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May 3, 2021

Belinda Bencic

Madrid, Spain

Press Conference

B. BENCIC/O. Jabeur

7-6, 4-3 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You were up a set and 4-3 when unfortunately she had to pull out. Talk about the match, the unfortunate ending.

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I mean, for sure I felt terrible for her. She's such a nice person. We are good friends. You never want this to happen to anyone. For sure I wish her the best recovery. Maybe it's good she stopped to not make it worse in front of important tournaments.

But, yeah, overall I thought we played a great match. There was no breaks at all in the whole match. I think her serving was great. I think it was a good level. I'm definitely happy with how I played and everything. But for sure I didn't want to win like this.

Q. Your next opponent is either Badosa or Sevastova. Thoughts on a potential matchup?

BELINDA BENCIC: For sure I'm going to watch. I played both players. I played Badosa recently, I lost. If I play her for sure I can improve and maybe try to beat her. Sevastova I know well. I'm not sure if I played her in official match, but we practice together and everything.

Yeah, it will definitely be interesting who wins today. I'll see and prepare tactic.

Q. This is the first time this year you put together a three-match winning streak. Has that helped improve your confidence that you can do well on clay against all comers?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I mean, I started to play better again also in the previous tournaments. I had very, like, close losses, just something happened. But it's not like I've been really playing bad.

I always feel like the work you put in, it takes some time to kind of go into the matches. It's not always that you practice one day, then the next day you play an amazing match. It's always little bit stretched out.

For sure I was struggling little bit in Australia, trying to find my form, like having not a new pre-season, but kind of like getting into it again. I think it's showing now. I think I'm playing well and I'm trying to do the right things. Also when I'm losing the match, also in every practice. I'm glad it's working out.

Q. Saturday you had an unusual circumstance when the lights went out close to midnight. Was there ever any doubt in finishing out the match? What was it like experiencing something as odd as that?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I mean, it was for sure very odd. It happened at a very, very difficult time. But my thoughts were either it will go well or it will go terrible. It's not like I was very close to the finish line, but she was, as well. I kind of was thinking about we have the same situation, we both have to deal with this. It's late. It's cold. It was not ideal, of course.

I just really tried to kind of accept it, play the next point, kind of get the win. Of course, it could have gone both sides. I think it was a great match, as well. Yeah, happy that I kind of stayed tough and won.

Q. You've had good success here in Madrid. You've also had good success in Charleston. I know your relationship with clay is always a little bit tenuous. Can you talk about why you think it is those two specifically clay court events have been pretty good grounds for you?

BELINDA BENCIC: I mean, for sure I think Charleston it's the green clay, so it's little bit faster than the normal clay. It also depending which court you play on. Center court can have a little bit more clay on it. The other courts a little bit less. It can be a little bit rainy. It depends on the conditions.

Madrid, it feels of course like clay, but it feels a little bit more like indoor. The center court, it's very open, still if the roof is open. But the other courts, the one I played today and the one I played my first round, the roof is not so big so it feels very indoor and very close.

The court plays fast. It's a little bit of altitude here. I mean, it's good conditions. They suit me. It's pretty fast. It's for sure a faster clay than normally.

Generally every match I play on it, it's better for me, it's good for me. I'm trying to play as much as I can, trying to getting better every day.

Q. Today was a bit of a serve fest out there with you and Ons holding serve. With respect to your serve, how important it is in your game? Talk about that shot a little bit and how much you have to focus on it and manage it during the clay season where the threat of being broken is higher.

BELINDA BENCIC: Yes, I mean, exactly. I think my serve was always, like, pretty solid. Of course, sometimes you have little bit ups and downs with it as well. You have your rhythm, you lose your rhythm again. I haven't been serving that well this year. I think also Australia I was little bit struggling. Then you have to get into it and everything.

I'm definitely working on my serve a lot right now. I'm really happy it's showing. I'm really serving good. I have a good mindset when I go. Also I have to remember that I'm still a great return player, as well. Even if a break happens, which is totally normal, especially in the women's tennis sometimes, I can always go to the next game and break any time. I'm really happy about that. It's important to keep that in mind because that takes the pressure off, as well, from the serve.

I mean, I wasn't able to break today, but of course, Ons, she served perfectly. I still think I am a good returner. I think it's important to have both of it.

Q. The match against Badosa in Charleston, what do you think was the difference in that match? If you play her, what do you take into it to flip the result?

BELINDA BENCIC: I mean, the difference is definitely going to be that now I know her. Before Charleston, I have never practiced with her, I've never kind of played a match with her. I have to get used to it.

In the second set I was fighting. I won somehow. Still I wasn't feeling so comfortable on the court generally with my game, and of course hers as well.

Definitely if I play her now, I know exactly what to do, which gives me a good feeling. Yeah, so I think that's going to be the key, to play my game, but as well to know what she's going to do and kind of adapt the tactics.

Q. What are your thoughts on what it feels like to be able to play in front of a crowd again.

BELINDA BENCIC: It's so important. It's such a good feeling where you know you have a court where the crowd is allowed. Unfortunately today I wasn't on a court with a crowd. Still like even the days before, it feels so nice. Even when you are watching a match and you hear the clapping, it's everything to us. It means everything to us.

I hope really that soon the tournaments are going to pick up this again because I think the sport is more fun like this. For sure playing for us players, it's also more fun. It gives you more motivation. It feels very, very silent on the court when you have no crowd. It feels really practice match like. Yeah, definitely love it. I'm really happy for everyone who is coming.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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