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Destanee Aiava 16-01-18 interview

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Q. How are you feeling? Proud or upset or disappointed?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Yeah, I was disappointed after the match. But now I'm just really proud of my efforts. Yeah, I'm going to take a lot out of this match. Yeah, I left it all on the court, so I'm really happy with the efforts I put in today.

Q. What about the physio? What happened there when you had the timeout break?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Yeah, no, I just got really anxious at 5-2 and started hyperventilating a bit (smiling).

Yeah, no, everything's fine.

Q. You were moving freely after you came back.
DESTANEE AIAVA: Yeah, it was fine.

Q. How did you find the whole Rod Laver Arena experience?
DESTANEE AIAVA: I actually really enjoyed it. The first game I may have been a little bit nervous, but then after that I just relaxed a lot. I loved every minute of it, playing in front of that many people, the big stage. Yeah, no, I'm hoping to play a lot more on that court, so...

Q. Did anything surprise you out there, perhaps your level or her level?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Yeah, I think the level that I played at today surprised me a bit. I just went out there and tried to have as much fun as I could. Just, you know, take the game to her, give her all I got.

Yeah, I think I did a good job of that. Yeah, she just came out the better end today, so...

Q. Two set points there, do you think it was a matter of her just playing the big moment better or you not grabbing your opportunity?
DESTANEE AIAVA: No, she knuckled down in those crucial points. She played, yeah -- she did really well in those points. I think it's also experience, as well, in those type of points. Yeah, no, she did really well.

She's the No. 1 seed for a reason, as well, so...

Q. I think on the second set point, you tried a dropshot. You were going for it throughout. Is that the way you always play?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Yeah, no, I've tried to, you know, work on every shot, just bring that into my game, not play one-sided. Yeah, just bring my game into more of a men's game, like all-around, not like an average girl's match.

Q. You never stopped going for it throughout?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Yeah, no, that was the main goal before the match, just go out and go for it, see what happens.

Q. After Kooyong last week, you said he were feeling a bit mentally tired. You must be feeling a lot better now, I guess.
DESTANEE AIAVA: No, last week I was a bit down. This week I felt a lot better about my game. Just mentally I went in there with a fresh mindset. I played a lot better. I'm still 17, so got a long way to go.

Q. Do you feel you need a break still?
DESTANEE AIAVA: I'll have those moments. But I'm enjoying my tennis a lot recently, like lately. Maybe like one or two days. Yeah, no, just back to hard work after this.

Q. It's been a long road for you to get into the main draw. How tough was it mentally and physically to be so close and have to start over again?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Yeah, no, it was very tough. After losing in the final to Jaimee, then having to come back a couple days later, try and earn my way into the main draw again. That's what we train for, I guess. And, yeah, just the long months on the tour, as well, that does play a part of it.

All the hard work pays off in the end. I'm just lucky to have gotten the opportunity to play in main draw today against Simona, as well, which was a great experience.

Q. She said maybe you thought when you took the medical you thought you won the set.
DESTANEE AIAVA: I actually didn't remember the score because I was just so out of it when I came back out. Then, yeah, I guess I got to work on that a bit (smiling).

But it happens. Hopefully I won't do that next time, yeah.

Q. Has that happened to you on court before, such high anxiety?
DESTANEE AIAVA: No, never. That was the first time. But, yeah, I think -- yeah, no, it did bring me out of focus a bit. I think that's what my opportunity, just how I lost it a bit. Yeah, no, I think next time I'll be fine. Yeah, I just got a bit anxious.

I enjoyed it, as well.

Q. Does competing and pushing the world No. 1 inspire you, give you any extra motivation?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Yeah, no, the fact that she referenced me to Serena gives me a lot of confidence in myself. I feel honored, as well, especially coming from her, being the best player in the world right now.

So, yeah, no, I'm going to take a lot of confidence out of that match. Just being able to push her to 7-6, being 5-2 up, I feel great about myself, how I played. Yeah, hopefully I can go further a bit -- a little bit further next time.

Q. What changed between last week and this week to have you feeling much better about the sport?
DESTANEE AIAVA: Probably the way I go about things like just shutting out all the distractions, just focusing on myself mainly, not anyone else. Putting in on the court. Yeah, just less distractions. That helped a lot.

And just being happy, I guess. Just enjoying myself on the court, enjoying every minute being out there. It's like it's not every day you get to wake up healthy the next day and do the things you love. So, I guess, yeah, no, I really enjoyed it today.

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16 Jan 18
Destanee Aiava talks about her match against Simona Halep in press conference at Australian Open 2018.

Destanee Aiava press conference (1R)

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