August 26, 2002
FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK
Q. That was quite a finish. Did you get a surge of adrenaline, four straight aces?
BEA BIELIK: Absolutely. Being in that situation, to serve out the match, I knew that I wanted to put some pressure on her to come up with the winner. I knew if I came up with some deep first serves that I would be on the offensive. You know, luckily I didn't even have to deal with return.
Q. On match point, were you thinking, "I've had three aces, let's get another"?
BEA BIELIK: Well, yeah. I mean, at that point I felt good about my motion during that game. I thought I was just going to go for it, and came through.
Q. It looked like when you broke back in the second set is when you really started to take control of yourself more than anything else, to become aggressive. Is that true?
BEA BIELIK: Absolutely. I think I played, you know, a pretty tight match for the first set and a half which, you know, was a little bit unexpected, but I can understand it. I didn't really feel that many nerves before I stepped out on the court. You know, when the match began, I just felt a little tight. I felt like my balls were landing short. You know, after I got the break back at 3-1, I just felt like the momentum shifted a little bit, and I was able to step up in the court a little bit and take some balls earlier. It made a difference because the depth of my shot allowed me to get some short balls and come into net or just hit some clean winners.
Q. Can you talk about the decision to turn pro. What was the determining factor?
BEA BIELIK: You know, I think a lot of different things went into it. You know, I didn't want to rush into anything. I didn't want to regret any decision. That was basically my main goal. I just felt like I had competed at a high level in college and I had achieved everything there is to achieve. You know, I was just very motivated and dedicated to becoming a professional. I said this to many people. I never planned on just coming out and trying the pro tour, you know. I wanted to come out a hundred percent and make an impact and hopefully leave this game as a champion. When I felt like, you know, during the summer when I was training and finding my game again, it was coming back, that this was definitely where I wanted to be. It wasn't that difficult of a decision when it came down to it.
Q. Where did your game go?
BEA BIELIK: You know, I had played impeccable tennis for 10 months. I took some time off. I was dealing with a lot of things after Nationals, obviously, taking care of interviews, meeting with different people. I needed some time away from the game. Mentally, I needed to get away. When you come back, it was basically the first slump I had in a while. Even when I was practicing, I didn't feel I was hitting the ball well, hitting the ball cleanly. It carried on for about a month and a half. But, you know, the last month of practice, I've just felt better every day and every week. I didn't get many matches under my belt. But even the ones that I did have, I just came out with more confidence because I knew what I had to do. It was more of a mental issue than it was, you know, a tennis issue.
BEA BIELIK: More so the Pilot Pen. I played there, had a lot of opportunities to close out sets and close out the match basically, and I didn't do it. Coming off of there, regardless of the fact that I lost, I came out with a lot of confidence because I knew I could compete at this level. It should have been a match that I won, should have won.
Q. Is that your first professional tournament?
BEA BIELIK: Yeah.
Q. What's that like, your first Grand Slam match?
BEA BIELIK: I mean, I tried not to think about it. I mean, obviously this is home for me, so I had a lot of people supporting me, which was great. It helped me a tremendous amount. But, you know, I really did not -- I can't honestly say that I felt I was playing a Grand Slam. I really didn't try to think about it. Obviously, in the back of my mind I knew about it because that's the reason I was tight. But it's a great experience. I'm so happy that I'm able to play my first professional Grand Slam at home and in front of my friends and my family and fellow New Yorkers, you know.
Q. This is the first tournament as a professional?
BEA BIELIK: Yes, this is.
Q. Pilot Pen?
BEA BIELIK: I was still amateur.
Q. Does this feel different? How did you sleep last night? Did the match feel different? Wasn't different from your usual routine? What was going on inside?
BEA BIELIK: I actually felt great last night. I can't sit here and say I was nervous. I had dinner with my family. I stayed home and relaxed. I didn't waste any energy. But I was home, watched a little television. I woke up this morning, felt great. You know, I went out on the practice court, then it started to hit me a little bit more. You know, I had to focus. I think the nerves started to set in slightly. But, you know, it's expected. I haven't been in this position before. You know, I'm just glad that I was able to keep myself calm and focused and get through the nerves and play the big points well today.
Q. You were home last night, your own bed?
BEA BIELIK: Yes.
Q. You're not staying at a hotel?
BEA BIELIK: No.
Q. Did you want to stay home for familiarity purposes?
BEA BIELIK: I mean, literally I'm not that far away. I'm 10, 15 minutes away. It gets a little hectic around the house because people assume I'm staying at home so I get phone calls every five minutes. It was a thought for a second to stay in a hotel. But for me, you know, that's exactly what it is, I want to be in my own bed, watch my own television, eat my food at home, be with my parents, be able to have my friends come over and visit me. That takes so much off of my shoulders.
Q. Do you remember your first time coming to The Open, how old you were?
BEA BIELIK: Sure. I mean, probably before I was 10 years old. Probably 9 or 10 years old. You know, I remember coming out and watching, you know, Jimmy play and Andre play, and Steffi play. I mean, you know, early on I knew this is where I wanted to be.
Q. When was the first time you played here at the old center?
BEA BIELIK: '96. I played -- competitively I played in '96 in the junior open. I practiced here early in the mornings when I was 9, 10, 11 years old. I used to practice here 6:30 in the morning.
Q. Who did you practice with?
BEA BIELIK: They had just my coach at the time, a group of kids came out in the morning, we all practiced together. That's when point situations came, practice getting ready for tournaments.
Q. What is your best result in the juniors here?
BEA BIELIK: I think second round maybe.
Q. How many times did you play?
BEA BIELIK: Twice or three times. Two or three times. I don't even remember. First or second round.
Q. Has your serve been clocked?
BEA BIELIK: It hasn't been clocked for a while. Last time it was clocked, it was 122. But that was the best I've had. I haven't had it clocked in years.
Q. You'll change it up?
BEA BIELIK: Hope I can get it higher than that (laughter). I'm not looking at hitting the ball a buck twenty-two; I'm looking at getting a good percentage of first serves in. I know my second serve is going to be an opportunity for me to put myself on the offensive, you know. If I can clock it up there, I'll clock it up there and hit an ace. You know, I'm trying to play percentage tennis right now.
Q. 6:30 in the morning when you're 10 and 11, are you awake? Do you realize where you are?
BEA BIELIK: Yeah, absolutely.
Q. Did you see any of the players come streaming in in the morning?
BEA BIELIK: No. It's like when everybody opened up the shop. At that age, you're so excited to play and practice. I was awake at four, I was ready to go. You don't really understand, you know, the significance of what's going on at 6:30 in the morning. My poor dad had to get up and take me before work. He never had any problem with that.
Q. Your opponent missed a lot of her first serves. That gave you some confidence in the first set?
BEA BIELIK: I just think, you know -- I mean, she -- I don't think she had that low a percentage of first serves. She didn't really go for too much. It gave me an opportunity to look at each serve. I knew that I would have to make her come up with winners. My game plan against her was to make her hit a lot of shots. I was able to keep the ball low against her on my returns, especially on my slice. She sprayed a lot of balls, gave me some free points. That's what allowed me to be in every service game. Unfortunately, you know, with the nerves, I didn't take advantage of every opportunity I had on her serve. You know, I did what I needed to, and that was the difference.
Q. What did you tell yourself when you missed that overhead right at the net?
BEA BIELIK: I really just tried to clear my head. Obviously, those are not the kind of errors you want, especially at a critical time like that. You have to just, you know, forget about it and go to the next point. That's what I tried to do. Getting emotional, getting upset isn't going to help you anyway. Just try to turn it right around and concentrate on the next point.
Q. In the game you broke back, did you make a conscious decision in that game to be more aggressive?
BEA BIELIK: I tried to. I tried to step up a little bit more on her second serves and make her come up with winners. You know, I could kind of feel her energy, that she was a little bit nervous. She threw in a double-fault on one of the deuce points. After she did that, I knew if I put a little bit more depth on the ball, put a little bit more pressure on her, you know, that I might be able to get an error out of here or I might have an opportunity to come in and take advantage of a short ball.
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