August 25, 2020
New York, New York, USA
A. KONTAVEIT/M. Bouzkova
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You have lost only one match since returning to the tour, the final in Palermo. Since then you have done quite well. Today you beat a very good opponent I think in Marie. Are you pleased with how you were playing since returning to the tour from the hiatus?
ANETT KONTAVEIT: Yeah, I definitely am. I'm feeling really good on court. I feel confident, and I feel like my game has improved in that time, as well.
Yeah, I'm really excited for the upcoming matches and feeling really well on court. Yeah, definitely really happy about it.
Q. Why do you think you won today? Was there anything that you can pinpoint to that that was a difference maker in your victory today?
ANETT KONTAVEIT: I was just playing my game. I think I was a little more aggressive and trying to take initiative. I think I served really, really well today, which definitely helped me a lot.
Q. Was it difficult to transition from clay a few weeks ago to hard courts now?
ANETT KONTAVEIT: I don't find the transition too difficult. I find it harder to actually go from hard to clay and to get used to moving on clay rather than -- you know, I find it easier to get used to moving on hard court, so it wasn't too difficult.
Q. Your game seems to be going in the right direction with the US Open starting next week?
ANETT KONTAVEIT: Yeah. Yeah, really pleased with the way I have been playing. You know, hopefully another few tough matches ahead.
Q. Can you identify a through-line in terms of whether it's your game, your mentality, tactically, mentally, whatever it is, that really seems to have picked up since the Australian Open even through the shutdown? What is it that's allowing you to get these consistent quarterfinal, semifinal, final results?
ANETT KONTAVEIT: I do feel like I'm more calm on the court. I feel a bit more confident in what I'm doing, as well, and just trusting myself more.
I feel like I'm doing quite a lot of things better, but I don't feel like there has been -- I haven't changed my technique. I haven't done anything like that. I just feel more confident and comfortable on the court.
Q. Can you identify anything that would have kind of triggered that? A conversation, a match, you know, the run to the quarters at the AO? What has calmed you mentally?
ANETT KONTAVEIT: I can't pinpoint anything specifically. But I am turning 25 this year, so it's time to grow up and be more mature, I guess (smiling).
Q. I was asking a few different players, a lot of you have come on the restart and cited kind of feeling mentally fresh on the restart. I'm curious, because that's language that's used a lot by different players, Oh, I'm feeling mentally fresh, or, I'm feeling mentally drained. For you, when you are mentally fresher, how does that translate on the court? How different does the tennis look?
ANETT KONTAVEIT: It definitely looks different. I mean, I think it's a key thing to find a way to keep yourself mentally fresh.
You know, right now it's easy because we are just coming back and it's been such a long break, but, you know, it's definitely going to be the key to maintain it and stay and feel like that as long as we can.
Q. Does it feel like when you are fresher that, you know, are you playing more aggressively? Decision-making seems clearer? Does the ball seem like it's moving slower to you on the court? How does it translate Xs and Os?
ANETT KONTAVEIT: Yeah, like you described. I think when you're fresh, the reaction is quicker. Everything just -- the moving is better. You see the ball better.
And definitely I feel like when I'm probably not as mentally fresh, then, you know, it's easier to lose focus. The mind drifts a little bit easier.
Yeah, it changes a lot.
Q. Does it feel weird to go into the US Open feeling mentally fresh? Because that seems like that's usually not the chorus that we hear from players this time of the year during a regular season.
ANETT KONTAVEIT: Usually it's easier to motivate yourself for the slams. You know, there is so much on the line and they are such big tournaments.
So I don't remember feeling too tired last year, for an example, at the US Open. I felt like I was really ready for it, and it was just a really unfortunate thing that happened.
But, yeah, I think it's easier to motivate yourself for the slams and to be mentally fresh for the slams. There is just so much on the line, and you have to think about it like that.
Q. On the suites in Arthur Ashe Stadium, you have one, right?
ANETT KONTAVEIT: The what?
Q. The suites. You know, the player suites.
ANETT KONTAVEIT: Oh, the suite, yeah. Sorry, sorry. Yes, yes, I do.
Q. Who is in your neighborhood? Who is your next-door neighbor?
ANETT KONTAVEIT: I'm pretty sure one of my neighbors is Benoit Paire. And then Maria Sakkari. I don't know if she's right next to me or Paire is like between us and something like that.
Q. You play Naomi or Yastremska next. Can you just talk about the challenges of playing each one of those opponents.
ANETT KONTAVEIT: They are both really aggressive players. They hit the ball really hard. You know, they are both very good players.
It's definitely going to be tough, you know, but I'm feeling ready for the challenge. Really excited for the matches ahead, and I feel like I'm playing good tennis and anything is possible.
Q. First of all, I'd like to know if, after you have been with your father in Palermo who was watching the match next to me, and then 25 Estonian people who came in that morning, flying from Estonia when they found out that you were in the final, I'd like to know if you feel lonesome now. Not so many people supporting you. I mean, how different it is? And is your father there with you also or not anymore?
ANETT KONTAVEIT: My father actually doesn't travel with me a lot, so he's only been to a few tournaments actually in my lifetime with me.
Yeah, it's definitely more lonely. It was really nice to have all these Estonian people coming to watch the final. It definitely was really special that they actually made an effort to come all the way and come and support me.
It was definitely very special. But, yeah, I mean, here we have no fans, so it's definitely different. But I think, you know, we get used to everything.
I think the first match was really -- it took some time to get used to it, and there is just silence and everything, but I think I'm just so happy that we have this chance to play at all and that we get to be here and playing competitive tennis.
I'm just really excited about that and try not to think about those things that are missing.
Q. Being the runner-up in Palermo, you beat in the previous round the winner of Palermo. Teichmann had won it last year. You lost in the final, but you played pretty well in Palermo too. What are your expectations now?
ANETT KONTAVEIT: I'm just taking it match by match. I'm feeling really good on court and I feel confident. You know, I have had really good wins and really good matches behind me, so I'm just looking ahead and I'm looking forward to the next challenges, which are definitely going to be very tough.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports