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June 8, 2017

Timea Bacsinszky

Paris, France

J. OSTAPENKO/T. Bacsinszky

7-6, 3-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. First of all, Happy Birthday.

Q. Secondly, you battled real hard out there today. Tell us your thoughts on the match, and in particular, if you were affected by the injury at all.
TIMEA BACSINSZKY: So, well, I'm pretty -- I mean, I could be only disappointed on one aspect of the match as it's some opportunities I had in the first set.

But then, the rest, and even there, I mean, I created myself some opportunities, but on the other side of the net she was playing quite well, and she was defending very well everything I was proposing.

But otherwise, I think I just went for, like, every shot. I never thought it was the end until, like, the last points. And, well, she just went for her shot. Maybe had more -- I don't know this word in English. How do you say... No. Try again.

Success? Yeah, success on what she was trying. She was going for many lines. She did hit many lines, more than I expected, to be honest (smiling).

But otherwise, I think there's not much I can be disappointed about. It's not a tear what I have. It's just muscle soreness, probably.

I felt it, like, it was a sharp pain at the beginning, but then I got some painkillers, and I got the tape that I have had on was helping me quite a lot. But I just wanted that tape on.

I usually really don't like to call the trainer on court, but I felt that for security I had to really maintain my quadriceps really compressed, that the tear -- or tear, that it would not start to be a tear. It was just a muscle contracture or something. I don't know how you say it, either.

So it was bothering me more on serve, weirdly, because it's on my right leg. Figure out why. I have no idea. But, well, it shows that I'm pushing, as well, with my right leg. And some on my forehand when I'm in open stance. But for the rest, it wasn't.

You know, when you feel a pain, like, during a match, you have to adapt a little bit. Even though I won the games I think right before the treatment -- or right after the treatment, I think I was not completely calm inside about it. And I took some times, really, to, whew, accept that I have it. But it did not make any change on my side.

Q. It's your first match against her. So when a person -- when she's hitting like that, going for lines, going big, is there any part of you that feels like you just have to gamble and hope that she's going to miss? Or were there things you thought you could do tactically that were successful? Or at the end of the day, if she's gonna hit like that, do you just say, Too good?
TIMEA BACSINSZKY: I think during the whole match I tried many different things. I tried to play very low once. Then to wait her shorter ball from her. Then to attack her on it. Or like dropshots, obviously, or small slices to let her come into the net, because she's not -- volley-wise, I think she could still improve. But then her approach shots were quite good most of the time, and I was kind of surprised.

And on one side of the court, it was way easier to play. We were more winning games on one side because it was with the wind. So against the wind, it was tough for her, too.

I was happy to start the tiebreaker, actually, on that side, but I did not take advantage of it. She started the tiebreaker with, like, a forehand on the line again. I'm like, Come on. Give me a break (smiling).

And then so when we switched it was 3-All. But on the other side, when you're against the wind, like, okay. It's okay to make some dropshots, but at the end, the other one is going to sprint as soon as she sees that you're opening your grip. So, I mean, it was not a solution, as well.

So then I was trying to play deeper, but it was not bothering her that much. And with her long shots -- I mean, her deep shots, it's tough to play angle. So I was trying to maybe get her out of the court, but she wasn't giving me enough angle to do it, as well.

I think, well, she was just easily -- I mean, congrats to her. I mean, I cannot say much more, because I really think I tried until the end to switch some things, not serve the same way, as well. Could have served maybe better, but serving only flat against her isn't the solution, either.

So, yeah, well, that's pretty much it. I mean, what's the point difference that we have? But it wasn't that much. Ah, only one? Ah, bad luck. Okay. It's a tough one.

I cry now or later?

It actually makes me cry now. Ah, but it's okay.

Q. Well, Happy Birthday.
TIMEA BACSINSZKY: Where's my cake?

Q. Still baking it. It's very hard to judge talent, but could you help us and just talk about her future, what she has in her game, and how far do you think she can reach the top?
TIMEA BACSINSZKY: Well, she has an amazing timing. Probably earlier on she wasn't moving as well as now, so she developed the sense of intuition when you're on court. Because, like, probably I had to because I wasn't moving that well even in my first career. So I was really bad at it, at moving. So I had to kind of read the game of my opponent.

And probably this unconsciously helped her. And now she's stronger physically. She's better. She's moving way better than last year. So now it matches quite well with the game. And probably she's less bothered on clay.

I would, like, compare that to maybe Sharapova on some ways because before, at the beginning of her career, she was more saying, Oh, I feel like Bambi on the ice or something like that. And Ostapenko said probably the same last year.

But they probably understood -- and same with Pliskova. She's, like, rolling, like really cruising through the draw -- that she has more time maybe on clay than on hard. Probably that's why she's as well so successful. Her coach, which she's a former player, Anabel probably helped her with that, too.

Her game is getting together. She's less inconsistent than she was before. But really she has this -- yeah, she's a strong girl. I mean, you can see she's there. She can hit. I mean, she puts her both legs. And, well, even if I can hit really hard sometimes, it doesn't bother her.

Many aspects of it I can talk like hours about it, too. Like, in the regions she's coming from, there are probably only hard courts, and she's used to play, as well, on hard courts. So she's not bothered with the speed of the balls, and she likes to play in rhythm and stuff.

I mean, there are many factors that make her play that well. But today I was, like, more playing on the way she would handle this big moment, this big event, and the fact that she's in semifinal of a Grand Slam.

Well, also on that, she had an answer. She's 20. Not afraid of anything. She doesn't measure maybe what she's doing right now. She probably doesn't care. She's just, like, hitting, like, the same -- like, best example is the match point.

I mean, I serve very well wide. She's, like, hitting as hard as she can down the line from nowhere. It comes that above the net and in the corner, and, I mean, who tries that? Seriously? I mean, it's like 1 out of 10. But she does it. So we'll see if she does it at 28 years old.

Q. Her chances of winning the whole thing?
TIMEA BACSINSZKY: I mean, as much as the two others battling out there for the spot for the final, I think it's going to be interesting, anyway. But I cannot really -- right now, it's too tough to say anything about the predictions of the possible winner of the French Open.

Q. If you had to sum up your 2017 Roland Garros in general, what would your summary of that be like? I don't know if you saw Petra's shirt that she had with three words on top of that. What would your T-shirt of this tournament be with just three words? I know that's going to be tough for you.
TIMEA BACSINSZKY: Just three? It's a nightmare. I cannot.

You have time? The first word which is coming, to be "privileged." It's a very strong word for me.

"Limitless," like I'm trying every day.

I have the last word -- but I'm thinking right now of doing the same tattoo as Stan. So I think he did, as well, two semifinals before winning a slam, right? I'm on the good way.

No. And the last is "true love." True love for Paris, for this tournament, for the French Open, for the clay, for the atmosphere, for the people here, yeah, many things.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. This was a great tournament for you. The last time you played so well, so consistently, would you say it was two years ago? Playing so well now, how does that make you feel about the future?
TIMEA BACSINSZKY: I think my best French Open ever was this year. Physically speaking, in terms of game play, I think I'm a better player than two years ago.

I'm not saying that two years ago I was not playing well. Two years ago I was super enthusiastic, and it was the first time I made it so far into a Grand Slam tournament.

This year, I think I have been much more consistent, much more focused.

What was the other part of your question?

Q. How do you feel now about the future?
TIMEA BACSINSZKY: Well, I'll tell you what. When I lost two years ago, I did a lot of thinking. Did I miss a lifetime opportunity? It really affected me, this semifinal. I only tried to take the positive things. But the truth is that I was very disappointed.

Don't get me wrong. I'm very disappointed today, as well, but I think I'm looking at things from a different perspective.

I didn't think I would ever make it back. Today's match shows that it is possible to come back. If you're a true professional, if you work hard, if you put all your efforts, all your time in tennis, it pays off and it can happen again.

So this was my second time. So going forward, I think this can help me build more confidence. It's possible. It's possible to do better. It's possible to go further. It's possible to grow.

I really take Stan and Roger as my role models. They are from the same country as I'm from, and they are just amazing. They are so good at their age. Stan seems to be so much better than two years ago, and he's going to win more Grand Slams. Roger, we'll see soon if he's going to win a 19th Grand Slam tournament.

But anyway, as far as I'm concerned, I think I have many years ahead of myself. I am taking great pleasure in what I do every day. At the end of my career, we'll take stock. Right now I think I still have some nice chapters to write.

Q. You said you played better today than two years ago. Would you say that therefore you're more disappointed than two years ago?
TIMEA BACSINSZKY: No. Of course I'm disappointed. I'm a competitor, and it really pisses me off not to be in the final. Sorry to put it that way.

But you know what? It's too late. This is it. The circumstances two years ago were different when I lost. There were a lot of things that were very different. This time I think I gave my very maximum.

I'm not ashamed to say that she played better. She was braver. She had more courage. She was more successful. In the end, she won the match.

When I look at my tennis last week, I played several matches. You know, normally with five matches you win a tournament, right? The year is not over yet. I did not expect to do so well at the French Open after a difficult start in 2017.

But anyway, I think I'm on the right track now. Wimbledon and the grass season I think I can do some good things, and I can probably, yeah, play well. I'm going to take a few days off and then back to tennis, because I love tennis.

Q. In English you talked about today's opponent. What would you say about her? She's young. She plays very well. She was able to hit on these lines. Tell us about it in French.
TIMEA BACSINSZKY: I think she plays well for many different reasons. Physically she's very fit, as I said in English.

I don't think that before she was very athletic, and she had to learn at a very young age how to read the game. Otherwise she wasn't able to, you know, hit the balls into the court. So that's something she learned at a young age.

On top of that, she became very strong physically. So she has that duality. She reads very well. She's physically strong. She's able today to hit these heavy, deep balls.

And she's young, almost carelessness. I'm too old for that, in a sense. Maybe back in 2015 I maybe was -- I felt a little bit like a baby. I felt like I was doing a holdup. It's a little different now.

Of course I still have a lot of motivation, but she is young and reckless, in a sense. She's not afraid of anything. She's a big hitter. She's a baby, but she's a beautiful baby. I think she's a meter, 78.

The way she hits is fascinating. I really enjoyed playing with her in doubles. She was hitting hard. I was at the net and just waiting for the ball to come to me. All I had to do was just put it back. It was pretty cool.

She tells me, Wow, your dropshots are amazing. But she was the one who was really, you know, doing most of the work.

I think she has a huge potential. She was also able to manage her emotions today. I remember seeing her in the past. Sometimes she was getting a little too emotional. I was hoping that I could use that to, you know, deal with her today, but she was stronger.

Q. So when you're playing someone like her, how does it feel? Do you get disgusted? Does it get on your nerves, the fact she hits so hard?
TIMEA BACSINSZKY: Well, I was thinking about gaining three inches or four inches. No, I'm just kidding.

My objective was to make it a long match, because I knew that physically I can run an hour, two hours, three hours, or four hours. I'm happy to do it.

So I was trying to give her a lot of long balls, long rallies. I was trying to shoot high, low, right, left.

But then, as I said, when I was playing against the wind, it was more difficult. So I really was trying to take all my chances when I was on the right side. But even when she was playing against the wind, she was still hitting extremely hard.

She was disturbing me more than I was managing to disturb her. At one point I was thinking, Maybe I just need to weather the storm until it's over.

At one point I was down 40-Love, and I ended up winning the set.

At one point she sort of lost control of things because I was able to resist. It wasn't necessarily great tennis that I was doing, but I was forcing her to make some mistakes. That was exactly what I wanted. I was trying to push her and force her into mistakes. I was also trying to make her move around as much as possible, but it wasn't successful.

Q. There are a lot of French players. We say that at the end of the French Open all they want to do is come back. You're not French but you love being here. You said it before. Are you looking forward to coming back already?
TIMEA BACSINSZKY: Yeah. What I have noticed is that I enjoy the French Open so much. It's really something that drives me.

I'm really excited to come back, and I'm really -- it's the one thing I have in mind all year round, so I'm really trying to work hard to prepare myself to get better here at the French Open.

But at the same time, I want to be excited about all the other tournaments. You know, I don't want to move away from the French Open with no excitement. I want to be just as happy and excited about all the other tournaments around the year. And that's something I probably need to work on.

I want to be enthusiastic about each match I play. Again, it's not that I'm not enthusiastic, but I think I can and I need to become more enthusiastic for every single match I play, no matter where I play.

I think this can really help me for the rest of my career and for the French Open next year and beyond.

Q. Are you going to celebrate your birthday today? Are you going to do something tonight?
TIMEA BACSINSZKY: Yes. I'm going to drink some beer, finally (smiling).

No, more seriously, I guess so. Again, this was a great tournament, and I know there will be a birthday party when I get back home. I'm going to celebrate with Andreas, my boyfriend. He was born on June the 14th. We are both Gemini. So we are going to celebrate then.

I know that there are a lot of people who traveled from Switzerland. My nieces are French. My brother-in-law is French, as well. So I'm happy that they are here today. Tomorrow they have to go to school, but today they were here. So I'm going to enjoy some time with my relatives.

And I also would like to think about my mom. She's superstitious and she said, You lost two years ago when I came. So this time I'm not coming and she didn't come.

But I'm here thanks to my mother, so today is also my mother's celebration in a sense. I wish she could have been with me on my side today.

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