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January 29, 2022

Bruno Kuzuhara

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference


7-6, 6-7, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Safe to say it's one of the most engaging junior boys finals anyone has seen for the longest time. Talk about the match, the emotional roller coaster that was going on out there.

BRUNO KUZUHARA: Thank you. It was amazing to play on Rod Laver today. It was something else I think that when you're walking town the tunnel, like all the emotions just overcame me for a bit. I think as soon as I stepped in, warmed up, finished the five-minute warmup, it was just game on.

Yeah, I believe in the first set I did get down an early break. I have in the past three matches. I think it was just me telling myself not to get caught up on just going down early breaks, just really, really digging in mentally because anything could have happened I felt like this match.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The end was quite dramatic with your competitor on the court with cramping. Did you feel similar with cramping?

BRUNO KUZUHARA: I would say physically I felt fine. Obviously tired because we were playing for three hours and a half. Especially the second set, third set, really physically brutal. We were really moving a lot during the points.

Yeah, I mean, I think I was just trying to get myself focused on me and not look on the other side. Obviously I was feeling, especially towards the end of the match, the way it ended, it was just very unfortunate. I just hope he's recovering very well. I'm feeling bad for him. It's a very, very tough way to end it. I wouldn't want it to go down that way if it was on my side as well.

Q. With the rules they are now, there's the shot clock. You had to ask the umpire what was actually happening there. How confusing was it?

BRUNO KUZUHARA: The only thing for me, I was just trying to clarify what was happening. This is the first time that's ever happened to me. I was just trying to make sure he was going to get two serves. Unfortunately he only got one serve.

Either way I was just trying to clarify what happened and just get ready whether he was going to have one serve or two serves to play out the last point.

Q. When somebody is in that kind of condition at the other end, sometimes it's human nature to take it easy on a wounded person. Was it difficult to overcome that?

BRUNO KUZUHARA: Yeah, I mean, I feel like it's always tough playing someone who is physically injured because I feel like you don't know what to do, whether you're going to keep playing the way you are or just trying to extend points.

I think the big thing was just trying to breathe and move, not trying to pay attention too much what was going on the other side.

Q. Were you able to see him since the match?

BRUNO KUZUHARA: No, I've not. I think he's still in the physio room.

Q. Did you win the doubles as well?


Q. What does that set you up for for the rest of the year?

BRUNO KUZUHARA: Well, I'll definitely enjoy tonight. But I'm leaving, flying out of Melbourne tomorrow morning. Yeah, I'll come back, take a few days off, but get ready because I'm going to start playing more of a schedule of just pro events, just get ready for that.

Definitely the game in pro events is less forgiving. Even more physical than it is in the juniors. It's just going back obviously celebrating this victory but not let myself get carried away with this and keep working.

Q. Did you get to see or hit against any of the older pros?

BRUNO KUZUHARA: Yeah, I was actually very fortunate this year to hit with Sebastian Korda. I warmed him up before a match. He was a past champion for juniors. It was great to be able to share the court with him and be able to warm him up.

Q. How does it feel to join the list of American juniors that have won?

BRUNO KUZUHARA: It's a great honor. Even I feel like it's still a surreal feeling. I don't think it's registered fully in me.

To join my name with those guys, it's amazing.

Q. You said yesterday you were going to rewatch your match from Jakub from the US Open. Did it help in any way?

BRUNO KUZUHARA: Yeah, I did end up watching it last night alongside my coach. We discussed it just in the morning. We reviewed the game plan.

Yeah, I think watching that match definitely helped me today.

Q. Have you received any congratulatory messages from anyone?

BRUNO KUZUHARA: Yeah, I've actually received a lot. Everyone from my family, of course. I don't know, I think they're over the moon right now with my win here. Everyone back home, all my friends, everyone that supported me. Everyone that I knew playing tennis growing up, they've all sent their messages.

Q. You very impressively gave a victory speech in three different languages. Talk about your Brazilian roots, Japanese roots, what that means to you to have that mix of culture, how you think that impacts you and your character.

BRUNO KUZUHARA: Yeah, I think it's amazing to have so many people around the world from Brazil, Japan, even the United States, just supporting me. I know everyone at the end of the day is different, but it's just amazing to see how tennis can really unite everyone from different countries, yeah, unite them from different countries.

Q. When you arrived to the Australian Open, No. 3 in the world, top seed, expectations. How do you mentally deal? At what point did you feel there wasn't this pressure of expectation?

BRUNO KUZUHARA: I would say that definitely I did come into the tournament, and every match I played I knew that I was the favorite to win. I was putting expectations on myself to go out there and win. At the end of the day I don't think putting too much pressure on yourself helps. Especially after I lost the second set today, right when I came back off the toilet break, I just looked up and smiled, said, At the end of the day it's just a privilege to be playing at Rod Laver in this stadium, playing the finals.

Q. This is the third straight junior slam where there's at least one American who has won, Samir and Robin. Does it help when you see other young Americans doing that? Does it inspire you?

BRUNO KUZUHARA: Yeah, for sure. Samir and Robin, we're pretty good friends through tennis. It's always amazing to see them succeed, share their happiness with them. It also motivates you to go out there and be the next one.

No, it's amazing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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