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January 29, 2022

Danielle Collins

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

A. BARTY/D. Collins

6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on a fantastic tournament. Could you tell us your emotions right now.

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, you know, not the result that I wanted obviously tonight, but I gave it my best effort. I did everything that I could. I was pushed to the max, and I gave myself a chance there in the end. Unfortunately it didn't go my way, but I did everything I could, and that's all you can do at the end of the day.

So it was a great event for me. Accomplished some new things. Learned a lot of new things. Certainly have some areas to improve, which is a good thing.

Yeah, played against a great competitor tonight and it was a fun battle.


Q. While there is extreme disappointment right at this moment, I'm sure, do you think in a few days' time you'll really get to appreciate what you've achieved over these last two weeks?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I think right now I'm disappointed but I think that we're going to have some time to celebrate everything that I accomplished this week with the people here supporting me. It's a great moment for me regardless of the outcome today, and I knew that before going into the match.

Yeah, so gonna take some time to celebrate a little bit and enjoy some time here in Melbourne and do some of the things that we wanted to do but were busy with the tournament, so I'm really looking forward to that.

Q. Great eloquent speech after the match, very touching. I wanted to ask if you felt like being in a slam final in that environment out there with the crowd so for Ash and your first context of that, did it have an impact on you mentally and how you felt you played relative to that?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, it's not easy going out and playing someone pretty much on their home court, on home soil, in the finals of a major, but this is what we live for in sports, right? These are incredible moments that you don't get to experience very often.

It was a real honor to be out there. I tried to embrace every moment, I tried to get the crowd fired up. I tried to get myself into it, did everything I could.

You know, even though the crowd was clearly for Ash, I felt like I had a lot of really great support there, which was great for me, being in that situation.

Yeah, it was a fun battle.

Q. Congratulations. There was a moment in the second set where there was someone heckling you after a missed serve and then afterwards you kind of giving it back to them. How much did you enjoy getting fired up by that? You played really well in that stretch after that.

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I mean, that kind of stuff only helps me. I think for those who've watched me over the last couple of years have kind of seen that and learned that. I love nothing more than someone doing something like that because I love competing and trying to make it fun. That's kind of what it was.

Q. Do you know who it was in the audience?

DANIELLE COLLINS: No, I don't think so. Maybe the general direction.

It added some flair to the match and it was fun for a moment there. Just had to get back to my game.

Q. You got closer than anyone else this tournament. Ash has just won the title without dropping a set. You played a lot of great players. How does she rank at the moment among those great players that you faced?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Well, I mean, I think it's pretty clear with her ranking and her success over the last couple of years where she ranks. I mean, No. 1 in the world, right?

Playing incredible tennis. You know, she pushed me to the max, and I did everything I could and fell a little bit short there, but I gave myself a chance.

You know, physically it wasn't my best day unfortunately, and that was something that I was dealing with in the whole tournament, so I look forward to playing her when I feel 100%.

Q. What did she do differently from 5-1 to turn it around?

DANIELLE COLLINS: You know, I think she started to push me back in the court a little bit more. I think I was having some issues really being able to fully rotate on some of my shots to be able to get my shots to where I needed them to be.

It was really unfortunate, but did everything I could, tried to push through it. Fell short. She definitely, you know, came up with some great shots in some of those big moments, especially with her serving and pushing me back in the court.

Q. Not having a coach here with you, how proud are you of your own coaching of yourself to coach a player into the finals of a Grand Slam? The tactical work you were doing or whatever else to prepare for matches, what did that entail? How much satisfaction do you take from that achievement?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I mean, I guess it's a really good way to look at it too. I really am having to coach myself. I think I went in with the right game plan. I did, again, everything I could, but unfortunately there were some things that were just not working for me. That's really hard technically if you're not in a good place physically to be able to get yourself to do those things.

Today my body wasn't always agreeing with me, and I was in a little bit of a fight with my body, which is to be expected when you go this far in a tournament.

You know, I think my assessment was generally pretty good. I think there are some areas I need to improve. You know, I can certainly walk away proud without having a coach and kind of doing it on my own.

You know, so many of the top players have a full entourage or posse and support team doing their homework for them. That's not the way it's been for me really ever in my career, I haven't worked consistently with a coach for longer than a few months. So I've had to do a lot on my own and a lot of homework, a lot of scouting, a lot of technical work. It hasn't been easy. It's been very challenging and mentally taxing at times.

But I'm just trying to stick with the process and do the best that I can. I'm learning a lot of things along the way. Ash certainly taught me a lot of things today on court.

Q. (off mic)?

DANIELLE COLLINS: I've struggled with low back this tournament really since I think against Tauson, that match I started having some issues with my back. It was a lot between the singles and the doubles. I normally don't play singles and doubles, and so that kind of did me in a little bit. Something I've been kind of dealing with since those days back to back.

Been managing it well, but it hasn't been easy. Just proud of myself for being able to push through.

Q. You mentioned on court when you were thanking Joe and Marty for their support that there had been a lot of people in your lifetime who didn't have any belief in your tennis career. What do you think they are thinking of your career now after your run here at this tournament?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Well, this is a fun question, because I would like to share some of the conversation between Marty and I a few nights ago. We were joking about some tournaments that he had attended with me, 25K in Orlando where I did not have the best performance, and thinking about the way that I'm playing now versus then, it seems like a lifetime ago, but it really wasn't that long ago.

Just other, you know, situations that I was in playing kind of some of those smaller tournaments and facing challenges and bumps in the road and how I used to go about things and think about things, how clueless I was sometimes and how much I have learned and grown from those moments.

Now we can kind of look back and laugh, but during those moments we had some tough conversations. Marty was always on call for all of those. Yeah, I think we've shared some incredible memories over the years, but especially this week to see all of those, you know, baby steps come together now and being on the biggest stage in the world, it's just been so special.

I mean, it's so hard to do this on your own without a coach, without a consistent, you know, person day to day, but you've got to have at least one person that believes in you. I think Marty has really believed in me from the beginning and has always supported me, whether it's been with my health challenges and doing what's best for me with those types of things or calling Marty about my cabinetry problems in my house or, you know, dealing with tough losses, and also being excited over the moments in victory.

So I'm really lucky to have a friend and mentor like Marty who has been able to help me, because this is a rarity sometimes, and I'm so, so grateful.

Now having Joe a part of my life, you know, we've spent some time together and had some amazing experiences early on in our relationship, and it's just been so much better having Joe involved. He makes everything better and more enjoyable and so much fun together off the court. I can't wait for so many more adventures with both of these guys.

Q. You mentioned how hard it is to do it yourself and so on, now that you are in the top 10 probably after this tournament, do you think you will change that strategy, have this entourage as other top players, a whole team supporting you and so on?

DANIELLE COLLINS: You know, there's been some discussions about having different people serve different roles and we're kind of looking into some different options. I'd like to be able to have a physio with me, assisting me with some of the day-to-day -- to be able to have somebody consistently working on my body. That's a goal of mine. We're having a lot of discussions about that. And then, you know, still having some discussions about coaching and hitting partners and hopefully it works out.

Q. You're going to be in the Top 10 on Monday, No. 1 American on Monday. Wonder if you had a different sort of sense of your status on tour, if you've gotten attention from sponsors or agents this week, how you're going to handle the mantle of being atop of the American tennis ladder for the first time?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I think it hasn't really fully set in yet, because for a while I've wanted to be a Top-10 player, it was a goal of mine last year, I fell a little bit short. To reach it this early on in the season has meant the world to me.

You know, I think that I just have to keep going day by day and just working towards my goals. There's other things that I'm going to want to achieve moving forward.

I've gotten so much support from other players especially, which has been so nice and it's something that I love so much about our sport is the camaraderie a lot of us share in the locker room and the friendships. I really think that for an individual sport and being as competitive as we all are, it's amazing some of the friendships that we share.

I have been bubbling, like I had spoken about, you know, in a few press conferences ago, so I haven't really been on social media as much, and -- well, really not at all. I haven't really even been checking my messages, to be honest, because I've been so locked in to everything I'm doing.

So I have a lot to kind of go through and absorb, and we will see moving forward what the sponsorship situation is going to look like, what the agent situation is going to look like. I'm really excited for hopefully some new opportunities.

Q. You mentioned earlier the notion of people believing or not believing in you, but what have you proven to yourself with this run to the final and how you pushed Ash Barty in a way no other player did in the tournament?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Hmm. That's a very philosophical question. You know, I've for a while believed that I'd be able to make deep runs, especially after winning my first two tournaments last year. But I think the thing that I've been most impressed with is the way I've been able to adjust when I'm not playing my best and when I'm not feeling 100% physically, being able to make adjustments to get myself to be comfortable and to put myself in a position to win sets and matches. So I think that's probably what I've been most proud of in this tournament.

Q. Congrats on a great tournament. At the moment you don't seem to be on social media in terms of having official accounts and stuff, so I'm not sure how aware you are of the kind of -- how your fan base has really grown over the past couple of weeks? Because in general, you have a lot of fans because they love your attitude on court and stuff, but these past two weeks gave fans another chance to get to more about you through all the press conferences and stuff. What does it mean to you that fans get to understand you more and to know that your fan base is expanding this way?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, it means the world to me. I think as a professional athlete, one of the most special things we get to experience is the love and support from people all around the world and people that we don't even know.

Before being on social media, you know, I've experienced having great fan pages and people sending me amazing messages and encouragement. That's something that is so hard to wrap my head around, because I just think it's such a special thing that you only get to have during such a short period of your life.

It really means the world to me. I haven't been getting to see a lot of that since I've been bubbling and focusing just on my tennis and being present with Marty and Joe and everybody else around me. Hopefully we'll be able to kind of take some time over the next couple days, be able to send some messages back, be able to interact with some of the people who have been supporting me and staying up late to watch these matches and getting up early. I hope that I can continue to connect with people with and for people to get to know me better.

I feel like earlier on in my career people didn't really know a lot about me, aside from me just going to college, and I feel like this week has just been an incredible opportunity with all of the media here. I think you guys have done a really great job kind of covering my journey and my story, and it really means a lot to me. I want people to get to know me better and feel as if they to know me.

Q. Congratulations on a great tournament. Now that you're Top 10 and you'll be doing more interviews, be in front of the media a lot more than you might have been before, I'm curious how you see your platform. You will be in front of a mic a lot more and asked about a lot of things and be able to share a lot of your point of views on the world and all this sort of stuff. Curious what you want to use your new platform for.

DANIELLE COLLINS: Well, I guess we're going to find out shortly. I think one of the things that has meant the most to me is women's health, especially going through the journey that I have with my endometriosis and my rheumatoid arthritis, and continuing to share my story and be a friend for people out there struggling, that's going to be at the top of the list. Helping the youngsters as much as possible, especially the kids where I was in their situation and wanting to do this and continuing to mentor a lot of the kids, I think that's going to be really important for me.

I do a lot of it at home. It happens multiple times a week. I don't get news coverage on that, but it's something that I do from my heart, and that's something that means so much to me, the relationships I've built with some of these girls and the impact that they've had on my life. I feel like that's helped me a lot in the biggest stages and, yeah, the friendships.

But, yeah, I think there's so much more, so many different sides. I'm a pretty dynamic person. I think there's going to be a lot for people to learn about me, hopefully good things, and we can make it fun.

Q. I just wanted to go back to your back. I just wanted to ask you, how much of a factor that was in today's final? If it has got progressively worse during the tournament? And also, was that why you were not sitting down during changeovers all tournament?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, it was the reason why I wasn't sitting down the whole tournament. It was actually recommended at one point by one of the physical therapists, just to keep my back from spasming. The biggest issue has just been muscle spasms in the low back, which has been challenging.

So, you know, today was not my best physically, if I'm being completely honest, but there were other times in the tournaments that I wasn't at my best physically. So there's a lot of room for improvement with some of the things going on. I'm hoping to work with a specialist going into next week that kind of specializes in this issue, and I'm hoping that these strategies and techniques are going to be able to help me moving forward into the next events in Dubai and Doha.

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