Roland Garros

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Paris, France

Sofia Kenin

Press Conference

S. KENIN/J. Pegula

4-6, 6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I'm not sure how you were feeling at the end of the match, whether that was happiness or relief, but what were you saying to yourself at the end when you put your head in the towel?

SOFIA KENIN: Yeah, I was obviously really happy. It was a tough match. It was a lot of ups and downs, emotions. You know, I'm just really happy with the way I'm playing.

Yeah, of course being in the fourth week of a slam is obviously really nice and special, so towards the end it was more emotions.

Q. You have had one of the tougher draws coming into the second week playing a former champion and playing Jessie who has had such a great season. What have you made of how you have been able to meet this challenge and play as well as you have been?

SOFIA KENIN: Well, I mean, it was quite easy, leading up to French Open, you know, I wasn't maybe practicing the best. But, you know, one match at a time. I just took easy -- you know, just figured out a plan and everything, talked with people to help me and everything.

Yeah, I mean, I just take one match at a time, just fight out there, and, you know, just leave everything out on the court. Then if it's not enough, then it's not enough. But I want to make sure I leave everything on court. Yeah, and it's fine.

Q. Do memories come back of last year's French or is it a different situation, because last year was not quite at this time of the year, everything was moved around and the conditions were quite different. Does anything come back, or do you keep it quite separate?

SOFIA KENIN: No, of course I have great memories from here. I obviously cannot live on that. You know, I have to try to move on. In terms of that, I just take one match at a time I'm playing. And of course those memories will always be with me.

I just think I need to lock in and put that aside. That was last year. Try to make some new memories this year.

Q. There is a 50% chance you may play Elise Mertens in the next round. What can you tell me about her and how you going to have to approach that match. What's going to be the key to beat her and to avenge that loss at the US Open?

SOFIA KENIN: Yeah, but US Open I was happy I got to the fourth round. You know, I made a joke like, I did one round better. But of course, yeah, she played a good match there. But of course I didn't feel like I was playing my best game. I will just take everything from last year and come up with a plan.

But I feel like it will be a good match. Yeah, we'll see.

Q. You have had to adjust to so much in the last year and a half at a time when everyone has had to adjust to a lot with the pandemic, but you've had so much to deal with, coming into your own as a player, winning your first Grand Slam. What has been one of the toughest things you have had to deal with and what have you learned about yourself through a time like this?

SOFIA KENIN: Yeah, of course, the pandemic really put a toll on everyone, everyday life. But take one day at a time, try to train, work hard.

Unfortunately until this tournament this whole year hasn't been so great in terms of my tennis. Had some early-round exits. I'm just happy I'm finally finding my rhythm and I'm playing some good tennis again. I'm going to try to keep the momentum going.

Q. Throughout the season, you've talked about how you know that when you get into a tournament that you can play yourself into rhythm, that the moments like Australia or Roland Garros even last year, you didn't arrive in the best form or maybe with the most confidence, but you played yourself in. So through the first week, do you feel like you are on that same kind of trajectory or do you still feel like there's more of a gap? Can you give an assessment as to how your game has progressed?

SOFIA KENIN: I mean, yeah, I feel like, as I said, I wanted to take one match at a time. So of course this is obviously great and I'm happy.

But, yeah, I mean, leading up it wasn't maybe the best form. But of course I worked hard over the past few weeks and everything is clicking together, which I'm really happy about. And of course I feel like there is always room for improvement. I feel like my game is not, for example, there how it was in the Australian Open 2020 when I won.

But in terms of how I'm playing now, I mean, compared to this whole year and since last year French, I feel like it's some good tennis. Yeah, I'm happy with the way I'm playing. Of course it gives me confidence. I'm finally not on a one-match winning streak. Because this whole year it was like the second time I won like two matches in a row.

Yeah, we're getting there.

Q. Just to ask you on Elise, when you analyze her, what are her strengths?

SOFIA KENIN: I mean, I'm not going to get into crazy details. She's very competitive, she fights, she's a great player, has a lot of experience. I mean, she has a tough game. It's not easy, it's not like crazy powerful but she comes up with big shots at important moments. This is why she is where she is and having great success.

You know, I've got to really fight out there if I want to win.

Q. Why do you think it's coming together for you now? Why are you clicking now? How much does this setting have to do with that happening?

SOFIA KENIN: I mean, I've worked hard on my fitness and my game the past few weeks, so I feel like it's obviously improving. Of course more matches that I'm playing, more confidence I'm getting. Of course I'm happy that it's clicking during French Open. I'm not going to complain about that. Yeah, I'm quite happy.

Q. You were just here a few months ago. Arguably different conditions, but maybe a little bit similar to what you had to deal with in the fall today. What do you make of the conditions? What do you prefer? What do you think brings out the best in your tennis?

SOFIA KENIN: I mean, yeah, conditions I feel like were good. I don't like when the court is too dry. I like when it's kind of wet but not too heavy. As last year when I played Samsonova, it was so heavy I really did not like the conditions. I don't even know how I pulled it off.

Yeah, I mean, conditions are nice. I love the court. I love the clay. I feel like it's even better for me the feeling than last year, even though last year I was in the final and now I'm in the fourth round. But I feel like clay is really suiting me. It's a good surface for me.

Q. Just in the event you do play Maria Sakkari in the next round, can you talk about the challenge of playing her?

SOFIA KENIN: I mean, yeah, she's very energetic. I feel she's one of the most energetic players on tour. Very fit. She fights out there. I'm just going to take what I had in Abu Dhabi. I started off great. Some percentages didn't go my way and of course she lifted up her game and everything.

So let's hope that it's going to be a bit better (smiling) if I would play her. She's playing some good tennis, we both are, so it's going to be a battle out there. Yeah, I'm ready to fight, doesn't matter whoever I play.

Q. How much can you enjoy the experience? How much is it that you have just got a job to do and you want to keep on winning?

SOFIA KENIN: Of course anyone at a slam obviously wants to keep winning. Of course I'm so happy with the fans that they're here and getting some support. They really do make a big difference.

I was down a few times and they started cheering for me, so of course it makes a big difference. I have missed them and I'm glad that they're back. Let's hope that the COVID is done so we can be, you know, full house instead of certain amount of people there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
108397-1-1145 2021-06-05 15:43:00 GMT

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