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BNP PARIBAS OPEN


March 14, 2015


Victoria Azarenka


INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA

V. AZARENKA/K. Flipkens
6‑2, 6‑4


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  It was a pretty straightforward first set, and then a tougher battle in the second.  How did you feel on the court today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I felt pretty good.  I felt in the second set I just had some moments that weren't really well, but I could turn it around.
From 4‑2 I started to play the way I wanted to play.¬† It's not easy to play first matches, especially here, so it's okay.¬† I just need to build up from here and try to improve.

Q.  What is it about here that makes it difficult to sort of get into your rhythm?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I think it's a little bit in the altitude so the ball flies a little bit.  Sometimes the rhythm is a little bit tough to get, but, you know, same conditions for everybody.
Just sometimes takes a little bit of while.  That's great to have that kind of a match today with an opponent who doesn't give you any rhythm.
I'm glad with that.

Q.  You are very fashion.  Your choice of dresses, choice, how it works?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  You mean by on court?

Q.  Yes.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Well, on court is a little bit more difficult because, you know, I do have conversations with Nike, but they have their vision, and I think they are doing pretty good job.  This year it's a little bit of mismatching kind of thing, so they have done a great job.
I was actually asking them, I was like, How come my shoes and my outfit doesn't match at all?¬† And they said, You know what?¬† Actually, it's not supposed to.¬† I said, Oh, okay.¬† Well then it's A‑plus.
But it's fun, you know, I think to see a lot of colors.  I like the white.  I like the orange.  I think I'm getting dressed as every kind of fruit this year (Smiling.)
It was a lemon in Australia; now it's orange.  We will see.

Q.  How do you see the next challenge against Maria Sharapova?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I mean, it's great for me the more matches I can get like that.  To play against one of the best players, it's perfect.  I'm looking forward to that.  I need to definitely play my best tennis.  She's been playing great.
So I'm looking forward to it.  It's been a while since we played.  You know, it's going to be exciting.

Q.  Do you feel like that's going to be a good measuring stick where you're at with your game?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Measuring stick?

Q.  Yeah.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Love it (Smiling.)
I don't know.  We'll see.  We'll see after the match.  I don't know.  I just think it's a great opportunity to just go out there and play against one of the best players, because in the end of the day that's what I'm looking for.
That's what motivates me to play against one of the best players.

Q.  Is it a special rivalry for you?  Is it like playing any other top players?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I think we have, you know, a pretty good history head to head.  So definitely it's one of the rivalries, and I'm looking forward to that.
We had great matches.  As I said, she's one of the best players in the history, so it's great to have that opportunity to compete against.
Yeah, we played a lot against each other, but it's been a while.  So it's cool.

Q.  You played her for a long time.  Why is is she so special overall?  Maria.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Why is she so special?  I don't know.  You have to ask her parents (Laughter.)
Q.But you playing against her.  You have played her for a long time, since you were kids.  Obviously you're special.  Why has she been so special?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Because I believe she's one of the best players.  She's been one of the most consistent players on tour, winning Grand Slams.  There is not that many players on the tour who has multiple Grand Slams, so I think that makes it pretty special to compete against.

Q.  Looks like you have improved a lot since the beginning of January.  Does it feel that way?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I think I take step by step.  You know, I think I still have a way to go, but I love the experience that I'm getting.  I had a great week in Doha playing a lot of tough opponents.  That's what I'm looking for right now, to get back into the rhythm and play against the best and try to win against the best.
That's what really motivates me to go on the court and train.  Yeah, I feel like I'm improving with every game.  I still have a long way to go.

Q.¬† It was really funny when you said you should ask Maria's parents, but actually, we once did.¬† Juri said that Maria was born to be a champion.¬† In your case, I mean, do you think you have a kind of championship ‑‑did that come from your family?¬† Where did your great athleticism come from, do you feel?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Um, I don't know.  I think my character was built from where I'm from, from Belarus.  I didn't have a really easy background.  All those experiences that I had, you know, coming from a family who didn't have pretty much any money, to be able to sit here and play in front of the crowd, it's a long way to go.
So I don't know if my parents knew I was born a champion, but my parents always believed that they want me to fulfill my dreams and to be on the tennis court winning, you know, majors, being No. 1 in the world.  That was my dream.
So I think they want me to be happy and follow my heart.  That's what you can ask from the best parents, I think.

Q.  Can you ever imagine what your life would be like if you didn't pursue tennis and leave your home country?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  No, because I think I'm exactly where I am right now, you know.

Q.  About this time last year you seemed very driven to just be getting fit and getting back on the court, and now you seem to be enjoying yourself a lot more.  Can you talk a little bit more about how differently you feel than, say, the summer you came back I think in Eastbourne?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Well, when I came back to Eastbourne I don't think I was fit enough to play at all.  But I wanted to play.  It's been such a long time.
It was one of the lessons that I had to learn, that I didn't prepare well.  Preparation is the key to really go out and play and be confident and actually be happy on the court.
If you know that you put in work, you feel good, you know, you can enjoy it.  Tennis is really my passion.  You go in life through some tough moments on and off the court, but in the end of the day you just really need to figure out what you want to do in life and what you enjoy.
Every day is beautiful.  Every day I think is a blessing, so I just try to approach it that way.
Tennis has given me so much to be grateful for that I cannot be, you know, sad that I'm on the court in front of a great crowd in this the big tournament.
I cannot be ungrateful.

Q.  Do you use Internet to communicate with your fans?  Do you read what they comment?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Of course.

Q.  It's a lot.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah.  Sometimes they are good; sometimes they are just cruel.  Man, like they are cruel.  And you wonder, like, did you ever play fricking tennis in your life?
Somebody tells you what to do.  And, you know, I did that quote.  I thought about it for a long time.  I think I'm going to patent it.  The sentence, "you should," you know, when you tell somebody you should, should be referred to yourself, otherwise it's irrelevant.
Write it down.  (Laughter.)

Q.  Can you talk about Wim and Sascha as your new coaches?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Well, it's been a pretty big flip around.  It's completely different personalities and different approach a little bit.  But I think it's something that fits me really well.  I think different stages in life, different kind of energy that I have right now, it really fits me well.
I need that fun, that motivation, you know.  I got a little wiser with Sam, and now I need to have a little more fun.

Q.  It has been the last few weeks, I would guess, then?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  It's been great.  I mean, right now we are all really excited.  We get along great, and I love to have chemistry.  I love to think of my team as my family, you know, so I would love to treat them the same way as my family.  We are really close.

Q.  Sascha, you have known him for a long time, too.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah, Sascha is a great guy.  He works so hard and I know him for a while, so it's great to be able to not just really get to know each other.  We already know each other.  So take that, you know, working relationship into a next step already.

Q.  Today on the outside courts there were four women who were former No. 1s playing the outside courts.  Can you talk about that as a player being a former No. 1, playing on the outside courts?  From your perspective, what's that like to be for fans that they can go watch one of the great players of all time being on a small, intimate court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I loved it.  I love that court, and I think it's great that fans are able to see different kind of players.  Center court can handle so many matches in one day.  The draw is pretty big.  It's combined tournament.
So I think it's ‑‑you know, the tournament has done such an amazing job to feel every court like it's a center court, really, you know, with the challenges, great fans, great stands.
I have nothing to really complain, but for the fans I think it's amazing.

Q.  If you were a fan, what would that mean for you to have so many options like that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I would be spending here all day.  I mean, I am a fan of tennis.  I just can't really spend all day watching matches.  I think it's super exciting I think for the kids who come here, and they get hopefully inspired and motivated to play tennis.
I think part of our job is to really grow tennis and introduce it to many more locations around the world, and I feel like especially we are near Indian Wells every day it's growing and growing more.
So, you know, it was pretty full stadium today.  It's exciting.

Q.  Talk about the NBA.  You're a fan.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah.

Q.  Who are your favorite players?  As an athlete, can you learn anything from their incredible athleticism?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:¬† Oh, yeah, definitely.¬† I think from any kind of sport you can learn a lot of ‑‑you know, you can learn ‑‑ from any sport you can learn discipline; you can learn determination; you can learn focus.¬† Those are the things.¬† And hard work.
No matter where you are, you've got to work hard to reach your goals.  NBA, I love watching NBA.  I love to play basketball.  It's just exciting.  I feel like I'm becoming more and more a fan.  Kind of like some tennis fans, I start to comment.  That was a bad throw or bad jump shot.
But, I mean, I'm very good friends with Tony Parker and with Joakim Noah.  Actually I'm wearing his Rock Your Drop.  He's doing so many work with foundation that is something that I can definitely relate to and I like to support that.
So, you know, yeah.  NBA, I love NBA.

Q.  Many consider Stephen Curry the best player in the league now.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  He's great, but he still has no Championships, so...

Q.  Just wait.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I know, but he's amazing.  His throw I can watch it all day.  I cannot consider him as a best player yet.

Q.  Do you shoot a lot yourself?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah.  I have a video.  I'm going to post it soon.  It's called AirVika.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




V. AZARENKA/K. Flipkens
6‑2, 6‑4


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  It was a pretty straightforward first set, and then a tougher battle in the second.  How did you feel on the court today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I felt pretty good.  I felt in the second set I just had some moments that weren't really well, but I could turn it around.
From 4‑2 I started to play the way I wanted to play.¬† It's not easy to play first matches, especially here, so it's okay.¬† I just need to build up from here and try to improve.

Q.  What is it about here that makes it difficult to sort of get into your rhythm?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I think it's a little bit in the altitude so the ball flies a little bit.  Sometimes the rhythm is a little bit tough to get, but, you know, same conditions for everybody.
Just sometimes takes a little bit of while.  That's great to have that kind of a match today with an opponent who doesn't give you any rhythm.
I'm glad with that.

Q.  You are very fashion.  Your choice of dresses, choice, how it works?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  You mean by on court?

Q.  Yes.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Well, on court is a little bit more difficult because, you know, I do have conversations with Nike, but they have their vision, and I think they are doing pretty good job.  This year it's a little bit of mismatching kind of thing, so they have done a great job.
I was actually asking them, I was like, How come my shoes and my outfit doesn't match at all?¬† And they said, You know what?¬† Actually, it's not supposed to.¬† I said, Oh, okay.¬† Well then it's A‑plus.
But it's fun, you know, I think to see a lot of colors.  I like the white.  I like the orange.  I think I'm getting dressed as every kind of fruit this year (Smiling.)
It was a lemon in Australia; now it's orange.  We will see.

Q.  How do you see the next challenge against Maria Sharapova?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I mean, it's great for me the more matches I can get like that.  To play against one of the best players, it's perfect.  I'm looking forward to that.  I need to definitely play my best tennis.  She's been playing great.
So I'm looking forward to it.  It's been a while since we played.  You know, it's going to be exciting.

Q.  Do you feel like that's going to be a good measuring stick where you're at with your game?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Measuring stick?

Q.  Yeah.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Love it (Smiling.)
I don't know.  We'll see.  We'll see after the match.  I don't know.  I just think it's a great opportunity to just go out there and play against one of the best players, because in the end of the day that's what I'm looking for.
That's what motivates me to play against one of the best players.

Q.  Is it a special rivalry for you?  Is it like playing any other top players?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I think we have, you know, a pretty good history head to head.  So definitely it's one of the rivalries, and I'm looking forward to that.
We had great matches.  As I said, she's one of the best players in the history, so it's great to have that opportunity to compete against.
Yeah, we played a lot against each other, but it's been a while.  So it's cool.

Q.  You played her for a long time.  Why is is she so special overall?  Maria.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Why is she so special?  I don't know.  You have to ask her parents (Laughter.)
Q.But you playing against her.  You have played her for a long time, since you were kids.  Obviously you're special.  Why has she been so special?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Because I believe she's one of the best players.  She's been one of the most consistent players on tour, winning Grand Slams.  There is not that many players on the tour who has multiple Grand Slams, so I think that makes it pretty special to compete against.

Q.  Looks like you have improved a lot since the beginning of January.  Does it feel that way?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I think I take step by step.  You know, I think I still have a way to go, but I love the experience that I'm getting.  I had a great week in Doha playing a lot of tough opponents.  That's what I'm looking for right now, to get back into the rhythm and play against the best and try to win against the best.
That's what really motivates me to go on the court and train.  Yeah, I feel like I'm improving with every game.  I still have a long way to go.

Q.¬† It was really funny when you said you should ask Maria's parents, but actually, we once did.¬† Juri said that Maria was born to be a champion.¬† In your case, I mean, do you think you have a kind of championship ‑‑did that come from your family?¬† Where did your great athleticism come from, do you feel?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Um, I don't know.  I think my character was built from where I'm from, from Belarus.  I didn't have a really easy background.  All those experiences that I had, you know, coming from a family who didn't have pretty much any money, to be able to sit here and play in front of the crowd, it's a long way to go.
So I don't know if my parents knew I was born a champion, but my parents always believed that they want me to fulfill my dreams and to be on the tennis court winning, you know, majors, being No. 1 in the world.  That was my dream.
So I think they want me to be happy and follow my heart.  That's what you can ask from the best parents, I think.

Q.  Can you ever imagine what your life would be like if you didn't pursue tennis and leave your home country?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  No, because I think I'm exactly where I am right now, you know.

Q.  About this time last year you seemed very driven to just be getting fit and getting back on the court, and now you seem to be enjoying yourself a lot more.  Can you talk a little bit more about how differently you feel than, say, the summer you came back I think in Eastbourne?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Well, when I came back to Eastbourne I don't think I was fit enough to play at all.  But I wanted to play.  It's been such a long time.
It was one of the lessons that I had to learn, that I didn't prepare well.  Preparation is the key to really go out and play and be confident and actually be happy on the court.
If you know that you put in work, you feel good, you know, you can enjoy it.  Tennis is really my passion.  You go in life through some tough moments on and off the court, but in the end of the day you just really need to figure out what you want to do in life and what you enjoy.
Every day is beautiful.  Every day I think is a blessing, so I just try to approach it that way.
Tennis has given me so much to be grateful for that I cannot be, you know, sad that I'm on the court in front of a great crowd in this the big tournament.
I cannot be ungrateful.

Q.  Do you use Internet to communicate with your fans?  Do you read what they comment?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Of course.

Q.  It's a lot.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah.  Sometimes they are good; sometimes they are just cruel.  Man, like they are cruel.  And you wonder, like, did you ever play fricking tennis in your life?
Somebody tells you what to do.  And, you know, I did that quote.  I thought about it for a long time.  I think I'm going to patent it.  The sentence, "you should," you know, when you tell somebody you should, should be referred to yourself, otherwise it's irrelevant.
Write it down.  (Laughter.)

Q.  Can you talk about Wim and Sascha as your new coaches?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Well, it's been a pretty big flip around.  It's completely different personalities and different approach a little bit.  But I think it's something that fits me really well.  I think different stages in life, different kind of energy that I have right now, it really fits me well.
I need that fun, that motivation, you know.  I got a little wiser with Sam, and now I need to have a little more fun.

Q.  It has been the last few weeks, I would guess, then?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  It's been great.  I mean, right now we are all really excited.  We get along great, and I love to have chemistry.  I love to think of my team as my family, you know, so I would love to treat them the same way as my family.  We are really close.

Q.  Sascha, you have known him for a long time, too.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah, Sascha is a great guy.  He works so hard and I know him for a while, so it's great to be able to not just really get to know each other.  We already know each other.  So take that, you know, working relationship into a next step already.

Q.  Today on the outside courts there were four women who were former No. 1s playing the outside courts.  Can you talk about that as a player being a former No. 1, playing on the outside courts?  From your perspective, what's that like to be for fans that they can go watch one of the great players of all time being on a small, intimate court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I loved it.  I love that court, and I think it's great that fans are able to see different kind of players.  Center court can handle so many matches in one day.  The draw is pretty big.  It's combined tournament.
So I think it's ‑‑you know, the tournament has done such an amazing job to feel every court like it's a center court, really, you know, with the challenges, great fans, great stands.
I have nothing to really complain, but for the fans I think it's amazing.

Q.  If you were a fan, what would that mean for you to have so many options like that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I would be spending here all day.  I mean, I am a fan of tennis.  I just can't really spend all day watching matches.  I think it's super exciting I think for the kids who come here, and they get hopefully inspired and motivated to play tennis.
I think part of our job is to really grow tennis and introduce it to many more locations around the world, and I feel like especially we are near Indian Wells every day it's growing and growing more.
So, you know, it was pretty full stadium today.  It's exciting.

Q.  Talk about the NBA.  You're a fan.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah.

Q.  Who are your favorite players?  As an athlete, can you learn anything from their incredible athleticism?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:¬† Oh, yeah, definitely.¬† I think from any kind of sport you can learn a lot of ‑‑you know, you can learn ‑‑ from any sport you can learn discipline; you can learn determination; you can learn focus.¬† Those are the things.¬† And hard work.
No matter where you are, you've got to work hard to reach your goals.  NBA, I love watching NBA.  I love to play basketball.  It's just exciting.  I feel like I'm becoming more and more a fan.  Kind of like some tennis fans, I start to comment.  That was a bad throw or bad jump shot.
But, I mean, I'm very good friends with Tony Parker and with Joakim Noah.  Actually I'm wearing his Rock Your Drop.  He's doing so many work with foundation that is something that I can definitely relate to and I like to support that.
So, you know, yeah.  NBA, I love NBA.

Q.  Many consider Stephen Curry the best player in the league now.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  He's great, but he still has no Championships, so...

Q.  Just wait.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I know, but he's amazing.  His throw I can watch it all day.  I cannot consider him as a best player yet.

Q.  Do you shoot a lot yourself?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah.  I have a video.  I'm going to post it soon.  It's called AirVika.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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