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February 22, 2021

Belinda Bencic

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Coming in after the Australian Open how are you feeling after several weeks of tournaments under your belt and kind of how does that feel?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I feel pretty good. I'm trying to practice as much as possible, trying to play as much as possible, and for sure looking for all the tournaments now that I can play. So yeah, I think it's getting a little bit better and for sure it's just trying to improve every day.

Q. How about the tournament here itself? You came here last year, how do you enjoy having tennis back here in Adelaide, the facility and the stadium? What's it like for you as a player?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I like it here very much. Last year was my first year and I feel very comfortable here. It's really nice for the players. It's a nice facility. The center court is very nice, also under the roof.

Yeah, it just feels comfortable, so I'm happy to be here.

Q. Is there anything you and your team kind of specifically focused on to practice this week for this tournament specifically going into the rest of the season?

BELINDA BENCIC: Not specific, just kind of my game, again, to be comfortable, like to feel the safety in my shots, to feel like safe in all departments of my game. Yeah, just to get that general like feeling hitting balls again back.

Q. We should have fans here every day throughout the tournament. What's that been like the last few weeks and especially this week with fans cheering you on?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, of course it's a very big difference. Of course you realize it only after when you don't have fans, then you appreciate them more. Of course I'm really happy that they're going to be here and hopefully there is going to be a lot of people coming.

Q. What is kind of the information that you were able to take out of kind of how you played at the Australian Open in terms of where your game is and like what were you happy with, surprised with, maybe, and where did you feel like, okay, we need to maybe accelerate getting certain things back?

BELINDA BENCIC: Well, generally with my game at the Australian Open I was not like near anywhere where I could be satisfied with how I'm playing, but of course that was not surprising. I was already expecting that. Of course on the court it's very frustrating and sometimes embarrassing.

But that's okay. Like, I have to, or I was really happy with how I accepted the fact and I was just playing with what I have at the moment. Of course I was really trying to put my heart into it. I tried to fight, but of course it also has its limits, so I was not surprised how it ended in the third round.

But yeah, I'm really proud of myself that I managed to beat two good players in the first rounds and be in the third round. So, frustrating, of course, that I didn't make it more far. I was feeling very, very good in the pre-season and, but also it could have been worse.

Q. You had to have been happy with just how you competed, though. I felt like especially like the first match, no idea kind of how you're going to come out of everything, to kind of battle through, because I would think that at the start of the season, regardless of the circumstances, that it could be the most stressful because you have zero comparison. It would be easier, I would think, to completely stress out when it's not happening. But you were able to get two good wins.

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, it's true. It's true. But of course, you know, if you have the matches and you play a lot of matches you also learn how to fight and how to stay mentally in. So when you're not playing those matches you also kind of mentally lose the training or like the repetition of important moments or like deuce or break points and stuff like this.

So I think this was very difficult. And yeah, I tried to play loose and just play, but of course it's a Grand Slam, so you're not wanting to be like, oh, I don't care about anything. But, of course, yeah, it was a little bit difficult. I just tried to do what I could at this moment and of course I want to improve now every tournament. Of course I don't think it's going to be perfect again from the start, but I think I can improve always a little bit.

Q. Does it give you any sense of at least comfort that you're not the only one that feels that way, that everybody, I feel like is, yeah, having to deal with one extra variable as we're trying to play right now and it leads to a lot of unexpected performances, results, good and bad?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yes, for sure. It's the same for everyone. Everyone has to deal with the same conditions and same circumstances, so of course it's never an excuse. You go to the court and you try your best way possible and it's the same for opponent, but you don't even look that way. You just focus on yourself in this moment.

So, yeah, it's true, in Australian Open, okay, some people had different circumstances than other people, but we can't do anything about that and some people played better coming out of quarantine, some played worse, because it's very individual, if you are a person that needs a lot of practice, if you are a person that doesn't need to practice so much, or just has different kind of approach to the tournament.

So, yeah, I think it's most important it's not to look at other people, what they are doing, but it's important to just listen to yourself and try to make your own way. For some people it's going to come back right away, for some people it's going to come back later. So it doesn't matter. I'm just going to focus on myself and I really don't care what everyone is saying. So, yeah, that's my approach.

Q. For you, irrespective of everything that happened at the Australian Open, but even the beginning of the season, can you make normal goals or expectations or hopes for yourself in this season or are you being more kind of free-flowing because everything's kind of free-flowing at the moment?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I think that was a little bit the idea in the pre-season. I kind of like -- it was going really well for me, like I felt sometimes you feel bad in pre-season, sometimes you feel really good physically and, like, from your game. Then I was getting my hopes up. I was really thinking that I can have a good result, but then like everything changed and there were so many problems and like circumstances and of course sometimes miracles just don't happen so you have to accept it.

Now I'm definitely more like I just want to play as much as I can. I just want to like give the best that I can and we will see where that goes. Of course I started to be more like when I was getting into the top-10. Now I'm not in the top-10, but I'm close to it, so you make your goals and expectations a little bit higher, but now I think it's difficult again, but not from like a tennis perspective but from the circumstances.

So I think we just have to be really happy to be playing at the moment. I think I am definitely very grateful that we can play and I just want to make the best out of it.

Q. You were mentioning it's so individual. Everybody kind of prefers one thing or the other. Right now for you are you craving match play? Are you craving practice? Like, what is it that you feel like you need the most right now?

BELINDA BENCIC: I definitely crave match play. I definitely need to get in that rhythm of match play and of like tournaments. So now we have many tournaments in a row. It's also because we can't go home right now. At home it's 14-days quarantine, so I'm kind of stuck on the road, so I just got to play every tournament I can because I have no other choice. It's definitely what I need right now. Of course I need practice as well, but I definitely need those matches and definitely need to get in the rhythm of like also mentally, like the match thinking, like it's a whole rhythm, you know, you just get in the zone in the court if you are playing a lot.

I just have to get in that stage where I don't think any more about what I have to do on the court. Now right now it's just trying to improve everything and it's a lot of like focusing on this stuff, but you play your best tennis when you don't have to think about your game, it just happens.

Q. When you left for Australia was Switzerland under a 14-day or did that change when you were away? In other words did you expect that you would be away for this long?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, well, I was on Christmas I was in Slovakia with my boyfriend and then we went to Switzerland for like a belated Christmas and then we left Australia from Switzerland.

But after here my dog is currently in Switzerland, but my clothes are in Slovakia, so I'm like, yeah, it's very difficult logistically. So I think I can go to Switzerland right now, but in Slovakia it's a 14-day quarantine. But I think in Switzerland it's a 10-day quarantine. So I don't know (laughing).

I thought I could stay here in Australia and be kind of like a normal person, but it's quarantine here as well (laughing), so I'm just trying to kind of survive and take it day by day.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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