January 21, 2023
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
A. SABALENKA/E. Mertens
THE MODERATOR: Well done on a great job today, also against someone you know quite well. How hard is it to face an opponent like Elise and who's also a friend and you know really well on the court?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, we played a lot against each other, with each other. It's always tough matches against her.
Yeah, I mean, it's always tough, but I'm super happy with the level today. Yeah, just happy with the win.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. What do you think has been the key for you to just kind of notch these three wins without too much incident, pretty straightforward?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I think my calmness on the court. That's pretty much it, I think. I was just ready for everything. Whatever going to happen on court, I'm ready for that. I think this is the key.
Q. You mentioned in Adelaide that you were going to be boring now and that just keeping things very calm on the court, not too much drama up and down. How does it feel to kind of play that way and be able to maintain your calm through the first week and make the second week here?
ARYNA SABALENKA: It feels like I wish I would be like that few years ago, you know, (smiling). Finally I understand what everyone was looking for and asking for.
Yeah, as I said, I need to be a little bit boring on court. I mean, it's still about a lot of positive emotions for me, but I'm trying to stay away from negative and just fight for every point.
Q. Through Adelaide and now here, you haven't dropped a match yet, you've been playing very focused tennis. Is it coming naturally to play this, quote-unquote, "boring" style?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I think like there was few moments when I was about to throw my racquet or scream something, and because I hold myself really strong in that moments, after that right now I feel like it's a little bit more natural right now.
Q. There has been a lot of talk about favorites for this title. Your name comes up as one of the short-list favorites. As we enter the second week of a slam, what makes the second week different than the first week for you?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, you're getting closer to your dream. That's the different (smiling).
About the favorite, that I am on that favorite list, I don't know. I mean, as I always say, you never know. I mean, it's really good that I'm there, but I better focus on myself, on my game, make sure that my dream will happen, you know.
Q. Looking ahead, you play Belinda who's also obviously playing great. Battle of both Adelaide champions. It's like the Adelaide city finals. What's the challenge of facing Belinda?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, she's a great fighter, a great player, moving well, hitting the ball quite clean. Yeah, she's in good shape, as well. So, yeah, I'm really looking forward for this battle.
Q. You're both aggressive, offensive players but in seemingly different ways. She kind of takes it early, you have kind of more the baseline power.
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah.
Q. When your games kind of come together in the past when you've played each other, what has been the difference as to who can take control from the baseline?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, you know, it's tough to say, but I think it's about first few shots. Like, I feel like I have to stay really aggressive in the first few shots, and then the easy, like -- how to say -- slower ball or shorter ball will come.
So I think it's all about fast feet on the first few shots. I have to be like really a tiger, like ready, stay low and ready for that (smiling).
Q. Always with the tiger.
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yes.
Q. Just in general, to be on this very confident run of matches through Adelaide and now here, what has been the most pleasing thing about you, and what do you need to do to get your dream? What do you need to elevate on in the second week to close this out?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I just have to stay the same, because before, in the second week, I remember I was getting nervous, I was overthinking, overdreaming, you know. I really believed and believe that the only one thing that was missing was like kind of my emotions, that I was too emotional on court.
I really believe if I'm going to stay the same, like, mindset, the same calm on court, I really believe that I can get it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports