Elina Svitolina QF interview

Interviews

Q. It seems to me you played extraordinarily well. Do you think it was a little bit of luck more on Naomi's side than yours, or how do you describe this game? Give us your first impression on how luck played in this game.
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, definitely today was not about the luck, I would say, because, you know, she played good tennis. Unfortunately I couldn't produce 100 per cent the game that I wanted. But in the end, she was just playing better today.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about your injury, the medical timeout? What bothered you?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, I felt pain from the beginning of the tournament here and there. It was going and coming back. Yeah, unfortunately today was a little bit worse than I expected. And, yeah, I mean, it's normal to have some tension during the Grand Slam and it happens, but unfortunately I couldn't handle it today.

Q. Is it neck or shoulder?
ELINA SVITOLINA: It's a little bit both.

Q. In terms of Naomi's return on your second serve, she was stepping in pretty much from the baseline. Did you feel that pressure, or how comfortable were you when you had your second serves?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I was expecting this, because I played against her maybe four or five times already, so I knew what to expect. When I cannot do 100 per cent, she's a top player, and when you give her this chance, obviously she gonna take it. All the top players are gonna take it.

It's very disappointing that I couldn't do it today, and I couldn't give extra today to match her level. So that's why, you know, she did well today.

Q. We talk a lot about Naomi's sort of easy power that she has in her game, but I'm wondering when you play her if there is anything maybe less obvious that is difficult about playing her?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah, she has easy power on her shots. I think it's natural, natural swing. I mean, I think this is one of her big strengths.

Yeah, I mean, I played against her couple of times, so I know that when I am there, when I'm ready to compete, when I'm 100 per cent, I can match and then have a chance to play and to play well. So she was striking the ball really good because I gave her this chance.

Q. You had a very successful tournament so far. How do you set goals for this season? Do you do half year, full year? How do you go from now on?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I set the small goals for each tournament. Obviously I have a lifetime goal. It's to win a Grand Slam, it's to become No. 1.

I try to take one step at a time, one tournament at a time. My mindset is to win as many matches as I can, as many tournaments that I can. I try to be ready mentally and physically. The season is very long, so this is the second tournament that I played this year, so, you know, still lots of matches ahead and lots of tough battles. I don't want to get down on myself. It's only positives from here.

Q. Last year you had a pretty easy win against Naomi. Of course today you cannot play 100 per cent, but compared to last matchup, how do you see her progress? Also, people start talking about the rivalry between you and Naomi, so do you see her as a rival and it's going to be a long rivalry, you and Naomi?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Well, of course, you know, because we are both – she's younger than me a little bit, but I think, you know, we are gonna have many more matches in the future. We already played, I think, four or five matches.

So I'm sure that we are gonna have some tough battles in some big tournaments. So it's always going to be tough. Hopefully, you know, they're going to be lots of matches.

Q. In terms of Naomi's progress playing against you, did you feel any progress in her serves? Like, for example, in the second serve she was really getting those kick serves for backhands. Did you feel the difference between the last time you played against her?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I think it was pretty much the same. I think maybe I didn't take the small chances and that's why she got confident, a little bit more than last time I played against her.

But in general, I didn't really feel any different. I didn't take my chances on the few points where I had to, and she felt the confidence. Yeah, not much.

Q. Do you feel you get better towards the end of the season, the year, in your experience?
ELINA SVITOLINA: I think I'm quite consistent. I can play consistent all year. Like last year I won in Brisbane, played quarterfinal here. Then I won in Dubai, in Rome. So I can play well throughout the year. It's just a matter of being fresh and being mentally prepared. Of course, physically it's a big part of my game, so I will try to do that.

Q. Do you go back to Europe now?
ELINA SVITOLINA: Yeah.

Q. When you go back, do you go back to the UK or back to Ukraine?
ELINA SVITOLINA: It depends. Now I'm going to speak with my team. Normally I go to London, but this time we will see. I have to do maybe the scan for my neck to see what's going on, because it's been bothering me.

Yeah, it's time to, you know, to see if I have to do recovery and have some time off, because, you know, neck is very sensitive and you have to be very careful with this. And it's just the beginning of the season, so I don't want to damage it more.

Q. How long has it been bothering you?
ELINA SVITOLINA: From the beginning of the tournament I had some issues. As you can see, I have some like, yeah, some things going on. Even on the match, you know, all the time, like cramping to it.

Q. Were you feeling it in practice, in warmup today? Or did it happen during...
ELINA SVITOLINA: No, no, it's like sometimes moves. When you move your neck, you know, it's moving something inside. The spine moves. And if it's touching the nerve, sometimes it's more; sometimes it's less.

And there is lots of pressure. In tennis you do different kind of movements, so that's why sometimes it's more. Sometimes it goes away a little bit. But in the end I'm a little bit worried, because it's, yeah, cramping a little bit.