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February 26, 2021

Belinda Bencic

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Press Conference

B. BENCIC/C. Gauff

7-6, 6-7, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What is your emotion now? Relief or joy getting into the final?

BELINDA BENCIC: Definitely both. Of course, it's a big relief but also joy. I'm very proud of myself that I handled this match after all the ups and downs. Yeah, just the winning feeling, it's always a mix of relief and joy.

Q. Looked like a tough struggle out there. From your perspective, how tough was it physically and mentally, given that Coco came back a few times?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I mean, definitely very tough. Of course, I knew how good of an opponent she is. I definitely wasn't underestimating her. She has some amazing wins against very good players at this young age.

Yeah, I knew she's a big fighter. She always manages to come back from every score. I was kind of prepared for that.

I told myself that in the third set, that I have to stay really calm, try again, take the chance again. Of course, big respect to her, she's a great fighter.

Q. How are you physically? Are you tired?

BELINDA BENCIC: Right now, no. I will be tired for sure. I think I can handle one more match definitely. I think I'm physically well-prepared. Definitely for me practice is always more tough than matches, so actually I'm glad I'm playing the tournament.

Q. Did you have a look at the other semifinal at all?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I was looking a little bit at it. Of course, before your match you never really want to look at your next opponents before you even won. For sure, I knew both players. It's not really like I have to study them.

Of course, tomorrow it's going to be a super tough final. I'm just really glad I can play it. I have a little bit of my confidence back. I won some matches back-to-back, which is great. Yeah, I'm just going to enjoy it really.

Q. Is that easier said than done, given it is a final, to go out and enjoy it, not be overwhelmed by the pressure of it?

BELINDA BENCIC: Well, no. It's actually easier. It's pretty easy because she's for sure the favorite. I mean, even if I would be the favorite, I'm really not in that kind of mentality any more where I'm putting pressure on myself. I'm just playing tennis.

If I lose tomorrow or if I lose today, I have another chance next week, another chance the week after that. At some point maybe I'm going to win. That's definitely the goal. All the losses are worth the win after, so this kind of mentality.

Q. I had seen somewhere you maybe had practiced with a young Cori Gauff when she was younger. Is that accurate at all? What were your impressions even then?

BELINDA BENCIC: I had a short kind of hit with her in Miami Open. I think she was even younger back then. I cannot say really young but even younger. She was able to hit little bit with some of the, like, players from the Miami Open.

Of course, I was really impressed already then. Definitely you could see that she's really not the average player. Definitely big respect to her.

Q. You said you got back-to-back wins, your confidence is so much higher at this point than maybe coming into the tournament. Can you talk about where you feel that confidence we're seeing in how you're playing your game right now?

BELINDA BENCIC: Well, it's just general. I had a great pre-season, then in the Australian Open I really, like, felt like every ball I have to think about what I have to do to put the ball in the court, like technically and legs, totally off timing and everything. That's what I call not confident.

What I call confident is when you go to the court and you think about, like, where you're going to serve, where she's going to serve. You start thinking little bit more not about your game because you play the ball in the court automatic. Then you're able to kind of think about the tactics, the bigger things. So that's what I call more confident.

Of course, there's still like a certain level and I still can improve in that. But when someone is on like a roll, flow, that's what you call confident. Definitely I'm really happy I'm doing that better in my game, that it's just really going natural by instincts again.

Q. Does the game also slow down for you? Is that what it feels like? Or is it that you're just reacting seamlessly?

BELINDA BENCIC: Your reactions are like instincts. You don't think about it. It's just happening, everything. I'm playing tennis since I'm three years old. You wake me up at 2 a.m., I can still play the same type of movements. My brain knows what I have to do.

Yeah, of course, I think that's what's happening when you're confident. Everything just happens automatically and you can really focus on tactics and, like, mentality. You can tell yourself to focus, this and that. You don't have to tell yourself to finish your forehand low to high so it goes in the court.

Q. You look as fit as you ever have in your career. Talk about the process of where you find yourself fitness-wise now. Is it because there's things you have changed in your routine or is it just a matter of age, your body is just getting naturally stronger?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I mean, first of all I'm super glad. It helps my game so much because I'm definitely not a player that hits aces, return winners. I have to rely on my physical game a little bit. Of course, I'm also not a player that's only running. I have to be fit for my game. That's the goal for sure.

I think it's important to have the right people around you. We are tennis players. We are not experts in fitness. Therefore you need to have someone that really understands your game, can kind of coordinate the fitness program on your game so it goes together.

The movement, it's the same movement like you're doing on the court, but just explosiveness. The first steps for me really, I have natural endurance, but I definitely needed to be more explosive and, yeah, more quick. I hope I'm improving on that. That's definitely what I'm focusing on, what we are focusing on.

Q. What have you made of Iga's rise over the last 12 months? Playing her tomorrow, what will be the keys for you?

BELINDA BENCIC: Well, she's a young player that still has the careless swinging tennis. Of course, it's going very well for her. She has a different, little bit more unique game. It's working really well because, yeah, it's always better to play a little bit different than play like everyone else. It always makes it more tough for the opponents.

I practiced with her here a couple of times so I know what to expect. Hopefully I can just apply it on her and have a good day.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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