Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

February 18- March 2, 2024
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 18- March 2, 2024
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 20, 2024

Elena Rybakina – R2 Press Conference – 2024 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

2024 Women's Singles R32: E. RYBAKINA/V. Azarenka 4-6, 6-2 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Elena, welcome to Dubai. Tough way to win today. Can you talk us through the match, the first set, how you were able to power through in the second.

ELENA RYBAKINA: Yeah, was very difficult to adjust, to get used to all the conditions. Maybe one-hour flight, but it’s a huge difference.

Yeah, really happy that I managed to win the second set. Unfortunately we couldn’t finish the match. But I started to feel much better in the second one.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A couple of days ago you were in Abu Dhabi, then you went to Doha, back in Dubai again. How are you keeping yourself physically and mentally fit? Short flight times, but…

ELENA RYBAKINA: Well, it’s not easy and I’m trying to do everything possible, taking day off. Of course, it’s not enough time I would say in between. It’s tough.

For now I was trying to manage the practices, maybe skip some. Nothing really. I mean, I’m playing almost every day. It’s been I think in 10 days nine matches or something like this. It was a lot.

Happy that today – it’s not the way I wanted to finish – but it was two sets. Maybe I have some time to recover for tomorrow.

Q. Maybe Doha was a tough one to lose for you, but how do you quickly change your mindset and all focus is now on Dubai?

ELENA RYBAKINA: Well, it’s not first time you play kind of in a row. It’s not easy. I know that’s the last tournament, then I will have some break in between. I’m trying to push myself. Of course, it’s not easy, as I said.

It is what it is. It’s a good problem to have, to play so many matches. I’m happy and just try to keep on going.

Q. In terms of court speed, people coming here have been saying it’s very fast. Is that how you felt it? Could you compare it to Abu Dhabi? Was it similar in terms of speed?

ELENA RYBAKINA: Well, it’s strange because we have the same balls, but it’s everywhere different I would say.

In Abu Dhabi the balls were becoming very heavy and big. I will say it was also a bit slower there. I would say that, okay, in Doha it was humid also, so it was much slower. Abu Dhabi and maybe here, the similar stuff. Maybe it’s drier and the ball is traveling through the air faster.

I actually was here when they just did the courts, so it was quite slow. After few weeks of playing, maybe because also the sand is coming overnight, it’s quite like slippery. It slides, the ball. It is, I would say, a big difference in all three tournaments.

It is what it is. At least we keep the same balls, which is healthy I would say. But they all react different in the different conditions.

Q. Do these conditions suit you? You’re tired, but in terms of the way you play your tennis, is this…

ELENA RYBAKINA: I prefer, of course, faster courts. It helps for my serve. For example, in Doha and Abu Dhabi, it’s not easy to get free points. Here it’s easier to get free points, but easier to make mistakes. Compare to the previous matches, I would say today was much more unforced errors than previous matches.

Q. You’re doing everything you can to be as fit as possible and energetic, high energy. When we talk about fitness, what is the main priority for you right now? Is it energy level? Is it mental? Are you dealing with niggles, pains or anything like that?

ELENA RYBAKINA: Well, I think fatigue generally. Of course, some tightness, soreness here and there. I mean, mentally it’s also not easy to fly and start over again, start over again. I would say that it’s a bit of everything.

It’s the last one before some break, so I’m trying to push (smiling).

Q. You made your debut in Dubai I believe around 2020. Since then, how have you enjoyed coming to the city both for tennis as well as leisure?

ELENA RYBAKINA: Well, actually I really like Dubai. I’m here for four years in a row for sure during pre-season, actually in this club. Everything is familiar for me. I’m staying a lot also in between the tournaments. After Australia I was here. I really like Dubai. I think it’s a good place to practice and play, of course.

Q. Is that a personal preference among certain players to practice here compared to other locations? Is there a reason?

ELENA RYBAKINA: I think it’s just good weather and good location, especially going to Melbourne. After Melbourne we have also this swing. Of course, when we go to Europe, you cannot really come back. For the hard court preparation, I think it’s great place.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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