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May 28, 2019

Victoria Azarenka

Paris, France

V. AZARENKA/J. Ostapenko

6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. Good win. This was a matchup that a lot of people highly anticipated. Can you just talk about where you felt your turning points were?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, it was highly anticipated for me also. We've never played against each other at the tournament.

And, you know, she's one of the players that you never know what's coming, and she doesn't really give a lot of rhythm. So for the first round, that was obviously, for me, something very dangerous because it's important to get into the rhythm, into the tournament. And with a player like that, you need to find a way to win, and I felt that today that's what it was.

The turning point? I felt like the momentum kept shifting, especially in the first set with the breaks of serves. And we are both really good returners, and I couldn't really find my rhythm on serve in the beginning, so there was a lot of shifts of those.

But at the end of the second set, I felt I played really strong, and should have been the same the second, but I wanted to do a little bit more of entertainment, I guess.

Q. Winning your first Grand Slam match here against a former champion in this tournament gives you confidence for the rest of the tournament?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I think any win at the beginning gives you a little bit boost of confidence for sure.

It's my first win in quite a while, so obviously before the match I had some nerves, and I think that also showed a little bit during the game. But I'm very happy to kind of step over that barrier and be able to play in my next round.

Q. You said that she's an unpredictable player, as we all know. How do you find that line of maybe having to accept that sometimes she's going to hit the ball the way that she hits it and there's nothing that can be done versus obviously feeling like there is something that I can do to get her out of her rhythm and get it so that she doesn't hit that ball?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, obviously there's a lot of -- you know, sometimes it's hard to make a lot of winners because it's coming a bullet or it's coming a mistake. So it's hard to find that rhythm of what are you feeling like you're making the play.

I think the important point is, you know, try to force her to go for more, and that's where you get some of those free points which look like unforced errors, but I think those are the way that you force errors out of a player like that.

Q. How exciting was it for you to get on the new court, Simonne-Mathieu, and what are your impressions of how it plays? And what did you think of it overall, that experience?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I think the court is really beautiful. I hate the walk. It's too long from the court. I think that logistically it should be thought through a little bit better, but the court is beautiful.

I think it's amazing for the crowd, you know, from the outside, from the inside. Very happy to see that expansion.

The way it plays, it's pretty good. You know, I feel like it's a little more open compared to Lenglen and especially to the new Chatrier. So it feels like the ball is moving a little bit more, but the court is beautiful.

Q. Nike very publically pledged last week to improve their protections for athletes in all sports during and just after pregnancy. Just wanted to ask you about that given the fact that you went through it not too long ago.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I think it's an individual cases that have been in the public. I personally did not have any bad experience. I felt very supported throughout my pregnancy from the company.

But I do believe that whoever were on the opposite side should be protected, and I think it's really important. And I hope to see and, you know, as I believe Nike did the statement, that they are going to -- they reviewed their policy and they continue to improve, and I think that's already first step in change.

And I would definitely always support that type -- not innovation, let's put it that way, but those equality and protections that have to be in place.

Q. We're not sure how it's going turn out with Naomi Osaka today, but how would you feel about a clash with the world No. 1 here? Something you would look forward to? And your thoughts about it being so early for you like we saw in Indian Wells, unfortunately.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Or like every single week? (Laughing.) Well, that would be nothing new to me. Just the usual second round match.

But, yeah, it's going to be exciting for me. I love to challenge myself against the best players. I don't think about it. Again, it's a second round. I don't really look at it that way.

But it's going to be exciting. I had some good wins in the last couple weeks against top 10 players, so I feel that I'm ready to play against top players. And, yeah, it's going to be exciting. Last time we played, it was very one-way match, and so I hope to do better next time.

Q. The women's World Cup is here in France, and I believe a few years ago, if I recall, on Twitter you were kind of going back and forth with Alex Morgan a little bit. I'm just wondering what your connection was with her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, well, I've met couple of girls, actually, through, you know, some of the events. And, you know, I always feel like especially the U.S. team, they've been so incredible with their results. It's kind of undeniable that they're the best, and it's really impressive to see.

So I got to chance to meet some of them and, you know, I'm a fan of those girls. They're really strong and powerful women. And what they're trying to do with the movement that they're creating, it's inspiring.

So I will always be supporting that, and I'm sure that people are going get a great treat with the women's World Cup being here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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