Danielle Collins SF interview

Interviews

Q. Talking about screenplays earlier in the tournament. If you had an assignment at UVA to write a screen play about your emergence here and coming out, beating so many players, reaching the semis, sort of out of nowhere, in a way, what would be the narrative?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Well, definitely don't think anybody would have put their money on me to get this far in the tournament. So that would probably be in there. I certainly have been a big underdog, and I think I have held that title really well and fought my hardest, and I think that can be in there.

Yeah, I think people can make it whatever they want to make it. There is a lot of positives to take away from this, and, yeah, it's been an incredible run. Unfortunately I wish the narrative could have been different for me today, but a lot to be proud of and I think a lot to build off of.

Q. The match started under very different conditions to how it finished. What was your opinion of the roof being closed?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, it is what it is. That's what they do. I think that no matter what the situation is, if it's really hot, if it's – you know, they need to start the match the way it's gonna finish, I think. I think they do that in football, and I think it certainly changed a little bit of the rhythm in the match.

But again, it is what it is, and that's the decision they made, and she played really great tennis. I think that should probably be the focus of the conversation (smiling).

Q. It was hot walking around. As a Floridian, were you enjoying the heat when the roof was open or was it too much for you?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, honestly I like playing in the heat. Don't get me wrong, it certainly has its challenges. I grew up in Florida and am used to it being really hot all the time.

So I kind of, yeah, embrace that very well. Indoor tennis is a different game. Certainly had its effect.

Q. You had some luminaries, including Keith Urban, Anna Wintour, Nicole Kidman that were right behind you in your first game. At any point when you're going toward the baseline, are you aware that you're playing in front of these people? What is that like?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, obviously very talented and successful group of people, but quite honestly, I was just focused on what I was doing and the awesome people that have been with me through the very beginning.

I have got my cousin and best friend here, and every time I look at my box, I see her supporting me the entire way through. She's been with me since day one, and having Stijn and Mat and everybody at home, all of my family members, all of the incredible support I have had from the USTA and IMG, so, yeah, I think I paid attention to those people a little bit more, to be honest, because I know they're always going to be here for me.

Q. I was thinking it's a little different than a college match.
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, it's a little different than a college match. But it's nice when you're able to have a team of people around you that are always helping and supporting you. I kind of like, you know, having that.

I miss my team that I had during college, but it's a new experience for me now being on tour and being out there by myself.

Q. It springboards you up quite a bit in terms of your ranking and also in terms of many people know you now in tennis. Curious if you're excited for that or if this will bring different expectations or pressures? What do you think the road ahead holds?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah. I think last year I did a really great job of showing people in Miami and Indian Wells, San Jose, plenty of tournaments throughout the year, Eastbourne, that I can play at this level. I think I have justified that.

Maybe some people thought I was a one-hit wonder, it was a fluke. Clearly none of this has been a fluke.

I think there is a lot of great things to build off of, and I think I had a really great learning experience throughout the entire tournament, and especially today.

So, yeah, I'm really excited for my success to be recognized, and to continue playing on the biggest stage and against the biggest and best opponents in the world.

Q. What did you learn today?
DANIELLE COLLINS: I think I learned that experience plays a big role in tennis, and Petra is an incredible champion. I think there is a lot to learn off of what she does on the court. I think she went out and played fearless tennis, so I think all credit to her.

I also – I mean, this was my first semifinal of a Grand Slam, and it was the first time I have played main draw here in Australia. So it's kind of showed me no matter what the situation, I can handle it very well and compete my hardest and play my best tennis in important situations.

And when I'm also not playing my best tennis, I think I do very well. So, yeah, I think there is a lot of great takeaways, and, yeah, I could probably write a whole book after this tournament (smiling).

Q. You mentioned previously about how the award that you received, the financial award, really helped you, were able to get a team around you. Do you think you would have gotten this far this fast without the Oracle award?
DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I guess it's a hypothetical question. We wouldn't really know unless it happens, if I didn't have the award. But, yeah, I think the award has helped me in so many ways.

I'm so grateful for Mark Hurd to step up to the plate and made college important. Before Oracle's involvement with college tennis, college tennis was not really on the map. People didn't watch a lot of college tennis matches. It was not recognised like it is now.

Having that grant did allow me to handle my career the right way from the very beginning. And I was able to bypass a lot of – I want to say I certainly experienced the grind of having to play smaller tournaments, not making a lot of money, going to cities that maybe weren't on my Bucket List.

But I think I was never having to really worry that much financially. I wasn't having to cut corners in terms of doing housing every week or not having a coach or not having the best people around me.

So I think that award has played into every inch of success that I have had since being on tour.