August 28, 2020
New York, New York, USA
V. AZARENKA/J. Konta
4-6, 6-4, 6-1
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. That was quite a remarkable turnaround after the first set. Why do you think you won today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it was a really good, high quality match overall. I think Johanna played really, really well. Especially in the first set, she was really taking a lot of chances, and some of the opportunities that I had I didn't maybe go enough for them. But she was really, really strong.
So I felt that in the second set I was able to manage those opportunities better, step up a little bit. And then in the third set I felt like I was more, you know, in my pace and doing what I wanted to do, so I felt more comfortable.
But, yeah, she served really well, put a lot of pressure also on my serve, so I was constantly trying to, you know, find opportunities to be aggressive. It worked out well after.
Q. You'll be playing Naomi Osaka in the final. Given everything that's been happening in the past 48 hours, are you surprised she made it to that point?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Why?
Q. Because of what she must have been through, you know, with dealing with people and messages and everything else? You guys usually like to have a very calm, stable environment.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's a better question for her, to be honest. I don't know what her situation -- I don't know messages that she's getting. I don't really know her situation. To be honest, I don't really pay attention to that.
I think the most important thing is that tomorrow we're going to play a good match, hopefully (smiling), and that's it. She's a great player, there is no doubt. To play in the final of such a tournament, you don't get there by luck. It's an accomplishment. So that's what it is.
Q. What was your reaction to the news on Wednesday that you would have...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Let's talk about tennis. I know you always like to talk about...
Q. No, this is the story of the week, Vika, so I'm curious why you don't want to talk about it.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I know, but I don't want to talk about it.
Q. Why not?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Why not? Because I want to talk about tennis, and I want to focus on my tennis tomorrow. And then maybe when I'm ready to speak about what's on my mind that it has nothing to do with tennis, I will.
Q. Is it fair to read into it, then, that you're unhappy with the decision to stop for a day?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Let's go.
Q. Rennae Stubbs said on television she had spoken to you a while ago, and you seemed down on your tennis and you questioned whether you really wanted to continue playing. I'm wondering, what turned for you to see you so joyous as you were on the court today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I didn't hear the beginning of what you were saying. Could you repeat it?
Q. Rennae Stubbs said she spoke with you recently, and she said you seemed very down about your tennis and that she questioned how much longer you wanted to play. I'm wondering what turned for you to see you as joyous as you were on the court today.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, the conversation that I remember with Rennae, I'm not sure she will remember exactly what I was saying, so I'm going to leave it at that (smiling).
And then what was joyous? I think I mentioned it. You know, I think I started to finally enjoy myself on the court. It took a lot of work. It wasn't a one-day miracle that I read something or I got on a super gluten-free diet or whatever.
It was just constant work that I kept putting in on a daily basis and perspective and your mentality. That's it. There is no magic thing.
I know sometimes when you have results, people are looking for some magic trick that you're doing, but there is no magic. There's just work, consistent work.
Q. What will it take for you to win the championship tomorrow and come out with a win?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I have to win two sets, two of three sets. So I need to do that. And particularly what I need to do, I will have to adjust tomorrow because I'm not sure what Naomi is going to bring. I kind of know her game, but it will take a lot of good tennis, for sure.
You know, in the final you have to show your best, and so I hope I can enjoy myself in the final.
Q. This must have been a really challenging time for you with some tough results and no great successes till now. Were there times when you had real doubt? Did you ever question whether you could get to the very elite level that you were at at one time? Did you think about your career as a whole?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, of course I have doubts. I'm a human being. I think it's not about not having doubts or being, like, super positive in your mentality. It's not about that. It's about how you react to situations, what you do about them.
For me, it wasn't much about can I be on that level? For me, to be on a good level, I need to be mentally prepared. I need to want to go to practice. I need to want to go on the tennis court.
So that was a lot about this. I think that's what I have been trying to work on is to find myself, to enjoy myself on the court, because I think that was kind of maybe not turning my results into what I wanted before. So I think when you're miserable on the court, it's tough to have a good result.
Q. You said you had doubts. Now you are in this, could you call it "magic week," or it's not magic? It's kind of normal? Did you expect something like that? Or you were dreaming only about something like that? And what is the difference between dreaming and finding yourself in the dream?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I definitely don't think I'm dreaming at this point about tennis. I mean, I don't really remember my dreams much (smiling).
But I don't know. I think you guys are looking for headlines. You know, I'm not going to be here saying, Oh, my God, it was a magical week.
I don't want to give a headline. I'm just happy to be playing. I'm enjoying myself on the court. I think I'm producing good tennis. So that's as simple as that. There is no magic here. It's just simple.
It's the work that you're putting in on a daily basis is paying off. Sometimes it doesn't.
I think the key point for me is when some things doesn't work out, it doesn't maybe affect you as much. You're still a happy person to be doing what you're doing, and that's what I keep saying is that I'm enjoying myself to do what I love to do. I haven't felt this way in so, so long, and probably ever, to be honest, like ever.
So that's just what I'm enjoying. I think people look at the result as magical week. I look more of how I feel and what I do on a daily basis. I'm joyful.
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