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AEGON CLASSIC BIRMINGHAM


June 16, 2015


Victoria Azarenka


BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND

V. AZARENKA/V. Lepchenko
7‑6, 6‑4


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Well done.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Thank you.

Q.¬† You played some very good tennis, but it was a strange first set, wasn't it?¬† Very nearly went 5‑Love down and pulled it back.¬† Talk about the ups and downs of that match.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:¬† I think it wasn't an easy match for sure.¬† I think it's always challenging to play a first‑round match not really knowing what's going to happen.¬† It's always kind of an unknown area.
I felt that I didn't really start well.¬† I wasn't really there.¬† I was missing too much.¬† Of course she played well and forced me to do a lot of things, but I just didn't feel that I put enough energy oreffort ‑‑ not effort, but not enough concentration.¬† Something wasn't working at that moment.
I just tried to stay positive as much as possible and try to fight through it.  I think that was one thing that I've done really well today, is fighting those challenges.

Q.  You stopped a rally and made a video review challenge at...
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I'm sorry, what?

Q.¬† You stopped the rally and made video review challenge which didn't work at 4‑Love.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah.

Q.  As it happened, that set turned around after that.  I don't know if you remember it.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:¬† I remember, but I don't know‑‑ there is always 50/50 chance what happened there.¬† Honestly I thought that ball was clearly out, but I guess I was wrong.
As I said, at that particular moment I just tried to fight through that and really make something happen and try to change the flow into my way.
It was really one‑sided up to that score.

Q.  You started to serve very well, didn't you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: ¬†Yeah.¬† I don't think I just served bad, it just wasn't doing enough.¬† I didn't have enough on my second shot to prepare the rally.¬† It was just a little bit too‑‑ everything was a little too flat, I would say, at the beginning.

Q.  You've played as many matches, tournaments, this year now as the whole of last year, 2014.  Is that helping you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I mean, it's a different journey.  I cannot compare my last year to what's happening right now.  Last year I wasn't really able to play.  I was fighting the whole year through the injuries, through the pain.
Right now I feel like I'm still developing my game to connect to the way I want to connect it.  I think I still have to sharpen a lot of things on my game, and as a perfectionist I'm always looking to improve.
For me it's the matter of keep working hard, because I know that's the on way to bang through the door and get back to where I want to be.

Q.  Do you feel in a better place now than at the start of the year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Definitely.  I think my game raised a lot.  It's difficult to judge that by the results maybe that I've been having, but the level that I've been showing in the last couple of tournaments I think is pretty high.
I like where it's elevating, but it doesn't keep my satisfied yet, which is good thing.

Q.  Do you like the grass?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I think I have a mixed feelings with it.  I don't dislike it or I wouldn't say that I love it.  I think it's a great way of mixing it up throughout year.
I really respect the tradition.  Being a young player, young tennis player, I think everybody is dreaming about winning Wimbledon.
So that is definitely a dream of mine as well.  But with the last couple years there has been a lot of changes in the grass.  We were just talking about it with my team, that since juniors that I played the grass changed so much.
It's became slower, it became higher than it used to be, and I think every year is a new adaptation to it.
But in general, I do love the idea of it.

Q.  Just going back to the first set when you've obviously fallen down, a bit flat as you say, not concentrating, what was it, do you think, that turned match and changed it into your favor?  What did you do to get back into it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:¬† Well, I think the most important was the mindset.¬† It's something that can get you really down and something that can lift you up, so it's the matter of‑‑ I think it's part of your job to choose and work on which way you want to go, up or down.
At that time I really decided I want to try to lift myself up and try to fight through whatever it is.  That definitely helped me to get my body going, get my concentration better, and in general energy higher.

Q.¬† On your injuries, are you completely injury‑free now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  You know, honestly I'm very tired of answering that question, because you don't want to say, Hey I'm really, really great, because as professional athlete you don't wake up any morning, especially in competition, feeling like, Oh, my God, this is the best feeling in the world.
But I am fit and I'm on my way to get back where I want to be.

Q.  Do you feel all things are still possible now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Always, otherwise I wouldn't be here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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