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January 15, 2022

Emma Raducanu

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Your first Australian Open main draw, tell us how excited you are to get out there and play.

EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, for me I think it's going to be a very cool experience to play here in the main draw for the first time. I played a few years ago in the juniors. Coming back here playing in the main draw so soon, I feel quite proud of this achievement.

It is a bit of a different feel because back then we weren't allowed in the main area. It's quite fun to see and look around. Yeah, looking forward to getting out there.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What have you been up to since Sydney? How much work have you been putting in? What have you been working on?

EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, it's a challenge to try and find the balance of wanting to get out there and practice so much straight after coming out of isolation, but if you ever do it with the hours after not doing anything for 20 days, you always start picking up small niggles.

I'm just trying to find that balance. The first week I wasn't able to practice so much. But after Sydney, the match, it was just good to see where I was at that point in time. Afterwards I went out to sharpen up a few things on the practice court.

I'm actually feeling like there's progress. All I want to see is that I'm getting slightly better and I have a better feeling. I think that gradually I'm getting there.

Q. 12 months ago, could you have imagined 12 months later you'd be heading to the Australian Open as the US Open champion?

EMMA RADUCANU: No, 12 months ago I was just in my room studying for my exams. To be here in Australia, I was watching from afar last year. I just feel very grateful to have this opportunity to play here. Hopefully we'll get out there and see the fans here. Yeah, I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

Last week in Sydney I had great support also.

Q. How different does it feel sitting there as a Grand Slam champion?

EMMA RADUCANU: Well, I feel like because of the last few months I've had, maybe I haven't played as much as I would have liked to and trained so much.

I feel like there's actually no pressure on me. I feel like I'm just happy to be here and have a swing. I had to jump a few hurdles to play here, so I'm very -- just want to go out there and have fun and enjoy on the court.

Q. Rafael Nadal was in here earlier and he said he felt the courts were really quick this year. What is your feeling about them, in comparison to the US Open courts?

EMMA RADUCANU: I think the US Open courts are actually slicker and faster because over there it's easier to slide. There's less friction. I think that here it's a bit stickier. Depending on the temperature a lot also because when it's a very hot and dry day, it does feel very fast and flying.

But the weather here is very unpredictable so it can change a lot even over the course of a match.

Q. Your first-round match against Sloane, what are your thoughts on that? Is she someone who you remember watching win the US Open?

EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, I watched Sloane win the US Open. I hit with her last year actually. Yeah, great opponent. Obviously you don't win a Grand Slam without being very capable.

I think it's going to be a tough match for sure. I'm going to go out there and enjoy the match because just playing in this Grand Slam, I had to work so hard to be here. Yeah, I'll just go out there and enjoy.

Q. Netflix recently announced a new docuseries with tennis. You're a big F1 fan. What did you think of 'Drive to Survive'? Would you be interested in the tennis version?

EMMA RADUCANU: I think 'Drive to Survive' was great for the sport because I feel like a lot of people started following F1, got very involved. A lot of my friends who never watched it before, they watched it and were suddenly following every week. I think that's been great for the sport.

I enjoyed watching it personally. This one I'm sure will be good, too.

Q. Did you watch the match when Li Na won here?

EMMA RADUCANU: I remember watching that match. It was an up-and-down match, very tight in the third set. I actually remember she fell and banged her head on the floor. I remember quite clearly.

It was pretty cool. I've watched her growing up. I feel like I have taken some inspiration from her game and her movement. I like to think I have similar qualities in terms of being mentally strong and resilient.

Yeah, she is definitely someone I've watched growing up.

Q. Your thoughts on the Novak Djokovic situation? Disappointing to see how much focus it's taken away from the first Grand Slam of the year?

EMMA RADUCANU: I feel like the situation, I feel it has taken away a little bit from the great tennis that's been happening over this summer in Australia. For example, Andy Murray, he's in the final tonight, which I think is pretty incredible. To see him come back and win and play so well, definitely rooting for him later on.

I feel like in that way it has been.

Q. Your new Nike advert that's dropped here in the UK, you poke fun at those accusing you of being distracted off court. With your maturity, now we're five or six months on from the US Open, do you feel better equipped now to deal with everything that comes from being a Grand Slam champion, commercial sponsorship and winning tennis matches?

EMMA RADUCANU: I think the video speaks for itself. Yeah, that's how I feel. That's it, full stop.

Q. Can I clarify, you had COVID before Christmas, we saw the result in Sydney. There's no aftereffects of this, it was just a lack of practice and training?

EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, it was definitely a lack of practice. I think I played maybe six, seven, really not many hours at all. I don't know because I wasn't tested physically in that match, the points were over so fast.

Yeah, it will be good to keep building and see. I hope not. I'm currently feeling physically good.

Q. Off the Nike ad question, has anybody ever told you that your shot production looks very similar to Li Na's just in the way that you move about the court, forehand, the backhand? If so, did you model your shots after her or is it subliminal or just random luck?

EMMA RADUCANU: Yeah, Li Na is definitely someone I watched growing up. Her footwork especially, I remember watching videos on YouTube, just seeing how she moved. I would actually practice that myself when I was younger. Maybe subconsciously I feel like that's taken on.

I did as well make a conscious effort to try to move like her. Technically I had great coaches growing up, so that definitely also played a role.

Q. How would you describe what you think the biggest challenges have been for you both on and off the court since winning the US Open?

EMMA RADUCANU: I would say the biggest challenge is to be patient. I really want -- like I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Whether that's practice, whether that's off the court, I want to be the best I can all the time. Sometimes it's just not very viable.

I think that's one thing, I need to just relax. As long as the trend is trending upwards, just a matter of small fluctuations, I think I can be proud. Whatever challenge that is, I feel kind of ready to face it now.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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