August 28, 2020
New York, New York, USA
N. OSAKA/E. Mertens
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I wanted to find out, did it make a difference to you that you had an extra day to play your semifinal today? Would you have preferred to have played yesterday if you could, or was it fine to have the extra day and play today?
ELISE MERTENS: For me it was actually fine to have the extra day. I mean, for me, it doesn't really matter if I played yesterday or today.
I think I had a little more rest because I already played on Sunday and Monday and every day till now, so for me, it was actually nice to get a one-hour practice in to refill the batteries.
Q. Considering all that your opponent has gone through in the last 48 hours, presumably, were you surprised she played so strong and was so mentally focused?
ELISE MERTENS: Well, I know she can play great, and of course when her first serve is in, it's really hard to get the point going, get in a neutral position.
But I tried to, you know, that second set I tried to, you know, get into the game a little bit more. It was a really close set, so I'm pretty pleased about the level I played in the second set. The first set I played a little bit more, like, more mistakes, but I think she started well. So, no, I was not surprised about her game (smiling).
Q. So many of your fellow Europeans opted not to come to the U.S. and have been preparing on clay for the Italian Open and Roland Garros. Is there any concern for you in turning things around and going from hard courts to clay so quickly? And do you feel as if the players who came to the U.S. are at a little bit of a disadvantage going on to the red clay?
ELISE MERTENS: Well, I think, as you're playing a Grand Slam, if you do well and you're in the second week, there is nothing to complain about (smiling).
So I think it's always positive to be in the second week in singles or in doubles. I think the players who do well here, yeah, it's going to be a hard one to adapt to clay, but on the other hand, it's a positive position.
I played in Prague. I had, like, five days, or four days, actually, to adapt. It wasn't easy because the courts are a little bit faster than last year, but I think I did well. I think I'm going to look at day per day and try and adjust.
Q. For you, just on Wednesday, did you think that you had a walkover into the final? It seemed at first like the news was Naomi had pulled out of the tournament. Wondering how that unfolded for you.
ELISE MERTENS: Well, of course there was some tweet on Twitter, but just moments later we got a note from WTA that they are going to postpone the matches and do it the next day.
So, no, I was not surprised or I was not really thinking about a walkover. So I'm actually happy that she played, because, you know, I can see where my level is at against her, and even more important is the tournament that's coming, the US Open.
I totally respected her decision. I think it's great what she does, and she's a role model for tennis. So totally accepted.
Q. I'm going to apologize for this. This is really unusual, but these are unusual times. I have a process question. Obviously in tennis and in our sports world in America, so much is going on. That is the story that we, as reporters, have to at least address or put in context. At the beginning of this press conference, the wonderful moderator said we can only ask questions about the match. My question is actually for him. Where is that coming from? Is that your decision? Is that the WTA? Because this is tennis, the sport of Arthur Ashe, Billie Jean King, Alice Marble. Social issues, social justice always interface with backhands and forehands. So, good sir, that is my question for you.
ELISE MERTENS: For me...
Q. That's for the moderator.
THE MODERATOR: This press conference will be for Elise Mertens. I just made a suggestion. Of course you can ask any question you'd like. Do you have a question for Elise?
Q. I have a question.
THE MODERATOR: Please go ahead.
Q. I just wanted you to talk about your run this week. Is it going to give you confidence going into the Open? Are you pleased with it?
ELISE MERTENS: I think so, yes. Of course when I came from clay to hard court it was hard to adjust. But I think I have grown as a player during those matches with more confidence, but also I feel my strokes better.
Yeah, I think especially during today during the second set I really felt better going into the game. So, yeah, I think it will give me confidence, because we play on the same courts and that makes a difference.
You know, you don't have to travel. I have a day of rest tomorrow. But I think, yeah, the faster courts this year are faster courts, but I think I adjusted well.
Q. I just wanted to find out, now that you have been playing there at the National Tennis Center for the past week, have you gotten used to playing without the benefit of fans in attendance? What is your thoughts on that? Have you gotten used to it?
ELISE MERTENS: Well, of course it's a little different. It's always going to be different. Because when you have those close points or like on a 5-All on second set, you really have the crowd behind you or behind the opponent, also.
Yeah, it's a little quiet, but it's also, if you have the passion of tennis and you have really the motivation after those five months, then it can make a difference if you have those two.
But of course you have your team, and also if you try to focus point per point and stay in that little bubble you have, then, yeah, then it's more positively, yeah. But it's always good to have a crowd, definitely.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports