“How do you feel after your authoritative victory over Bianca Andreescu (6-3, 6-2) in the third round of the US Open?
I’m very happy with the way I played today (Friday) and to be in the second week. It was a very intense game. Many very committed rallies. Every point, every game was very intense. One of the big issues of the match was my ability to put pressure on him on each of his engagements. I really tried to take every opportunity that presented itself. To be inside the court before her, to play faster than her.
This is the game I’ve been trying to improve over the past few weeks. It’s a challenge every time I step on the court, but I really like it, I have a blast. She is a player who fights to the end, who tries to find solutions. She tried to take the ball earlier, to play on her line. Every point was important, I’m happy to get out of it in two sets.
You appear calm and focused on the court, as if nothing is bothering you. Have you always had this ability?
Not really (smile). It’s something we really work on, trying to focus on each point. If I make a mistake or the other plays the shot very well, forget and focus on the next point. I can always come back. That’s tennis, there’s no time limit, you can always come back, no matter the score. Be 100% ready on every point. Having this state of mind brings me a lot. At the beginning of the year, I did not necessarily succeed. We worked on that with the team, staying calm and refocusing.
“I have to keep my mouth shut, that’s all. When I start talking on the court, it’s a bad sign.”
Concretely, how do you do it?
I have to keep my mouth shut, that’s all. When I start talking on the court, it’s a bad sign (smile). Sometimes I get frustrated, I start talking and getting angry. This is not the solution. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to move on and refocus on the next thing. It proved to me that it worked. I think about it when I start getting annoyed.
You are in the round of 16 of the US Open for the first time. What does this represent?
It’s good. There are always new challenges to overcome. It’s the first time I’ve been in my second week here, it gives me confidence. Three wins in a row is great. These are matches that give pleasure, that give confidence. It allows you to see what works. For me, it is clear. We want to continue in this direction.
“Risk? It will really be a contrast in style. It’s not a style of play that has worked for me in the past. I will have to put my game in place and go there”
The title at the US Open, are you starting to consider it in the back of your mind?
The road is still long. It’s three matches, three wins. Of course, it’s great to be in the second week of the US Open for the first time. I’ll be ready for the next game and we’ll see. I’m still so far away! I’m only in the round of 16, if I’m already thinking about it… It’s a bit rushed. Round of 16 first, then we’ll see.
Sunday, you will face the American Alison Riske whom you have never beaten in three confrontations. What will be the keys to reversing the trend?
The last time we faced each other was on grass, without a doubt one of his favorite surfaces. Here is the US Open, at home. It will be a challenge. I am looking forward. There will undoubtedly be a good atmosphere, a good energy. She plays very flat, she absorbs the speed of the other well which she uses to change direction. She’s a hell of a fighter who always brings back one more ball. It will really be a contrast in style. It’s not a style of play that has worked for me in the past. She counters well, she uses the opponent’s ball well… I will have to put my game in place and go for it. »