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August 11, 2015

Victoria Azarenka


V. AZARENKA/E. Svitolina
6‑1, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, everyone. First question, please, for Vika.

Q. How did you feel you played in your match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it was a good match overall, especially after not playing for a month. So I didn't know really what to expect. I've been feeling really good during practice, but when you step out on the court for official match, it could be tricky. But I think I handled myself really well. You know, the second set was a little bit tighter, but I stepped up when I needed to and really raised my level. So I'm glad I've been able to do that.

Q. Has this year been more tiring for you just given that you have higher seeds, because you have to play a lot more in the tournaments and you have tougher matches earlier on? Has the year been more tiring than previous years when you had a higher seed?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, definitely more challenging, because the first round, second rounds. But that's something that I don't try to look as a disadvantage. Looking from where I'm coming from almost not playing a year of course the ranking will drop. So I have to slowly and steady be coming my way up and I've been playing really good. I just lost a few times to a No. 1 player, and I think a Top 10 player. So the level is there. It's just a matter of really going and getting the rankings up, and that's it. But I'm not too worried about that. The important thing is for me to keep improving my game and getting those wins, even if it's second round or third round against a top player. So that's the most important for me.

Q. What's the weirdest thing like when you spend a specific training block, just training and practicing and then stepping on to the match court you were saying it can be a little bit, it takes some time to get the rhythm, but is it physical, is it mental, is it tactical? What is the biggest difference between your practice court game and what happens in the match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it depends on really how you feel. I think sometimes it can be more difficult mentally just because you don't have that much confidence in yourself. And sometimes it can be physical if you had done some adjustments in your game or in your physical condition.
So for me probably the most challenging is to getting after gym, you know, going and getting that‑‑ I would say less clumsiness on the court. Sometimes I get a little clumsy, but rather than that mentally I've been preparing myself in practice like I was playing a match. So it was pretty easy transition mentally today. But physically definitely, you know, you can't reproduce the nerves and the emotions that you have during the match, so it's always going to be that unknown part. But physically, I think it's‑‑ for me been a little bit challenging just because of the work I've done off court.

Q. When you've been healthy you've been one of the players who's been able to challenge Serena the most consistently. What do you recall most about those two US Open Finals you played against her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't really think about them, to be honest, because I don't look back too much. And it's something that feels like it's been forever ago. So I feel like today, you know, in my game, myself personally grew so much that it's difficult to go back and think about those memories or those feelings that were on the court back then.
But I'm looking forward to make another one.

Q. Is there something that comes back to you just when you think about the occasion of playing her on that stage?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Excitement, really, because this is the most challenging probably place to play is the US Open finals against Serena, you know. So for me it's really exciting that something that gets me going every time.

Q. When you're out there, your game, does it feel like it's getting back to that level where you were at? I know you just said you don't look back, but when you're playing does it feel like you're at that level when you were playing in 2012 and 2013?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I think the difference between 2012 and 2015, first of all, I feel like I'm playing a lot better. I grew as a player. I have a lot more variety, a lot more power, a lot more consistency and better game overall. So for me, I don't look in getting back there, because that was something that I wanted to build from, and I think so far I've been doing a good job improving myself. And at one point it's all going to connect, and I feel it's getting so much better. And I'm just excited for the future.

Q. Have you thought about your next match at all?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Not too much really, but it's actually very exciting for me because we haven't played in such a long time. So when people ask me what do you expect, I don't really remember. So I'll have to just‑‑ I think it's going to be quite a few‑‑ quite a few feeling tomorrow.

Q. After as well as you played on the clay and then into the grass, when you kind of sat down with Sascha and with Winn afterwards and hit into this training block, was it like, okay, let's just keep doing what we've been doing and making the gradual progression forward or were there certain more drastic changes or anything that maybe you thought let's definitely key in on this before we head into the hard court stretch?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, there is no drastic thing to change, because I feel at this level there is no‑‑ I'm not a junior. I'm not developing my game. I'm just improving details.
For me it's just going after it and working really hard and giving myself the best opportunity to take out of every day, you know, the best quality. I think at this level it's more about quality than quantity and really trying to work on specific things.
But when we sat down, we just‑‑ I felt that my game was raising up, so I don't feel like there is much to change. But there is a lot to improve.

Q. When you came back on tour having been kind of injured for a while, was there like a sense of freshness and newness to the tour again which maybe had gone away when you were playing in Europe?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Freshness and what?

Q. Just sort of freshness, newness like you were starting again, like you were young again almost?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Young again? Well, (laughs). I don't know. I just turned 26, and I can't believe that, actually. Everybody say, hey, you are still a baby, and to me it feels like it's been forever I've been playing on tour.
But definitely a different approach mentally that I have since I came back, and I don't think it has anything to do really with tennis game or tennis surroundings. It's what I have done personally off court for myself. So that really just gives me a kind of a new out look, a new fresh start, and that will transform into a tennis court because that's what my life is about right now.

Q. What are some of those things off the court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Just getting, you know, myself on track, you know, taking responsibilities for your actions, learning from your mistakes, getting organized, which I hate, and now I'm really good at it. You know, having probably the best relationship with my parents that I ever had. So that was something that I worked really hard on, and it's amazing to me.

Q. And what are some of the areas you still kind of looking to get better, either on court or off court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, everything, because I'm like a perfectionist and that's why I need to like sometimes give myself a little bit of a, I don't know, pat on the back and say good job, you know, because I don't like to be too satisfied because then I get myself too comfortable and then I'm not motivated.
But I feel that I still have a lot of potential to improve as much on the court as much off the court in the physical, and I feel like I improved a lot with you guys since wherever I started. So that's definitely a good job. (Laughs).
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions? Okay. Thank you.

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