Jelena Ostapenko talks to the media before the start of The Championships
Q. What has it been like for you since the French Open? Did they make a big deal at home? Do you feel any different?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: Yeah, had a lot of attention since winning the French. It was nice to come home. A lot of people met me. I had fun at home.
Yeah, I'm back to play on grass.
Q. What is the biggest change in your life since winning the French, do you think?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: I think I kind of made the history, like the Latvian history. I was the first person who won the Grand Slam in Latvia. Yeah, I don't know. I feel a little bit more confident. Really, really happy to have the Grand Slam title.
Q. What has been the biggest surprise for you since having won?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: I knew I was working hard for that. I knew I can make it one day. But I didn't think it's going to happen, like, when I was still 19 years old. So, yeah.
Q. Can you describe your feeling when you were at the airport in Riga. What was that moment like when you stepped out? Describe it as much as you can.
JELENA OSTAPENKO: I was actually, like, flying in the cockpit. When I saw the red carpet out of the plane, I was a little bit nervous. I didn't really want to step out of the plane because was so many people, like, waiting for me.
But then I felt amazing. It felt so nice. So many people came to meet me. Many flowers, many posters. It was amazing.
Q. You were in the cockpit?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: The red carpet.
Q. In the plane, you said you were in the cockpit?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: Yeah, I was flying in the cockpit. That was amazing.
Q. The whole flight?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: Almost, yeah.
Q. How did you feel adjusting to your new profile, stardom, particularly coming out at Eastbourne and playing as a Grand Slam champion?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: I actually was feeling fine in Eastbourne, because I came a bit earlier to get ready for grass, then had a couple good matches, to play on grass at least, to get ready for Wimbledon.
Yeah, I feel good.
Q. More people at your courts, more interview requests. Did you find anything like that?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: Of course, there is more attention, people expecting more from me. As I said, more attention.
Q. Every tennis player I imagine grows up dreaming of winning a Grand Slam title. Do you think it takes pressure off of you because you achieved it so young?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: I kind of achieved one of my goals, that I was working for that. Now I have the title, so I'm just going to play, maybe to not think about anything, just play and enjoy every match.
Q. In Eastbourne, you were practicing with the same people that you've practiced with always, the other players that are ranked in the 20s and 30s. Has anything changed in how you go about your tennis and your preparation since Paris?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: I think it's great to practice with the top players. I felt more confident, that I improved my game. But I still have things to improve.
Yeah, I felt that my game is more confident right now.
Q. Talk a little bit about what you feel with the grass. Do you feel comfortable on it? How well do you think you can do here? Is it a surface you played a lot on?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: Yeah, I played on it last week, Eastbourne, on grass. I feel quite good on grass because it was my favorite surface so far. Yeah, I'm looking forward to my first match here.
Q. How many times have you watched the recording of the French Open final? What feeling has it given you?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: Actually, I think I just saw some highlights once or twice. I didn't watch it that often because I didn't have that much time for that.
Q. How much do you want to watch it?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: Yeah, I mean, when I saw the highlights, I was like, Oh, wow, I was playing pretty well (laughter).
Q. What carries over from the moment when you lifted the trophy in Paris?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: Yeah, it felt amazing. I mean, it was my dream. I kind of achieved my dream. Well, amazing.
Q. What do you feel about it now? What carries forward from that moment?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: What carries?
Q. What lasting feeling does it give you?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: I don't know. I don't really understand the question.
As I said, I feel amazing about that. I didn't really get the question.
Q. When you went back to your tennis club in Latvia, you've been there a lot of years, what was it like?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: The tennis club?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: It was really nice how they met me. They put my pictures everywhere. They brought some balloons saying No. 1. The tennis racquet, made a big cake. Was a lot of people. That felt amazing because that club is where I practice. I feel like home there.
Q. You said when you saw the highlights of you winning the French Open, you thought you were playing amazing. If you can reproduce that kind of level, do you feel like you can beat anyone?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: I think if I play aggressive and I have my day, I think everything can happen, yeah. Because, as I said, I play aggressive. I win most of the points by myself. I can control the match.
Q. In the United States we know of another Latvian athlete who's quite famous, Kristaps Porzingis. What have you heard from him since your victory in Paris and what did he say?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: I actually haven't heard anything from him. I knew he was in Latvia at that time. I didn't hear anything from him.
Q. What do you think of him and the way he plays basketball?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: I don't really follow basketball that much. As I heard, he's really good (smiling).
Q. You're obviously focusing on your game, but how much are you following what else is going on in the grass court season, like Pliskova winning today, Konta being injured?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: Sometimes I check the scores, I check the matches, but not all the time.
Q. Do you watch tennis as a fan to sit down and just enjoy it or to see what your rivals and opponents are doing?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: I don't see that many matches. I mean, if I need to see, I will see the match. If the match is really interesting, I will watch it. Sometimes I prefer to see some other sports.
Q. When did you first kind of realize, I'm the French Open champion? Was it on the spot? A few days later?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: I think when I came home and all this, like, attention came to me, so many people, so many fans. I started to realize day by day even more. Then I realized that I won it.
Q. Do you feel other players look at you differently in the lockers? Have some come to you to say, Congrats? Any change with your rivals?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: Players are nicer to me now. So many players have said, Congrats. That was nice from them.
Q. How is the leg? Is it serious? I saw you with the strapping in Eastbourne. Is it an injury or is it just preventative?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: When I played the first match against Carla, I kind of pulled a little bit my leg. I tried to recover as much as possible. It's feeling better now.
Q. Is it top of the leg, back?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: It's the back of the leg, yeah.
Q. You mentioned signs when you came out of the airport. What did they say?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: They were saying like, You're the best, you're No. 1, all these things.
Q. Did they give you the signs?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: No, they just made them, painted them, draw them. My pictures, then they wanted me to sign it.
Q. Are you going to fly back in the cockpit if you win at Wimbledon?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: I don't know. I hope so, that I'll have another chance to fly in a cockpit.
Q. Was that scary at all? How did it come about? Did you know going on the plane you were going to be flying in the cockpit?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: Not really. When I boarded, when I was onboard, the crew came and asked me if you want to fly in the cockpit. I said, Of course, I want. I went there, and actually it's more interesting to fly there. The view is much, much better.
Q. You didn't fly the plane, though?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: No. I was just sitting next to the captain.
Q. Petra Kvitova said as a little girl she watched Wimbledon on TV and dreamed of being here. What are your earliest memories of Wimbledon? What does this place mean to you?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: I think my best memories, and my memories from Wimbledon, are when I won the junior Wimbledon, and the next year I got the wild card and won my first match against Carla. She was top 10 that year.
Yeah, I feel very special here and I really like it.
Q. When you won the junior tournament here, did you think one day you'd be winning the main one?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: As I said, I was working for that. I thought it could happen one day, but not this year.
Q. The plane, was it Air Baltic?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: Yes.
Q. Does that junior Wimbledon title seem like yesterday or a long time ago? How does the time feel?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: Actually, now it feels that it was a long time ago. I don't know why, but I have that feeling that it was a long time ago. But it was only I think three years ago.
Q. With Anabel, obviously you've shown you can play on grass, you're powerful and everything, but what has she told you over the last couple of weeks tactically, something that helps you even more understand how to play your game on grass?
JELENA OSTAPENKO: Yeah, she told me that on grass mostly the player who is playing more aggressive or trying to play aggressive from the, like, first couple of shots is winning because it's grass and it's very hard to move. If you have a chance, you really have to play aggressive on this surface.