(September 10, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Posting player interviews throughout the day as allowed.
Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:
MURRAY-SOARES/Carreno Busta-Garcia Lopez
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Congratulations. You won a second major. Can you talk about that? And talk about how you first got together as a team.
JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah. Yeah, I started talking to — I was speaking about playing last year during — actually after this tournament kind of during the Asian swing a bit.
Yeah, then obviously we started playing this year, which worked out great, in Australia, to kind of hit it off so well so quickly.
And for us to come here again and to win a Grand Slam, you know, is an awesome feeling. I think we are both super excited about the partnership and what we can do in the biggest tournaments.
You know, keep working hard to make sure that we have success in the future, as well.
Q. Do you feel like that was one of your best performances?
JAMIE MURRAY: I think we were clinical in what we did, yeah.
I think we didn’t really let them play very much. You know, I think Bruno returned very well. When he was very aggressive on the return, you know, I could get right on top of the net and guys didn’t have anywhere to play the ball, I think.
I think we did a good job on our serves. After the first game it was big for us to get the break back straightaway, I think, and kind of settle ourselves into the match.
Yeah, I think we just did a really solid job, I think.
Q. You had treatment on your neck and you were flexing it a bit again just then. In light of what’s happening come next Saturday, how is it?
JAMIE MURRAY: Well, I think the physio said it’s probably going to be sore for a couple of days. I did it like third, fourth point in the match serving. I don’t really know quite what I did, but did something.
It’s not that comfortable now, but thankfully it didn’t really affect me playing. I imagine I’ll be absolutely fine for next week.
Q. It’s not a long-standing…
JAMIE MURRAY: No, I don’t know. I obviously did something that it didn’t like. Yeah, honestly, I don’t really know. The physio didn’t really know quite what I had done. Starts and stops of adrenaline, stepping up a bit, as well.
No, I will be fine for Davis Cup.
Q. Give me your thoughts on what it means to have that trophy in your joint possession.
BRUNO SOARES: It means a lot. Every title means a lot. I think Grand Slam is extra special. For me, New York has been amazing to me. I won the mixed here twice.
I had a very tough run in 2013 when Alex, we won the semis, but he got injured so we weren’t able to compete in the final. So for me to be able to come back here and win the whole thing is just amazing feeling. I mean, the year has been incredible, our first year as a team.
I mean, to win two slams, it’s tough to explain how good the feeling is.
JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, to be honest, I mean, I couldn’t ask for anything more, really. You know, I lost two Grand Slam finals last year. You know, I felt like I was ready to win. I felt good about my game, where it was at.
I felt like Bruno was a partner that could get me over the line. I think we were validated under our decision obviously to come together.
Yeah, I mean, it means so much. For us, these are the biggest tournaments and these are the ones we want to win at the start of the year.
To have two in the bag, yeah, it’s a huge achievement for us both, and we should be really proud of ourselves, I think.
Q. A pretty tough early round, but it has been obviously a two-week project winning a slam. Has this been sort of the best two weeks, the most comfortable?
JAMIE MURRAY: I mean, me personally, it’s a weird thing to say. I don’t feel like I played my best tennis these two weeks. I honestly don’t. I feel like I have been grinding a bit with my serve. I didn’t feel so comfortable on my return.
But, you know, we found a way to get through the first match. We could easily have lost the first match. We were fighting really hard in the third set.
You know, after that, we kept going one match at a time, starting to play better. I think in the semis we played a great match. In the final I think we came in with a clear game plan of what we needed to do and what was going to work well against those guys.
Yeah, we did a great job.
Q. From a strategy standpoint, both of you guys like to get to the net in traditional doubles. A lot of teams, like Spaniards, have done well staying back. What do you focus on to take out the strengths from the back of the court and bring the battle more to the front of the court like you did today? You did so well today.
BRUNO SOARES: Yeah, it’s not easy. It goes a lot with how you return. Like Jamie said, we had a clear plan in that Jamie is very fast on returning and coming in, especially with the forehand. He chips. I feel guys that serve and stay back, they are not really used to the shot, so we can really take advantage of that.
On my side, it’s a bit different. I don’t really return and come in, but I can be aggressive on the return. I mean, today I had a special day. I was hitting the ball big on the return. I almost didn’t miss a return. Then when I’m able to return like this, Jamie puts so much pressure on the guys.
So it’s what we had to do, like to not let them hit one shot from the back, being comfortable. Just getting in their head. I think we did that extremely well. If you let these guys rally and hit comfortable shots, they’re just going to kill you.
They are so consistent and so aggressive from the back. But once you get in their head, it’s where we can take advantage of them. I think we managed to do that very well today.
Q. When Andy won Wimbledon the second time he kind of said he enjoyed it much more than the first time because he could sort of see a more relaxed kind of way and the satisfaction was maybe more instant euphoria. Compare it to how you were in Australia.
JAMIE MURRAY: Well, I think it’s a different situation. For him, Wimbledon is a huge pressure. The spotlight is all on him. For me it’s not like that here at all.
I think for me it’s both equally special. I mean, I was obviously super happy to win in Australia, win a first Grand Slam, especially, you know, the previous year doing two finals back to back and losing both.
You know, here, I mean, I think like we know what it takes to do well in these events. You know, for me, the final, like I felt good. We had a great chance to win. I felt our game style was going to match up well today.
You know, as Bruno said, it did. Yeah, we’re really excited to obviously lift this trophy, albeit for a small time. (Smiling.)
Q. We all know doubles partnerships can change a lot. Would you say that this is the best-ever partnership you have had? Is it one that you would envisage staying together for a long time?
BRUNO MURRAY: I hope so. (Smiling.)
JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, of course.
BRUNO SOARES: Can’t do much more. Keep him with me.
JAMIE MURRAY: Look, we had the best year of our career, whatever way you look at it. Neither of us had won a Grand Slam before and we come together and we have won two.
So, yeah. Of course I could never disagree with that, yeah.
Q. You beat the No. 1 partnership in the world in the semifinals. Is that a new goal? Is that a goal to become the No. 1 partnership in the world?
BRUNO SOARES: I think so, yeah. Right now, yeah. Before this tournament we were pretty far behind, even though we are No. 3. They had an amazing year. Now I think we are pretty close in the race again. It’s definitely a goal.
From the beginning of the year, No. 1 goal is to qualify to London, and we did that pretty early. I mean, officially it was before this week, but, I mean, unofficially we know we had a very good chance to be there.
Now we are in a chance to win it. I think we put ourselves in a very good spot right now. Gotta keep performing well and keep performing well in the big tournaments. We’ve got two Masters 1000 to come and then London. Big points. We’ve got to play our best there again.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about how often during a Grand Slam two weeks like this do you speak to your brother? Do you guys talk tennis at all? Just that interesting dynamic of even though you’ve got your own thing going on, keeping an eye on what he’s doing.
JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah, often we don’t spend that much time with each other because you’re on your own schedules. But we were actually next to each other in the lockers this year. I probably saw him quite a bit more than normal.
But, I mean, you know, we didn’t go to dinners. We were staying in different parts of the city. I mean, it is what it is. Everyone’s got their own schedules. You’re kind of focused on what yourself is doing.
I mean, I watched pretty much all his matches on TV either in the hotel or when I was just in the physio room getting treatment after my matches or whatever.
Yeah, I don’t really — I mean, normally I don’t tend to spend that much time.
Q. After your message to Andy on court he respond at all?
JAMIE MURRAY: Haven’t looked at my phone actually since we came off court, so see what he says. (Smiling.)
Q. Reached two Grand Slam finals. Thought you were going to get to the next step eventually. (Indiscernible) When you split up, did you feel it was a gamble at all? Was it a dilemma deciding whether to take this forward with Bruno now?
JAMIE MURRAY: Well, I think there is always — well, there is always that risk, because you never know what’s going to happen. Of course, last year I had my best year on the tour. But I decided that I wanted to — I wanted to try to play with Bruno, basically.
I felt like he was the guy that was going to help me achieve what I wanted to achieve on the doubles court. Yeah, it was still a big decision to, you know, commit to not playing with John because we had a lot of success.
Yeah, I feel like I’ve vindicated my — vindicated? Is that the right word? My decision. Yeah, sitting here four Grand Slam later and we have won two of them, so, yeah, it’s good news for me, I guess. (Smiling.)
Q. Totally lighthearted comment on court. Emerging from Andy’s shadow. He’s done well this summer. Has his status sort of driven you on a bit?
JAMIE MURRAY: I wouldn’t say necessarily this summer, but I guess over the last few years, seeing him do so well all the time. You know, wanting to have some of that success, as well. You know, I think the last kind of 18 months have started to really kind of show what I can do on the tennis court.
Yeah, I hope that it will continue. Yeah.
Q. Is it easier to play with Bruno than it is with Andy?
JAMIE MURRAY: Um, yeah. Probably, yeah. (Smiling.)
Q. Can you expand?
JAMIE MURRAY: I think we — I mean, like we talk more. I mean, they are doing similar stuff on the court, like the way — their strengths and stuff. So for me it’s not like a difficult switch to go and play with Andy. I mean, he’s a great player.
But I think, you know, we are with each other every day. We are working on our games and communicating all the time. You know, I find it easy to do that with Bruno. I mean, obviously sometimes, you know, with Andy it’s not always so easy because great players, you know, they do things the way they do.
You know, if I kind of come in and start saying, you know, I think you need to serve there or, you know, hit your return there, you know, they are not used to hearing that. That can be a bit problematic sometimes. (Laughter.)
I think for me and Bruno we are kind of on an even keel and both have the same goal. We’re both trying to do the best for each other and for the team.
Q. On the same issue, how much of it becomes a friendship and how much is a business and how much of it is achieving your goals in sport? Do you become better friends over a period of time, for instance?
JAMIE MURRAY: When you win.
BRUNO SOARES: Exactly. When you lose, you just hate each other. (Smiling.) No, we have been good friends for a long time, me and Jamie. We have been on the tour. We get along super well.
For me, it’s very important to get along off court. I can’t do this well with someone that like I don’t get along well, I just don’t like. For me it’s important.
We have had an amazing year, but we lost so many times so many tough ones and with match points. You got to be able to, you know, go to dinner with the guy after a tough loss and talk like friends. You know, have the same mentality, hard work, and enjoy the ride.
It’s a very tough one. We get special moments like this, but we have brutal moments, as well. We have to be able to share that and just take it easy, you know. Like for me, it’s impossible to do that without a friend.
Q. Talk about the experience of this tournament. Was this match the hardest one out of the duration of the tournament, or was it another standout where you thought you guys had to battle harder or were in a difficult position?
JAMIE MURRAY: Well, I think the first round for us was a really hard match. You know, for me, I don’t know what Bruno was feeling that day, but some moments I was just thinking, you know, just doesn’t seem like it’s going to be our day. Then I would kind of be walking to the net when he’s serving, and just, Come on. Find a way. Find a way.
Eventually we did. We were in the tournament after that. That was huge win and could have easily been gone in the first round and would not have had a chance to sit here.
Then obviously for us to get through — again, quarterfinals was a big match. Tough for Bruno to play Andre, best friends. You know, it’s not easy. You know, also lost to him a couple times this year already. Mentally it was not an easy match to play.
I think for us the semis was obviously a big win. To beat the French guys was huge. I think I played my best match of the tournament there, I think. Yeah, I think for us the final, you know, I think we were favorites going into the match.
I mean, I was confident going in. I really felt like we had a good game to be there. I didn’t feel so stressed about it because I knew what I was going to come up against. I quite like playing against that style of play.
But, yeah, I mean, that’s the thing. Two weeks is a lot of time. A lot of tennis gets played. A lot of tough moments. You have to find a way to get through them if you want to get to the finals and have a chance to lift the trophy.
Q. If you look at your achievements alongside Andy, I think you both, between you, have what now, six Grand Slam titles, two Olympics golds, and a Davis Cup? That’s not bad for two kids from Dunblane, is it? What’s your thought on that body of work?
JAMIE MURRAY: Yeah. I mean, look, yeah, I think we have been able to do a lot of amazing things in our lives on a tennis court. Yeah, I guess when you’re kind of living in a moment you don’t always think about all that stuff.
But, I mean, yeah, I mean, you kind of take a moment and look at — yeah, it is amazing what we have been able to do from a country of no history of tennis at all.
Yeah, it’s just — yeah, it’s quite amazing thing about it. I get quite emotional kind of talking about it. And, you know, I think, you know, my mum especially has done some amazing things, and I hope that for everything that she’s done for us and for tennis in Scotland, you know, that she’s able to get the tennis club built. You know, I think if we want to kind of leave a legacy of what we’re doing, you know, it’s the best way to do it.
I really hope that, you know, the Scottish government back her plans. You know, I guess we’ll probably find out in a few days, I think.
A. KERBER/K. Pliskova
6-3, 4-6, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Obviously the final, talk about the emotion. What are you feeling? Sadness? Are you upset with yourself for your performance?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, no. I think I did a great job. It was my first final. Still was close to winning. I mean, she has more experience to play those finals than me so probably decided in this match.
I’m so proud of myself. If someone would tell me I’m going to play finals in this tournament before two weeks I would take it. Not sadness.
Q. How nervous did you feel when you went out there? Did your nerves surprise you at all? How do you feel you dealt them?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I wasn’t nervous at all. Not even during the match. Not even in the beginning. I said already once I’m on the court I feel fine. A little bit before the match I felt nervous, but I think that’s normal.
I was enjoying the match. It was very tough for me physically. We all know she’s tough to play and she’s putting so many balls back. I was expecting very tough match.
In the end, in the third set, I was very close, but, you know, she’s just playing some good tennis this year. It’s never easy to beat her.
Q. You said you weren’t nervous on the court, but you also said that Kerber’s experience was probably better for her today. What about her experience do you think got her over the line as opposed to you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely. I don’t know if it, you know, had any influence on the win her, but definitely she played few finals of Grand Slam already. I would say she maybe felt a little bit, at least in the beginning of the match, better. I did few mistakes.
But then it was very close. I was still trying to be aggressive. You know, it’s never easy for the player who is attacking and is doing more mistakes.
For her I would say it’s, I mean, not easier. She was running a lot. But for the one who is attacking I would say in the end it’s more tough to do the points, especially if it’s close and you really have to push it really hard to make the winner in the end.
Q. Despite being left handed, what makes her serve difficult?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I didn’t play a lefty girl in this tournament so far, I think, so it’s always different to play lefty, you know. She’s always serving to the backhand. You cannot do much from it.
Then she has the whole court open. I have twin sister. She’s lefty, so it’s always tough to play against lefty girls. There is not much of them in the top 100. You always play right girls, so there is no time where you can practice against lefty. There is no time where you can have some matches against lefty girl. It’s always tough to play them.
Q. She’s had a spectacular year. What lesson could you take from that, especially when you look at what the other women have been doing? Garbiñe struggling a bit, and the others. What do you think from the way she’s been playing?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, she has totally different game than me so I will not take a lot from her, but definitely from her as a person, she’s taking all those results. It’s not easy to be, you know, on the top and still be playing tournaments. You have some kind of pressure, and Angie, she’s handling this pretty well.
I’ll just take this, you know. It’s totally different. I don’t know how I will feel in the next tournament after this. Everyone is going to talk different and everyone is going to look at you different that you have to win.
So Angie did really good job in this one. You see a few girls struggling after they did a good job. I mean, Garbine, after she win Paris she’s been playing maybe a little bit different. I’m not sure how she feels, but she’s still a good player, so I’m sure she can get up back.
Q. Did you feel that your serve, which has been so effective throughout this tournament, let you down a little bit today?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: No. I would not say it was because of my serve, because obviously it’s tough to play someone who is, you know, still every ball putting back. It’s never easy to play. I didn’t have much easy points from the serve, because she’s just playing so well and putting every ball — even if it’s like not aggressive from her side, but still she needs to put the ball back.
You have to play one more shot than normally. Compared to the other girls what I have played in this tournament, they are missing so much the returns, but she’s not. So then it’s also tough for me to serve, you know, because I don’t have any free points from the serve.
Q. And second to that, I know your sister is in China where it was 4:00 a.m. Do you know if she saw the match?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I don’t think she’s watching. She’s playing final in the morning, I think, so I think she’s sleeping. (Smiling.)
Q. Did you feel at all maybe she had a little more pressure on her because of the No. 1 ranking going into today? Obviously she just got it the other day because of Serena.
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I don’t think she felt any pressure today. So far one of the best matches what she played against me.
I think what I have played, as well. It was high-quality match. There was not that many mistakes and I really had to play every point to win a game or to win those points.
Q. Pretty concerted effort in the second set; tried to get more effort and come to the net a bit more. Is that something you knew you had to do after the first set?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I have been playing her quite a few times and there is a lot of ways how you can beat her.
Today I had the feeling she’s not missing much from the baseline. I just had to step up into the court a little bit and to be more aggressive and closing into the net with the volleys obviously.
I think I did a good job on the net and I did so many points there. That was probably the key why I won the second set. Unfortunately in the third one I didn’t have that many chances to go there. I mean, in the last game I missed something. (Smiling.)
Q. Do you think this tournament will be the turning point for you in Grand Slams, where we’ll see you in the quarterfinals, semis, finals, more consistently? Do you think this could be the turning point moment?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Well, I cannot say now. We can talk maybe next year. (Smiling.)
After some tournaments I’ll just, you know, don’t think about any other tournaments right now. I just finish US Open. Let’s see how is it gonna be. Maybe something will change; maybe not. I just want to take all the positives from this tournament.
Q. A similar question: What do you think you can take away from an incredible performance in Cincinnati where you have won so many big matches and this incredible run?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I beat very good players. To win in Cincinnati was — I was just so happy to get the biggest title of my career. I was thinking, Okay, now I can even lose in first or second round of US Open, but I was able to take the game from Cincinnati here, which is never easy after you win a tournament, to play the same game in other tournaments.
So I was just happy that I made it here even far. It was always my goal, like I said, to pass the third round, and I made it to the final. I’m still proud of myself. I’m not gonna think about losing, because could be other way, as well. I could be the winner today. Was about few points. I will just take positive from this tournament and still try to move forward.
Q. Congratulations on a great fortnight. Next time you’re in a slam finals, how much is this going to help? How much have you grown in the last four hours?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I would say a lot, because you don’t have much matches like this in your career or in the whole year. So I definitely take on a positive. The next Grand Slam I’m trying — I’m going to try to play like I was playing here from the first round to the last one.
So doesn’t matter what happen. I’m just gonna take it tournament by tournament and try to play the game what I was playing last three weeks. I think I really did a good job. I improved in a lot of things, especially the game what I have been playing, not only against the players which are under me, but with the top players which are in front of me.
I think that’s the key how I can, you know, be even better than I am.
Q. Angie wasn’t giving you very many free points today. You were saying you feel the pressure as the aggressive player to end the points. Can you talk about what that’s like to be an offensive-minded player and play against a defender of her quality? What pressure is that on you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, there is always some pressure. You have the pressure that she’s gonna ace you four times in a game. But here it’s different pressure, that you cannot miss much, but you still have to be aggressive and do winners, otherwise I cannot be the one who is running with her there.
I don’t know any other player, Simona or those girls, which are running. I cannot play really 30 times across the net. It’s gonna just kill me, and I will not in the end even win it.
I just have to go for my shots, and that’s what happen in the first set. But she was playing very good tennis in the first set, a lot of first serves, so then it’s hard to attack. She had really good depth in the shots.
I just was waiting for my chance, and I got it in the second set. I was still, you know, aggressive, even I didn’t get it in the third set. I still think I was, you know, aggressive in the third one, but did a few mistakes. That’s why I lost it obviously.
I was maybe a little bit more tired in the end of the third set. That’s also why maybe I just, you know, needed a little bit more power. (Smiling.)
Q. You were playing so well in the third set up until the last game. It seemed like it quickly got out of hand. Have you been replaying it in your mind, or is it too soon still?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: No, I would not say it was because of the last game, obviously. I could do better. We all know that the last game wasn’t great, but like I said, it’s so hard against her because she still needs to play — to push you to play one more shot.
So I just went twice to the net and was going really for the shot. So it could go the other way, as well. So I think I just did a great move to go into the net. I did so many points on the net.
So I would not change it. Just it didn’t happen, but this is the way how I have to play.
Q. Angie becomes No. 1 on Monday. What’s been the impression among the girls on tour of what she’s been able to accomplish, this season especially?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, definitely I would say now that she deserves to be No. 1 because she did so well. She has two Grand Slam titles, one final, few other titles. She’s been just playing great this year, and, you know, constant. She deserve to be No. 1.
And after years what Serena was there, I think it’s a nice change.
Q. Coming off defeating Serena, who was previously No. 1 and now Angelique, losing to her who is now current No. 1 — obviously you beat Serena, Angelique. What was the difference of those two types of players? What was that differences like and, what you found in those two?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, you cannot compare those two. The game is totally different. The persons as well. Serena is going for every shot. She’s serving pretty well. She’s just, you know, pushing you from the second serve. So it’s just totally different game. So there I have more chance to wait for, you know, her mistake.
With Angie, you cannot wait for mistakes. She doesn’t give you anything. I have to be the one who is aggressive.
It’s sometimes more difficult to be the one who is playing aggressive and going for the winners.
So that’s the difference between them.
Q. Along those lines, you just started to answer that, but you came to net, as you were talking about, 38 times in the match. You served and volleyed 10 times. Showing such courage as you did throughout the tournament. Can you describe a little bit your thought process? Any transition in your career over the recent months that’s allowed you to be so calm and courageous in this fashion?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I mean, I wasn’t before the match really planning to go to the net so many times, but it just — you know, I had to change something because she was winning all the rallies in the first set.
I just, you know, was going after the first serve, and it always help me when I go after the serve. The serve is better than if I just stay on the baseline.
I was really going for my shots, and actually it was working. Obviously I missed few, but I win more than I missed. That’s impressive.
And, you know, we have been working on this, my game on the net, so much. Even in the doubles it improved a lot. So I’m really proud of this.
I believe like this, I can win matches like this next time.
Q. What was going through your mind as you saw Angie hold up the championship trophy?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Nothing. (Smiling.)
Q. What do you think the impact of this experience will be on you?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: Like I said, I just try to take only positive, even if finish with a loss. I think – still think – it wasn’t a bad loss to lose to girl which is No. 1 in the world.
I played a good matches. Even this one was very good, high quality. So I just, you know, take it into my next tournament and into my life. It’s my biggest success so far into my career. Only positive from New York.
Q. Everything changes in life. For years we have been seeing the Williams sisters, and maybe Sharapova and Azarenka come to mind. But this year we have seen your great performance, Angie’s great performances, Garbiñe. In the locker room, is there a sense that maybe things are shifting?
KAROLINA PLISKOVA: I don’t feel it in the locker room, and I’m not really taking care of those things. But, yeah, there is almost every Grand Slam different winner except those two with Angie. This one could be a different winner, as well.
I mean, yeah, maybe it’s time changing and different players are coming up. Younger players are coming up, which is normal. They are always dangerous.
Great to see some other girls winning the title, not only the same person.
A. KERBER/K. Pliskova
6-3, 4-6, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How would you describe the Angie Kerber who was on the tour before 2016 and the Angie Kerber who has been on the tour this year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think a lot of things change. I mean, it’s just incredible what I did this year. I’m really so happy and so proud about everything what’s happened now about my team, about my game, and about my improvement, as well.
I think I improved a lot in a lot of ways. To being here with my second trophy, it’s just the best feeling ever.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the ways you improved.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I was really trying to improving a lot of things. First of all, of course, my fitness and then to being more aggressive and go for it when I have the chance. Not just hitting the balls over the net. Just playing my game. Because I know that when I practicing I can be aggressive.
Just make the transfer on the match court, that was the challenge. And also, mentally to being more positive, a little bit more stronger, and just focusing on the moment I am on court.
Q. In line with that, at the end of the second set, beginning of the third, looked like you were slipping back to the negative mode. Body language wasn’t great and you were making some errors. How did you adjust and what was going on in your mind?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: That’s true. In the second set my body language was not the best. I was trying to change it in the third set, but it was not so easy because Karolina is a tough opponent. She was one break up very soon in the third set.
I just told myself, Okay, stay positive. Believe still in your game. I was thinking a little bit on the final in Australia where I was also in the third set. I believed then my game, and I did it today, as well.
So that was in my mind to stop the negative emotions and change it again in a positive way.
Q. What did work in your game today that allowed you to win a tight match like that? What do you think the difference was?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think first I really start really strong in the first set. I was trying to making her move.
In the second set there was just one break. I think I was just believing in myself in the third set and just going for it. I was not too much like hoping. I think that was the key at the end of the third set, that I was trying to take the chance when I was feeling, okay, now, I have the chance to go for it; just go for it until the end.
Q. I know the No. 1 ranking is a title. Was there any part of that that made you believe a little bit more today, and do you feel like the way you gutted this thing out it validated to some degree that ranking you just earned?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yeah, I mean, of course it’s better feeling to win now my Grand Slam and being the No. 1 player in the world on Monday.
This what’s happened in the last two weeks, it’s just incredible. Also, how I was dealing with the pressure when I came here and everybody was asking me about the No. 1 number, actually. This was what I was trying to improving with the pressure.
And also, today, I mean, it’s always tough to going in the final when I know the opponent beats me like two or three weeks ago. That was also a challenge what I told myself, Okay, I will do everything on court today to win the match against Karolina.
Q. Sports is a very concrete thing. You’re always in the moment. But I have never seen a great champion talk about dreams so much. In Australia you talked about it. You said dreams come true. Very much the same sentiments today, talking about a dream. Talk about that a little bit more. Is it just beyond belief? Does it seem a little bit unreal? How important have your dreams meant to your success?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I mean, I was always dreaming to being one day to being No. 1 and to be in the Grand Slams. I’m not 18, so I was always trying to improving my game. I knew that I have the game to beat the best players and just being patient and working really hard.
And now to see that the work pays off, this is actually the best feeling. Because I was a lot of hours on the practice courts, sweating and everything, and you are just playing for this moment to being on the center court in the final and with the amazing crowd.
So this is what I was always dreaming for. That’s why I’m talking a lot about that.
Q. Does it still feel a little bit unreal to you?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Actually, I don’t know if it’s unreal. I was feeling it in Australia that everything is really unreal. But right now I think I can also enjoy it. I’m really trying to take every single moment with me and all the positive emotions what I get now, and in the last few months.
Q. You spoke about a couple of the things that you have improved this year: your fitness and being more aggressive during matches. With the fitness, could you tell us a little bit about what specifically you might have changed or done differently this year? In terms of the aggressiveness in the match, was there a particular loss or a moment at some point maybe last season where either you or your coach said to you, Hey, you’re losing because of this, or, To take the next step you need to change your game that way?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: First of all, with the fitness I’m really trying to playing more intense when I’m practice and not playing like maybe two, three hours just like that. I just go to court to being intense and spending a lot of hours as well on gym or like just making a lot of sprints and movement.
So this is what I change, especially in the preseason.
With aggressive, I played a lot of tough matches last year like three sets and especially here, as well, against Azarenka last year. That was also one match what I remember where I really just pushed the balls and I was not going for it.
So there were a lot of matches last year where I knew that I have to be aggressive to win it. This change also in my mind. To making the transfer is not so easy, but I think I did it well. I will try to improve this, as well, in the next steps.
Q. A lot of emotion when you sat down and you buried your face in the towel. Can you talk about that a little bit? Was it more joy or more relief?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: It was everything, I think. Because all the pressure on the last few months. I mean, to win here it’s really special for me, because like I said, everything starts here for me 2011. This Grand Slam is, yeah, really, really special.
That’s why, when I sit there, when I came back from my box, it was everything. I had just positive emotions. To being there like a champion this year, to hold this trophy, it’s — I don’t know. I mean, I can’t say it in words, actually.
Q. Did you ever wonder if you didn’t have enough power or enough weapons in your game to be No. 1? Did you wonder about that and worry about it?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: No, I was always believing in myself. And like my team, as well. They are always believing in me. They are always telling me when I was also down, You are a really good player. You played tough matches against the best players in the world few years ago.
It was just the next step to beat the best players. To being consistent like I am right now, I think that was my next step after last year.
Also, when I sit down with my team and we spoke about 2016 to playing better in the majors and in the bigger tournaments and playing consistent. I’m fifth year in the top 1o, so this is what I’m doing good: being consistent but playing better in the bigger ones. This is what I changed this year. I was always believing in my weapons and about my tennis.
Q. Congratulations. Today some former No. 1 players, such as Navratilova and Arantxa Sanchez, had press conference, and they said when you are chasing for No. 1 position you don’t feel much pressure. But once you became a No. 1 you feel it, because everybody wants to beat you and everybody expects you to win. I don’t want to ruin this… (Laughter.) Talking about pressure…
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think I’m ready, yeah, to have this pressure on my shoulder, because I think I get used to all of this, especially after my first Grand Slam in Australia. I had so much pressure after the title.
And to being No. 1, of course now everybody will try to beat me and have nothing to lose. I will try to take this challenge, because it will be a little bit new situation for me. But at the end, I was always practicing and working hard to being No. 1.
Now I can also taking the next step and trying to staying as long as I can there.
Q. What did you see in that Cincinnati final, reviewing video of it? What did you change tactically?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Of course I know that Karolina is a tough opponent. She beat Serena two days ago, yesterday, and she played amazing tournament here.
So I knew she is, yeah, hitting a lot of aces during a match and I have to be ready for the very strong shots from her.
But I was trying to looking at the match yesterday as well with Torben and we watch the match a little bit. I was prepared actually for that.
I know I had to play my best tennis in the important moments. Yeah, just go for it when I have the chance. I mean, I was a little bit tired in Cincinnati, as well.
Here, I was just trying to take all my energy that I have left on this last match here.
Q. The tour is so relentless, and you’ll have a number of commitments now being the US Open champion. When do you think you’ll get a moment just to be on your own, actually absorb what you achieve?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think in the airport in the airplane. I mean, when I will sit in the airplane and have like few minutes for myself. Going back home in a few days and sitting together with my family and my friends, I think this is the moment where I can really think about everything what’s happen in the last few months, few days here, and just try to, yeah, enjoy every moment then at home.
Q. I think people in general have trouble improving their confidence. It’s really hard to do. Sounds like you’re saying the fitness element was the most important part. Like in Australia you actually felt like a stronger person and stronger body.
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Yes. And I felt this was one of the biggest things, when you know you can run forever on court and you’re not worried that you can play three sets. I think this is really important for your confidence that you can play like two, three hours and you can go for it.
I think I was working a lot on these things. This gives me a lot of confidence, especially also in Australia where it’s really hot. Today the conditions are actually the same: really humid. I was trying, you know, to believe in my fitness, believing in myself, actually.
I mean, I’m here in the final. So I played really good matches in the last few days. Yeah, that gives you a lot of confidence when you know you work very hard.
Q. 12 years since winning your first junior title; turning pro, another 15 years to win your first Grand Slam final and become a Grand Slam champion. Now upon becoming No. 1 in the world and achieving your dreams, what may you tell your children one day and others about what it takes to achieve dreams and persevere?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: You know, you have to believe in your dreams. You have to go with a lot of patience. Yeah, working hard. Just have a great team around you and really love what you are doing. This is when you do everything and everything comes together one day.
I see it this year. I don’t know. I think I will show a few videos my childrens in a few years, and just, yeah, I don’t know, just tell them, you know, everybody — just believe in yourself and do what you really love.
Q. I think you’re the first female player, apart from Serena, to win two in a year. Winning two and being world No. 1 now, are you the rival to Serena that we have all been waiting for?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I don’t know. I mean, Serena, for me, is one of the best players in the world. She is a great person and a great champion.
So, I mean, what she did for the sport, it’s just incredible. For me, I’m trying to go my own way and trying to enjoy now every single moment with my second Grand Slam. It’s one of my best years, so I will just try to continue this and just trying, as well, to improving my game and my personality, as well.
Just taking the next steps in the next tournaments.
Q. You went for the forehand, big forehand down the line. Do you think last year you would have had the conviction to go for such a shot at that moment?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I think this shot was the key for the third set. When I was going down the line I knew, Okay, now I have to risk a little bit, because this is the only chance I can get. I took it, so I think this was really the shot of the match from my serve.
Yeah, when I won the point I knew, Okay, I have the feeling. Now just to go for it and making the mistakes I make like a lot of times before. I was not thinking too much that this is a final. I was just trying to take the challenge, third set, it’s 3-All, and just go for it.
Q. Seeing what you did today and all year — we saw what Pliskova and what Garbiñe did in Paris. Many new faces. Are you excited? Do you think there could be a new landscape to women’s tennis?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I’m really excited because I’m seeing as well a lot of new and good players on tour. There are a lot of, yeah, players and they are working hard. They are playing great tennis.
I think, yeah, let’s see what’s happen, how they will play in the next few tournaments and the next Grand Slams. I think, yeah, it’s good to have so many good players on the tour.
Q. Have you heard from Steffi Graf at all? What inspiration has she given you recently? Lastly, what did you watch of her when you were a little girl?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: I watch a lot of matches, and I remember that all the matches were very fast. This is what I remember. (Smiling.)
Yeah, I mean, I heard from her yesterday or like two days ago. She was, yeah, wishing me luck for the final. Right now I don’t know because my phone is somewhere, so I don’t know how many messages I get now.
But, yeah, she was always my idol, and I told her so many times. She’s a great champion, as well. For me it’s really important to go on my own way. And to have her like in Germany with all the things she did also for the tennis, it’s just amazing.
Q. Heard by text or phone?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: Text.
Q. After you won the Australian Open, you were up and down until after the French Open. Did you ever doubt or think, Oh, my gosh; maybe I took off more than I can chew? How did you pull out of that and end up with a spectacular rest of the year?
ANGELIQUE KERBER: After Australia I had a little bit up and downs, but also because a lot of things happen and change. I think I had to take the time to get used to everything.
In Paris I had so much pressure on my shoulder. I couldn’t deal this with me. After Paris I was sitting down at home and I told myself, Okay, just go for it and just practicing hard again. You did it once in Australia. You have still two Grand Slams in front of you.
That was actually trying to enjoying the tennis on court again and not, yeah, making too many things too complicated. Just trying to relax, enjoy every moment on and off court, and get used to everything.