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August 5, 2013

Carol Zhao


6‑1, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Just overall, experience‑wise, you get in as a qualifier, you get to play an evening match.  What do you take from this experience‑wise?
CAROL ZHAO:  A lot.  I think there is nothing really like coming to play the Rogers Cup.  This is a tournament I grew up watching.  Getting an opportunity to play in the main draw is a dream come true.  Yeah.

Q.  Can you talk about the reality on the court tonight?
CAROL ZHAO:  Yes.  Well, I mean, obviously going to the match I knew she's a very established player and I have lots of respect for her.  So I was just going in, you know, trying to enjoy my time on the court.
It's kind of ‑‑obviously it's hard when it's not going your way, but I mean, it's a good learning experience for me.

Q.  At the beginning of the second set, something changed.
CAROL ZHAO:  Uh‑huh.

Q.  What did you do different?
CAROL ZHAO:  Yeah, I think I just tried to simplify my game plan, and I think it rattled her a little bit.  I think the next step for me is trying to maintain that level of play for a longer period of time.

Q.  I understand you're going to Stanford in the fall.

Q.  Did the kind of results you had here‑‑ you're the only Canadian to make it from the qualifying into the main.  Does that give you any reconsideration about going pro?
CAROL ZHAO:  Oh, no, no, not at all.  I don't think I'm that kind of person.  I think it's an honor and a great opportunity for me to go to Stanford.  Definitely going to do that, but I'm definitely looking to play pro tennis during and after my time at Stanford.  Yeah.

Q.  I want to know, were you nervous tonight?  And if yes ‑‑ because you had like a few like...
CAROL ZHAO:  Unforced errors?

Q.  Yeah.  So is that why...
CAROL ZHAO:  For sure, yes, I mean, it's my first match at this level.  So obviously a little bit of nerves.
But I think after the first few games it went away like any other match.  It was ‑‑yeah.

Q.  Were you pleased with the crowd, too?
CAROL ZHAO:  Yeah.  No, I appreciate them so much.  There is not really that much that I can do on the court to show that, but I'm very appreciative.

Q.  Was it a very different feeling from the qualifying matches?  Were you more nervous and why?
CAROL ZHAO:  No, I don't think so.  I was playing still very high‑ranked players in the qualifying, so I think the feeling was similar.
Just I think today my opponent was definitely a better player than me.  Yeah, lots to learn.

Q.  The last few matches, what sense do they give you of your current level?
CAROL ZHAO:  A lot.  I played a few good matches as well in Vancouver last week.  So definitely gives me a bit of confidence playing at this level, for sure.
So hopefully I get more chances in the next little while to play more of these tournaments.

Q.  How has it been watching Eugenie, as well, out here over the last few days?
CAROL ZHAO:  Oh, I don't think she's played yet, but...

Q.  Just I mean the hype around her and what's happening to her in women's tennis overall.
CAROL ZHAO:  No, I mean, we're pretty good friends, so I'm happy for all her success.  I see how hard she works off the court for it.
So happy for her, and I think her recent, I guess, climb up the rankings gives us a lot of motivation to do the same.  Yeah.

Q.  You mentioned that you have been to this event growing up.

Q.  Talk about some of your big memories as a child and sort of how they compared to today.
CAROL ZHAO:  Yeah, I mean, for example, just little things like I would line up and watch the pros practice and try to get their autograph.  Now I'm kind of on the other side of the fence, so that's pretty cool.
Stuff like just like it's a great feeling to play a match like tonight, even if the result wasn't what I wanted, to have the crowd on your side.  It's a very special feeling.

Q.  Just in terms of the sort of familiarity of the venue, must be completely different from being at any other tournament.
CAROL ZHAO:  Yeah.  I grew up playing here at the Rexall Centre.  Obviously very familiar.  Looks a little different usually than this, but yeah, there is nothing much to say other than it's very special.

Q.  So you struggled in the first set, but then you really rallied in the second set.  Can you talk about what was going through your mind in the first and how mentally you came out differently in the second?
CAROL ZHAO:  Yeah.  She's a very experienced player.  Obviously coming out she started great and put me under pressure right away.
So it's not easy to come back after that.  In the second set I found a bit of momentum, but like I said, I wasn't able to keep it.  Next step is trying to prolong that stretch of momentum, I guess.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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