Roland Garros

Friday, 28 May 2021

Paris, France

Aryna Sabalenka

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You're having a great clay season this year. You won the title in Madrid, and also reached the final in Stuttgart. Do you feel more confident, considering these achievements? Do you feel ready to go ahead into the French Open?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, of course I'm really happy with the result on the clay courts so far. I would say I improved a lot. Of course it's give me a lot of confidence, but tomorrow is a new day and you never know what to expect.

So I expect a great level for myself and a good fight. I feel ready for French Open, and, like, for sure I will do everything I can to go as far as I can.

Q. Given how well you have been playing of late, it's clear that your game is in a good place. I wonder if you feel like the biggest challenge for you this year at Roland Garros would be mental.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, it was so many challenges for me, I mean, mental. This year I'm focusing on myself, focusing on the game and focusing on the things which I have to do on the court to be in the matches.

I'm not really thinking about all these like pressure going to Roland Garros. Don't feel like this mental pressure, actually.

Q. First question is, can you just talk about what your preparation has been like, how much did you feel like you needed maybe the break, you know, after Rome to recover from what was a very busy three weeks? If you could just start there. Do you have your full team with you in Paris?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Jason is coming but I have Anton, and Jason is on the way. I expect him tomorrow morning.

Yeah, after Rome I definitely need few days off, so I had three beautiful days in Rome, walking in the city, enjoying the beautiful views. So, yeah, I definitely needed.

Then I had one week and a half in Minsk, in Belarus for preparation, and which is really tough ones, tough days, but this is what we are here for.

Yeah, and now I'm here preparing for Roland Garros the last few days. But answer for your question after Rome, yeah, definitely need these few days off.

Q. What would you say you have learned about the art of playing Grand Slams, which are definitely different events than all the others over the years? How do you think that wisdom or knowledge can help you going forward?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, I'm not really thinking about the Grand Slam. This is just another tournament. As always, I just have to show my level and be there 100% on and wins will come.

This is what I mentally change. I think it was the biggest improvement, because before I was really thinking a lot about Grand Slam, that I really want to win it, and all these things, which is not really help you to win the Grand Slam (smiling). You just put a lot of pressure on yourself. It's not really helping.

So the biggest improvement was to stop thinking about the winning of Grand Slam. Just to start working. And that's it.

Q. How different does it feel now that we're almost halfway through the season? How different does it feel to not have the doubles schedule as part of your schedule? Does it make as big of an impact as you thought it would? Does it not? Can you kind of talk about that a little bit.

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, I don't know. For me I feel better, because I don't have to follow the schedule if we are playing doubles or not, and to adjust my practice schedule also for doubles. I have more time to prepare myself for the next singles match.

And especially when I have, when I'm playing day after day, so then I have one day for preparation for the next match. So I kind of use my time better and save my energy.

So far I feel like better to not playing doubles, but sometimes I really miss this atmosphere on the court with Elise and playing doubles and this game. Yeah, sometimes I miss it, but, like, my goal is singles, so I found for me it's better to don't play doubles. But I like play doubles (smiling).

Q. I'm sure Elise misses you too.


Q. I'm curious with your success in Stuttgart and in Madrid and, you know, you had talked about how you've learned to play your tennis on clay. How different do you feel going into Roland Garros then this year compared to last year in terms of belief, in terms of just your belief as to how well you can do at this event? Is it that much different than it was last year?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Well, the biggest difference that I'm not really thinking about that, you know. Because before I was thinking, Oh, it's a clay court and it's already too much thinking. So if I start thinking that can I do well here because it's a clay court? Then of course I cannot because I'm thinking, like...

And this year going to Roland Garros I'm not really focused on that this is a clay court. This is just another event for me, and I'm here for another wins and here for great level, and this is everything what I'm thinking. That's it.

There is no clay court in my head anymore, you know, like this more if I can do well on the clay courts, so... (smiling).

Q. It's now your I think fourth main draw appearance at Roland Garros and you have improved incrementally each year. Would you say that you're also getting more comfortable with playing in Roland Garros? Do you like these clay court conditions in other words compared to other conditions?

ARYNA SABALENKA: Yes, I do really like clay court here in Paris. Actually, I feel really comfortable being here on-site. I don't know, for me, everything is really like comfortable. I don't know, I feel free here.

So, yeah, I feel good here, and hopefully this year I can improve even more (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
107941-1-1063 2021-05-28 12:33:00 GMT

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