Danielle Collins Danielle Collins

Danielle Collins 4R interview

Interviews

Q. The other day you said you loved seeing Cinderella on Broadway. A couple seasons ago you were playing in Stillwater. Is this a little bit of a Cinderella ride for you in any way?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I guess you could say that. That's a good way to look at it. It's been an incredible experience. I'm so grateful to be here in Melbourne.

I definitely played some tournaments in some strange places the first year that I turned pro. I'm really just grateful to be out here doing what I love and playing in front of a good crowd.

Q. Talk a little bit about the match today. Did you see an opening right away? You could win, but we expected a little bit more from her as a three-time champion.
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, we spent a good amount of time watching her play. I played her last year, so I was familiar with her game. I had a clear mindset of what I was going to do. From the very first point, I showed her that I wasn't going to let her into the match, that I was going to dictate the entire way through.

I stuck to my game plan. It clearly worked out well for me. Pretty much smooth sailing throughout the entire thing. I was just feeling really great.

Q. A lot of players who sit up on that dais, they say, I'm not worried about what the opponent is going to do. I only focus on my game and executing my game. You are tactically very aware of how to problem solve in a match. We've seen matches where you're running and retrieving a little bit more than hitting, today seemed offensive.
DANIELLE COLLINS: I think when I was in college, my coaches did a really great job developing my game into being very versatile. I can play offensive, I can play defensive, I can play kind of middle of the road. I can retrieve. I'm a very good athlete, so I'm confident in everything that I'm doing.

Tactically that's one of my strengths. I like knowing what the other person is going to do. I like watching what different players do, kind of become aware of what's going to happen when I play them so that there's no surprises.

I really think that's something that helps me out a lot on the court, is I'm aware of what they're doing. I do think about what they're doing a little bit. I obviously want to use my strengths to the best I can. I do pay attention a good amount to what my opponent is going to do, so...

Q. In terms of your confidence, a big asset of yours, was it easy to have it in your first time in the fourth round of a Grand Slam against a player you only won two games against last time?
DANIELLE COLLINS: I think the first time I played her was on grass courts. I haven't had a lot of experience playing on grass. I didn't play a lot of the -- I didn't play any of the junior like Wimbledon or any of the junior grass court tournaments. It may have only been my seventh or eighth match ever on grass. It was a totally different match, playing on hard courts here.

I just kind of went out with confidence knowing this was going to be a fresh, new start for me, yeah.

Q. She left the court after the first set. You seemed to be sort of smiling about that. Was it tough at all to keep the streak you had going?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I was actually smiling because I was giving the referee a hard time about the new rule the WTA made about how you can only take one bathroom break. I kind of needed to go to the bathroom, but I was also like, Well, maybe I want to wait. I kind of hesitated.

Yeah, I was just asking him some questions, like if I went to the bathroom because she went to the bathroom if that was going to count towards one of my bathroom breaks. I was trying to strategically plan out when I was going to urinate (laughter).

Q. Do you remember last year you were ranked somewhere around 160. Now you're back here ranked 25, 24. Totally changed. I would think you're so much better. Yes?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I think I've definitely made improvements. I also think that at the end of the day tennis is tennis. Some of my most challenging matches were at 25Ks and 60Ks, playing Sachia Vickery in the finals after 25K, having it be a three-set match. I've faced some of my toughest matches there.

I think the biggest thing is now I'm playing in bigger tournaments every week. I'm playing a full WTA schedule. Now I'm just playing against bigger opponents that people are more familiar with.

Q. Do you get the feeling you've taken a different pathway to ending up on the Grand Slam circuit? Do you think that has helped you be able to handle some of these big moments better?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I think going to college helped me develop myself as a person. I really know who I am, the type of person I am, what I want, what I want to do with my life, what I want to do with my tennis. I have other interests and passions aside from tennis. I'm able to relax a little bit more maybe than some other people because they've kind of just been doing tennis their whole life, haven't really ventured out much.

For each their own. For me, I'm really happy with my decision. I think it was the best thing for me.

Q. When you were in college, did you see yourself eventually getting to this stage?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I'm a really in-the-moment person, I'm always kind of just trying to – there's no better time than now. I obviously wanted to play professionally. I think I knew I had the potential. My coaches certainly always encouraged me and told me that I was talented and athletic, I could be really, really great if I wanted to do that.

So, yeah.

Q. You've spoken a little bit about your confidence. Given your Grand Slam history before this past week, are you surprised a little at what you've been able to do here so far, into the quarterfinals?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Honestly, no. I mean, I had some tough situations last year where maybe I didn't get past the first round. Let's face it, I played Wozniacki first round at the French. I played Mertens first round at Wimbledon. Sabalenka first round at the US Open. I lost to really good players. I had some opportunities in those matches to maybe have a different outcome.

You're not going to bring your best tennis every day. I think just having faith, believing in what you're doing. I work my butt off. There's nothing I could have done more. There's nothing I could have done less. I did everything I could in those situations. Sometimes it just doesn't go the way you want it to.

Everybody gets their shot at the pie. Right now I'm certainly getting mine. I'm doing very well. I'm just kind of focused on that.

Q. After she came back, she was being a little more vocal. You hit a dropshot winner, vocal right back at her. How important was that?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I mean, you all know, I'm my own person. I'm feisty. I love making it kind of a war. If somebody wants to get in my face on my unforced errors, I have no problem getting right back at them and making it a feisty match.

I love that, embrace it. I love when things get competitive. Stijn will tell you in the practices I'm always talking crap. Just kind of pulling people's legs. Hey, I'm beating up on you today in practice. Better step your game up.

So, just part of the deal with me.

Q. Are you competitive and feisty away from tennis?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah. You haven't seen me at Topgolf or bowling. Even karaoke, I don't have a good voice, but I always try to do the best at whatever I'm doing. If I'm not, I still tell myself I'm the best (laughter). You got to believe it, right?

Q. You talked about away from tennis. You wrote a screenplay in college. Not many players have done that. What was it about? Who is going to play the lead?
DANIELLE COLLINS: I didn't choose any actresses or actors for my screenplay. It's funny because the first draft was a totally different story than the second draft. The first draft was about this schizophrenia crazy cat lady living out of her van, all of the shenanigans she was getting into. I had an idea that my professor wasn't going to like it. People in the class were sharing our ideas. I thought, maybe he would be more interested in sports.

It's actually based off of a true story of an NFL football player that was deaf. I did a screenplay on his life.

Q. His name?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Derek.

Q. Back to the feistiness. It's a hallmark of yours. I know it can get under player's skin, fans. There's a reaction. You seem totally fine with it, kind of eat it up. Can you talk through that?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I mean, I just love competition. Whether people are for me or against me, I'm not really fazed by it. I love it. Either way. I kind of like it more when people cheer against me sometimes because I'm like, Yeah, I want to get them back, prove them wrong. Sometimes when people are all for me, it's nice to have the support, but sometimes I'm like, I hope somebody says something negative so I can prove them wrong.