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Kasatkina: the joy of great victories is quickly knocked out of you

A year ago Daria Kasatkina just played her first tournaments among adults. Then she had to break through qualifications for the Kremlin Cup. As a result, she reached the semifinals alone and won the doubles tournament, having played more than a dozen matches in a week. A year later, the Russian woman has already confidently entered the tournament. Over the past season, Kasatkina played for the first time at all major tournaments and won many bright victories.

Before the final tournament of the season, Kasatkina talked to the Championship correspondent and talked about the first full season at the WTA level, a rain break at matchball, doubles alliance with Gavrilova , negative comments after defeats and much more.

- Daria, a year ago you played qualification in Moscow, there was a very busy schedule, and now you immediately get directly in the base. How does it feel to have changed over the year?
- Last year I came here from Europe, and this year from China.

There is also a feeling that the body has not adapted. At six o'clock in the evening I already want to sleep. It's nice to come back to this tournament again. I feel at home, after all, this is my fourth time playing here. I really like it here.

- You got a little embarrassed with the application for the tournament in Wuhan. On the other hand, it helped you a little to gain game practice ...
- At first we were upset that they had missed the deadline for the application (laughs) . Everything went well, I passed the qualification, I scored even more points. Played more matches and gained confidence because the American streak was bad. I lost the rhythm of the game a little. And the game in qualifying helped me to beat.

- Your whole season was very smooth, and the decline began after the Olympics. Fatigue affected?
- The Olympics have made their own adjustments. I came with a great desire to play, gave all of myself both as a pair and alone. It was very difficult with flights. There were no tickets. It was hard to get there, there were also problems with tickets back. When I flew to Cincinnati, there was a night flight. When I got there, I didn't care how I played there. We made a mistake, we shouldn't have played Cincinnati. Next year we will build a different calendar.

- Did you remember anything positive from the Olympics?
- This is an amazing experience that I have gained already at the age of 19. If I go to the next Olympics in Tokyo, I will be better prepared because I will know what to expect and how best to build preparation.

- You have your first full season at the WTA level. Was there any tournament that was particularly enjoyable to play for adults?
- This is the first year, so each tournament was special. Wherever I went to major tournaments, I was big-eyed and admired everything. Of course, it was nice to play at all the Grand Slam tournaments. I was in Australia for the first time, I didn't even play in juniors there. I liked it there very much. It is too difficult to single out one particular tournament, there were many vivid impressions, but at the same time I felt quite comfortable.

- And in terms of rivals, there were many bright names against you - both Williams sisters on the Grand Slam, Martina Hingis, whom you also beat together with Elena Vesnina. Was there a feeling of surrealism or did you quickly get used to matches with eminent rivals?
- They quickly beat it out of you. Because the next day you always have to play a new match, so you can't go deep into the thought that you won some particular match. I played, won, went on to play. I had a couple of times that I was too happy,

then went to the next match and could not play at all.

- At Roland Garros and at Wimbledon you had heavy defeats in protracted matches. After a few months, can you say that it was a useful experience and you made conclusions?
- Yes, of course. Such important matches that were lost with the same score (laughs) . My coach and I watched these meetings, analyzed the moments that I did wrong. We drew conclusions that will help me in the future.

- At Wimbledon, your match was stopped at matchball due to rain. How did you deal with it?
- Non-standard situation. If this happens again, then the rivals will be afraid, because I have a similar experience. Few have one. It was very strange. I just walk into the waiting room and stare at the wall because I don't know what to do. The coach says: I don't know what to advise you. You go out on the court, what you feel, do it. I played the matchball, although in the end I lost the match. But the fact that at a difficult moment did what needed to be done gives confidence and faith in yourself.

- On Grand Slam there is no way to take a coaching time-out. Do you feel a shortage?
- It happens very often. Sometimes, out of habit, I try to call, and then I remember that it is impossible. You have to get used to thinking for yourself, because I'm on the court alone. I play more often on the center court, the referees look at the coach and make comments. So my coach speaks less and less. He just sits, claps and says nothing (laughs) .

- Coming back to the pauses in the rain, this season there is a feeling that rainfall is constantly haunting tennis tournaments. What has become your favorite pastime to while away the time during the breaks?
- Depends on which zone of players in the tournament. I love playing billiards with my team. If there is ping-pong, then you can also play. If any of my friends are in the zone, then I communicate with them. I cannot sit around, I need to do something. If I go into my thoughts, it doesn't end well (laughs) . Therefore, I try to talk to someone or play with someone.

- WTA President Steve Simon expressed the opinion that matches should be shortened to attract a new audience. How do you feel about a possible change in the format?
- I am against it, to be honest. Women's matches are very rare when played for more than two and a half hours. I don't see any point in this. To score decisive points exactly, as in a pair ... This is a horseWell, it's not delusional, but I think it's wrong.

It should stay as it is.

- Before that, you performed in tandem with the experienced Elena Vesnina. Now you are playing together with Dasha Gavrilova ...
- We are very comfortable paired with Dasha. The two of us have a lot of fun playing. Our atmosphere is relaxed. I know when to shout at her. She knows when to hit me in the head if I get nervous. We will continue in the next season. At least in Sydney and the Australian Open, we will play together.

- Players often encounter negative comments on social media. How much do you get and how do you feel about it?
- Constantly. After each lost match, it is better not to go to the Internet at all. People who lose bets are scary people. I block them right away, try not to read them. I delete comments so my mom doesn't see them. I don't want her to get even more upset after my losses. I'm not worried. I don't know these people, they don't know me, they don't know how much I work. And when they write such things to other athletes who give their best ... It's just that people have problems with their heads, why take offense at them?

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