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August 30, 2014

Victoria Azarenka


V. AZARENKA/E. Vesnina
6-1, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Feeling a little bit more like the Azarenka before the injury and losing time this year on the court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. Feel different. Feel different. As I always say, I don't look too much in the past. You know, I think I kind of reveal a little bit more new things about me when I play, how I feel on the court, what I tell myself what to do, how I approach the matches. I think it's a little bit kind of new, and I enjoy that part.

Q. I think this is your 100th Grand Slam win today. Did you know that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Really? Where is my cake, then? Like for real. Tonight? Thank you. Put some icing on it.

Q. Yeah, how do you feel about that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I didn't know about it, so obviously I need to think about it a little bit. I think it's a great achievement. It's just a number, really. I want to make it to 200 and maybe more.

Q. Is there a part of you that says, Hmm, I'm only 25; how could that be, so many matches? Because you're young.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, it feels like that. Then I think how many years I already played on the tour, and it's like that's, what, nine years? So that's like, okay, a little bit -- I mean, that's a lot. It's almost a decade. But I think it's just, as I said, just a number. It's obviously a great number, but I want to raise it much higher.

Q. How much do you feel like you lost in terms of that kind of six months that you were out. Do you feel like you had to like start back and find your form and everything?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Always. I mean, it's part of rebuilding, you know, in anything you do. If a regular person ran a marathon and then they don't run for six months, they stiff gotta start with half an hour, then an hour. It's kind of the same concept in anything you do. But I think the importance is your attitude towards that. I keep hearing people asking me how tough it is or how much you lost, and my attitude is really not how difficult it was or how much I lost. It's how much I can gain from what happened and what I can do to look forward. Because that's really where I want to go and not look back. I don't feel bad for myself. I don't feel like I have to have excuses for what happened. I just really want to stay positive and just push myself to the limit.

Q. Five of the top eight seeds are gone at this point. Obviously Genie doesn't play until tonight. Or you don't even pay attention to that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I don't really pay attention to that, because I try to focus on what I gotta do. It's always been like this. Just kind of take care of what you can take care of, you know, what you can control. I have no idea what somebody else is gonna do. I just try to stay in the moment and keep having fun. It's really all about that.

Q. Have you looked at the draw?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I never look at the draw.

Q. But now for the next match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I play against Krunic.

Q. Do you know much about her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know about her much. I have seen just really briefly couple of points. But, you know, she obviously is playing great tennis and really inspired here, you know, winning so many matches in a row and upsetting such a great player. So it's going to be tough. I think it's always tricky when you don't know your opponent, but I just want to focus on my game and try to get prepared as best as possible and, again, have fun.

Q. Given you don't know much about her, how do you think you'll learn about her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: That's not my job. That's my coach's job. He gets paid for it (smiling). I meant it in a good way. He knows.

Q. The last few games you were winning real easy, but you had an annoyed look on your face. Was something bothering you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I had an annoyed look on my face? No, I'm just fierce like that. I don't know. It's my way of feeling good, you know, what I show on my face. I don't know. I don't really have a mirror right there, but my emotions are really positive and all I talk about to myself is positive things. I don't know how it looks from the outside. I keep talking to the crowd all the time. They're fun.

Q. Going back to what you were saying about being on the tour for almost a decade, can you reflect on the difference between tennis time and lifetime? In life years you're very young, but in tennis years you're now --

Q. -- a veteran. And you're seeing probably earlier in the week a player like CiCi Bellis, who is 15. How do you balance that kind of sense of where you are in life when tennis is telling you something different from what actual age is telling you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, for me, I don't feel 25 years old. Sometimes I feel I'm 12 years old. Sometimes I feel I'm 50 years old. So it really depends on the situation and where you are. I mean, if I see -- if I walk around in the city and I see swings, I'm going to hop on and just ride them, you know. But when I'm, you know, at the tennis courts I know I have to be responsible. Or when I, you know, have to take care of my finances I have to be responsible. So it's really just that balance. But when I'm on the tennis court, I want to feel as I was when I started to play tennis. I want to feel that passion and that desire every time I step on the court. So that's what I'm looking for, to not think about what age but just to create the feeling that you want to get in whatever situation you're doing.

Q. But you also want to build on the vast experience you have, right? You don't want to sort of forget about all the matches because you have learned so much.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I think it comes out kind of naturally more. You don't really think, Oh, I have that experience, so that's going to help me. I think it comes out more naturally, and in the tough moment you really raise the level. That's why I think when people talk about pressure, I think best players, they really play better under pressure. Even though you don't like to be under pressure, but you are able to find your best game under pressure.

Q. Out on court, it's no secret you're in your office and you're really, really intense. That's just who you are. That's your approach.

Q. While off the court you're just so fun-loving. Everywhere you go at these events people love you.

Q. It's good stuff. My question is: How do you deal with that difference? Because you're so appealing and cuddly off the court, but on court...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm cuddly (laughter)?

Q. But on court it's hard to sort of -- you know what I'm saying?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I think I'm very competitive off the court, too. If you're going to go play basketball with me, I'm going to want to rip your heart out. I'm going to want to score on you and I am going to want to dunk on you, whatever. But off the court you just appreciate things. I love to have fun. On the court when I battle and I'm that intense, it's still fun for me. It's just a little bit of a difference. I'm really there to take care of business because I want to win, and I know what I've got to do to put myself in the best situation to win. So I've got to be focused. You know, you can't just be, Eh, eh, eh, like that, you know. I just really try to understand what I need to perform the best.

Q. I guess what I'm trying to say is that most people just sort of get the one Vika who is out there and it's a little bit loud.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: A little bit loud? Yeah, I'm actually pretty loud off the court, because can you hear my laughing really loud all the time.

Q. It was so funny at Stanford. During one match you were way down, hundred yards away, and that's all we heard. But anyway, yet they don't sense this other side. I'm asking, you know, how do you feel about that people don't really get you quite so much?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, what's the most important thing for me is when people meet me and they say, Hey, you're really cool. You're really nice. I love how you are in real life. That's what's most important for me, because the other things what's going on is the opinion of somebody else writing the stuff or saying the stuff. But when you meet me face to face and you say, I don't like you or you're this way, I'll think about it. But I don't hear that when I meet people face to face.

Q. Can you talk about how you felt you played today? Looked like a very solid performance to somebody watching. What was your assessment?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think I started the match really on a high level, and I felt like I stayed there really consistent. I think that was different from my previous match where I started a little bit slower, a little bit on the back foot, and I kind of picked it up from the way I finished my last match. Kind of brought it to this match and I stayed there. So I think that was a good and stable performance. I picked it up on the important moments. I really stayed aggressive. I think my serenity was there.

Q. You were talking about pressure earlier, and this is the lowest you have been seeded at the US Open.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I have been at the US Open where I wasn't seeded, too.

Q. But when you have been seeded. So there is a little less pressure on you than past years. Is there anything about that that can be helpful or even good?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I feel kind of always -- I don't really favor -- the numbers, they don't really exist to me, you know. I just feel that you still gotta perform. No matter how much seeded you are, who you play, you've still got to go out there and win the matches. These are statistics. These are rankings. It's a result of your game, of your winning matches. So that, to me, never mattered.

Q. Some people talk about spreading their wings. The other day you were talking about spreading your toes. What the heck is that about? Real therapy? That was part of your healing process? Just talk about that.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, it was part of the rehab. I had to learn how to spread my toes because my foot was -- because of how much time we spent in the shoes my foot was a little -- it was like gang sign or something like that, so it wouldn't move. But then I just had to learn how to spread it, you know, to make sure I have space in between my toes, because that's where my injury was.
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