Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Aryna Sabalenka defeats Lauren Davis (USA) in their second-round singles match at WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, Dubai, UAE.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on your win. What gave you an advantage today on court?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I’m super happy with the win. I think because no matter what, I stay focused. Even when the score felt like easy, I didn’t lose my focus. I was keep doing my thing.
I think I’m super happy with that.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You said the courts are fast. How was your impression and how did you like the courts? Was it good for your game?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I wouldn’t say the courts are actually really faster. Used to be fast, but right now it’s a little bit slower. They changed the balls, so the balls are a little bit heavier. For me I think it’s really good conditions to play in.
It didn’t feel like really fast courts, you know.
Q. How happy with your serve – after two double-faults – are you?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Oh, my God, I was thinking like, C’mon, girl, just finish this match without double-faults. How can you play really great, serving really well, then in the last game you serve two double-faults (laughter)?
I was a little bit pissed with that, but then I remind myself how many double-faults I used to make during the matches. Then I was like, Okay, it’s not that bad.
Q. Your game, how happy are you with the way it’s looking?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Yeah, I think I did well. I followed the tactic from my coach. I think it worked really well.
Yeah, I think I played good tennis today.
Q. Your 12th win in a row. Must feel good.
ARYNA SABALENKA: I don’t really want to think about that. I’m trying to focus on myself because I know if I will keep working, keep doing my things, keep playing my tennis, I know that I can keep winning.
I’m just trying to focus on myself more, then see how many – I don’t know – wins in a row I can get (smiling).
Q. Given your packed schedule, you haven’t played for about 23 days…
ARYNA SABALENKA: That’s a lot.
Q. How did it feel coming back? No signs of rustiness or anything in your game whatsoever.
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, you know, these 23 days feels a little bit different because after winning such a big tournament, I needed these few days off. Then I start practicing again. So it didn’t feel like 23 days.
Are you sure (smiling)? I felt like it was two weeks and a half or something.
I worked hard. I worked a lot. Then the rest of the players will play tournaments, so I have to be really ready for the first match. I think we did well with my team.
Q. I’m sorry to remind you, but I don’t think you have very good memories of Dubai. You played here six times I think and never got past the quarterfinals.
ARYNA SABALENKA: There’s always a first time for something (smiling).
I really like this place. I like this city. I really want to do well in this tournament. Hopefully this year I can do really well here.
Q. How do you keep a positive mindset?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Sorry?
Q. How do you keep a positive mindset and positive thinking? How do you work on it?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, I’m not really working on it. I’m just reminding myself that I’m a good player. I reminding myself that I have to work hard and I have to bring my game every time on the court, then I have a lot of chances to win the match. Basically that’s it.
It’s really helping me to stop overthinking.
Q. You say you love the city. We saw you driving around the city. Other than that, what did you do?
ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, I mean, I went to the beach. I went to some really good restaurants. Not much. I’m really looking to see Museum of the Future. Still didn’t go there, but really want to.
Yeah, not much. Just good restaurants, beach, that’s it. And drive fast…
I will ask my team. Finally we can go and see it. I’ve heard it’s really beautiful.
Q. Is the winning streak something that is in your mind that you’d like to continue the momentum and be the only person who could threaten Iga here?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I don’t know. When you start thinking about these things, it never work. I’m trying to focus on myself. I’m pretty sure that Iga last year, she didn’t really focus on winning as much as she can straight matches, you know? I think she was focusing on her game. That’s why she did really well. So I’m trying to focus on myself.
Hopefully, yes, I’ll do my best to win that many matches in a row. Probably more. But it’s tennis. You just have to work really hard and stay focused. I’m doing my best to be that way.
Q. Unlike in the past where there was Serena or Steffi, top players that used to dominate the world rankings, now it keeps changing. Do you think it’s a positive thing, that it gives the others a chance?
ARYNA SABALENKA: I think tennis improved a lot. I think, like, everyone improved a lot. Everyone started working with their own fitness coach, trainer, tennis coach, hitting partner. I think everyone improved a lot.
Right now it’s never easy matches. If you play, I don’t know, somewhere far in hundred or somewhere like in top 20, it’s not that much. Everyone can beat everyone. That’s why it’s a little bit tougher right now. That’s why top players struggling a lot with that.
Like from the beginning of the tournament, you have to be really focused and you have to bring your best tennis. So you’re spending a lot of energy. Then at the end, it’s tougher to play.
So I really think it’s positive thing. It’s help us to improve more. Yeah, that’s definitely positive thing. But I wish we would dominate like they used to, you know?
Q. Good luck.
ARYNA SABALENKA: This is the best. I love this question: Good luck (laughter).
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports