Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You had to work hard for that. Tough match.
DARIA KASATKINA: Yeah, it was tough.
Q. She can obviously be a tricky opponent, as you know from your last match against her.
DARIA KASATKINA: Of course.
Q. How pleased were you with how you pulled it through in two sets?
DARIA KASATKINA: I was just ready for this. Everybody knows that Aga, she’s like tricky player. She can play, like, unbelievable winner from any part of the court, doesn’t matter where. So I was kind of ready for that.
I was just trying to focus only on my shots. If she hits some unbelievable shot, not to put too much attention on this.
Q. You had to be really quite patient against her, she’s so difficult to break down.
DARIA KASATKINA: Yeah, I mean, against these kind of players, you have to be patient, otherwise you can go crazy. You can lose few important points in a row. This is what they’re waiting for.
So, yeah, the important part was really mental.
Q. You have a lot of variety as well in the way you read the game. How do you describe that part of your game? How do you work on it? Is it all instinct?
DARIA KASATKINA: I was watching a lot men’s tennis when I was a kid, yeah. Of course, it’s instinct, as well. So watch and instinct together.
Q. What goals have you set yourself for this year?
DARIA KASATKINA: My goals? I would take ranking, it’s top 15. With the tournaments, tough to say because so many tournaments. You don’t know when you going to take it. So we will see.
But the ranking, it’s top 15. Of course, I am focus more on my game, trying to improve every day, every practice.
Q. You switched coaches at the end of last season.
DARIA KASATKINA: Yeah.
Q. What was the biggest adjustment you had to make with your new coach?
DARIA KASATKINA: They are different, of course. I think we have a better connection with the new coach. For the moment, I can say like that.
Q. What is his coaching philosophy? Is it lots of hours on the court? Being strict? What is it?
DARIA KASATKINA: His philosophy? No, we’re actually not spending hours and hours on the court. Of course, we’re practicing a lot, but not like crazy. He’s trying to listen to me, of course.
It’s tough to explain. It’s just coming from inside, you know. It’s not, like, just one part is changing or another part is changing. It’s like everything together. Small things are making the difference.
Q. How do you feel about your game at the moment? Is it progressing the way you imagined it would be?
DARIA KASATKINA: Yes, of course. I feel much better. I feel much stronger than last year. I think that’s normal to feel like this, especially when you’re 20 years old.
So, yeah, I feel like I’m really improving.