to end. I was just having so much fun. It was hard hitting. We were both playing so many good points and unfortunately there was only one winner and it was her. But, yeah, I think to know that that was one of her top two matches -- unfortunate but also reassuring.

Q. What are your thoughts as friends, contemporaries, Americans on the success that the three of you, you, Shelby, and Jess are having at the same time, and what the similarities and differences are among you?

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, it's great to see. The three of us are pretty close. We're all good friends and I think that Americans are, we have a good camaraderie. I think each one of us plays very different. Jess hits flatter through the court. Shelby has a really strong kick serve. I'm looking to hit as many forehands as possible.

But, yeah, I think it's great to see that we're all here in Australia making the second week and there's going to be an American in the semifinals.

Q. How about personalities, what are the similarities and differences?

JENNIFER BRADY: I would say they are both a little bit more fiery than I am. I'm a little bit more laid back. I mean, they are as well, but I mean, they're very nice girls.

Q. With the hard lockdown for those two weeks, what would you say was the most difficult part physically and/or mentally of that time, and what, if anything, was maybe a benefit?

JENNIFER BRADY: Yeah, I would say the hardest part was there were days when I just didn't want to do anything. Just trying to get myself just to do something, to move around, to not just lay in bed all day and eat. So, yeah, it got to a point where there was some days like that. And then I think it was a little bit of a benefit for me, just taking a break from tennis. I had been going non-stop since World TeamTennis in June. I didn't take any time off. I was playing from June and then played US Open, the U.S. tournaments, and then went straight to Europe, then finished there and was training in Europe then went home for Christmas and then came and started in Abu Dhabi. So obviously I didn't really feel super fresh mentally coming into Abu Dhabi. And then when I was away from tennis for two weeks I felt like I wanted to play again to compete and I think that helped me.

Q. The semi in New York was such a great accomplishment. How did that change you as a player and a person? Do you feel more confident now? How are you different as a player? Just talk about that.

JENNIFER BRADY: I think just having the experience of making the semifinals. I think today I probably would have, if I didn't have that experience already today, it would have been maybe a little bit tougher conditions mentally for me to close out the match. Maybe it wouldn't have gone my way, to be honest.

Yeah, I think just the more matches you play, the further you go in tournaments, especially big tournaments, the more experience you gain, and then the more confidence you gain and then it helps you in those moments to believe in yourself and to close out matches.

Q. Everyone who talks about you describes you as hilarious, and you seem to be quite the social butterfly in terms of everybody seems to have some sort of experience with you around the tour and stuff. You're in Instagram comments left and right. I'm curious kind of what your experience is like because when we interact with you sometimes it seems like you're quite shy or soft spoken, but, I don't know, it seems like maybe that's not the case.

JENNIFER BRADY: I'm just trying to put on my best image. I'll trying to -- I don't know. Yeah, I categorize myself as a troll on the internet, definitely. I like, I like to give people shit, excuse my language, but, yeah, I am always down for a laugh to have a good time and hopefully I won't bore you anymore.

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