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May 28, 2018

Victoria Azarenka

Paris, France

K. SINIAKOVA/V. Azarenka

7-5, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Obviously you haven't played here for quite a while. What expectations did you set for yourself coming here?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I think the personal, you know, like, personal level and personal expectations for me are always high. And coming in here it wasn't -- I was trying to be a little bit more realistic and take it one day at a time.

I had some good practice days finally (smiling) after Rome, but, you know, it didn't come out on the court today. Even though I'm doing good things in practice, I am not able to transfer it to the match. So I really need to kind of take a look of what I can do better.

Right now in the match it's not working.

Q. You say it's not working from translating from the practice court to the match court. Is that just lack of matches or is it something else?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm not sure yet. I'm not sure. I'm going to figure it out, but right now it's just -- yeah, I'm not doing the right thing. I need to change couple of things. So we'll see.

But I'm glad that I'm able to just now, you know, this French Open is done and it's very disappointing, but I can have, like, some time to prepare now and take another two weeks to do a little bit of more, like, preseason training which I really, really need.

But obviously, you know, losing a first round is very disappointing.

Q. How would you describe how much more difficult it is to be a player who is a mother as opposed to a player who is a father?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Um, wow. Well, physically, let's start with that, is experience that you go through, and men don't go through the whole physical experience of becoming a parent.

And I think mentally is a little bit different attachment and a different thought process when you become a parent, compare men to women.

But physical, I think, is the biggest difference (smiling) that we experience.

Q. Obviously there has been a lot of talk about a three-time champion, Serena, not being seeded here. What are your thoughts about how tennis should treat mothers who return to the tour in terms of the tour as a whole and also seeding, and should Serena have been seeded?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, we are talking about one individual being seeded. So if we talk about the rule, then the rule should be for everybody. This conversation was not on the table last year when I was coming back and I was not seeded in Wimbledon.

And Wimbledon has the choice to do that. And this year they are going to be seeding Serena.

So if we talk in terms of rule, the rule has to be for everybody. In terms of maternity leave, there is conversation that have started already a while ago on the WTA Tour, and the maternity question we're going to expend because right now I'm part of the player council, in terms of this conversation.

So I think that media needs to relax a little bit in terms that nobody is doing anything, because that's really not true. And I think this chaos that's been created is not that Serena is upset that she's not seeded. It's more outside noise and making a big story out of that.

But there are conversations about rules, and we are talking about at least first separating the injury and pregnancy, and I think that's real important, cannot go under the same rule, making a longer maternity leave for players to be comfortable coming back. So there are a lot of talks on this topic, and it might take some time. It's not going to take a magic, you know, decision. But as I said, if there is going to be a rule, it's going to be for everybody.

Q. Do you feel it's an important issue?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: The whole issue, I think, is important. I'm not talking only about seeding. But you have to be objective, and people have to be objective if we are seeding a player who came back from maternity leave or not.

Do I think it's fair? I think there are parts of it. But we have to look from the other side for players who are not going to be seeded who also played and worked hard to be in that position.

There is a lot of elements. It's very easy to say, Oh, you know, they are not seeded, it's terrible, bad rules.

But there are a lot of things that are going into this rule and into the thought process. So I would like to just, for the record, say that please give us time and we will, as a woman association, we will make sure that we have the best for woman players and for our sport.

Q. Do you have an idea yourself of what you think would be the best way to do it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, honestly, I'm going back and forth. I'm going back and forth still. There are different ways to look at it. There is really different -- it's not easy if you want to look objective. If you want to look personal and be personal, it's very easy. But if you want to be objective towards everybody, it's not easy.

Q. Could you share some of the other topics that are discussed on the WTA council at the moment? What issues are there at the moment?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, we always try to, you know, improve and make the tour better. There are parts that are in talks right now that are going to probably change some of the structure in coming-up years, but as of right now, it's confidential and we are still in talks. As long as it's all figured out, I'm sure it will be in the news.

Q. How much are you looking forward to the grass court season? What will your preparations be? What's your schedule?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, it's going to be exciting. I really love coming to Wimbledon. It's always going to be a very special event in my heart.

I'm going to start, you know, practicing as soon as possible and take a couple days off (smiling).

But I'm going to play a tournament in Mallorca as a preparation, maybe a couple of exhibition matches in London. I think it will be good for me. And then straight to London.

Q. You said that Leo was enjoying the European food when we talked to you in Madrid. How is he enjoying Paris?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: He's actually with his dad for a couple of days but he's coming in a couple of days. We'll see. We're going to enjoy some -- now I have time, so we will enjoy some sightseeing (smiling).

Q. You were saying you were disappointed. Were you not playing the way you wanted to?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: A couple of things. It's hard for me to expect to play steady right now with one level. You know, I haven't played in a while, and I haven't been able to prepare that I want to prepare.

So I know there is going to be up and downs in my game, and I have to work through them. I did work through them. I just didn't find the right choices today, and I have to just keep going.

It's not going to be easy way for me. So I need to get back and to practice, and I need to figure some things out why I'm not doing the right things that I do in the practice during the matches.

So I need to figure out how to make that transition.

Q. With your serve, do you want to change it again, or do you want to keep it the same way?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, actually, I'm pretty pleased with the serve today. I think that today I just didn't use the opportunities that I created with my serve, and the first shot was not as aggressive and giving me, you know, that kind of feeling going forward. But I think serve overall was not bad today.

Q. Forehand and backhand, you're happy with both of those, too?

Q. No? Why?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, you're not going to see me happy after losing a first round with my shots, because otherwise it would be a little bit weird.

So I need to work. I need to figure out why I'm not doing the right things on the match.

Q. In your own mind, do you think you can return to the very top again?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No doubt about it. Maybe not today, but no doubt about it (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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