INDIAN WELLS, USA - The top eight seeds at the BNP Paribas Open sat down with reporters at very relaxed All Access Hour on Wednesday. In a casual roundtable vibe, the elite eight opened up about the state of the tour, their seasons so far, and what they expect over the fortnight in the California desert.
Here are some of the highlights. For highlights from World No.1 Simona Halep's roundtable, click here.
On why the process is more rewarding than the achievement:
"I think what I appreciate most is I think I realized when I was 20 years old and I reached No.1 for the first time, you enjoy it but you keep putting so much pressure on yourself. Everything that I achieved after that, once I wasn't No.1 any more but I was still up there, it's all about the process. It's not about getting there. Because when I got to No.1 it was like yeah, I have a match the next day. My dad is still telling me to move my feet. It doesn't change anything.
"But I think the process of having a goal and trying to reach it, it the hard times, the great times, that's what you really appreciate. It's the same with the Australian Open now and getting to No.1 afterwards. It's the process. I was there, and then I dropped down, I was injured, and having to fight back, that process was very special to me. That's why the second time around it meant more to me because I've been through ups and downs and it's a long road."
On the one million dollar bonus being offered to a player who can sweep the singles and doubles titles at Indian Wells:
"Is the doubles draw closed?"
On how motherhood has changed Serena (or not):
"I still think she's a little girl more than ever. Just because you do adult things doesn't mean you have to grow up. That's the best part about it."
On whether she thinks she's better than Serena on court right now:
"A lot of people would like to be better than Serena. A lot of people are not. No one wants to play her, that's for sure."
On her experience attending the Oscars and rubbing elbows with Hollywood:
"It was a very good experience. It's not something you can go to every day so I didn't want to miss it. I don't think I'm ever going to be impressed again for whatever red carpet event [laughs].
"It's show business. You have to be cool and do some crazy things to be noticed. It's just different. For us, we just go out there and perform and we do our thing. We don't have to depend on who someone is going to pick or who wants me in the movie. What we do, it's just me. It's what's in my hands."
On Petra Kvitova's resurgence:
"I feel that comeback is way more shocking than other comebacks. I'm sure tennis for her is so much different right now in her eyes after what she felt that day. I'm sure she's enjoying it so much more now. So good for her to be back and especially playing at that level. I saw the picture, I'm not going to lie. I saw what happened. I'm like, man, she's playing like this? The way she played against me in the Doha final, winning 13 matches in a row. It's incredible."
On the weight of the No.1 ranking:
"When you're little and you dream about it and you think I want to be No.1 in the world, you're just thinking about tennis. You don't think about the pressure you're going to feel after, or the expectation, or that if you lose it's a big deal and when you win it's normal. When you're little you don't think about it until you're there. You're like oh, nobody told me I would have a huge backpack that I'm holding here with a lot of things. But at the same time, I wish I'm always in that situation, so it's something that's just tricky."
On what the constant changes at No.1 says about the current state of the game:
"I think everything is so close now. It's changing still so much. Even if Caroline won the Australian Open, now Simona is back. It's just about little points. I'm not there now but I was there a few months ago. I think every tournament can change it quickly. I think the Top 10 is pretty strong and solid for the last two years now. There is nobody like Serena before, who would be winning all the tournaments and have all points to be so much different from the others. That's why it's so close and that's why it's changing."
On whether she sees a dominating force anytime soon:
"I don't feel like there's somebody who can be that different than the others. I don't feel like Simona or Caroline can win four Grand Slams in a year. So if you see the matches that they were playing, everything was so close. There were match points in all the tournaments. There's not that much difference between the other players and them. So for sure they are stronger mentally with the tennis. But also - not just them, also me - we can lose to some players outside the Top 20, Top 30. I think women's tennis now is open for everybody. You don't have to be seeded, you still have a chance to get far in the tournament or win the tournament."
On reuniting with her twin sister Kristyna for doubles in Indian Wells:
"We got a wildcard, so I'm excited that we'll be on the same half of the court. I don't know how it's going to be because we haven't played together in a while. I think it's like two years since we played. But we won two titles together so that's good to know, that we can play good doubles together. Hopefully it's going to be good tennis and not bad tennis (laughs). We don't practice together at all so I just don't know what to expect from the doubles.
"We learned from before that we are not good at practicing together, fighting and not playing the best against each other. There is no boss, we are about [the] same. I would like to be the boss but she doesn't want it (laughs)."
On growing up watching Serena Williams:
"She's an amazing athlete and she's just a great champion. She's very special, there are not many athletes like her. And what she's done for women's tennis is huge. When I was growing up I was watching almost every match from her. I just loved how she was playing, her emotion, her personality, she was competing and she was fighting until the end. It was great to watch."
On the prospect of defending her title at Roland Garros:
"I'm still not trying to think about it because it's still a long way until May. I still have some time. But I don't think I'll have a lot of pressure because this year I started as Top 10 and that was already pressure for me. So I'm trying to get used to it and looking forward to going and playing there again."
On the one million dollar bonus for winning singles and doubles:
"What bonus? I didn't even know that. Good to know!"
On winning the Tiebreak Tens event at Madison Square Garden earlier in the week:
"When you start, when you play the first tie it's like an exhibition. Then the second one and you're winning, okay, it's an exhibition but let's try to do something. Then when you're in the final and you realize there is some money (laughs) then you're like okay, let's get back to the serious mode and just try to win. Not every day are you playing in Madison Square Garden and playing for so much money. Of course, it's an exhibition and I'm so lucky to be one of the players playing there. I never thought I would play a match there."
On her special motivational skills:
"When I go in London, when I have time, Harrods is a big motivation for me [laughs]. I really go there for motivation."
On whether she looks at the draw ahead of tournaments:
"I don't even know who I'm playing in my first round! Normally I only ask who I'm playing in my first match, I don't look to see who I'm playing in the draw, but I didn't ask, actually. I know I don't play Serena, because the guy upstairs told me [laughs]."
On Marion Bartoli's comeback announcement:
"It was a very surprising news for everyone to hear that she's coming back. She proved so much when she was a tennis player, when she won Wimbledon. Even before she was Top 10 for such a long time. She was such a fighter on court. I'm very happy for her that she's back on court and doing what she loves and compete."