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August 29, 2020

Victoria Azarenka

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference



THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations.


Q. You played a tough tournament. How do you evaluate your level of play, given the layover?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Could you repeat the last part, please?

Q. Just given the long stretch of time between playing and now in the bubble.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I'm going to speak for only like maybe the last two tournaments I played. I feel like Lexington obviously was not the result that I wanted, but I felt that that was a starting point for me, like, by the end of the match where I started to find some sort of a rhythm.

Once I got here, after that first match, I feel like I started to pick up a little bit more of a match rhythm and knowing a little bit better how to work the momentum of the matches.

So I felt that my game was raising, you know. Some things were working better; some things were not working. But I felt that consistently I was raising my level when it was needed. So I'm pretty happy with the progression that I have done in the week.

Q. Did playing inside the bubble help or hinder with your progression of play?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't think so. I don't think it helps.

Q. How difficult and weird is it to not have played the final? Does it affect kind of the occasion and the momentous moment of you raising a trophy again?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's not difficult, especially physically, not playing. I think it's unfortunate, because I was actually really looking forward to compete against Naomi. It would have been an amazing opportunity to face her level, and she's been playing really great. I lost to her last time that we played, so I was really looking forward to that.

And playing the final is always really special, so, you know, I just take it the way it is. I can't change anything. I just have to accept what it is.

I would have loved to have played, but, you know, I played five really good matches this week, and I think I deserve to be where I am today.

Q. Congratulations on your title. Considering the journey that you have experienced this year just to arrive to today, how does winning this title rank among your career achievements?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's pretty significant. It's my first title as a mom. I haven't even thought about it. So that makes it special (smiling). That part is special for me.

Winning the title is obviously -- you know, I work hard to win matches, but I'm so much enjoying the process of playing and the battling that winning is like, I guess, the bonus, you know, and winning a tournament is a bonus.

I enjoy playing. Like, I had so much fun practicing today that I kind of want to go out and play more (smiling). It's just a different feeling for me, being on the court right now.

Q. Congratulations on a great week. I certainly noticed a difference between Lexington and the way you played this week. You kind of answered it in your opening remarks, but I'm just wondering if there was a workout, a day, a match, something where you just felt things start to turn and click in?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. There is no magic. I think, Pam, you know that by playing, that there is just when things, when you do a lot of little things and they finally come together, sometimes you're waiting for them, you work hard and it doesn't go. But if you stick to and believe that what you're doing is right, you have trust in that, I think the things come together.

But just doing one magic thing, I was hoping that, you know, Oh, I'm going to maybe do this and that will work, maybe this will work.

I feel like consistency of little things on a daily basis, that's what makes it what's my progress. At least that's what it has done for me.

Q. Naomi mentioned having no ice baths on-site because of the COVID protocols did not help in some of her recovery. I'm wondering if there is any other changes on-site that could make recovery more challenging during the US Open for long matches, men's three-out-of-five? Anything else different for you all in there?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I hate ice baths, so I can't relate to this one. I'm happy they're not in the way there, because it just doesn't help my recovery, to be honest (smiling).

But I have been spending my time in the recovery room. I haven't seen many players there, but there is a whole recovery room on-site. And now probably a lot of players will go there, so I'll have to find a new hiding spot (smiling).

But in terms of recovery, you know, for protocols to keeping us safe, if the ice baths are not allowed, I think that's maybe a wise thing to do.

But I honestly don't know. I think that, as I said, there is a recovery room that can help you out maybe with recovery. But I don't know. If ice bath is for some players that need it, maybe they can take ice bags and do the ice massage. I don't know. For me, it's been fine.

Q. What does winning the title this week, especially with the US Open starting on Monday, do for your confidence going forward?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's a good -- obviously it's a good feeling going into the tournament, knowing that you've been playing well. We all know two weeks are long. Three weeks to hold the form is also long. So I need to kind of stay a little bit grounded and focus on what to do.

I'm excited to go out there and play. You know, my confidence level, I don't think it changed just based on the result that I won here. I felt pretty confident in my work that I have been doing.

So the result is just confirmation that what I have been doing is right, but going on the court, I have been pretty confident in my abilities. It's just putting those things together now. It shows that it's the right work that I have been doing.

Q. Your son getting a little older, does he know that you're a tennis player? Does he know what mom is doing? How has he adapted to the new normal? I have seen kids wearing masks proudly. How is he doing?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, he definitely knows. He's known for a while what I do. When he sees tennis courts or sees tennis on TV or something, he's, like, Mama, Mama, Mama. He's started his tennis lessons, so he's more educated in the tennis world now.

How he's adapting? He's okay. I feel like he just needs people to play with. He needs other kids to play with. I think he's kind of getting a little bit sick of all of us adults (smiling).

But wearing mask, you know, he understands the importance of it. I don't think he likes it that much, but I think he understands the importance. He understands the Coronavirus and that it's quite dangerous, so we are doing our best to educate him so, you know, we can all stay safe.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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