June 11, 2021
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Talk to me about this journey. You got together in Miami. I think you had 20 minutes to decide to play. Here you are in the Roland Garros final. What was that like?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, well, because we spoke I think in Doha or Dubai. We were signed up for Miami. The partner I was supposed to play with wasn't going to play Miami. It was coming down to the wire. It was like 30 minutes before the sign-in closed. I was just kind of going down the ranking list. Who haven't I asked? I was, like, Iga. That would be fun.
I got her number from WTA, and I quick texted her. Hey, you've got to make a decision in a few minutes, but if you're up for playing dubs, let's do it. That's kind of how the partnership started. We did well in Miami.
IGA SWIATEK: That's how we were supposed to meet that way, you know. It's like in a hurry.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Kind of works out.
IGA SWIATEK: Exactly.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: We did great in Miami. Had some good wins. Made the semis. Came close. I think we lost in a breaker in the semis. Here we are, French Open, into the finals. Iga's first final. I'm pumped. It's always fun to be part of someone's first.
We've been playing better and better as each match has gone on. Each team we've played has been a little bit different, so I feel like we changed our game style a little bit. We have our game plan.
I think the great part about playing with Iga is we have so many different shots and so many different plays. We can play down the line. We can play both at net, can play both back. We can hit spin serves, hard serves.
I think with that dynamic, it makes us a really tough team to play against. It also makes it exciting. I love playing like that. I know Iga does, too. We have a lot of fun on the court.
Q. Bethanie, this is number six in major doubles, maybe ten overall, the title you're looking for here. You've done it with a lot of different partners. What do you think Iga is bringing to the table? Is it the young energy? You don't need that, so it must be something else.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I know I have a lot of energy, but I will take all the young energy I can get from Iga.
No, it was a little bit kind of what I said before. I think our games really complement each other. Actually Miami we were playing on the other side. I was playing forehand, Iga was playing backhand. We made the switch here at Roland Garros.
Honestly I think we can play both wings. I love that about our game style. We both are comfortable at net. We're both comfortable in the back. We're both comfortable moving. I mean, really if we play opponents that don't like lobs, I feel like we can do that. If they don't like hard shots, we can do that.
For me it's exciting to play with someone that has, like, such a big game like Iga's, so dynamic, so multifaceted. It's really a lot of fun. We can be creative.
She pulled out a tweener today. You didn't win it this time, but earlier in the tournament she played a shot like that and won the point. That she's willing to hit those in the midst of a match, that's what makes tennis fun, doubles fun.
I've said time and time again, doubles is about energy. We both keep up the energy out there. Even when the games are close, if we're down in games, we've come back from a lot of Love-40s, 15-40s, kept the games close, been able to close out all these matches so far. So it's been really good.
I'm talking too much, Iga. I'm going to let Iga answer the next question completely without my interrupting (laughter).
Q. I want to ask Bethanie a question. I'm sorry.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Okay.
IGA SWIATEK: (Leaving the room.)
Q. No, no, no, please stay (laughter).
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Stay.
Q. Bethanie, you look very energetic, you're playing with a lot of joy. Four years ago when you get that serious injury on your knee, did you have some doubt if you can come back? Did you even consider about stop playing like that? What have you gone through?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: In all honesty, I've probably had every range of emotion and thought possible between then and now. Has quitting come up? Of course. Has doubting, have those feelings of doubts come in? Could I ever make another final again in women's doubles? Could I ever play some singles matches again? Could I move like I did before the injury? Of course, all of those thoughts have come in.
I feel like I've learned a lot about myself in the process. One of those things that was difficult to kind of learn was the expectations I put on myself. I think a lot of times we compare who we are now to who we were in the past.
Even though I did a lot of great things in the past, you would think that's good, I have to let go of a lot of that. I have to let go not of just the injury, but let go of the results I had before my injury. I'm a different person now, a different player now. I've learned a lot.
I want to enjoy this moment without any comparison to how I played before. If I do have to compare it, right now I physically feel better than I ever have. I'm 36. I've been training my ass off. I've been working hard. I feel like I've become a smarter player, whether it's nutrition, whether it's training, whether it's recovery. I feel like every year you're on tour, you learn a little bit more about yourself.
I feel like right now I'm at the prime. The moment is all you've got. I'm really focused on that and enjoying that. One day I'll look back at the injury and talk maybe more about that, sort of the mental process I went through. There was a time where I had to address it, then there was a time where I had to sort of let it go and be the player I am now, whatever that is. Wherever my knee is at, my body, wherever my mind is at, that's who I've got to play with right now. That's my mindset.
Q. Iga, you were running a lot today. How are you physically for this match and for the final after being injured a couple days ago?
IGA SWIATEK: Well, you know, about that injury on my singles match, I wouldn't call it an injury because I think from all these stress and emotions, I was feeling everything twice as much than I should. It wasn't that bad.
For sure the day off yesterday helped me a lot. We did some recovery. We are working hard to get my body ready. But really when you finish playing in singles, it's always much, much easier because obviously doubles is important as well, but for singles player all the pressure is like gone because doubles is mostly like fun for me. I don't have any expectations. Finals is great for me. It's going to be my first final. It's better than I thought it's going to be (smiling).
So yeah, I mean, all the pressure for me is out right now. I feel more relaxed. I feel like I loosened up. That's great. You could see that today on my serve basically. Yeah, I mean, physically with that attitude I'm going to feel much, much better. I'm not worried about that.
Q. Iga, I know you'd love to be in Sunday's final, sorry that you're not, but could you give me a comment on what you think of both players? Nastia, her 52nd slam, Barbora, we know her story, rapid climb in the last year, the connection with Jana Novotna. Do you have any thoughts on it?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, no. I've known Pav for a long time. I'm really happy to see her results come at a slam right now. Even for Bara, you have a young gun like Iga doing well as slams, then some veteran players that have been playing a lot of years, a lot of matches under their belts, still be able to play some of their best tennis.
I think it will be an exciting final. It will be interesting how their games match up. They're sort of both in unknown territories. It could go one of two ways. Either you play with nothing to lose or you feel a lot of pressure. Maybe a little bit of both, which I think is okay.
I think nerves are maybe underrated a little bit. I think it's good to have them. It's kind of like why we play, for these exciting moments, to play in front of crowds. It's nice here at French Open we do have a little bit of a sense of that crowd energy.
I'll be tuning in to the final. I think it's going to be some great tennis. Bara is making finals of both too. What a story. She's a machine. I just asked her if she set up a sleeping bag or a tent in the locker room, hanging out here night and day.
It's just nice to see some players that love playing tennis, are out there for the love of the game, doing so well at this stage in their career. My hat is off to both of them. I think it will be a great final.
Q. What are your comments about your final?
IGA SWIATEK: I mean, we just finished the semifinal so I hadn't been thinking about it. But for sure, as I said, I'm going to play without any expectations because I think we already did a great job. We're going to for sure be pumped. Bethanie is going to give a lot of energy like that.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yes, I'll be energy.
IGA SWIATEK: If our game is going to be there, we can do anything. I'm just excited and looking forward to it.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I like it, yeah.
We're definitely enjoying the semifinal win right now. I think you have to celebrate the small wins along the way because otherwise tennis is a long journey. If you're just celebrating if you get trophies, it could be few and far between.
Even I saw Nastia, I saw Pav in the locker room the other day after her semifinal, I was telling her congrats. I was, like, Enjoy the moment now till the final. That's still its own moment. Just making the finals, having those feelings and emotions. We'll have a day off tomorrow.
IGA SWIATEK: Mini holidays.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Yeah, mini holiday.
It's still enjoying the moment, you're still in the tournament. As a player walking around the last couple of days, the locker rooms are empty, the cafe is empty, the restaurant is empty. You have your own private free security guards walking with you. It's just a different feel.
You have to just take it all in. You never know what's going to happen the next week, the next year. I think it's all about staying in the moment. Sunday will come, we'll be ready, we'll bring the energy. Till then we're going to enjoy the next couple days.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports