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January 23, 2023

Aryna Sabalenka

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference


7-5, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Aryna, through to the quarterfinals Australian Open. You must be just so happy with your performance this past week and a half. Talk us through your thoughts on the match, what you did well today.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, I'm super happy to be in the quarterfinal - just quarterfinal (smiling). Super happy with the win and the level today on court. She's unbelievable player. I didn't start well in the beginning, but was able to come back in the match. Super happy with the mindset on court.

Yeah, it was great match.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Was today a little bit more straightforward than you thought? Was there anything surprising about how quickly you kind of turned it around after going down the break?

ARYNA SABALENKA: I don't know if it was surprisely [sic] or not. Yeah, this is just what happen. I turn it around, came back, and I start playing a little bit better, a little bit more aggressively.

Then in the second set -- I mean, when you came back in the first set and you won the first set, like, mentally you're more up. I think that's why I was able to kind of put her under pressure in the beginning of the second set.

It's not like really surprisely [sic]. Just my level was there today.

Q. You finished the season well in Texas. You've started the season well. So far so good here. Was there anything particularly good about your off-season? Why do you think you kind of picked up where you left off?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, I think our preseason was really good. We practiced a lot. We worked a lot.

I don't know, my family was there so it was a little bit easier to work because I knew that they'll be there for support me.

Yeah, I think we just did a good work on the preseason.

Q. You said on court your fitness coach wasn't traveling with you. Why wasn't he able to before and what has it been like having him with you?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, before he live here, then he was moving to States. That's why it was little bit complicated. He was just trying to figure out things. It was just a joke, to be honest (smiling).

I was working a lot. We have a program. He was sending every day program. It was just a joke.

Q. Obviously you're an extremely aggressive player. You dominate opponents. It seems like you've become more steady on the court. Given your game style, what does being steady mean to you? How do you define that as someone who is going for the ball and attacking?

ARYNA SABALENKA: I don't know actually what to say.

Yeah, I'm aggressive player. I'm just trying to stay calm on court and just wait for the opportunities, just try to, if I have it, take it. Yeah, basically that's it.

Q. Do you think you're finding the crowd more and more on your side as the tournament progresses?

ARYNA SABALENKA: I don't know. I hope so (laughter). I mean, feels really great playing there. I feel the support. I mean, hopefully, yeah, it will be more and more.

Q. I don't know if this has been asked before, but what has changed with you? There were times where you were so up and down, the serve was a disaster.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Thank you for that (smiling).

Q. I know you knew that.


Q. But it seems to have steadied now. What caused the change? What have you done?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Whew. I mean, I've done a lot. I worked so hard. Even when my serve was - how did you say - 'disaster'? I worked a lot on my serve. I was keep trying, keep believing, keep changing. Then I worked on my, like, biomechanic.

Basically that's it. But I was doing everything. I thought it's mentally, but it wasn't. We changed a lot of things on how we work on my serve. We tried to work more, less. We tried to, I don't know, so many different things.

In the end of the season when I start working with the biomechanic guy, he helped me a lot. I think from there, everything starts to kind of getting on that level.

Q. Does it feel like a new beginning with the start of this year, having done well in Adelaide, then now being as far as you are here?

ARYNA SABALENKA: I want believe so, you know? I want believe that the way I'm working right now, the way I'm on the court right now, this is the new beginning, and this is the next step. So I really want to believe that it's going to really help me.

Q. The World Tennis League that you did, I've seen a little bit of Instagram posts. I figure you see Paula Badosa regularly. Particularly with Dimitrov and Djokovic, did you know those guys very well before? Did you do any practice with one or both of them?

ARYNA SABALENKA: I didn't know them well before. Yeah, we had so much fun there. They're really nice guys, super funny. I mean, I would say that I know them a little bit better.

I just hit for a little bit with Dimitrov just to warm up him, or he was warming up me. I don't remember. Just a little bit with Djokovic. Yeah, that's it. But it was nice. I really wanted to hit with them a little bit to feel the rhythm, to feel the game.

Q. Had you ever worked with a biomechanics trainer before with any other stroke?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Not really. I don't want to say this, but I'm super happy that this thing with my serve happened to me before. Before I wouldn't be really open for that. I would be like, You know what, my serve is fine, I don't want to change anything. Actually, even when my serve was working, it wasn't really right.

I'm super happy that it's happened to me. I was, like, in that moment open for whatever. I was just like, Please, someone help me to fix this (expletive) serve. I'm sorry for swearing, but this is how it was. This is the true feeling.

Yeah, I learnt a lot, a lot new stuff about my serve. Happy, happy he was able to help me, yeah.

Q. How different does someone in that area work as compared to when you're working with a shot with a trainer or coach?

ARYNA SABALENKA: We watched a lot of videos. He was just showing what's not really right about my serve, there's no way I can put it in. Just a lot of videos, a lot of talking, a lot of trying things.

I don't know, I remember first day we worked, I couldn't - how to say - like the time went so quick. We were on the court for an hour and a half serving, serving. Because of the biomechanic, I didn't spend so much energy. Everything was more smoother.

It's more like a lot of talking, watching videos of yourself, trying to understand things right, a lot of trying. So, yeah, this is a little bit different.

Q. If this is a new beginning for you at the start of this year, what then is your goal and target? Is it No. 1 or is it a major, both?

ARYNA SABALENKA: I don't want to talk about that. I think we all have the same targets, like every player. I would say that I'm trying to be really professional on the court, do everything I can every match. Like, no easy wins for my opponents. That's the main thing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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