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January 19, 2023

Elise Mertens

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference


6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on the win. You're playing really well so far. I guess how do you feel about today's match and heading into the next round?

ELISE MERTENS: Well, I'm happy I could win it in two. I didn't start the match very well, but I was serving well, and I had a lot of, you know, free points in my advantage. So pleased about my game.

I think it's not the greatest game I've played, but, I mean, it was enough today. I knew it was going to be a different opponent, a difficult one too because she just won Hobart. She has a lot of matches under her belt already. It was solid. It was enough today, so I'm pleased.

Q. What was the key moment at the end of both sets that you took the initiative and then won?

ELISE MERTENS: I mean, I think my serve really did the work today, and also when I needed, I played a good return game too. So we kind of had this 2-All, 3-All, and everything.

Then I think the key moment was for me to have the 4-3, the 5-3, the 4-All, the 5-4 for me. I kind of pushed myself a little bit more trying to give her the second ball, try to dictate a little bit.

I mean, it was difficult a little bit with the wind too. But, I mean, it's a great court and I felt like, Okay, this is a Grand Slam, so you push a little bit more.

Q. Also I noticed you enjoy a lot and you were very, very happy. Also, Muguruza and today, looks like the veterans when they start winning at the end, and you are not No. 10 and you are not compulsory to win, but you have more joy and happiness from the victory.

ELISE MERTENS: Yes, of course. I try to enjoy the game a little bit more than I used to. I think when I was a little bit younger, it was quite stressy. Now I have a little bit of experience, so I try to enjoy the game, try to, you know, trust myself and what I can do, as against Garbine.

The third set was a good one, and I tried to push a little bit more, and I did the same in the second set, especially at the end of the second set, tried to win this one in two, tried to put a little bit more energy, scream sometimes, say "come on" and that really helped.

Q. We will have two questions about Sabalenka. One will be singles, and it will be tough match, tough opponent. What can work against her? How tough is it next round?

ELISE MERTENS: I mean, it's definitely going to be a tough round. She just won Adelaide, so she's kind of on fire and has a lot of confidence.

But, you know, every match has to be played, and I think I can be good too. I try to do my best, and, of course, she's very powerful, but I try to take every opportunity as I can.

Q. As a former double partner, and you have shared a lot of success together, do you stay in touch? Do you have contact with her?

ELISE MERTENS: I mean, I almost see her every week (laughing). We say hello. We have a little bit of small talk. Of course, we're friends on court. Everybody tries to do their job and tries to win. But, yes, she's a very friendly person.

Q. And I stay with doubles. You were supposed to play maybe Kudermetova, but you don't. And then, bang, first round you play against her. What happened? Why Hunter? And what do your expectations from doubles here?

ELISE MERTENS: Hunter is a very good doubles player, and she's very motivated and everything. Then, of course, she's an Aussie, so hopefully we get the crowd behind us.

I mean, with Veronika she's not going to play every tournament anymore. She's not going to play a lot of doubles, she said. You know, it's kind of both our decisions not to play together anymore.

And, you know, it's tennis. You cross each other's path in the first round, second round, third round. That doesn't matter which one. We just try to focus on Storm and on my game together.

Q. Do you have any expectations from doubles results here?

ELISE MERTENS: We have it the same as last year, so hopefully we can do better. You never know in tennis, but, of course, we're going to try our best to have a better result than last year.

Q. Final question about Australia. You have a lot of success here. You won some titles here before semifinal of Australian Open. It looks like you play good, and it suits you.

ELISE MERTENS: I love it here. I have a very good vibe here, very good energy, and I always love to come back.

I mean, preseason in Belgium is rain and colder conditions, and to come to sunny Melbourne is always nice.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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