Magdalena Rybarikova speaks to the media after the 6-3, 6-3 win against CoCo Vandeweghe
Q. I'd like to know how surprised you are of the goal that you reached, semifinals here. When did you start dreaming about it? Only today? When you beat Pliskova? Never? Match point?
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: Well, obviously I was dreaming about it since I was a little kid, to be semifinal in the Wimbledon. I think all the players are dreaming about this to happen.
But, well, I mean, before the match, I was still saying to myself, It's great to be quarterfinal, just be relaxed, just play your game, then we'll see what's going to happen.
Even when I have match points, I was all the time thinking the same, you know. Just to be relaxed, just to be relaxed. I was really not that nervous. I was very surprised because I was always thinking before when I was home, like, how nervous I would be when I was watching the other players to have match points and to get into the semifinal.
I was really not that nervous. Maybe that's why I also made it.
Q. Tennis is a funny sport. You struggled to get past second, third rounds at Wimbledon, always were a good player on grass, you have this injury break, now semifinals. Can you reflect on your relationship with this tournament over the years. Was it a frustrating place for you? Was it a place you knew you could do well but didn't? What's clicking this time?
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: Well, Wimbledon is my favorite Grand Slam, that's for sure. Also playing on grass, it's my favorite surface. I really enjoy playing on grass.
Yeah, it's true, I never played good here. I mean, I lost I think eight in a row in the first round. So, I mean, then it was a little bit in my head that, I mean, I just want to pass the first round.
Two years ago I did a third round. Then, you know, I relaxed. I was like, Okay, I can make it. I can be through the first round.
Yeah, I mean, I've been playing very well on grass. I won Birmingham. Now I won two titles, ITF I made semifinals in Nottingham, and I won against good players. I was still believing I could do well here. Third round was for me already good. I'm not used to playing semifinal, obviously.
Right now what is happening, it's just a dream. I'm so, so grateful for this opportunity to be in the semifinal.
Q. You now face Muguruza. Thoughts on that matchup, what you think the atmosphere will be like in a semifinal?
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: She's amazing player. She's going to be favorite. Again, I'm here to enjoy the match. We'll see what's going to happen. I played her a few years ago on grass. I won that match. But Wimbledon semifinal is a little bit different.
I saw her playing today. She was playing really well, very aggressive. I was very impressed the way she played.
I just have to enjoy this match. I mean, she's the favorite, so... That's kind of it.
Q. If someone said that you won a couple of tournaments already, why not win Wimbledon, what are your thoughts about that?
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: Well, that's a good question, but I won a very small tournament compared to Wimbledon. I mean, anything can happen, yeah. Anything can happen. Miracles do happen.
But I am not that far. I have just ahead of me semifinals against Muguruza. I want to enjoy, as I said before. What going to happen going to happen. But I'm for sure very satisfied.
I'm sure I going to fight. I really going to fight for the final. I going to give my all in this match.
Q. Why do you think you were able to be so relaxed in this big moment?
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: I have no idea. I just recently played ITFs in Surbiton. I was thinking that I was nervous more there than today. I have no idea how come I was that calm. Obviously I was nervous, but I was not like I would shake. Sometimes I can get really nervous and really tight. But this match I was quite positive.
I was saying to myself, If I'm not going to make this serve, I still can break her because I had a lot of chances before so I can still make. If not, then I have third set. I was still up. So you still have to believe.
Somehow I was not nervous. But I don't understand it quite well, but that happened.
Q. What are your thoughts on being the only unseeded player in the final four of this tournament?
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: Well, that's a huge surprise, I guess. I mean, it's great success for me. That's why maybe it was more easier for me, because I was never favorite of any match, to win. Maybe against Martic because she was world ranked, but she has been playing so well, also in Roland Garros, recently she had great results. The way she played, she played really like a top player.
But I would say I didn't have that much pressure. I mean, I played Pliskova, I played so many good players. I just stayed relaxed.
I think it was even advantage for me to not be seeded and to not expect something from myself.
Q. What about the sense of belief? You said it was a surprise. How have you developed belief in yourself on this stage?
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: Well, I mean, I was just saying to myself just to play my game. I know I can play good on grass. I know my game is difficult for another opponent. So I was just keep repeating it.
I played well. I didn't expect I going to play that well, that I going to reach semifinal. But I did. You just have to believe. If you can see the draws, before the tournament, before Mirjana Lucic, she was in the semifinal of Australian Open, that was a huge surprise. It was also before like that.
Always some player who surprise. Now I was lucky to be me. Yeah, I'm really grateful for that.
Q. Why do you think you're playing so well at the moment?
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: Why do I think? I mean, maybe because of my past. Last year it was very difficult for me. I was sometimes thinking maybe I'm never going to come back, and here I am in the semifinal of Grand Slam.
Maybe I just relaxed myself. I'm really enjoying to be on the court. Really I'm so grateful, and lucky. I'm really lucky that my health is doing well right now (knocking on wood). I don't have any limit right now. Before I was always having some issues, my knee or my wrist. Now I can just think about my game. Maybe that helped me a lot.
Also I can practice fully. Before I was still not sure if I can go tournament or I cannot go, or if I can practice full or not. I was always afraid to be on the court if something is going to happen. Right now I really feel very good on court. I think that helped me a lot, and also kind of, as I said before, why I expect much from myself.
Q. Do you think this is the best you've ever played?
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: For sure. I mean, semifinal of Grand Slam, I'm sure it is, yeah.
Q. You have a lot of variety in your game. Have you learned to play the game that way or is it something you developed during your career?
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: Well, it's the way I played always. I was very playful. I like all the sports with a ball. When I was in the kindergarten, I was always playing something with the balls. So it's the way I play.
I also liked the players to watch, like Martina Hingis, she was always kind of her strategy on the court was very smart, I would say. I was always trying to play not like her, I don't want to compare myself with Martina Hingis obviously. But, yeah, I mean, I enjoyed her watching. Obviously Steffi Graf, all these kind of players.
Yeah, I think it's more fun to play like this. I mean, that's it, yeah. It's just the way I play.
Q. What is it about your game on grass that works so well?
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: I think it fits to my game. I play a lot of slices. I'm trying to approach net. When I serve well, it's really good. When I don't serve well, it's not that good.
But yeah, I mean, I think my game really fits that surface. I mean, I always have been playing well on grass. It's difficult a little bit for me to play on clay. My weapons doesn't work that well. I improved also there, I would say.
So I think it's great for my weapons, this surface. And I think I'm quite skillful. Many times you have bad bounces on grass. So I'm fast to react. I always can get quite well from the tough position.
I was surprised the way I returned today because Coco was serving very well, and also the matches before against Pliskova I was serving very well. That is very important on grass, to return well.
Q. How big was the win over Pliskova to set up this run to the semifinal? You didn't know if it was elite tennis you were playing coming in, top 50, top 80 tennis. Do you think you could have had the confidence to play the semifinals if you don't pull that win off?
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: Well, that was huge for me. That was the thing that I wanted to test a little bit myself because I haven't play against top-10 players quite a while. Actually, I played against Johanna Konta in Nottingham. She beat me in two sets. It was quite good match, but she played really well that match.
Yeah, I was really wondering how I going to play. I didn't expect obviously I'm going to beat Karolina. When I won that match, it gave me big boost.
I mean, for me it was not really pressure to play after to someone, but I know some people were thinking, Okay, I beat Karolina, now I have to beat Lesia, I have to beat Petra Martic, but I was not really putting it in my head because I know they playing really well right now. I'm not a favorite. That's maybe why I was playing so well and I beat them.
So, yeah, I mean, that win gave me huge boost for the other matches.
Q. Why do you think you matched up so well against Coco in Paris and now here?
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: Well, I think she doesn't like my game that much. She was a little bit frustrating, I would say. For sure she didn't play her best both matches. I think she struggled a bit with my game. I was trying to change the rhythm.
I was reading quite well her serve. That's, I think, very important against Coco, that you have to really return well and then hold your serve. I was trying to put as much first serves as is possible.
Was working today. I was really confident with my strokes today and really felt it good. Sometimes on the warmups you don't feel that well. But today I felt really good.
I was just a little bit disappointed with the rain conditions. I wanted to finish outside because it was quite windy. I think it suits my game more than to her game.
But then I stayed calm, even we went to play on Centre Court. And, yeah, I was just saying myself, You're going to Centre Court. You should enjoy it. You won against Karolina that match. So you can win it again. Yeah, here I am.
Q. Coco lost her cool in the final game with that line call. What did you think of it? How did you manage to stay calm in that moment?
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: Well, I was surprised they called even out because was clear on the line. I think I should get the point because really she could not put it back. I would be little bit disappointed if it would be replayed because that would be obviously tough.
But that's why I asked immediately if it could be repeated or not. Yeah, I mean, that was tough to wait. But I think she was even more frustrated than me. I was just saying to myself, Just to see the first serve, be ready for her return. You have to repeat all the time and believe you can make it.
I was really believing I can make this game. If not, then I have still another game. So I was being very positive.
Q. What makes this run all the more special is that you've come from such a difficult circumstance. Talk about the most difficult moment where you really doubted you might never come back.
MAGDALENA RYBARIKOVA: Well, it was maybe -- it was in January when I realize I cannot go to the Australian Open because it was the plan I was supposed to play Australian Open. I had my protected ranking. It was 108, the protected ranking. But always the cut is around there. I realized I would also get in main draw. I was disappointed that my knee, it was not really good. I was really sad about it.
But after that, after that Australia, the knee started to feel much better. Then I was just lucky really because I had no issues at all with the wrist, with the knee. It was everything step by step. But now it feels really good.
It was that moment during January and before Australian Open was the moment that I was thinking to myself, If this not going to work, to have another surgery or something else, I just don't want to hear it. I was pretty nervous about it.
But then one practice I said, Okay, I have to go through the pain and then we'll see. One practice was really painful, the practice. I said, Okay, you can destroy your knee, then you will see how it's going to be. Funny thing, next day I felt much better. Maybe my ligaments were not used to for the pressure. But then it really felt better and everything was better every day.
As I said, I was lucky that after I didn't have any issue so I was still believing I could play good because I was playing very well in practices. Also my first tournament was 25,000, but still I made semifinal, which was also great boost for me.