Between two training sessions to improve their physical condition, the stars took part in the traditional Media Day on Saturday. An opportunity to talk about expectations and ambitions a few hours before the first Grand Slam of the season.
AO 2023: stars at Media Day
The best insights from all the press conferences
About his current shape
"The real thing is I have been losing more than usual. Yeah, that's the true. I need to live with it and just fight for the victories, no? By the way, I didn't play that bad the first two matches the year. I lost against two great opponents, but having very positive chances to win both matches.
I already have been here for three weeks, practicing every day with that conditions, with the best players. That helps a lot in general terms. My situation, I don't know what can happen on Monday, but my personal feeling, without a doubt, is better now than three weeks ago, in general terms."
About the Next Gen
"They are super good. They're going to have amazing career. They're going to win slams. They're going to win a lot of tournaments, yes. Some of them, I can't be sure, but I'm almost sure not two players of this generation going to achieve 20, 21, and 22 Grand Slams. If someone can reach that number- maybe - going to be difficult, they have a lot of things to do in front. But you never know what can happen.
I mean, probably because have been three players that achieved that much, we lose a little bit the perspective how difficult is all of this, no? We are here playing tennis at the age of 36, and you need to have a very, very long career. Injuries are there. Circumstances in life.
No doubt about the potential they have, but the circumstances in life to put the pressure on their shoulders to achieve these kind of numbers, I don't think it's fair."
About her first round match against Jule Niemeier
"For sure, Jule, we played on US Open, and you saw how intense that match was, how tough. It's not going to be easy. But on other hand, any match in Grand Slam is always more intense and more stressful than other tournaments. I'll be ready for it.
It's nice also that we played not so long ago so I can take a lot from that match. Now I know how her ball feels on the racquet. So we'll see. But she has the same."
About the evolution of her game
"I think, I don't know, the greatest players that are consistent throughout their whole careers, I don't think Novak changed a lot in his game since few years ago, so... I think it matters to kind of be able to just be consistent with the best game you have.
Sometimes actually I feel like I tend to give even too much in terms of maybe the speed. For me, it's all about staying kind of solid and actually, like, not changing a lot. It worked, so why would I change a lot?"
About the record-breaking race
"I mean, that's why I keep on playing professional tennis, competition tennis, because I want to be the best, I want to win the biggest tournaments in the world. There is no secret about it. It doesn't get bigger than this. You have four slams that historically have been the biggest events in our sport.
It's also one of the biggest reasons why I was really looking forward to come back to Australia: because of my record here. I really love playing in Rod Laver Arena, particularly night sessions. I've had plenty of success that hopefully can continue this year."
About his season start and his chances at the AO
"I'm in a very good shape. I ended the year in the best possible way, and continued that form in Adelaide. I like the way I played there. I beat some really good players, especially in the last few matches of the tournament.
I like my chances. I always like my chances. I train as hard as really anybody out there. There's a lot of youngsters now that are very hungry, that want to win. They want to take a scalp off you on the big stadium. I know that. Experience of being in these kind of particular circumstances helps I think to have the right approach and do things in a proper way because I know when I'm healthy and playing my best, on this court I have chances really against anybody."
On her progress and her mentality
"It's obviously a new season, and I can keep all the positive of what happen last year, all the improvement I made. Yeah, the mentality, the mindset, and then start to work on from that to where can I go, what can I reach.
Yeah, get experience I got from two years back, from that point, that place, the ranking and everything, to manage everything better and to keep improving."
About people's perception and the evolution of her image
"What I like is just let my results speak for me, and what I do on court is the most important. It's always nice and a good gesture to get some rewards, some people to appreciate what they have been seeing on court, seeing you as a player, as an athlete, as a person.
Yeah, it's always some positive energy to take. I just want to let my tennis speak for me."
About his goals and ambitions
"I do have a goal. I've already clarified it since the beginning of the year what I want to achieve. But I know it's a long run and I cannot rush myself. I cannot just run a thousand miles an hour and expect something to happen. I need to stay in the game. I need to stay consistent over the course of the next 12 months. I need to get back on the court when these losses are going to come at some point. I need to constantly be in the mindset of bouncing back stronger.
That is the thing that will be the most challenging, let's say, this year. We have younger guys coming from behind. We still have Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal playing good tennis. They're still there."
About Holger Rune
"He's a very strong opponent. He has matured pretty fast, I would say, in his game. But, of course, that comes with a lot of hard work. I've seen him at the academy working hours and hours. He's obsessed with tennis. You can see how obsessed he is with the sport. He lives, breathes and just I think thinks tennis all the time."
About her experience and the pressure
"You know me, you know my game. I try to always adapt to different surface. I obviously like this hard court here in Australia. Yeah, I will try to use that experience from last year because it was kind of tough.
My goal is to not lose any more finals (smiling), but just use that to be ready for the next one. I feel like there is not a lot of pressure on me on this tournament. I'm just going to try to play my game, just be there match by match, see what's going to happen."
About her goals for 2023
"I tell you guys I want to win Grand Slams. Okay, you're expecting me to win. I can't disappoint you (smiling). I talked about them. I want to be No. 1 in the world, not just the number but also the level and the discipline around it. I want to win more titles and get that Grand Slam title, for sure."