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July 5, 2017
Wimbledon, London, England
V. AZARENKA/E. Vesnina
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. There were quite clean stats. What stands out to you the most? What would you be looking for?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I actually haven't looked at it for stats. But I just have, you know, some things that I'm pretty happy with in my head from what I remember, and some things that I feel like I still need to improve, which are, I think I played, you know, really clean from the baseline today.
I could have played a little better on the return, but she also served really well. I felt she was going for her first serve and for her second serve with a good pace and mixing it up really well.
But overall, I felt like I played really good on the important moments, which, you know, gave me opportunities to win comfortably today.
Q. Is that the kind of match where you feel like, wow, I don't even feel like I have been away for all these months?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I think after the first set of my first match I kind of just relaxed and started to play a little bit, you know, my game and not worry too much of the result or what's going on on the court and just really focus and stay just a little bit in my zone, which is helping me at the moment.
Q. At one time in your career you came back from terrible injuries and worked really hard to do it. How would you describe what it's like to come back from having Leo?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Completely different. It's really different, because before, it was something that, you know, was a sad situation to be injured. For me this time it's a happy thing that I came back and took a conscious decision to be away, and it's more meaning. A little bit more outside of the tennis court for me to be able still to do what I love to do.
It's a good balance for me that I play because I want to play and I love to play, and, yeah, it just feels more purpose for me.
Q. When you hear people marvelling at what you're doing now the way you did when you came back from the injuries, what feeling does that give you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't really understand.
Q. When people are marvelling, saying this is amazing what you're doing now the way you did when you came back from injuries, even though it's completely different, what feeling does that give you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's just a different, I think, approach as well as from people. I get a different vibe when I come back, you know, with my kid on the tour rather than when you're injured. I feel like I have so much more support from the outside, which is great feeling, definitely.
Q. How much of a different perspective do you have playing here now compared to when you first made your debut here?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I mean, I'm much older than I was before. You know, I just feel like there is always going to be another Wimbledon. Every year, you know, a different player is going to sit here in this press room and the other press rooms like it happened 50, 60 years ago. To me, I just really feel like I'm enjoying myself coming here every day. Enjoying the journey and being able to bring my son here. And hopefully, you know, in 20 years he'll be playing here maybe (smiling).
Q. There were a whole lot of retirements yesterday, first round, especially on the men's side. I know you had to stop a couple of times in your career at Grand Slams. Can you just talk about what it takes, for you at least personally, and I don't know if you can broaden out to all the women on tour because they seem to do it less, what it takes to stop a match.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I have done that for myself, you know, and unfortunately I had a couple of injuries happen on the court. You know, not being able to finish the match. It's a terrible feeling to do that. I think for me I have learned that if I'm not 100% fit I just won't go on the court. Not to create more damage for myself.
You know, we had in the past, being a top player, you have to go on court because they fine you, they give you points, and I felt that that was the pressure before, which I'm not sure if it's still the rule. For me, I don't want to put myself in a situation to be, if I'm injured, to have it worse.
Q. Do you think there is a reason why the women quit less than the men? It's pretty consistently at tournaments it happens.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't really know. I know it was a very unfortunate situation, especially having two matches on the Centre Court, and for the fans, I think it's really sad, but I can't speak for somebody else. It's hard for me.
Q. You changed your racquets. You're playing with a Yonex black one. Maybe will be a new model?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It is a new model, yes.
Q. Why have you decided that? If the racquet is quite different from the previous one? Why you change this season?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I played with a Wilson racquet before, which was a model of my racquet that I played when I was 15 years ago, and I kind of always had the same shape, the same kind of model of the racquet. I used to play with Yonex actually when I was 11, 12, for about two years.
Last year I was already talking with a brand, and we were trying to create a racquet that I would like, and obviously I was pregnant and didn't really have a chance to try. When I started coming back, we started working on a few racquets.
They started to make more of a round shape racquet with a bigger sweet spot, which was attractive to me. I felt like Yonex has a lot of power and a lot of control. I was willing to try it. We worked really hard to be able to adjust the details that are needed for me, and, yeah, the brand, they are very good for that.
Q. (Question about the racquet.)
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, actually my coach took my old racquet and kind of started comparing the weight, because I didn't really pay attention that much to it before, and I wanted to add a little bit more to my racquet head to create a little bit more power but not too much. I still have the same control.
Q. You play Heather Watson next. Do you remember her famous match against Serena here? And how much respect do you have for Heather?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I don't think Heather is defined by that only match. I think she's a great player. She definitely is going to be a crowd favorite. I think she played really well last week in Eastbourne. It looks like she feels really comfortable coming into this match.
To me, it's just another match. I don't want to put any of those aspects into, pay a lot of attention to it. I'm just going to go out there and play my match. I obviously have a lot of respect to every opponent that I play and not take anything for granted.
Q. You have obviously gone through a major change, wonderful change in your life. Can you possibly just step back and put into words what it's meant to become a mother, how it's impacted you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I mean, it changed me completely in so many ways. I started to look at so many things like different in a different way. And especially if someone is not treating any kid in a good way I feel really affected by that. I feel like it's wrong, and I can't even imagine if someone would treat my child in this way.
So some news that I read, I feel really sensitive towards that. Obviously I never had that before. Not that I didn't care, but now it's just much bigger feeling to me.
Q. Without the break that you had and without having Leo, would you have had a chance to rebuild your serve and the way you have done it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Probably not. I think when the season is 10 months long and you only have two months and you still have to fit in some vacation in that period of time, I don't think it's enough time to really rebuild that and take that time. So I'm glad I actually had that.
Q. Did you realize it immediately that you had time to do that and that would be something you could do?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I realized that I have opportunity to change things to prolong my career, definitely work hard physically in that particular time to take, give myself a best chance of being in shape that I have never been before.
Q. We were talking to Tatjana Maria the other day and she was talking about how she's happy that now with you and hopefully Serena next year on tour, they might improve conditions for mothers on tours in terms of having day cares and stuff like that. What do you think the tours can do to make it more comfortable for mothers on tour?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I hope that's the case. I have been already talking about this point to some of the people in WTA.
From my own power, I'll do anything to make that happen, because I think it's really important. The guys do have that luxury of having the nurseries and stuff at every event and I think it's time for women to have the same benefit.
Q. Did you talk to --
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Sorry, can I just finish?
Because I think for women is much more important and harder. There you go (smiling).
Q. Did you seek out any of the mother players to ask them what it would be like, maybe Kim Clijsters or... Have you heard from Serena at all asking you with your experiences?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I have talked to Serena. I do talk to her -- not every day, but we do talk once in a while. And we have for my whole career. I have talked to Kim, actually. She was coming with Yanina after my practice court and it was just fun to chat and, you know, we both agreed it's the best thing that can happen to you in the world.
It wasn't a long conversation, but it's nice to see that, you know, some of my colleagues that have children and we have just much more in common than just tennis.
Q. Just to go back to the retiring players, Radwanska said earlier that women are mentally tougher and they didn't quit so often as the men. Is that something you agree with?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, my God. I'll get myself in trouble for this one (smiling).
I mean, I think that women are pretty tough. And I do think that we don't get enough credit sometimes, and we always have to, you know, fight that battle that guys are physically, you know, more powerful and whatever and they deserve more or less.
So I just want to give a shoutout to all the women that we are tough. Leave it at that.
Q. There was one part I think kind of the end of the second set where you were looking at a notepad or paper that you had there. Was there anything special about it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, there is a reason why I was looking at it.
Just, you know, some notes. I think it's always good to just remind yourself in the heat of the moment and heat of the match what you need to stick to, and I like to write myself some notes.
Q. Just coaching pointers you had learned previously?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'll keep it a secret. I mean, it's my notebook for a reason (smiling).
Q. Mandy Minella played her first-round match and said she was four-and-a-half months pregnant. She's still playing doubles. Could you imagine...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I can imagine playing pregnant, yes, I can tell you that.
Q. Four-and-a-half months?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Four? Four months, yes, four-and-a-half, yeah. I found out about her wonderful news actually in Mallorca and we had a great conversation in the locker room. I'm very happy for her. But, you know, she's doing it, and she obviously feels good. Until the doctor says, Hey, cut it, you know, quit, yeah, I mean, it's wonderful. I think it's wonderful.
Q. You played Vesnina eight times, never lost a set. What makes her such a comfortable opponent for you? Because she's hitting the serves great and she has all the shots and great volleys.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think also to be fair, I played really good matches against her, and we kind of met in the point where I was playing pretty well, but I don't know. I don't think she's necessarily a most comfortable player just for me. I think she matches my game really well, but I feel like I always play a good match against her for some reason.
Q. What's been the most challenging thing about bringing your son on tour?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Traveling just, you know, it's a little stressful for me, traveling with a baby. I want to make sure that everything is okay. But overall, it's just great. It's really fun that I'm able to, you know, go home and spend time with my son.
Q. Probably the most special example for parenthood and playing tennis is Roger, four kids, touring around for so many years. He's a man, you're a woman. Did he kind of inspire you when you had to switch to become a mother?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Roger definitely has not inspired me. No disrespect to him, and I think it's amazing, you know, but it's a little different for him (smiling).
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports