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July 2, 2018

Victoria Azarenka

Wimbledon, London, England

V. AZARENKA/E. Alexandrova

7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Starting to get quite warm out there...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Starting? It's been like this for a week.

Q. It's hot. Couple of things, I don't know if you found that difficult today. And do you feel a bit sorry for the guys who, should it come to, don't get the opportunity calling for a heat break like the women do above a certain temperature and humidity?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I had no idea they don't have that option. It's something that they should look in their rules and make adjustments, I think.

I don't know if I feel sorry, because I had no idea about this rule. So it didn't sink in yet (smiling).

But I think that's...

Q. Women can if it gets up to...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, but I think the guys should get the same, you know, with the heat rule. It's up to them to call for a change, I think.

Q. Can you talk through the match and how is the knee? Serious? Worried at all?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, it wasn't pleasant. And doing it twice wasn't fun, either.

So it definitely brought some bad memories at the same time, you know, flashbacks. I was a little worried. But, you know, with adrenaline on the court sometimes it doesn't feel the same, and you kind of go through it. And then the day after there could be some more things coming up.

But I'm pretty optimistic. I'm thinking positive. And I'm very proud of myself how I was able to handle this situation to stay calm and to stay focused on what I can do.

No drama, so that was -- I think that was really good for me mentally to do. And to stay in the match despite that was very important.

Q. I have a motherhood question for you. In talking to women in other sports, they have said that the greatest challenge in deciding if they can juggle both these things, pregnancy and sport, is that their sponsors aren't necessarily going to stand behind them when they're off, out of competition. You know, you have so many events you have to appear in. There are these things you have to hit. Did you have any of that when you were pregnant? What were your sponsors like in terms of their support?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, my sponsors were very supportive, you know, especially with Nike. They were amazing. I let them know obviously before anyone knew publicly, and they were super supportive. So I really appreciated that.

That was never really on my mind to think that way.

Q. You didn't worry that they would not be?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, it wasn't in my control. There was nothing I could do. The most important thing I could do is to think about my personal decision of what to do was the best for me, and obviously for my child, and the rest is -- it was going to happen the way it would happen.

So I didn't take too much of a thought on that, but I have been pretty lucky with people understanding so much.

And I think the dynamic and thing about being pregnant coming back is such a powerful thing now, and I think it's an advantage, in a way. You know, you're able to kind of do a tick, okay, I am a mom now, so I can continue to do more of what I love to do.

I think the tougher balance is, for me, is to be able to spend time away from my son and be okay with taking sometimes time for myself, which is a struggle sometimes, because I really want to spend every second with him. I feel guilty if I take 15 minutes for myself to stretch. I'm trying to, you know, run back to him and spend every second with him. So that's the balance I think is the tough one.

Q. From your second round, it's already quite a tricky one against Karolina. I know we had spoken before about how it's important for you to be patient this period and you know draws are not always going to be kind to you.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, draws have never been kind to me my whole career, so I don't expect -- I didn't really expect that to change much. Maybe one day (smiling). You never know.

But at this time, for me, every match is going to be a challenge. It's going to be a battle. Doesn't matter what it is, who it is.

And I can play against top players. I obviously have done that before. For me it's important for me to see where my game is it at. It's not going to be an easy road, there is never an easy road back to the top. I'm ready for that.

But what's important for me is to take a little bit of break, give myself a little bit of a break, and really try to enjoy. Try to enjoy to play, to find that fun on the court again through the hard work, because, you know, it's been a tough year.

Q. Last year you didn't get a seeding after becoming a new mother. Serena has got a seeding this year after becoming a new mother. Wondered what your thoughts are on that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's as simple as you just said it. I didn't get it last year. She got it this year.

I think it's an important conversation that has been started. This conversation has led to enumerous meetings, enumerous occasions where we are discussing the rules and how can we be a leader in sports to have the best maternity policy for not -- I don't think just women, but I think all sports. And that conversation is ongoing.

It happened, you know, couple days ago we had a big meeting, and I feel like we are moving in a really good direction. I feel that our voices, as a player council, are heard. We do implement things that are going to be important for players.

But my main thing is that it has to be for everyone, and the rules have to be applied for everyone. So that is one thing that we haven't come to the conclusion yet, but it's coming.

I think I'm pretty proud of what kind of conversations we have been having.

Q. Obviously it's been a long time traveling with Leo in Europe, and I presume this would give you...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It feels like few days (smiling).

Q. Does it still?

Q. That's good. But this probably gives you pretty good insight on what it would be like to travel with him on tour.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's the best thing.

Q. Can you talk about that? Has there been anything about it that surprised you one way or the other?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm not surprised, but I'm just amazed how well he adapts, you know, to travel, and how much he loves the new places and learns new things. Every day there is something new, you know. It amazes me how good of a baby he is.

He's really amazing to come -- he loves coming to the tennis court. Like, my favorite thing is anywhere he sees a tennis court, even like when we were back in LA, he saw a public park, and he was with my mom and he points out to the courts, to tennis courts. I wasn't even playing there. He goes, "Mama, mama." It was really cute.

He's an amazing kid and I'm really lucky to be his mom.

Q. What about the mechanics of it? The mechanics of traveling and practicing and managing the tour stuff with him? I mean, has it been difficult?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's difficult for me because I schedule everything around him. I do try to maximize my time with him. So whenever he's sleeping, that's when I'm working, and other times I'm a full-time mom.

It's more challenging, but I wouldn't change it.

Q. Chris Evert said in an interview ahead of the tournament that the tournament should consider switching the men's and women's finals in the scheduling, alternating it each year. So the men's being on Saturday one year, women's on the Sunday. What do you think about that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I honestly don't really care about it. I don't know how much will it benefit. I'm sure she might have said that from a viewers' perspective or from also the TV slots, but we have done that in US Open couple years. It was unusual circumstances when we played Sunday final first time with Serena instead of the Saturday, and it was really cool.

I don't know. I mean, I really doubt that Wimbledon will change their tradition, because that never happens (smiling).

But I don't know. I would like to hear what's the reason of why she said that.

Q. What do you think about scheduling in general about having more women? There may be conversation about having more women on the main show courts, making it more of a feature than prioritizing the men's draw.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, there would be less damaging of those courts, I tell you that, and that's just a fact (smiling).

But I think it depends on individuals and the matchups. I don't think there should be a bias towards men or women. It's just importance of how good are the matches. You know, some women have amazing first round, second round. Some men do the same. I think it's up to that. I wouldn't look at it that way. I'm sure maybe some men would, but I wouldn't.

Q. Obviously we're seeing more women encouraged to have babies and come back. Mandy Minella is already back and winning titles and that kind of stuff. I'm wondering in terms of Leo, traveling with him, at what point do you think, Okay, he's needs to be in a nursery, do I home school, all these kind of things? Have you thought of about these things?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I do, and I think, you know, I don't like to put myself in, like, limit of time, but it definitely will depend a lot on him. I think that traveling, learning different cultures and being around people is a way of school, as well. It's a way of social skill. And I think it will teach him how to understand different people with different cultures with different thinking in the process, and to be able to accept that we're all different but, you know, we're all human.

So I think that is very important lesson that I hope my son will learn that not necessarily you can get in school.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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