Question: After Donna Vekic withdrew from the match, you told your mother that you were close to do the same. Was it so tough?
Dayana Yastremska: It’s always tough to play against top players, because you need to work for every point anf give it 100%. You understand, that the opponent is fighting till the end. I don’t know if Donna had back pain, but I wish her an expeditious recovery and good results in the future. I felt bad in the first set. I had fever in the first two games. Then I felt better later and I began to get into the match. I forced myself to work. If I felt as bad, as at at the beginning, it woud have been hard to win rallies. But I was trying not to think about it and found my game.
Q.: You played against your friend Vera Lapko in the 2nd round. Is it tough to play against friends?
D.Y.: There are neither friends, nor enemies on the court. Everyone stays focused as usual. You work on the court and think only about the game plan. It is not hard for me to play against friends. Because after the match we’re still close friends. It’s sport, it’s a game: somebody wins, somebody loses. You need to cope with it.
Q.: You won the title in Hungary last week, here you play in the finals. May be you can outplay Belinda Bencic?
D.Y.: You can win against anyone, you need to want it and to work on it. I’ll try as much as I can tomorrow. Hope, my health will be OK. I think, it’s gonna be AN interesting match, because she was World No.7. I always wanted to play against her. Even when I saw the draw for the first time, I didn’t ear neither for Donna Vekic, nor Belinda Bencic. I realized that all matches are goign to be pretty tough, so I just needed to focus on the matches. I just wanted to get an experience playing with them. I think we will play each other a lot in the future.
Q.: Many young players are having problems with their transition from juniors to seniors. You made it to the WTA in a pretty confident fashion.
D.Y.: I can’t agree, because I was struggling during this year. But I could turn it around and made a step forwars mentally. But I need to continue to work. I was playing a lot of WTA tournaments at the beginning of the year, losing a lot. But I understood thanks to these matches that I need to win. It helped me. Even at the last two tournaments I managed to improve and fix my problems adn avoid the the errors I was making before and the results came along. First, you gain confidence, then the results will come.
Q. You worked with many coaches, even Magnus Norman. What did each of them bring to your game? With whom did you come to St. Petersburg?
D.Y.: I came here with my mother, she is my main coach and mental trainer. The Italian Marco Geraldini is also her with me. I have been working with him starting from this spring. I’ve had many coaches, I’ve got a good experience from everyone. Somebody helped me from the practical point of view, some others helped me with my mental training, others helped me tactically. Magnus also was my coach, we’re in good relations with him, sometimes we chat. My new coach is good, we’re in good relations. We speak as coach and player as well as friends. He is open-minded and always supports me. Also I have coach in Istanbul, he is from Australia, but is working at an academy in Turkey. He gives me a lot ofadvice. One more coach is my father. He is with me from my childhood. And always gives me the right advisce. He is like a scanner, its enough for him to look at me from top to bottom and he already knows what I need to improve.
Q.: The coach gave you some advice before the game, opening his exercises book. Didhe speak about the game plan for your match against Vekic?
D.Y.: When I enter the court, everything is going away from me, no matter what the recommendations are. Of course, I receive maximum information before the match, we discuss everything and come uop with a tactical plan. I think, everyone does the same with one’s coach. He is always writing something, when I’m playing. I think, he determines what I need to improve. My mother always supports me, she doesn’t relax any minute when I’m on court. She doesn’t give me a chance to lose the concentration.
Q.: What plan does your team have?
D.Y.: I don’t know what’s gonna be after this tournament, we discuss it with my team. Everything depends on the rankings. The nearest goal is to step on court and win! If I can’t do it I need to get an experience. And to improve my game, continue to work.
Q.: Give us the portrait of an ideal tennis player. Who could it be?
D.Y: I just don’t want to take anything from anybody, I’d rather improve myself. Of course, we can learn from somebody, but I want to be myself, to be original and not a copy.
Q.: You like to dance. If you can compare tennis and dancing, what dance is it?
D.Y.: Very harmonic. Hip–hop or slow dance. I think I can link it together. I continue to dance, sometimes during the evenings, all the emotions and the stress fade away.
Q.: May be you need to come up with your own victory dance?
D.Y.: I was thinking at some point about it, to make something like Viktoria Azarenka – like the dab she makes after her wins. But I think it’s a bit childish. Tennis and work are one thing, and dance and entertainment are a different thing. You need to separate the two. I can leave the court and then dance something.
Q.: There were some talks that you wanted to play with your sister. How is her career going? Is it possible&
D.Y.: She is very talented, a good singer and dancer. Tennis suits her, because she is pretty strong and tall. I think if she starts playing professionally, she can do it. I will help her. I will be a very tough coach, but we will find establish a rapport. And if we play doubles, we would be better than Serena and Venus.
Q.: But she does see that tennis syphons off so much enegy and takes so much time. What if she doesn’t take the risk and refuses to go in for tennis?
D.Y.: First it’s hard to get her play on on the court, and then you can’t take her out of the court. I think she likes tennis and continues to play. I think I motivate her well. Maybe she wants to be better than me. She always supports me.
Q.: What is your life motto?
D.Y.: I don’t know, I can only say that I try to stay positive.
Q.: Did you have time to do some sightseeing in St. Petersburg?
D.Y.: I didn’t have time for it, but after the tournament I try to stay here for one more day and go for a walk.