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January 18, 2023

Jessica Pegula

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

J. PEGULA/A. Sasnovich

6-2, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Jessica, congratulations on your win today. Can you just give us your overall thoughts on the match and your performance.

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, I thought I played really well. I think she really stepped up her level at the end of the second there. I thought I served, returned well, did everything pretty solid. I don't think I really made many mistakes. I mean, I was even looking at the stats afterwards and I thought my stats were very good.

I think I just had to fend off her being really hot and kind of streaky there at the end, she was playing super-aggressive but I'm glad I was able to squeak out that second set.


Q. You're a player who in the past has said you have no problem looking at a full draw, playing the same draw game that the rest of us play before a tournament. Does that continue despite the fact that you're kind of higher ranked now and projected to go deep? What do you make of the draw in general?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, it definitely continues. I saw that Marta was in my section, Kostyuk. I thought she would beat Amanda because Amanda hasn't been playing. I was like, Huh, that will be interesting if she gets through. I think she's really dangerous. I think she should be ranked a lot higher than she is. I think she's super talented.

It will be interesting though to see her play a young Aussie who has a lot of power. I actually watched her play at United Cup. I remember watching her play last year or a couple years ago, as well, who has a really powerful game and a big serve.

I definitely still look. I like to. I think it's fun. I think it, I don't know, gives me motivation as well to kind of work my way through that, as you know.

Q. On that, because you're the outlier. Most players don't want to look, don't want to get too ahead of themselves, don't want to let the draw impact how they approach a tournament. How come it doesn't for you?

JESSICA PEGULA: I don't know. I think before it made me more nervous, like not knowing who I play or like, Ooh, should I look or should I not look or should I not look to the next round. I'm going to see on Twitter or on Instagram or anywhere or someone is going to come up to me and say something, so I don't know why I'm trying to like act like it's such a superstitious thing.

I think I just went the opposite way and was like, Okay, I'm just going to look at it and I'm going to have to try and see everything else that's going on.

Also just not my section. I like looking at it as a whole. I think it's fun. I think it becomes like a game, like kind of like a problem-solving game.

Yeah, I don't know. We do draws all the time in other sports. I don't know why it's like such this thing in tennis not to look at your draw. I don't know how you don't see who you're gonna play.

Q. I wanted to ask you about the 3 you're wearing. Can you talk about how that came about? Whose idea? Is it like something stitched on, like a patch?

JESSICA PEGULA: I think it's just pressed, ironed on, pressed on. Screen printed. There we go. Fancy word.

Well, I definitely wanted to do something on my outfit. I was in Sydney when it happened so I didn't have time to do it there, but definitely for Australia. You know, we were kind of figuring out what the Bills and the Sabres were doing just as far as what was the message. I knew they would probably do something and what message were they trying to send. It ended up being kind of the 3 was the symbol.

I just thought it would be cool to put on my outfit here. I thought it would be a fun way to kind of connect with the team and then also just show my support. I felt like it was such, felt like it was a global event. A lot of people were asking me about it even here.

So I think it was just something cool and different I could do. It felt kind of special. Ironically I am No. 3 as well. But that's not why. I think I saw someone tweet that. Why would you put your ranking on your skirt? I'm, like, No, that's not why. (Laughter.)

Yeah, I think it's just a fun way to connect. You know, this time of year I like to do that, especially if we're doing well and I'm doing well, it's just a fun thing for me to do. Yeah, I just -- yeah.

Q. Does it feel like some sort of advantage for you to have scheduling for certain, know when you get to play, not having to deal with constant delays?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yes, I was definitely happy, one that I played Monday, not the hot day; and two, I had a roof. I don't know if those are just perks of doing better, you're ranked higher, you get a better court. Because I've definitely been on the latter side where you are grinding it out out on court whatever, Court 12, I don't even know.

It's going to be tough conditions I think for everybody. It's crazy the weather last few days. I think it's going to clear up the rest of the day but I'm sure it's been tough for everybody, just with the heat and then the rain.

I think as tennis players we are pretty adaptable. I think we're used to a lot of that stuff. Obviously it's never ideal but whenever you can handle it the best, that can help a lot with your confidence as well.

Q. I was wondering if you could kind of talk a little bit about compartmentalization. It feels like something even when we talk about the draw, you know, kind of conversation, just being able to go out there, I know the stuff with the Bills happened while you were literally on the bench at the United Cup and had to take the court and play. Have you always been able to do that, to separate your tennis from everything else that's going on, private life, personal life, all that, or is that an acquired skill?

JESSICA PEGULA: I think I've always kind of been that way. I'm not like overly emotional so I think that helps with being able to put my emotions aside and being able to focus on what's ahead. I don't know why but I believe I've been like that probably for most of my life. I don't know if it's just more of a personality thing as well. But maybe the last few years I have probably gotten even better at it, and I don't know. I don't know why.

I just feel like when I go out on court, everything else, it shuts off. I don't know. I don't try to purposely really think that way. I'm not doing anything special to do that.

But I also just, I don't know, I guess I'm lucky that way where I think tennis is fun for me. It's competing. You have to be focused and ready to play. For me, it's just always been where I don't have to think about everything else. It's kind of an escape, where some people it's not always like that.

I'm happy that for me that's always kind of been the case. But yeah, I can't tell you, I don't really do anything specific to make that happen. I don't know. I feel like it's just a personality thing.

Q. Should we conclude that with some of the cameras following you around, you'll be the target of some further exposure down the track?

JESSICA PEGULA: The cameras following me around, like what?

Q. On Netflix?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, weren't they supposed to follow me? Are they here? Oh, I didn't even know (smiling). That means they're doing a good job.

Yeah, I think so. It's always a tough balance, you know, how much access you kind of give. I did a little bit last year. I did more interview-type stuff because that I don't really have a problem with.

We'll see. I'm definitely interested. I want to, you know, have more exposure, kind of help the sport, I feel like you have to give back.

But, you know, at the same time we are all so selfishly in our own little bubbles when it comes to us as tennis players, so sometimes it's tough. I think if you can find the right balance, then yeah, I would definitely be open.

Q. On that topic, have you watched the current series? How does it make you feel about what this will hold for you?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, I definitely did. I really liked Ons' story, not just because I'm in it. I think her story is just very interesting, so different than anything else.

I obviously like Taylor Fritz's story. I think the way it kind of panned out with him being hurt, beating Rafa, being from the area, kind of was like the perfect story. Those were kind of my two favorite stories.

I thought it was good. I think it's a way to get people to watch. I had a lot of friends that don't really follow tennis that much besides me, and they just felt it was really cool, because, you know, they felt like they got to know the players a little bit more, and then they could make the connection between me playing with these players, like, Oh, wow, this is really neat.

I think tennis needs more of that. I think we just need to kind of break into this generation of fans. It can be very traditional. So I think going into Netflix, doing something a little bit different, is definitely going to be good for the sport.

Q. I know you watch a lot of tennis. Tonight there is a pretty marquee match for the girls with Coco and Emma facing off for the first time. Curious what your pundit thoughts are on that one.

JESSICA PEGULA: You always like to ask me about matches.

Q. You're good at it.

JESSICA PEGULA: I have to go with Coco. I think she's just playing with a lot of experience right now. Even though she's so young, I feel like you kind of just know she's going to go out there and win the matches she's supposed to win. At least that's what it seems like.

I know she hasn't always had the best results here. I think it will probably help her playing at night where the ball is not flying as much on her.

I don't know if that will necessarily help Emma in a way, but it's tough to say. With Emma, she's only played, what, a few matches, and she unfortunately I think sprained her ankle in Auckland, so I don't really know where she's at physically.

I'd have to go with Coco right now. But of course, you know, two young stars, players playing against each other, I'm sure the nerves probably come out a little bit more than they would than in a different situation.

I will stick with Coco. But, like, she's my doubles player as well. I can't say she's gonna lose. That's terrible (smiling).

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