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 19- March 4, 2023
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 19- March 4, 2023
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 20, 2023

Jelena Ostapenko – Press Conference

2023 Women's Singles 1st Round: J. OSTAPENKO/K. Zavatska 6-1, 6-4

Jelena Ostapenko

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you take us through the match and whether you like easy opening-round matches or tougher ones?

JELENA OSTAPENKO: I mean, it really depends. She’s not an easy opponent I think. I just today didn’t give her many chances to play. I was playing more aggressive and took time away from her and made her play uncomfortable. I think that was the key. Yeah, I really try to focus more on myself when I play against some girls that I don’t really know that much. Yeah, I think in general was not a bad match.

Q. Is it a different feeling when you come to a tournament when you are defending the title?

JELENA OSTAPENKO: I mean, obviously I try to not think about it. It’s great city, great tournament. I really love to play here. One of my favorite cities. Yeah, I just try to not put extra pressure on myself since French Open. I think I had enough of it (smiling).

Q. You said today is your mom’s birthday.


Q. How special is that?

JELENA OSTAPENKO: Of course, it’s great to have her here. I wanted her to be happy so that I can bring her some good mood with my win, yeah, to finish the day with a good mood. Now we can celebrate it for a little bit because obviously I have to play tomorrow.

Q. After you won last year here, how did you celebrate?

JELENA OSTAPENKO: Honestly, I think Doha was next after, so the same day when I won we had to fly at night to Doha. It was the same. I won the title here. Also two years ago in Eastbourne. When the next tournament starts, it’s really short. You don’t really have time to celebrate it because in one day another tournament starts and you have to be in the playing mode.

Q. You know Sania Mirza is retiring after this tournament. Can you tell us something about her, what you think of her?

JELENA OSTAPENKO: I mean, she was such a great player. I think she can be only proud of her career. I think it’s also like tennis players are not forever, you cannot play forever. I think she will have a lot of things to do in life. I mean, she’s so popular, especially in her country. A lot of people just love her. I wish her all the best. She has a super cute kid also. Yeah, I think she will just enjoy time after her tennis career.

Q. If you were given the power to take one shot from any player in the world, a tennis shot, whose shot would you take and what would that be?

JELENA OSTAPENKO: That’s a good question. Maybe some of those dropshots from Ons because she’s really good in those touch shots.

Q. Only three women have ever defended their title in Dubai. Would it mean anything extra special to become the fourth? Is that a small milestone you might look at?

JELENA OSTAPENKO: I mean, as I said, I try to put no pressure on myself and just take one match at a time. Obviously the tournament, the draw is very strong. Last year I beat four Grand Slam champions to win the tournament. I have never easy draws. Yeah, of course it would be amazing to win another title here, but I will just take it easy and take one match at a time. I think it’s the best to get ready for each match.

Q. Can you tell me your mom’s name?

JELENA OSTAPENKO: Jelena Jakovleva. Yeah, she travels most of the time except some tournaments because we have two dogs at home that we have to take care of. Of course, she’s still coaching other players, like kids. She has to work sometimes when she’s home because she really loves that. It’s like her passion. Yeah, but she travels most of the time with me, just maybe, I don’t know, 75% or 70% a year.

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