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January 19, 2022

Emma Raducanu

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

E. RADUCANU/S. Stephens

6-0, 2-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Can you talk us through the match and how you're feeling right now.

EMMA RADUCANU: I think that I went out there and I played a great first set. I executed my game plan pretty well and was making very little unforced errors, but of course because Sloane is a great champion, I mean, she was fighting back in the second set. Her defensive skills were pretty inspiring actually for me to try and replicate myself later on. So we got into some long rallies. She turned it around.

Then in the third set I'm just glad I could regroup and make less errors again and play some good tennis.


Q. You had a big positive reaction after the first point of the match, and obviously you played really, really well that first set, only losing four points. How important was it for you to get off to a really good start, getting off on that good foot?

EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, I definitely wanted to go out there and start playing aggressively and start, you know, putting my game on the court.

I felt that I was actually just really enjoying my time here, especially like going out to practice earlier, I had quite a few people watching.

So I was really enjoying it, and I think that the crowd that stayed pretty late, we were having a good time. I was feeding off that, for sure.

Q. Amazingly, as a Grand Slam champion, it's the first time you have played a deciding set at this level, a Grand Slam. Can you talk about the sort of boost that you think that will give you in terms of ticking that box and getting that experience?

EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, definitely. As I said, I think 2022 is all about learning for me. Being in those situations of, you know, winning a set and then having to fight in a decider is definitely just all just accumulating into a bank of experience that I can tap into later on down the line.

Yeah, very happy that today I can add to that.

Q. You have racked up a lot of Grand Slam wins already. Do you feel like getting on to this stage, does it bring out something extra in you, do you think, compared to other events, or is that just something you need to learn?

EMMA RADUCANU: I think I just have fun. I mean, I treat every match the same. Some matches I play better than others, but for sure coming out here it's my first time playing in the main draw here, so I definitely wanted to give it a good shot.

I have already had great memories in Australia and, yeah, I'm happy that I can continue with that.

Q. How much better did you feel today compared to in Sydney in that match?

EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, I think that the last week I put some great work in. Sydney, for me, wasn't a breaker. I was still feeling positive. I just knew where I was at that point. I feel better in myself in terms of moving and reacting.

I think that the last week I have actually done a lot of good work. Yeah, I was actually very happy to have turned it around so quickly.

Q. You mentioned Sloane's athleticism. Is she kind of one of the best athletes you have faced in your career so far?

EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, I mean, definitely, some of those shots she was getting to I couldn't believe, like her squash shot, her forehand on the run, I couldn't believe the ball kept coming back.

I definitely think that I want to learn from that, and it's tough, because it's a bit deceiving. You don't think she's at the ball, but then she comes back and the ball is coming back with an even better angle on it.

Yeah, all of these players that I'm playing against, I think I can just take inspiration, and that's something I will carry forward.

Q. You looked quite emotional at the end. What did it mean to you to win that one?

EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, it meant a lot, for sure. It's my first win in Australia in a Grand Slam. I came here when I played the juniors and I lost first round, so to come out here and get my first win, I was very, very happy and start the year off, yeah, with my first win really.

I'm just looking forward to building on this, going forward, trying to recover as best as I can for my next match.

Q. First ever time playing against a Grand Slam champion before, and it's amazing you joined that club before facing anyone in that club. Does that add anything special to you in the sense of it was a different caliber of experience you were facing across the net?

EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, I think that when Sloane was fighting back in the second set, I definitely accepted that and I was thinking, you know, I was almost expecting it, because she is a champion and you don't just become one by rolling over.

So when that was happening, I just knew that, okay, in the third set I needed to focus on what was working well in the first set and continue executing that.

Q. You're now going to get to bed quite late tonight and the uniqueness of this tournament is a lot of late finishes and you might have prime time viewing whenever you play. How are you going to manage that in terms of the late finishes, disruptive sleep, the training? How are you going to manage that into your schedule?

EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, I mean, it's way past my bedtime right now. I think that it's something I'm also learning about, you know, myself and what works for me, dealing with those late finishes and the night matches and maybe not being able to get to sleep as early because of the adrenaline you're running on.

I think it will be a good experience learning from that, and I can't really tell you because I've only had one night match in the past.

Q. I appreciate you're focusing on the next match but there is that incentive potentially of Simona Halep in the third round. You've not played each other yet. You've had a few chances in Transylvania, Linz, it could have happened. How much would that be an amazing opportunity if you were to win the next match and progress?

EMMA RADUCANU: I mean, of course it would be an amazing opportunity, but, you know, I have been in this position where people have asked me at two different tournaments and it didn't happen. So I just really want to focus on business tomorrow and getting myself in as best shape as possible.

Q. The other day you spoke about the necessity for you to not be consumed with perfection, to be patient with yourself. How did that factor in today? What do you think it means going forward?

EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, it's a good question. I feel like against Sloane, you know, she's going to make so many balls, but you know that you're going to have to try and hit through her, because if you keep trading and trading, I feel like the longer rallies, she kind of likes that.

I knew I was going to have to be a bit aggressive at times and actually accept the errors I was going to make, because I was just hoping to make those big ones at the crucial points.

So that definitely helped, I think, the patience.

Q. From this match, is it maybe the best example of what you were striving to achieve kind of inside your head?

EMMA RADUCANU: I think it's a great step forward for me to come out here and win my first match here in Australia against, you know, Sloane who is a tough opponent to have first round. I haven't had so many matches, so I'm very happy that I was able to put that level out there so early on.

Q. Going a little bit away from tennis, previously you used to do your academics alongside sports. Now that part has been take care of, how much freedom do you have to focus fully on the game?

EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, academics always played a big part. When I finished my A levels, I think that I started having some great results on the tennis court with Wimbledon and then the US Open. So, you know, I was thinking to start learning some more things and improve various aspects.

But I think that one thing I found is since those good results I had last summer, I have been a bit stretched for time and maybe wouldn't have had as much as I would have liked to learn new things. I'm always keen and I feel like I'm someone who needs to have some activity going on and something to keep my brain ticking and working.

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