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 made a very, very good start there, didn’t you?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, it was a good start but then I struggled, struggled a little bit to finish the set. But I’m really happy that a good finish with two sets and only four games, gave up four games.
So it was good. Good start.
Q. Why did it get more difficult after the first few games?
ELINA SVITOLINA: It’s just the balls are flying and she changed a bit her game. She started to put more balls in the court. And with her shapes, it’s a bit tricky. So that’s why it was a bit tough. And I lost my focus. So I was really happy that I could finish this way.
Q. You’ve got Garbiñe next. How do you look ahead to that match?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, I mean, I just finished my match. Didn’t really think because I don’t like to look into the draw.
She’s good player. She was No. 2 and now, I don’t know, top 5. She’s good player. Just need to play my game, to focus on my things. That’s what’s the most important for now.
I don’t really want to see who is playing on the other side. For me is just important to play my game, to do what I do on the practice court.
Q. What are you hoping for this season? I mean, you’re a young player. You have had some pretty steady and good success. What are you hoping 2016 brings for you?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Just try to take match by match. Australian Open was bad start for me. It was really tough to go through it because I had high expectations. Probably need to learn from it, to don’t put so much pressure on myself. Just to go out there and enjoy playing, enjoying playing my best.
So this is the goal for the moment, because it was too much pressure.
Q. Can you talk to us about your coach.
ELINA SVITOLINA: About my coach? I have a coach and consultant for now. It’s great to have Justine in my team, and I worked with her in offseason for a little bit, and now she gonna join us for some tournaments.
I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to hard work. Of course there have been some small changes, but we are trying to do something new what can refresh my game. That’s it.
Q. How did you come together?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I know her a long time because I have been in Justine Henin Academy in Belgium. When I won Roland Garros they invite me there, and I was there for two-and-a-half years. So I know her from there. My coach, actually, I met him there, as well.
Q. Do you know which tournaments exactly she will be maybe traveling with you?
ELINA SVITOLINA: No, I don’t know yet. We didn’t look. It’s still early and it’s really early to say.
Q. She won here four times, so perhaps it’s a good omen for you?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, I hope. And, yeah, she’s not only won four times here, she has some amazing results in other tournaments and the Grand Slams. So it’s amazing to have her experience and her in my box and just being around.
Q. Is it ever intimidating when you’re together on the court and talking to her, or are you so used to her by now?
ELINA SVITOLINA: No, just have so much respect. But also I have a lot of respect for my coach and it’s all teamwork.
You know, what she doesn’t have, my coach has; what my coach doesn’t have, she has. So it’s just a little bit of everything.
My coach did a good job for the last two years bringing me into top 20 and, you know, I’m really thankful for his — because I’m really tough, I can say, on the practice court and off court.
So it’s — yeah, he’s really a hero.
Q. In what ways would you say you’re tough?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I think a little bit of everything. I’m a bit — I am perfectionist. So everything is to be perfect, so that’s why sometimes it’s really annoying, I think, but I try to stay realistic.
Q. Is that something that developed like when you were older or were you like that even as a little child?
ELINA SVITOLINA: No, I was like this because I have brother and I have always been so competitive and everything needed to be perfect. So, for me, I think it just builds my personality.
Q. Older brother?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, he’s nine years older. He was coaching me and I was all the time playing against him. So it was fun, but in the same time I wanted to win all the time. That’s why I think I have this (indiscernible).
Q. You spoke about what you learned from Australia. You said it was disappointing for you. How long did it take you to get over that disappointment? What kind of person are you to deal with these things?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, I was really disappointed because I had good start in Hopman Cup. I had some good wins and then lost in the final there, so tough, tough match for me.
And then I got injured a little bit, so I couldn’t play 100% against Kerber in Sydney, but obviously I probably shouldn’t be sad because she won the Australian after.
But it was disappointed to lose to the girl who I needed to beat. I really had high expectation. I don’t think I should have think that way.
That’s why I was so disappointed, because I worked really hard but it was — my game was not there, but I need to learn that those days I also need to play my best and to try to push myself to play through this. So this was bad experience but I need to learn.
Q. Where is home for you? Where do you spend your time when you’re not playing? Do you go back to Ukraine?
ELINA SVITOLINA: No, I don’t go so often. Only two, three times a year for couple of days to see my grandparents. But it’s really, really sad that I cannot be more time with them.
But for now I practicing in Slovakia. I just came from there. I just signed a contract with them for a couple of years. I’m going to practice there, and they have good courts and amazing facilities. I’m really happy that I will be there. For me it’s…
Q. Where are your parents, then?
ELINA SVITOLINA: My parents are in Ukraine, but they are joining me sometimes for the big tournaments. I see them quite often.
Q. Slovakia, the same place as Illya Marchenko or no?
ELINA SVITOLINA: No, it’s different place. My home is in Trnava. It’s called EMPIRE. So it’s good days and so well organized. For me, I was really happy that I could find something, this place, because it’s so, like, so good organized.
Q. Given this self-appraisal of you being so strict with yourself and regimented, how did you find yourself making this transition from your junior career to your career as a senior?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, I have always been so strict with myself, but probably it helped me in one way but in the other way it didn’t help me because sometimes I’m too sad that something didn’t work in the practice or in the match. Sometimes it can distract all my game.
So for two years when I had this transition, I was trying to find this balance. So that was the key for me. I think it was quite good. Okay, it’s not perfect but nobody is perfect.