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January 19, 2022

Stefan Kozlov

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference


6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Great tough match against Berrettini. Take us through the match.

STEFAN KOZLOV: Came out pretty uncomfortable, I'm not sure if it's just the conditions, the court, whatever, just had trouble putting balls in the court, to be frank.

Some of it was his power as well and just, you know, his serve is super tricky. So, you know, after the first set it was a little, things weren't in the right mindset, I wasn't in the right mindset.

And then I was happy with the way I kind of focused in on just one point at a time and started to make him play a little bit more and, you know, I kind of let myself swing out and play my game and it felt like I made him uncomfortable and I got my opportunity, I kind of took it, served out of some break points.

And then in the third I felt like we were going toe-to-toe and then just kind of had a little bloop moment and he broke me on a backhand down-line pass that was pretty nice, unexpected for sure.

And in the fourth, just wasn't fully physically ready to play as long as I needed to, so that's something definitely to work on.


Q. Saw a lot of you in the fall. You were killing it, obviously, at the Challengers. How were you able to sort of, knowing that you had this tournament to look forward to, what was sort of the rest of your off-season like or the build-up between, I guess, whenever your last one was in Champaign?

STEFAN KOZLOV: Yeah, in Champaign. Yeah, it was awesome. It's so exciting to have an opportunity like this in a couple months or not a couple months, I think it was maybe two months from Champaign, maybe a little less. I've been super excited for the opportunity just, you know, excited to play against these top players and show where I am, not show, but to myself just kind of enjoy these moments.

Like this week's been so amazing for me, just to kind of be here and play here, practice, it's the top of the tennis world, obviously and it's something that I'll gain a lot of experience from and momentum to keep pushing and motivate me for sure.

Q. You've been waiting for obviously a first slam draw for a long time, I'm sure. How did the experience live up to the sort of expectations?

STEFAN KOZLOV: Wow, I mean, it's just so special to play in a Grand Slam. Any court, you know, it's hard to describe, it's just it, it's the Grand Slam, it's the Mecca of tennis. I'm just happy that I was able to win a match and kind of do well against, somewhat, win a set and just, I got a lot of stuff to work on, so I'm looking forward to doing that and coming back and really continuing progress.

Q. What sort of stuff do you feel like you still have to work on?

STEFAN KOZLOV: I think the serve is definitely something that needs to get better. I mean you look at these guys, Berrettini, a bunch of these guys that are doing well, it's just incredible how they're able to serve at a high percentage and put the ball wherever they want to. So definitely that's an aspect that needs to improve.

And then court positioning, just playing, swinging fully out on the ball and that's when I'm at my best when I'm just having a good time, jumping around over there, swinging out, doing my dropshots, angles. And at times I kind of restrict myself, like in the first set today.

So I think fitness is going to be important just to, it's almost more mental and physical than it is tennis out here because everyone can hit the ball. It's been an interesting week, I'll take a lot from it for sure.

Q. Any particular things you sort of learned?

STEFAN KOZLOV: Just how good guys are at their strengths. Everyone's got something that they do really well. Whether it's someone's serve, someone's court positioning, it's just been fun playing with different guys in practice all week and just learning from what they do well.

But just the energy of being here this week has been just tremendous, such a cool experience, and I hope I can have many more of these for sure.

Q. What do you have coming up?

STEFAN KOZLOV: Probably Columbus, Cleveland, and hopefully Dallas, Delray, just trying to play a full schedule and just keep getting better and hopefully can put some matches again together.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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