Elise Mertens made history at the Hobart International today, defending her singles title to become the first dual winner in the tournament’s 25-year history.
The 22-year-old from Belgium also teamed up with Dutchwoman Demi Schuurs to win the doubles title.
Rain delays meant it took Mertens almost 10 hours to complete both matches – but the world No.36 was in high spirits as she celebrated her title wins.
Congratulations on your titles. Talk us through your day:
Mertens: “It’s been a very, very good day but also a very, very long day with the rain delays. But it was an amazing day for me, despite all the waiting I don’t mind at all anymore. It’s been a great day.”
Were you happy with how you played today?
“The level was there, in the singles it was tight at the end because of course you want to win. I’m just really happy that I came back to Hobart – that’s where it all began for me and now this year, I’ve had a great start again. That gives me a lot of confidence to go to Melbourne.”
How did you cope with the rain delays today?
“It’s hard. You have to warm up and then see if we have a not before time, then wait. You just have to keep your mind clear. Mentally it is very important to not get frustrated or anything. Mentally you just have to be prepared for anything.”
Have you ever experienced a match that took over eight hours to complete?
“No. There’s a first for everything. We stopped like four times I think, I lost count.”
When you look back at this week, what are you most proud of?
“This was my first title last year and I think to repeat I’m most proud of that, just showing that consistency and proving that I can win again.”
You said all week you weren’t feeling pressure as defending champion. But did you feel any?
“Just at the final. Before actually no. I think the pressure you build yourself. I just wanted to win so badly today that I think I made myself a little nervous.”
You have never lost a match in Hobart, in either singles or doubles in two visits. Why do you think you play so well here?
“I love Hobart, it is very unique and beautiful. I love all the nature, the animals. Seeing all the little parrots flying around, we don’t have that in Belgium. The people are so great, they are so helpful. The hotel is nice and I feel a bit like I’m at home.”