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May 24, 2022

Jessica Pegula

Paris, France

Press Conference


6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Congrats, talk us about your match and how you played today.

JESSICA PEGULA: (French translation instead of English.) Things got a little hairy from there on, but I'm really happy to be here, I'm glad that I got really tested in that second set, I think it's great moving forward because my next match is going to be very tough, so...

Q. Do you want to talk about the match points and how tricky that was to just kind of close things out?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, she, I felt like, totally changed her game from like 6-1, 5-1 and maybe I played a little bit of a loose game I think at 5-1 serving for it. And on the clay I feel like you have so much more time and you don't get a lot of free points, so if some one starts playing well it can get really tricky.

Yeah, she just started stepping in and started ripping and I think maybe the first few match points I had I was backing off a little bit, but at the same time she wasn't really stepping or hitting winners the whole match, so I don't know if I would be down on myself on that too much. We had some really great match points and even to finish, like I don't know what happened that last match point it was so weird. I hit like two lines and then she hit the back of the line and I hit like a shank backhand like half lob winner, it was just, I guess, fitting for the end of the match, to be honest.

Q. How are you feeling going into this tournament based off of everything you have done on the clay, the confidence you must have that obviously I assume feeling as opposed to Rome where it was a little tiring coming off of Madrid. Feeling pretty full with your tank?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, I feel really good. I had a nice little break, obviously didn't play until Tuesday, actually hoping I played sooner, to be honest, instead of waiting around for that first round, it kind of gives a lot of anxiety sometimes.

But no, I'm feeling really well, I think I'll have a really tough match next round, every match is tough but I think next round is a little tough considering she likes clay and we've kind of been avoiding each other a little bit since she pulled out in Rome.

But it will be interesting and I think I have a really good chance to kind of break through the draw. I hope I can do that. But feeling good and I'm moving well and feeling I think more confident than I did last year.

Q. I wanted to ask you a bit about your role on the player council and what happened going on with Wimbledon.

JESSICA PEGULA: So I prepped for this. My answer, you're not going to like it, but it's going to be to refer back to Sloane's interview because she nailed every point and honestly I couldn't have said it better, so that's pretty much what I'm going to say, sorry. It's probably not the answer you want to hear.

Q. Just one additional question. There have been some, I spoke to Marta awhile back and she raised a question about Vika's position on the player council, given the Wimbledon ban.

JESSICA PEGULA: I mean, Vika is one voice and I forget how many people are on the council but it's like eight, I think, or something like that. Seven, eight, nine? I don't remember.

But yeah, so I mean it's not just her, there's a lot of other people, and, yeah, I'll just say, you know, at the beginning not everybody wanted, that wasn't like what we all wanted, we all were like, No, this is crazy. And you know, conversations progressed, I think people realized what we thought we should do collectively and we all have to come together and make an agreement pretty much on the same terms. And, yeah, that's kind of how that conversation happened.

But Vika is one person out of a lot of people and I'm pretty outspoken, Sloane's pretty outspoken, Gabby's pretty outspoken, there's a lot of us that aren't afraid to step up and so, yeah, I think that's the answer to that. She's not the one that makes final decisions, I think we all have to come together to do that.

Q. And just do you think that the player council possibly needs to do more in reaching out to other players, like there have been always, you know, there's things about, like, nobody asks us, nobody talks to us.

JESSICA PEGULA: That's a tricky question. Yeah, of course, but at the same time we're always available. A lot of e-mails get sent out that I know people don't like to read, I'm one of them, I don't really read half of them either. And I think sometimes it gets tricky when maybe they got to the agents, maybe it goes to the coaches, players don't see it, they don't even know what's happening -- I didn't even know before I joined like who was even on the council, like I had no idea, to be honest.

So now it's kind of funny being on the council I'm like, Well, you guys can look, you guys can check. Like I probably needed to take that advice as well when I wasn't on the council.

So I mean, I don't know, I think we do quite a bit, but it depends on who you ask and who reads the e-mails and who is really checking all the little things that go out to kind of show that we're available, but I think definitely now people know who we are and that we're very available.

Q. A bit of a random question, but this tournament there's the sustainable thing where you guys have the reusable water bottles on court. Does that change anything for you? Pretty much do you have to like think about it a little more, because I don't know if you can mix on the court or not or do you have to...

JESSICA PEGULA: You can, I think. Mix like?

Q. I don't know if there's water. Can you refill?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, it's like in that cooler. It's kind of hidden and there's like a nozzle.

Actually, I don't think I refilled today, it was kind of weird. But, yeah, it's different, something you have to get used to. I think we all complain about it, but then, honestly, like, I don't think it's that big of a deal. I think it's good that we're being a little pit more sustainable and conscious of what we're using and all the plastic water bottles, but I will say it's a little weird because they also sell plastic bottles in the restaurant. So we're all kind of like, okay.

But I think the rule, I didn't know this, the rule is that you can't give away the plastic bottles. So even in like my hotel they like I can buy water but when they come and give me free bottles for like the day, like they give you like one or two, it's the paper like the cardboard. So I guess that kind of makes sense, someone told me that, yeah, I think Maddie told me that, I'll have to throw her under the bus, you can fact check her. She said that you can't give away plastic, which makes more sense as to why they sell it.

Q. It's like you pay and then they're paying like a carbon imprint.

JESSICA PEGULA: Actually at home I actually use like those like Hydro Flask a lot, so it doesn't really affect me too much.

Q. Then just looking ahead to facing Kalinina, what do you expect from that? Obviously we all know she's playing some pretty good tennis.

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, I think she can be especially tricky on clay, I don't think we have played on clay yet, so that will be interesting.

She's had some good wins and, yeah, it will just, it will just be interesting. She's going to be really tough, but I think if I can get through it that will give me a lot of confidence moving forward.

But, yeah, I think she's definitely a little bit of a floater at this tournament, so we'll just see how it goes. I've played her enough, so at least that helps, I have some, I'm aware of how to play her, what my going-in strategy and stuff like that of what I need to do, which helps, but, yeah, it's definitely going to be tough and I think it will be a good match.

Q. Just with Iga doing what she's doing and coming off of what Ash was doing when she was obviously in Australia. What is the aura around Iga as a No. 1 right now and how does that compare to what it was when Ash was No. 1?

JESSICA PEGULA: It feels kind of similar. Like as in the fact that we're like, Oh, yeah, they're No. 1, like they win all the time. Like it's kind of just like a given, like, of what they have been doing and what they have accomplished already and what Ash accomplished.

It just, I think it's just this confidence of, yeah, they're never down and out, it seems like they're, you kind of just assume that they're going to make it far in the tournament and if they don't, yeah, I guess it would be kind of a shock, but at the same time I feel like if they lose you're also like, okay, well they will probably win the tournament next week as well.

Like, I don't know, it just kind of gives off this feeling of, I mean, I guess that's what happens when you win like every match, you know, you just have this, like you said, an aura around you of just winning.

And, yeah, it's pretty crazy how Iga's just kind of been able to pick up that mantle right when Ash left like seamlessly. So, yeah, it's been amazing what she's done, I think it's great for women's tennis to kind of have that person that's at the top, as well as Ash, and I think they both kind of have that sense of, you like them as a No. 1, like I think they do a great job of like keeping their head down, just playing tennis, competing well and kind of always saying the right things and kind of have that, again, like aura about them.

But yeah, I don't know, just it feels fitting, I guess, for them. Hopefully, you know, I wish I could do that as well, but yeah, it's cool, it's cool to see for the game.

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