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August 31, 2018

Victoria Azarenka

New York, NY, USA

S. STEPHENS/V. Azarenka

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously having to meet Sloane in the third round is not ideal. You talked about building blocks, getting your game back. What's your mindset?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: After sitting here after, like, five minutes after a loss, it's tough to get any positives in. It's important to just take a moment and really analyze what happened this week.

Today, you know, I played okay. You know, it was just a matter of a few points and those points that I still don't do enough and they cost me the match.

I played against No. 3 player in the world with all the chances in the world. That's a positive. But sitting here, it's not easy and be optimistic, but I will have to force myself to be that way.

Q. She was a player you had a very good record against earlier in your career. What do you see different in her as an opponent now the couple times you have played her this year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I always thought she was very talented. It's not about what she's doing differently much. I mean, she's playing probably more consistent, but I feel that I'm just not closing in. You know, I'm not closing those opportunities, and that's the difference between win or loss.

At this stage, it's a matter of one, two points, and today I just need to cut down my unforced errors and then everything is going to be okay. Everything is fine. I hit all the shots there. It's just those unforced errors that come out, and right now they are costing me matches. So I have to work on that.

Q. How much did the break in action closing the roof slow your momentum and change...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, of course it was a change of momentum. I won't be sitting here finding excuses. It's just what happens. You just have to accept. I just think from the tournament side, if they expecting the showers, I think it might be better to just close the roof right from the beginning. I think it would just be smarter. Hopefully they will do it in the future, but, you know. I'm not going to be sitting here finding any excuses. Not at all.

Q. You talked about the crunch points. What can you do to try and change that? Is there something you can do in practice or just a question of playing the matches? Does that come with winning more matches?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I think it comes from just preparation confidence. I need to try to do the best as I can this year. I really need a full offseason to train hard, to really train hard. I haven't had that in a long time. Maybe that's what needs to be added for those 1, 2%. You know, it would be worse if there was someone really outplaying me and there's nothing I can do. That would be a problem. But these things, they just need to be fixed and it needs to be worked on. And I'm going to put in the work for that.

Q. You had some good success at the net today. You're playing doubles with Latisha this week. You had a lot of good doubles success earlier in your career. Have you added different elements to your game?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Definitely I wanted to get more matches. I'm really gonna think about what I'm going to do next year about doubles. I'm not sure if I'm going to continue. I'm looking forward to it. I think it's a good opportunity for me to improve, to practice. There's nothing like a match for practice. I'm going to take the best advantage of that.

Q. You have had travel uncertainties in the past. Wondering if you'll be able to play the full Asia swing this year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I'm going to all the tournaments I have planned. Obviously depends. As long as I'm healthy, I'm going. I'm excited. It's been a while since I have been in Asia.

Q. It is the end of the Grand Slam season, how would you assess your year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's really tough to think about as results, to assess that based on results, because results, I don't think I have had such results before.

But in terms of everything that happened, I think, you know, me just playing and me being out there and fighting, today, I think I put on a great fight. I'm very happy with the way I approached the match. All that is positive. Being excited to go to the play, being excited to fighting. Right now it's all pluses for me. As long as I put in the work in the offseason, I'll be lights out.

Q. So in your mind, do you think you can return to the very top and hold up some slam trophies down the line?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Trust me, I wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't believe that. I would be home doing a bunch of different things and being successful at those things, but I want to do this.

Q. Sloane is trying to do what you did in Australia obviously with the back-to-back titles. In 2013, at that tournament, what was the toughest thing that you had to get over just to get over defending your title?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I actually liked that. I like that pressure. I like defending. I liked proving. I like that I don't ever feel the other way, like anxious or something.

For me it's more exciting to face a bigger challenge. I was excited to defend my title. And if I win again, I'll be excited again (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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