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February 27, 2021

Belinda Bencic

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Press Conference

I. SWIATEK/B. Bencic

6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I imagine there must have been a lot of positives this week. How are you feeling?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, definitely really disappointed, to be honest. Today was definitely not my day. I just didn't find a way to kind of even, like, get into the match.

But after all I think it was a really positive week. I didn't expect to be in the final here. I think we did like a good bit of work coming from how I played in the Australian Open and before that to coming here. So I definitely feel much more comfortable on the court.

I just want to take this momentum into the next tournaments, kind of take this like as a little bit of a like boost.

Q. You've had five wins in Australia. Has it been worth it, making the trip, given the difficult two weeks?

BELINDA BENCIC: Well, I mean, it's difficult to say. Of course, it's worth it to play a tournament. You always kind of have to take the chance to play. You never know if you're going to win or lose, play bad, play good. Of course, it didn't make it easier, the hard lockdown. I had a very good pre-season, then it kind of set me off completely. I wasn't really playing well in Melbourne.

But I managed to win or be in the third round, which is pretty good. I did the best I could out of this situation, in my opinion. Now it's time to look forward and forward. That's what I'm trying to do. I feel like I'm on the right path.

Q. Last night was a long match. Did it take it out of you for today's match?

BELINDA BENCIC: No, I don't think so. Maybe more mentally than physically. Physically I felt totally fine. Mentally, yeah, I felt like today I was not in the same kind of state, kind of vision that I had yesterday. I felt little bit off. I was struggling kind of with her game little bit. I never knew where she's going to play. She played, yeah, like it was overwhelming for me.

Yeah, I definitely think I can regroup now and try to take this experience because I didn't have a lot of, like, close matches like this. I definitely need to get back into the rhythm of this, kind of take it as normal. If you practice it every day, it's not as significant any more like it was yesterday.

Yeah, sure there's more positives than negatives this week.

Q. What about the health of the women's game in general? Is it the strongest that you've seen the women's game since you began playing?

BELINDA BENCIC: It's very difficult to say. I think every era has the strong players. Especially in the women's game, it's not just three players dominating for a century, it's really more wide.

I definitely feel like anyone can win the tournament any time a tournament starts. Barely something happens that someone predicts the winner correct. It's definitely stronger like in the wide. Yeah, everyone is just stronger. It's not just top 10. I think that has changed for sure.

But, yeah, I think it's a good level. We are trying to improve. I think the age is going down so many more younger players coming up, which is good to see.

Q. If I'm not mistaken, this was the first time you played Iga at tour level. What did you make of how she played today and what she's been able to achieve over the last few months?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, obviously big things. I think she has a really big game. It's very unique. I struggled a lot today with how different she played. I just couldn't figure out, like, her patterns or her serve or anything at all.

Then kind of my game not fell apart but I just couldn't get into my game at all. So I think that's what she does well. Of course, she does a good job. For now she's very freely, still very confident. For sure very impressive and congratulations to her.

Q. Obviously there were fans this week, probably there aren't going to be that many in the coming weeks. Is there an adjustment of getting used to again having a crowd, then not playing with a crowd? Are you able not to pay attention to that at all?

BELINDA BENCIC: Definitely, there's positive vibes when there is a crowd. I didn't play much last year. I just played Rome. It was kind of, yeah, I don't know. It was just not the same feeling because I didn't play like on a big stadium court.

I played in Australian Open two matches with fans, then I went onto the third match without fans, which I was like so shocked. I was overwhelmed how lonely it was, just the atmosphere. You can feel everything completely different.

Here it felt like normal again, which was so nice. I appreciated it much more. Of course, when you're playing with fans and suddenly there's no fans, you know something is, like, wrong. So, yeah, I definitely appreciated this week. I'm super glad I played here in Adelaide, all the people welcoming us as players.

Q. In terms of the feeling of being in a final again, even though today didn't go your way, how did it feel for you?

BELINDA BENCIC: Definitely good. I mean, it was nice to win some matches back-to-back. Of course, being in the final, it's always a good feeling. I'm taking it like this way.

I played the final in Luxembourg little bit again building my confidence. That was a start for a good next year. I hope and feel this can also be a good start for the future tournaments because it's not only that I played the final somehow, but I really found my game again, found how I'm playing little bit better. I'm feeling like I'm on an upwards, like, positive road.

Q. You mentioned in your last press conference and today about how unique Iga's game is. You practiced with her a couple times. Is it just the patterns are unpredictable? Is it the heaviness?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, first of all it's the unpredictable-ness. I think she plays everything just little bit different than I'm expect to. So not the usual patterns which you would expect. I think I'm a pretty good anticipator. But today it was a little bit off, of course, thanks to her game.

Then I think she plays definitely with much more, like, spin and heaviness. Also the balls you think you can reach are just like jumping over you. It makes it harder to make a defense, to kind of counter-punch.

Q. With the positivity that you're taking away from this week, leaving with your game in a better spot, do you feel mentally and physically refreshed for the next coming weeks or do you want to turn off for a few days?

BELINDA BENCIC: No, definitely when I'm playing well, I definitely want to use this kind of momentum going on for me. Of course, when you play well, you are more mentally, like, refreshed. When you're playing bad and you lose first round every time, you just want to go home and not play. Then maybe sometimes it's better to make a break and kind of, like, make finish from the bad streak and start new.

I think now that I'm playing well, it's more fun to be on the court. Of course, you need to achieve this with hard work and everything. Mentally it's of course more enjoyable when you feel confident in yourself and you have a good game than when you're struggling all the time.

In Melbourne, it was really difficult for me. I was struggling every day with practices and with matches. I just couldn't get into it. Now here I feel like I'm better. It's not like I can go home anyway (smiling).

Q. Is there anything in hindsight you would have liked to have done differently in the match? The double-faults, was that a big game changer?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I'm kind of thinking about it. I would definitely start differently. I'm not sure in which direction yet, but something I would change. I would just not go to the match approaching the same tactics that I have. I'm not sure which other tactics to use, but for sure I would come up with something when I would be able to go on the court again.

Definitely I think the double-faults, again, I'm not so confident on my second serve yet. The first thing you're off when you're not practicing is the serve, and after is the return, then it's the shots after serve and return. So, yeah, I think I lost that little bit in quarantine.

I felt super comfortable practicing that and putting focus on it. I tried to practice everything in my room, but the serve was really not possible because the ceiling was really low.

Yeah, right now I'm not so confident on my serve. But I think I improved. In Melbourne it was much, much worse. Also I think it's a result that she was serving well, so I felt little bit more pressure on my service games. I think it's also a factor.

Sometimes people say, She played really bad. But it's also a result of how your opponent makes you feel, just how the game goes, how much pressure that no one can see from outside is in there.

Q. Have you and your team mapped out your schedule?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, well, I think the schedule is pretty clear. I'm going to fly to Doha tomorrow evening, have a late start. Hopefully that will be well. Then, of course, Dubai is a 1000 tournament. Then Miami is the focus as well because it's a 1000.

After that, I was supposed to play the Fed Cup, sorry, the Billie Jean Cup, and that got canceled. Not really sure. I think after Miami, it's time to transition to the clay season. I will play Stuttgart.

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