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January 20, 2015

Victoria Azarenka


V. AZARENKA/S. Stephens
6-3, 6-2
An interview with:

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I guess you're pretty happy with your performance today.

Q. How did you feel?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I felt pretty good. I think from the beginning I started to be pretty focused and just maintained that intensity. So that was a good opportunity to just really at the beginning take my chances because she's the kind of player that likes to take her chances. There is still a lot to build from here.

Q. Was it easier to deal with the first round because you had a tough opponent? I mean focus-wise?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. I think the focus, especially on the first match, is going to be the same. It's very important to just get into a tournament and see how it is and really when you go out there you see how you feel. Because the practice can feel good, can feel not good, but the real test is in the match.

Q. How did you use the time between Brisbane and here? Try some new things? Working hard? What was your schedule?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, obviously I just wanted to -- I think the match in Brisbane was a good start for me and to really build from that and tweak a few things and really just try to get even more practice play. I didn't get to play any tournaments, so I really just wanted to play more practice sets and play more games to really just adjust, to get my reaction a little bit more ready in the match play.

Q. Is it fair to compare your match in Brisbane and here, how much better your tennis is in a short period?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's tricky because it's such different circumstances and very different opponents. So I just -- what I would like to think about it is that it's a better start for me, obviously. That I really went for the shots and I took those opportunity that I may have not in my first match, in Brisbane. So that's a little step forward. I just want to take it and try to just build from here because it's what I need, is matches and match play, et cetera, et cetera.

Q. No little aches and pains anywhere?

Q. Seems like your net play was critical today. Something you want to incorporate more and more this season?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Definitely I think it's a good weapon to have, to just add that to my game. Because I always have a good game from the baseline, but just to mix it up and be able to switch the rhythm, to put some more pressure, it's a good way to do that. Plus I just need to trust my net game. I had good results before, and in practice it looks good. I just need to bring it more in the matches.

Q. Your hopes and desires for here? Just go as far as you can? You've been a champion here, but what are your hopes and dreams for the tournament?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, my dreams and hopes can be on a different level, you know, because... The dreams are always big, and I think that's kind of the light in the end of the tunnel. It's just to look and have a big objective of where you want to go. I don't know if it's going to happen here or whenever, I just want to work and have that mentality that that's what I want to achievement. And there are steps to take that, there are things and a lot of work to do to be able to reach that level. So right now I'm just really focused on everyday job and try to do it as best as possible in pretty much every aspect of the game. And fitness-wise as well. And really try to put it together in matches because that's what's really critical right now is to be able to turn those situations around. That's actually a tweet from WTA. Big laugh? What? Big laugh because Azarenka during her visit to the ESPN Center set with Chris Evert. Nice.

Q. You do a lot of fist pumping while you play. Is that an important thing for you...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Did you count how many I did?

Q. No, but I could.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Could you? Then I have like a ratio, not over 20 fist pumps or under 15. I don't know, it just comes natural really in the moment. There has never been a statistic about fist pumping. I think you guys could have some fun with that.

Q. What's your feeling about Sloane's game?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, Sloane is a player that she has really big weapons, you know, and she -- when she uses them she's a very, very dangerous player. When you play against her, you want to try not give her opportunity to use those weapons. She has a really big serve and really heavy forehand. The important is just to try to control the game as much as you can. But I think she has a great potential. She's always been a dangerous player. She just needs to work hard.

Q. Next round you could face Wozniacki or Townsend. How would you feel playing Wozniacki?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. To be honest, I don't look at it the way that it's early stage. It's just going to be a tough match for me. Being an unseeded player, it's not a surprise that I have a tough draw or tough opponents in the early round. I just need to go through that. I accept the challenges. She had some -- she was showing some great tennis in the end of last year. I know she's very dangerous. We always had some of tough matches. I would like to focus on myself and what I can do to build my game, to prepare as best as I can, and just compete. That's my key word for this tournament: Compete.

Q. Is it weird being here and not being seeded? I think it's the first time since '07 or something like that.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, it would be weird if I was playing the whole last year and I wasn't seeded this year. But since I missed so much, I think it's kind of what it is. As I said, you just accept that and you just try to do the best as possible. So, you know, if you play against seed or unseeded player, it's going to be tough. The depth in women's game I think is really strong right now. You could see from the results from yesterday that it doesn't really matter. You got to be ready 100% every day no matter who you're facing.

Q. Just your feeling, especially as you've won here twice before, did it change the dynamic at all for you?
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