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May 6, 2018

Victoria Azarenka

Madrid, Spain


6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did that go for you? It was a slow start, fair to say?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: What did you say?

Q. Did you feel it was a slow start?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, a little bit. I had to kind of, like, adjust a little bit. It's been quite a cold weather the last days I've been practicing. Today was pretty hot. The ball flies a little bit more with the altitude, so there was a little bit of a time to adjust for me.

Plus it's, like, my first match in, I don't know, two years or whatever on clay. So that's definitely not easy. But I'm happy that I could find a way to win, produce some good tennis at the moment. There is definitely a lot of things that I can improve. But it's a start.

Q. Before Indian Wells you said you only found out like shortly before you could come. With Madrid, when did you find out you could come? Have you been practicing on clay?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I have, but on a really shitty clay. On green clay in the States, it's horrible, which made me appreciate the red clay much more. I came here, all the bad bounces looked amazing, so maybe it's a good thing.

I found out close to the end of April that I could go. But I tried to stay focused on my training a lot more this time. I've done a little bit of better preparation overall. I'm trying to get a little bit more stability right now.

Q. How are you feeling physically at the moment? You don't have a lot of match practice yet. How did you feel physically out there today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Today was fine. It's a matter of time to get, again, in that tournament shape and the match shape.

I feel like I'm repeating myself every tournament, but it is what it is (smiling): I have to play more matches. I feel that I'm moving quite well and I need to be able to do that throughout the tournament. That is only going to come with matches.

As much as I can play, I will.

Q. Seems like your preparation for this period was perhaps more consistent than before Indian Wells. Do you think making the semis in Miami with so little match play under your belt mentally gave you a boost to be focused on tennis before coming here?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, I'm focused on tennis as much as I can. But Miami just kind of gave me a lot of self-satisfaction, you know, without having that preparation. Without having stability or anything like that, I'm still able to produce a high level of tennis. It does give me just that boost that I can do anything I want. I just need to be able to have stability, to practice, and to play matches.

Q. These draws are always pretty tough. Next one is Karolina Pliskova, who just won Stuttgart. How much have you been paying attention to what she's been doing while you were away, her being a top five player, her rise? What do you expect?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I always expect a tough match, like it was in Miami. It's going to be a little bit different scenario since it's clay. It's a pretty fast-paced clay, so in a way I think it's going to be pretty similar.

She's not the type of player you play a lot of balls against. It's more about one, two shots, who takes the opportunity first, making a lot of returns, because she has a great serve.

And obviously, you know, winning Stuttgart, she's coming with a lot of confidence. I just need to try to focus on myself, try to be aggressive, dominate her game, and see what happens.

But I'm here to really enjoy and see what I can do. I can't raise my expectation too high, even though I want to. I need to be patient. I think for me this year is going to be the most -- what I need to do is to be patient and give myself a break.

Q. May I ask how far along do you know your schedule ahead?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yes. Yeah, I'm playing all the way through Wimbledon. I play Rome, I play Paris. I'm going to play Mallorca. I'm going to play Wimbledon. That's my schedule for the next couple months. It's definite.

Q. You mentioned you need to be patient. Is that something you have been renowned for in the past or is this something you have to learn now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, I had to learn very much this. I honestly don't even know where do I get this from because I felt always that patience is the most difficult thing for me.

But I think becoming a mom, that's something that you have to have. With what I've been going through, there's no other way than having patience, that's for sure.

Q. You boarded a lot of planes in your career.

Q. You've boarded a lot of planes in your career, flown to many places. How different did it feel when you stepped on a plane knowing you could play in Europe again? What was that like?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, God. You don't even need to finish the question. I was so happy to be on that plane, you have no idea. You have no idea how happy I was to just have a fresh European air, European food, everything. I'm so happy to be out of the United States for now.

Q. How is Leo taking to the European life? Is he built for it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, yeah, he loves it. He absolutely loves it. We go to the parks. It's such a beautiful city, Madrid, with so many attractions for kids. It's actually amazing. We've been to so many different playgrounds, to shows, to magic shows in the park. It's free. It's amazing.

He's loving it. He is loving the food here, I tell you that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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