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July 6, 2021

Aryna Sabalenka

Wimbledon, London, UK

Press Conference


6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You said you felt like you were near tears at the end of the match against Elena. How were you feeling today?

ARYNA SABALENKA: I don't know. I was just so happy to be in this match. Today I wasn't crying. I was just really happy. Yeah, it was best moment so far.

Q. How does it feel to be finally translating the form you've been able to present at some smaller tournaments finally to a Grand Slam?

ARYNA SABALENKA: I didn't understand the question.

Q. How does it feel to finally be playing some of your best tennis at a Grand Slam?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, yeah, the tournament before Wimbledon, I was focusing on the few things, so I wasn't focusing on winning that tournaments.

Yeah, happy focus on the right things help me to be successful on the Grand Slam. So, yeah, that's something what I was working for. I really happy that it's working right now.

Q. You waited a long time for your first Grand Slam quarterfinal. How did it feel out there? How proud are you of how you handled this moment?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, the only thing I was thinking about is my game, to stay focused and to fight for every point, for every opportunity I had.

Today it's surprise me but I didn't feel that pressure of being in the quarterfinal for the first time. I was just enjoying the atmosphere and enjoying my game, just doing everything I can to win this match. So it was great performance for me.

Q. It feels like the British crowds are really behind you. What are your thoughts on that? Your semifinal opponent, Pliskova, what are your thoughts on that as well?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Really? Today was the first day they were behind me (laughter). Before they didn't support me that much. I'm really happy that today they were on my side. So hopefully they will keep supporting me the same like today.

So, yeah, I felt really amazing on the court. I was enjoying every second. Yeah, today people were unbelievable. Happy they were on my side.

Q. Your semifinal opponent, Pliskova, what are your thoughts ahead of that match?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, she's a great player. She's moving well right now. She's hitting balls really solid and serving well. It's going to be tough match but I'm really looking forward for this one.

As I said in on-court interview, I'll do everything I can to win that one.

Q. Since the end of last year you've been able to play consistently at a high level for a long time. What have you learnt about yourself in playing consistently, bringing a good level to most weeks? When people see your power, they might think you sometimes have highs and lows, but you've been able to be on an even level, if you understand.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, I have a great team behind me. We were working so hard to improve my game, to be able to play on this level consistently. Yeah, we've been working so hard. Really happy that all things came together right now.

And, yeah, I'm playing on this level. We are just focusing on my game, focusing what else we can improve. There is a lot of things to improve. This is where we put our focus. It's help me to be on this level actually.

Q. You're only 23 years old, but somehow for a lot of people they feel like you should have already been making semis at slams and stuff. In your opinion, did it feel like a long time coming? Was there any frustration along the way? Or did it feel like, No, I'm still young, I'm going to get there anyway?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, I'm already 23 years old firstly (laughter). Yeah, I was struggling on the Grand Slams with all emotions going through. After every slam I was so disappointed about myself that I can't handle this pressure.

Yeah, I actually thought that I will never make it to the second week. Yeah, we worked a lot with my psychologist and with my coach. Yeah, so we worked a lot.

Really happy that here in Wimbledon I'm on the second week, I'm still in the tournament, and I still have this opportunity to win a slam. I will do everything I can to reach my goal.

Q. What specifically did you tell yourself to get the belief?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Just breathe. It's okay, you can do it. Keep fighting. Keep doing everything you can.

That's it. Actually, that's it (smiling).

Q. What do the names of the champions on the trophy mean to you, like Martina and Serena and the others? In what way does that affect your thinking from the time maybe you were young until now about this tournament?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Hmm. I think Serena maybe when I was younger, I liked how she dominate on the tour, yeah.

Q. I mean, here at Wimbledon, the great champions who have won this, what sort of thoughts do you have as you pursue an opportunity in a couple of matches to possibly join them?

ARYNA SABALENKA: I'm trying to focus to actually don't really think about this. I'm trying to focus on my game, to prepare myself as good as I can for the next match.

I will think about this later. If it happen, I'll be really happy. If not, then I will focus on things which I have to improve. But hopefully I can keep going. Let's speak about this a little bit later.

Q. What is the best thing for you about playing on grass? What do you enjoy the most about this surface?

ARYNA SABALENKA: I don't know. Actually, I don't know. I just enjoy everything on this surface. It's actually tough to play on the grass, but I really enjoy every second on the court. It's about everything: about serving, about returning, about moving, about everything actually.

Q. You talk a lot about managing your emotions in the slams, overcoming doubts. How important was your victory over Katie Boulter in the second round to give you that feeling that you have the game but also maybe here at Wimbledon you're able to overcome these tricky situations? Is that the win that helped you breathe?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, actually that match was really important for me because she had some opportunities in the third set. I could easily lose it. But I'm really happy that I was able to compete there, I was able to fight, and I was able to find the way in that match.

Yeah, definitely that match shows me, like, I can go through different situation. I just have to believe in myself and fight and do everything I can and that's it. So that match was really important for me and I'm really happy that I won that one.

Q. Can you share with us a little bit about how you got started in tennis, your early years, how you emerged from a relatively small country not known for tennis champions, just your backstory.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, I don't know actually. Since I start playing tennis, I was just working, just enjoying, just fighting, just hitting the ball so hard. I wasn't really thinking about be on this level. I was just doing what I love and enjoy it.

Yeah, I don't know. Somehow I start winning small ITF tournaments. I mean, on that moment it was 10K, 25K. After I won my first 50K, I start to believe that I can actually do well. It's give me a lot of power. I just keep working, keep fighting.

I don't know. When I look back in my career, I'm like, How did I do it actually? How it happened?

Yeah, I don't know. I was just actually working so hard, giving everything I have, and here I am (smiling).

Q. You mentioned talking to a psychologist about trying to do better, have a better mindset at Grand Slams. What sort of things did you talk about that have helped you here?

ARYNA SABALENKA: I was talking a lot about, I don't know, just believe that I can do it, that everything I've done I deserve it, and I just have to keep working. Don't think that this is Grand Slam because when you're trying to don't think about anything, you start to think about it much more. So I kind of accept this situation that I'm under pressure on the Grand Slams. It's helps me to actually be able to show my level on the court.

It's easy things, but it's really not easy to do actually.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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