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May 30, 2019

Victoria Azarenka

Paris, France

N. OSAKA/V. Azarenka

4-6, 7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Such a high-quality match. You're probably tired of being encouraged by losses, but what are you going to take from this?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Learn, definitely. I know it's been quite a bit of those for me, but I have been very efficient with taking lessons from my losses and trying to make them better in the next match.

So that's very optimistic for me, so I know I'm going to learn a lot from today. And, you know, encouragement level is not low for me, for sure. I know that my game is there. Very, very close. But I still have few things that I need to work on, put them together, and, yeah, I'm going to do that.

Q. Can you just talk through the match in terms of what you think you did well and how you were able to get into the winning position? What did Naomi adjust or what did you kind of adjust in terms of, you know, how the result panned out?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I think that I played very smart. I really, you know, played the right spots. I was playing aggressive. I was doing everything that I was supposed to do. And especially moving well and pushing her back.

I believe I didn't take some of my chances where I had, but I felt that the margin of opportunity was very little for both of us today. You know, I didn't push enough through, which is something that, you know, I need to learn from.

But, you know, she has obviously a lot of confidence playing right now, so in those moments, she's been a lot in those situations where those margins are really small.

I need to have some more of those experiences. But as I said, I'm pretty positive that I can take a lot of things out of this match and turn them into positive for my next tournaments.

I feel that it was a little unfortunate in the end of the third set, that double fault on the 5-3, which was clearly out, but could have been 5-4, a little disappointed with that. But it is what it is. I'm going to learn from it.

Q. How frustrating is it for you to not be seeded and have to play her in the second round and see the other players who are seeded ahead of you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, I don't waste my time on something I can't really change at the moment, so it's irrelevant.

Q. You have played many champions over the last decade. How do Osaka's shots compare to others concerning the heaviness and the power she has?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, she's very powerful. She's very explosive. You know, obviously the new generation of players that is bringing a lot more physicality to the game, and that's been on the increase, you know. Over the last five years, over the ten years, there has been a dramatic difference, I believe, with a lot of players putting a lot more physical work into their preparation.

That definitely changes the balls and the racquets. Everything kind of gets faster, as well.

Her shots are pretty heavy. She can hit, you know, both sides pretty even. You know, she has a big serve, and she's consistent. So she's been playing really well, obviously, and proving that she deserves to be where she's at right now.

Q. She seemed to have a lot of belief, particularly late in the second set when she was down. You have been the kind of player who's, you know, had streaks where you have forgotten how to lose, it feels like, watching you. And she seems like at Grand Slams she's been that sort of way now. Curious if you sense that across the net or if it reminds you of other players you've seen that similar head space where they feel like no matter what they're going to find the shot they need and the points they need when they need them?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, obviously there is part of that, but I believe that it's what she's creating, you know, with that confidence. It's not like, Oh, I'm confident, I'm going to sit there and everything is going to go in.

She's definitely putting in work and achieving that. But I do understand playing with confidence and it's different, you know, but it's all credit to her, you know. She's the one who is creating it and handling it well.

Q. What part has your doubles partnership with Ashleigh played in rebuilding your game this season? Especially your movement.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Movement, I wouldn't say, because I feel like you're moving a little less in doubles. But I think more about tactics and, you know, getting involved a little bit more, like volleys and just playing a little bit of different shots, having a little bit of smaller margins from your baseline where you hit.

And for me, really, is just more about being competitive and having, you know, to play matches was a big key, for sure. I needed to be in the match situations to work on my game, so that was really helpful.

Q. Do you find that you struggle with what to do on second serve against a returner like Osaka who's, you know, going to crush that second serve? Is that something to do with the double faults?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Hmm. I think that, you know, playing someone who is a big returner is always more difficult, you know. With her power, it's not easy. I don't think it's only about my second serve. I think any second serve would kind of get a bomb coming their way, also. But yeah, it's something you can maybe try to serve harder the second serve.

Maybe you can do it better (smiling).

Q. Is being the mother of a young child, has that changed in any way the statement you want to make as a competitor on court? Are you aware of what you want to show in any different way than you did before being a mom? Or is that just a totally different sphere of your life and doesn't enter into your competition space?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I think on court I kind of have a pretty established attitude. That's been always, you know, I'm a big fighter on the court. I think that's -- it's always been like that. In terms of being, you know, after my son is born, obviously I want to be an example for him on everything I do.

So it definitely changed my perspective on a lot of views. But on the court, it's my job, so I do think of it a little different than I used to before.

But in terms of approaching this, I still believe that I approach it with passion and with love. You know, being a mom, I'm definitely more aware of what I do and how I am and what things I want to achieve. I want my son to be proud of me. I want to be a good example for him so when he grows up, you know, he can go after his dreams and he can be free and do whatever he wants.

Q. You mentioned that missed call on the serve there.

Q. Second serve.

Q. I heard you saw out.

Q. On clay, would you like to see there be some sort of a review system?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I would love that, yeah. That would be nice.

I actually played in Australia, played an exhibition where they had electronic line calls and stuff. I think it was part of the system of a Hawk-Eye, so that was helpful.

Q. Playing the circuit is so tough, and obviously you were off and you're coming back. All these tough draws. Some good breakthroughs, but still it's a process. Could you just talk about the process, incredible process you're going through, trying to emerge to the very top in the game, what it feels like?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, the process has been, you know, people call it a good journey, the process, you know, it's been very frustrating for me up to the moment that I realized that I need to do some things differently. Once I started doing them, I started to fall in love with this process of, you know, getting better and stuff.

You know, I'm sitting here with a loss, but I know what I need to do better, so it keeps me optimistic, and I do enjoy this. No matter how hard it is, it's my path that I'm going to walk with my head held high, and I'm going to do everything I can until the moment where I decide, You know what? I'm not interested in that anymore. But until then, I'm going to keep fighting and keep improving.

I believe that finally my, you know, progress is showing from week to week. And as long as it keeps going that way, I have no doubt that I'm going to achieve things that I want to.

Q. Your schedule from here on. What are your thoughts for grass?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Right now I'm scheduled to play Mallorca, and then Wimbledon and then we'll see. But I'm still in doubles, so I'm going to be here for a while, hopefully (smiling).

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