THE MODERATOR: Jenson, congratulations on your biggest career win. Talk us through the match, how it played out today.
JENSON BROOKSBY: Yeah, it was good to get the job done. It’s always great reaching new milestones for me, I think, hopefully each week as time progresses.
I thought I had a tough start out there. He played strong. I wasn’t focusing and executing as well as I needed to. But I was able to turn a good switch around between the first and second set. I think it showed. I’m pleased to at least get through a tough set like that.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Talk about what it means being a Californian and out there in the night session at Indian Wells, pulling off something like that.
JENSON BROOKSBY: It means a lot to do it in my home state in front of all the fans out there. It’s such a great court, great atmosphere. One of the best. Just makes it even more special to play and get some wins in front of this crowd.
Q. How often have you been here over the years as a spectator?
JENSON BROOKSBY: A lot. I would drive with my dad down here. I think roughly from age 10 to 13, in those years. This is the one tournament I’d come watch as a kid. I’d ask for autographs, too. It’s special to be in a different role now, to be actually one of the players. I’m getting better, yeah.
Q. What would you say went wrong in the first set? Is there one or two things that you did a lot better that helped you turn things around?
JENSON BROOKSBY: I think I played the strategy I had going out on court just pretty poorly. I was just a little frustrated, a little tense in the first set. It ran away from me really quickly, which can happen if you’re not on your game and on the highest energy and focus you need to be.
I committed to at least being more positive than I was in the first set and switched it around.
Q. Fair to say maybe your serve isn’t as big as Isner’s, forehand not as big as Matteo Berrettini’s. Do you think in some ways you’re underestimated as a tennis player and athlete? In some ways do you think that helps you?
JENSON BROOKSBY: Yeah, I think I’m definitely underestimated, at least probably not by players, with the mentality the players have…
I think definitely among fans, they just look for the flashy things like the technique, the athleticism, things like that. I don’t think anything really stands out. I think that makes me underestimated to a lot of people.
Q. Taylor Fritz at the US Open, Stefanos tonight, you seem to frustrate players.
JENSON BROOKSBY: I really think that comes from the training I do, the strategies we have, the work I put in. I think I’m showing I can do it my way, in a different way. I’m establishing myself now at this level with the process we’re on.
It’s different for everybody with their game and mentality and training and everything. Mine is a different way. I think there’s no doubt it’s showing now consistently.
Q. You had a great 10 months or so on tour. With all that, does it still feel like a breakthrough win or do you feel like you already proved you belong on this sort of stage?
JENSON BROOKSBY: I think I definitely proved I belong at this stage. There’s always a couple tough losses, like when I lost in Acapulco. It always feels nice to keep reaching new milestones, new goals. That way you feel a little bit more comfortable with it in the future. Always have your mindset on even better goals in the future.
Q. Have you ever played in the stadium you played in tonight?
JENSON BROOKSBY: That was my fourth time. I played both my matches here in October and my first round in this tournament.
Q. What is it like to play in a stadium that you used to come to as a kid?
JENSON BROOKSBY: It’s special. I definitely have an appreciation for it. In my process and everything, I don’t think about it now because that can’t be my focus. At the same time it is in the back of my head how special it is and how cool it is.
Like with any other situation, as I get used to it more over time, I’ll keep getting more comfortable with different situations, for instance, like that court bounces higher, it’s just a little different than any other court. It’s getting used to the different courts and situations over time on tour.
Q. As you’ve risen up the ranks, a lot of coaches and your peers are intrigued by your game. How would you describe your game, your tennis super power?
JENSON BROOKSBY: I mean, I think my super power would be exploiting weaknesses in other people. Also doing my best to have my own game have no flaws. The two things we shoot for in my game.
Q. Even when you played Novak in New York, it seemed like you weren’t all that intimidated by the big stage. Talk about your inner belief that you belong playing these guys.
JENSON BROOKSBY: Stages such as that are really what shows the work you put in, the self-belief and confidence you’ll have, whether it’s good or whether it’s down, whether it’s mentally, in your own game. Those type of stages really show the type of work you put in every day, the practice, it shows in moments like that. Really every week, but especially on the big stage.
Yeah, there’s no doubt I wasn’t intimidated. Obviously he’s one of the best players ever, but I believe and I’ve shown I can beat anyone. I just have that focus every match and try to learn from everyone I’ve played against each time as well whether I win or lose.
Q. Any of the players that you got an autograph back then is in the draw currently?
JENSON BROOKSBY: That’s a good question. I know I got a few women’s players and men’s players. I don’t remember all of them.
I remember three for some reason pop up in my mind. I think I was 10 or 11. I got Kvitova, Pospisil and Gulbis are the ones I remember the most. Probably some others, too. But that’s funny.
Q. Nice energy about the American men at this tournament. Did you watch Paul’s match? Are you playing off that vibe or everybody’s own journey?
JENSON BROOKSBY: Not really. I think some players do feed off it. It is definitely cool to see. I think a lot of Americans have a lot of — there’s going to be higher energy in the American swing for sure. Some of the guys, they’re really cool guys. They’re nice. We talk once in a while.
But, no, I don’t really follow scores or anything in general, other than myself.
Q. You said your biggest strength is to exploit other people’s weaknesses. Do you use videos, video analysis, to analyze your opponent’s game and to improve yours?
JENSON BROOKSBY: Yeah, we’ll watch any opponent I would play, the video on them, especially my coach will. That can help us learn how to play against other players as well as know what things could have been better in my own game to train more, to have more confidence to execute in a both. Really we can see both.
The weeks I’m back home training especially is when I work on my own game from what we’ve seen in videos, to get those things better and more confident.
Q. You mentioned getting a bunch of WTA autographs. Any other WTA players you enjoy watching or in the past? Jessie Pegula was comparing your game to Sonia Kenin with the two-handed slice backhand.
JENSON BROOKSBY: More girls have the two-handed slice shot. I don’t think many guys do, no doubt.
But obviously when I was younger I watched the Williams sisters. They were the top. I don’t watch too much. From time to time I’ll see women’s matches, too. No one really too specific. No one stands out.
It’s fun to watch. They’re not as much (indiscernible) competition I guess. It’s so cool to watch tennis. I like the sport, yeah.
Q. You were talking about exploiting weaknesses. Is there one situation where you took advantage of a weakness that was most satisfying to you?
JENSON BROOKSBY: Like in a specific match?
JENSON BROOKSBY: I have to think about that for a second. I really think there’s been a few. In the finals of the Orlando challenger last year — sorry, in the finals of the Cleveland challenger last year was a time we worked on multiple things in my game after that match we saw. There’s always times we see multiple things to work on rather than maybe one or two.
One that comes to mind, against Felix in D.C. I’m sure there’s a lot of examples, but in that match it was great to see that I was able to exploit it the best you can. You get the confidence from that.
There’s many matches I think, but there’s always a few that stand out.
Q. How much is missing Australia is a motivation for you to make up for lost time?
JENSON BROOKSBY: Can you say the first part again.
Q. One of the things that makes your fast ranking rise is you had to miss the Australian Open. Is that more motivation or not an issue for you?
JENSON BROOKSBY: I think it just added more motivation. Lately it’s been out of mind a bit. You want to play all the slams. Those are the biggest tournaments. It was really tough to get COVID right before I had to fly out. No doubt disappointing.
You have to move on. You can’t reflect on the past or you’ll feel sorry for yourself. Things will happen in life that you can’t control. I just had to move on, keep training, stay home for a little bit, but just keep doing what I do, just don’t look back at it.
Q. You were part of record latest match in Acapulco with Zverev. How was that experience for you?
JENSON BROOKSBY: It’s definitely funny looking back at how many different things can happen on tour like that. Obviously starting really late for me, by far probably the latest I’ll ever start in my career potentially. Also the finish…
It showed I’ve never had more energy at 1:30 a.m. in my life. It just shows you have to keep your disciplined way whatever time you’re playing, any outside situation you can’t control. It’s fun to have those challenges and be able to overcome it. I played at a good level in that match. It’s definitely good to overcome things like that.
Q. Could you talk about your piano playing. Is it pop or jazz, Beethoven, Chopin?
JENSON BROOKSBY: A lot of classical stuff. Sometimes rock. It’s tougher, my first year, year and a half as a pro, to get to play. I do sometimes when I’m home. I’ve said before in other places, but I have my electric piano at home. Usually classical stuff I like. It’s a little more complicated.
Q. When Stefanos was in here before and was asked about what was difficult or tricky about your game. He had trouble pinpointing it, said you didn’t have the most athletic game or most powerful game. Do you think some of the players are a little befuddled by why you’re tough to beat? Do you think they don’t respect your game?
JENSON BROOKSBY: Probably. I think a lot of players/coaches maybe don’t see how I could be as good of a level as I am. That’s what we shoot for in our games and strategy, to not be too easily figured out. That’s how the top players over history have been.
I’m not too surprised to hear that. It’s what we shoot for.
I remember Rybakina’s game standing out to me for some reason.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports