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An Interview With: Varvara Lepchenko (Round 3)

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Q. We spoke yesterday about your dreams. How close was today to a dream?

VARVARA LEPCHENKO: Yeah, I think I had it too much in my mind before the match. I went away a little bit from my game plan. It took me a while to get back into the moment, to start playing a little bit more my game.

Q. So how does it feel? First time you made it this far at the US Open.

VARVARA LEPCHENKO: Yeah, it feels awesome. I mean, I feel really grateful to get that far. But obviously, you know, I've been dreaming to get far in every Grand Slam. So I feel very privileged, but at the same time, you know, I want to keep on going. But I want to take one step at a time, enjoy that moment right now, and then prepare myself for the next one.

Q. What are your thoughts on facing Victoria and the challenges for you particularly of her game?

VARVARA LEPCHENKO: Definitely I have to start from the beginning my next match. Obviously she's the one who has the pressure, and I have nothing to lose. I hope I'll start really from the beginning, being really aggressive. I hope to be on top of my game.

Q. What do you like most about the way she plays when you see her play?

VARVARA LEPCHENKO: I don't know. To be honest with you, I never really thought about it. I guess she fights. She fights hard. She's an aggressive player. I don't know what it is that I like about her game the most. Like I said, I never paid too much attention to that.

Q. A lot of players say taking the court playing with nothing to lose. Can you actually do that? How does that feel different, I guess?

VARVARA LEPCHENKO: Yeah, I feel like you pretty much feel like that when you play against someone who's higher ranked, had a lot more credit than you did. Obviously if you're not nervous, then something's wrong with you. Everybody gets nervous. But at the same time when you go up against someone who has been playing really well, you don't feel who you didn't beat at this stage, so you don't feel that much pressure. If you played someone and you've beaten them, and you know you have a good opportunity to get to the next round, then you feel a little bit more pressure before the match. But when you haven't beaten someone, you don't feel that going into the match, so...

Q. What do you think are the keys to your success here this year?

VARVARA LEPCHENKO: Well, I think I've been mentally really tough this week and also had some matches going into the US Open, coming back from some tough matches and winning them. That gave me a confidence that even if I'm not playing my best, I can still turn it around.

Q. Is the mentality ever different going into the US Open compared to the three other majors?

VARVARA LEPCHENKO: Oh, yeah, definitely. Obviously every Grand Slam is different. Here I felt a little bit more comfortable because I'm home. I didn't feel as much pressure as I did in Australia or the French or Wimbledon. But at the same time, you know, when you go out there, you're at home and comfortable, but you go out there and there are all these people supporting you, you want to do best. You want to compete well. You want to play well in front of them. They're not there just to see you. So you feel a little bit of that pressure. At the same time it's great because I have so much support behind me. Today was incredible how people were pulling for me and really got into the match. That energy, it's nice to have.

Q. The theme of this tournament is obviously Serena Williams. From your vantage point the past decade, what has been her primary impact on tennis and maybe even on you personally, but to the game, sort of breaking the mold that women are often boxed into?

VARVARA LEPCHENKO: Yeah, I really liked Serena when I was growing up, trying to become a professional tennis player. She made a huge impact on my game, and I think on a lot of people. It's great to have her around. It's great to have her as an athlete. She brings so much for the game and for the fans. The intensity and how she plays, it's great to see. You know, it's so nice to compete against her when you actually get a chance because you play against one of the best players, one of the greatest athletes in the world. You want to kind of get some of that and apply to your game. So she's definitely a great athlete. But, again, when you go out there, I want to beat her. I think other players, as well. But it's good to have her in our game.

Q. What goes through your mind when you see her get down in matches and continually come back?

VARVARA LEPCHENKO: Yeah, I think, like I said, I want to apply that to my game as well. You could see she's not playing her best, but she still fights and she comes back on the top. So you think if she can do it, then I can do it, too.

Q. When you grow up admiring someone or being influenced by them, then you play them, is it harder, easier?

VARVARA LEPCHENKO: At first it was hard, but then you get used to it. Then it becomes, you know, another match, as well. I mean, obviously you play against someone, you think about the strategies and everything. You don't think any more, Oh, she's someone I used to be inspired by when I was growing up. But now you just go out there and you want to win the match. You think about strategies, things that you have to do to beat her.

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