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January 16, 2016

Victoria Azarenka

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Since Brisbane, how are you feeling gearing up towards this slam?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Feel good. Feeling excited. I had a pretty good week of practice here. So it definitely helps to come here a little bit early, get used to a little bit of a new conditions.

So, yeah, I'm looking forward to that.

Q. Having won the title twice in the past, must be such a positive place for you to come back to.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's positive without just winning. Of course, it helps. It always brings more of good memories.

But I always loved Australia. It gives me a special energy. I feel really good here. I love fans here. They're really passionate. Always in good mood and excited.

It's always fun.

Q. Can you compare how you feel going into this year's event compared to the two years you won?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't remember. I really don't. All I remember is I won, so it must have been feeling great. I bet when I was sitting there before the tournament, it didn't feel like it.

Q. You said the conditions were a bit different this year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. I was talking compared to Brisbane.

Q. After Brisbane, have you felt the conversation surrounding you change at all a little bit in terms of just the expectations here in Melbourne?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Probably. I'm not that much aware about it because I try to read other articles (smiling).

But, I mean, it's quite normal that somebody had success going in, predictions. It's always the same story. You guys need to write that, hype everybody up. I'm not saying it in a bad way. It's just for me it's a little bit irrelevant.

I know I still have to go out there and prove myself. I just want to make sure I'm prepared as best as I can.

Q. Do you know your first-round opponent?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Not very much. I think I saw a little bit of her play last year. But I will definitely have a little bit more information closer to the match.

Q. Do you feel any special excitement heading into this one in terms of feeling that your chances are quite high?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I just feel excited. Not thinking about the chances. As I said, I try to live in the moment. Carpe diem (smiling).

Q. Talk about that video that you made, what kind reaction you got, and why did you want to do it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: What did you think about it?

Q. I liked it.

Q. Yeah.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I idea came to me while I was home in Belarus. Just saw an image in front of me. I wanted to do something a little bit different. Show my creative side, what I can do.

I talked to my friends. We just started creating. Writing a treatment, making music. I think it's a great way to show, first of all, that I'm always going to be known as a tennis player, but there is much more for me to offer than just that. I wanted to show that to my fans, to people who don't know me off the court.

I'm a little bit tired of hearing, Oh, my God, you're so different in person.

I was like wondering, what is that different of me when people see me in person. You just see me on the court, and there's only one image. Off the court there's a lot more to show.

I'm just trying to be open about who I am, show what I'm about, do it in a way that I think is cool, you know. And enjoy myself. I love doing it. I love to create. It's self-expression. I think it's fun.

Q. Can you describe what the misconception is? What do you think people think about you and what do you want to change?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't want to change anything.

Q. In their mind.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: The perspective, what I'm talking about, is when you see me on the court fighting in the heat, there's competition. You see a competitive, aggressive, you know, sometimes emotional person, which is normal to be in that situation.

Off court, I mean, I think I'm pretty funny. I make a lot of people laugh. I'm easygoing. I love to have fun. I love music. I like to dance, which obviously I do dance on the court, but only after the match. I can't just bust a move in between points.

A little bit of that. Just what it is like. I mean, I'm a normal person. I just do a lot of stuff.

Q. Are there any other projects, creating other videos?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I already wrote another treatment for another one.

Q. Can you ride a motorbike?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Did you see me?

Q. You were on it.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, well, leave it at that (laughter).

Q. Do you look at the draw?

Q. Fair enough. No more questions.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: That was quick.

Q. Have you stayed in touch with the super fan from Brisbane and will she come to Melbourne?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Not really. I just talked to her after the match in person, then I talked to her mother on Instagram. That might be a good idea. Thanks for letting me think about it.

Q. You said that last year you were injured a lot of the time, you were on medication. How did you feel compared to how you feel now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's way better without medication, definitely, for sure. But the only thing I'm thinking about right now is playing tennis and enjoying myself. The year before that, I had so much on my mind that were distracting me from playing on the court.

I think that is one of the biggest differences right now.

Q. When you come back to Melbourne, what is the one thing you always try to go out of your way to do that helps you snap into the fact that you're in Melbourne or playing the Aussie?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, just coming here and running in the park, that does it all for me. Bringing donuts to the drivers, definitely that's it. I know I'm in Australian Open.

Q. You take the same path when you run every time?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I'm not really superstitious that way, no. I just hate when people whistling.

Q. Whistling?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, no be can whistle in my house. I will snap at you if you do. That's the only superstition I have.

Q. In 2012 was there any consideration to not play the mixed doubles with Max, and how happy were you that you decided to play it at the Olympics?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I knew I wanted to play. We talked about it before. We even tried to prepare in Wimbledon before that.

Q. How happy are you that you made that decision and have that medal?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, pretty happy. Can't complain about that, for sure. I mean, it was amazing. That is one of the goals that I can say I've done, and I'm good.

Q. So mixed this year or no mixed?

Q. At what age do European players start to learn to speak English? What are the first things that you learn?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know if there is like an age thing. I started to learn English in school, in first grade. Actually I was real lucky. I had a real good first teacher who taught me how to pronounce a little bit better, so I don't have that strong of a Russian accent.

How I learned English after was watching TV shows, listening to music, translating the lyrics.

Q. Most of the questions are in English at the press conferences. Is a lot of English spoken in the locker room, too?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, between Russian players I speak Russian. Between everybody else, English, yeah.

Q. Just outside the players' restaurant there's strollers. Players have kids traveling with them. Is that something you've noticed?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, that's because it's combined event. So probably that's why there's more kids. I don't think there's that many kids when it's just girls because we kind of play tennis. I mean, there are, but there's not that many.

Q. Over the years, you don't feel now compared to before that at the slams there's more families traveling on tour?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think I probably would notice if I had a family. I would probably be more self-aware of that. I don't think so.

But I think it's really cool. It's amazing if the family can come and support you. I don't know if they handle the flights real well or something.

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