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September 12, 2021

Diede De Groot

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

D. de GROOT/Y. Kamiji

6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Thoughts on the match.

DIEDE de GROOT: I think looking in the past, Yui and myself have been playing better matches. I think in the past we played better matches. For me the pressure was on. I definitely felt it.

Also after such a long time of traveling and just being everywhere in the world, also I think both of us are a little bit tired. I think you could see it in the match unfortunately.

I think for me the best part was just to take it, I guess.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I asked Yui as someone who has played you so many times to talk about your game a little bit. She said she feels like you've improved quite a lot since after Rio to now. Do you feel that way? If so, what do you think you have improved?

DIEDE de GROOT: You mean about Yui?

Q. About you. She feels you have improved.

DIEDE de GROOT: Yeah, no, definitely. No only have I improved, but I'm also five years older. I think tennis really is a sport where experience means so much. You can use it in your game. So, yeah, I think not only have I improved my shots, I've also gained so much experience that I can now use it in my matches.

Q. Would you like to expand on how you feel that you've completed the Golden Slam. You said before you were not thinking about it. Are you thinking about it now?

DIEDE de GROOT: Yes, I'm thinking about it now.

I think, like, it's a way to sort of focus on the right things, to just focus match for match. I did that very well this tournament. I think in the final now it sort of showed I was a little bit nervous, I wasn't really I guess on top of my game. So, yeah, I think everyone could see there was pressure to get that Golden Slam.

So happy to have it. I just can't wait to go home, celebrate it with my family, friends, everyone that has supported me in the past few weeks. I know a lot of people have been watching all of the games. Seeing as there's a lot of time difference between here and home, and also between Tokyo, I know they've been staying up late in the night.

Yeah, it's just great to go home I guess.

Q. (Question about things coming together for the Golden Slam in the calendar.)

DIEDE de GROOT: I think for a long time it wasn't possible because Wimbledon didn't have a singles event. For a few years now they've had it, five years now. Yeah, it's just great to see the tour and the professionalism going up each year I guess.

Yeah, it's just great to see how so many things are possible. To be the first one to actually get that title is just so special. I don't think I will ever forget that.

Q. (Question about professionalism going up.)

DIEDE de GROOT: I think just like the view on the game. Playing singles at Wimbledon. For a long time they've been saying, We don't think it's possible, whereas the players said, We just want to try. They saw it was possible. You know what, we're going to do it.

I think that's the kind of attitude that we need as wheelchair tennis players. Play on the big stage, play our singles match on Armstrong, that's just such a professional move. Those kind of things are needed for us as players to keep improving as well.

I think it motivates us. We will work harder when people work harder for us. Yeah, that's sort of how I mean.

Q. There are two more guys trying to do Grand Slams today, Dylan and Novak. Do you have any advice for what they need to do?

DIEDE de GROOT: Yeah, I think it's funny. I read this statement I think from Novak: All of us are on the top game. It's just whoever keeps their head together.

It was something like this.

I think it really has been the main goal for me over the past few weeks really. There's a lot of pressure on it. There's a lot of pressure from the outside. You need to manage that. You need to sort of focus on the things that you need to focus on. Hopefully they manage to do it as well.

Q. All year you've dealt with a lot of people like myself asking you about the golden slams. You've done so well at not talking about it. I wonder what are the feelings? Joy? Relief?

DIEDE de GROOT: I think a little bit of everything. There's definitely a lot of joy. I think after the match there was also a lot of relief. Maybe that came first and then came the joy.

Yeah, no, like I've been saying, there's so much pressure on it. Sometimes that makes you just work towards the goals and not really enjoy it as much. So I'm really just looking forward to now have completed this and enjoy the rest of the season, play without a little bit of pressure I guess.

Q. Have you done anything physically or psychologically to reduce the pressure?

DIEDE de GROOT: I really have been trying to focus, play match for match, point by point. I had a little dip of serve in the final. I couldn't really find the rhythm with it. So really I just told myself, It doesn't matter if you lose all of your service games, just play point for point, see how many points you can get in the game.

As soon as I thought that, you know what, 15-Love, 30-Love. That's why I sort of went from there. I think that has been the way to do it, just focus on what you have to do, not think about the outcome.

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