Roland Garros

Monday, 28 September 2020

Paris, France

Kristie Ahn

Press Conference


7-6, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Tough opening match, right?

KRISTIE AHN: Yeah, yeah, don't have much to add to that. (Laughing.)

Q. I mean, when the draw came out, did you just think, oh, no, or did you think, oh, great, what a great challenge?

KRISTIE AHN: Yeah, I mean, I laughed. I mean, what are the odds that you play Serena back-to-back slams, back-to-back tournaments for both of us, because neither of us played anything in between, I think.

But obviously to play Serena in a slam is always a great opportunity. Just, it was my first time playing in Roland Garros main draw, so to be able to play on Chatrier with fans was pretty cool.

Q. Just talk a little bit about the match. The first set obviously and the second set are two very different stories. How do you explain that?

KRISTIE AHN: Yeah, first set, I mean I would probably say it was similar to New York as well, pretty neck and neck, was up a break twice, I think, served for it twice.

So it's encouraging to know that I'm right there, but obviously the second set didn't quite keep my level up and I thought she played better as well the, so it was, it's tough to swallow a 6-0 set but at the same time I gave a little fight in the end so I can at least be proud that have effort.

Q. Is there anything in particular about this, did you notice any, I mean obviously it's a different surface but is Serena on this surface was a completely different challenge?

KRISTIE AHN: I've only played her twice so I don't think I have enough research or stats on that. But for me I'm not too comfortable on clay, so it was already an uphill battle for me. So to play Serena on my, what I think is my least favorite surface was definitely a tough battle mentally.

Q. You players are an elite band now, you're still flying around the world. I used to fly all over the place in my job and now of course I don't do that. Tell us a little bit, tell me a little bit about the flight over for you here and seeing how has it changed, if it's changed and talk a little bit about that experience.

KRISTIE AHN: Yeah, so that was my first flight from New York to Paris since like Indian Wells, pretty much. And I think I flew Air France and they required us to wear the surgical mask, you weren't allowed to wear your own. They did a pretty good job, I thought, of making sure that there was, you know, everyone had enough space that like there were middle seats empty and everything, that it wasn't over crowded.

But, yeah, I mean it's a bit nerve wracking traveling just because I'm doing everything I can in my power to make sure that I am safe and I keep other people safe, but other people, it's a two-way street, so we need people to reciprocate and sometimes they don't so it's a bit frustrating in that department. But overall I thought it was a pretty smooth ride over, I think.

Q. Jack Sock told us he toyed with the idea of buying a bee keeper's costume to fly. He didn't in the end. But did you take any other extra precautions, anything you normally wouldn't have done?

KRISTIE AHN: No, I do a fair bit of reading and the biggest thing that was like it's transmitted through like your breathing, your nose, whatever. So making sure that my nose was covered and just making sure that my hands were sanitized, that I wasn't touching my face and just doing what I thought was not like being dramatic or excessive, I thought, but just doing what I can to keep my distance from others when I can as well.

Q. I wanted to ask if you could compare today's match with how you played and Serena played to what you did in New York very recently.

KRISTIE AHN: Yeah, I thought the rhythm of the first set was probably very similar, pretty neck and neck in the beginning, got up early breaks and then couldn't quite close it out.

Obviously the second set was bit of a different story than previously. I thought that she played better, she was able to keep her level up more this time than she was last time, but, yeah, I think for me it was like I said it was encouraging to see that to be able to serve, to be serving for the set twice is a good sign. But at the same time I think it's that next little step of being able to hold serve and close out the set and then it become as completely different match.

Q. In terms of her serving, which one might think could be less of a strength for her on the clay and in these heavy conditions. Just wondering, having played her so recently on a hard court in New York how you would compare her serve today?

KRISTIE AHN: Yeah, I think it was a little bit windier today, so she, I don't, obviously still an incredible serve, but I think she rained it in a little bit more. Her first serve percentage I thought was pretty high. So I think she picked her spots really well. Obviously she doesn't need to rip it 130, but the spots that she found I thought was incredible, regardless if it's on clay or hard court.

But, yeah, I think with the windier conditions, I don't know if that was the game plan coming in or if it was an adjustment, but I thought that she served really smart.

Q. In that second set when she has it sort of going for her in her game, what is that feeling like? Could you describe what it was like in that second set today?

KRISTIE AHN: Yeah, it feels like you're trying to push a runaway train in the opposite direction. It's very difficult to try and stop, to stop her momentum when she's going, when she's feeling it.

But, you know, it's no excuse, regardless of who you play. I thought my level dropped in addition to her playing better, so it was just a bad combination for me. But, yeah, I mean there's a reason why she's the GOAT, you know, when she's, regardless if she's down or if she's up, like she's going to fight and it's that much more of an uphill battle if she does take the first set, so, yeah.

Q. I thought what you said before was really interesting and here you're trying to do everything you can and of course on these flights it's kind of a weak link in a way where you're not in total control of your environment. What about the food and drink and everything on that flight? Were you sort of taking notes of the in-flight food or taking your own?

KRISTIE AHN: Yeah, I mean I, if I need to drink I don't like, I do it very quickly. I think it's like the longer you're exposed to the air, okay, like it's that much more of a chance. But I think, like I'm not going to starve myself or dehydrate myself for a couple seconds I think it's okay.

Q. Yeah, but did you eat the food that they give you?

KRISTIE AHN: Yeah, I think I had a couple bites. Just like get some sustenance in and took some sips of water and whatnot and then, yeah.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
101927-1-1044 2020-09-28 16:17:00 GMT

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