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September 5, 2020

Victoria Azarenka

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

V. AZARENKA/I. Swiatek

6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It's been a nice little run for you here in New York.


Q. Can you talk about how you were able to translate so far all that you accomplished in 'Cincinnati' and move it right through here without a hint of a letdown?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I feel like sometimes this quick turnaround can work in your favor. I feel like a quick turnaround of this tournament being in one place, it's a pretty good advantage I would say for me. I'm playing a lot of matches, kind of getting better and better from one match to another.

So I've been really happy that I've been able to play so many matches because that's where I feel like I can progress the most. I practiced a lot. I worked a lot on my game. But really to bring it up, I needed to play a lot of matches.

This run, like continuous run, has been really good for me. I feel like.

Q. You're one of the players who is staying off campus, in a house with your mother and Leo.


Q. Has that helped you, better than being in the hotel?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: For me personally, it is. I like to be more in the private scene, especially having my child with me. When I'm by myself, it's a little bit of a different priority for me.

I can adapt anywhere. But I want the best for him. When he comes to the tournaments with me, the arrangements are a little different for me, so...

Q. Three mothers all won today.


Q. Do you think it's because you can't focus entirely on yourself, you have to be focused on your kid as well?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: What's the question? I'm sorry, I didn't understand.

Q. Do you think it sometimes helps that you have someone that is that important to you that you have to focus on so you can't focus entirely on yourself?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I think it's a double-edged sword. Sometimes you do need to focus on yourself to be able to bring out the best of yourself. Sometimes it's better to have some sort of different focus, you know, so I guess you have less pressure or something.

Honestly, I feel it's really based on you and how you approach the situation, how you are able to balance things. I think that's really personal. I don't see it as an advantage or disadvantage. I think it's up to you how you want to respond to the circumstances.

Q. Talk through the match today. Playing a player who is young, upcoming. You haven't seen her play. She played a great match. How did you problem solve out there?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I think that's a good way to put it. I want to say problem solving, I would rather say finding right answers because she came out playing incredible, like winners coming from all angles, from all sides.

As you said, I've never played against her. I haven't really seen much of her play. And a little bit of what I've seen from a previous match, today I felt like it was another different level. That was a little bit unexpected. Not expected, but surprising.

Honestly it was in a very good way. I was very, like -- I don't know the word I'm looking for. I was really surprised but in a really good way of how she plays. I think she's super talented. She has a beautiful game, very smart. She has unique movement of, like, sliding and getting into that position. She can mix up her serve.

She's only 19, so I really hope she's going to turn up her game. But I was really pleased with her attitude on the court, trying to find solutions, and very positive. I'm very impressed by her game. As I said, I hope she continues to work really hard. I'm sure we'll see a lot more of her. I'm very pleased with her game, yeah.

Q. You've had this experience last week. It was the first time you played Ons.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm a fan of Ons, by the way (smiling).

Q. Having to work your way through both of those, where does experience come in in those equations of finding the right answers?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I think it's just with experience you kind of, like, Okay, I've been through this drill before, maybe in different circumstances, but let me try to figure it out.

I think maturity comes on the court, off the court, where you're able to handle pressure moments better, where you're able to draw a different perspective in a tough moment. I think certainly I've been doing that really well, which I'm very happy about, to find solutions rather than looking of what's not working or what should I do to be better. It's really just about focusing on you know how to do things, like let me put my head down, stay calm, and just execute.

I think experience is valuable. You can be 35, as much experience, but still don't have your stuff together, so... It's really up to your own personal work.

Q. You'll be playing Karolina Muchova next, another young, up-and-coming player. Plays a little bit like Ons, variety and stuff like that. What do you need to do in your next round?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I have played doubles against her, so I have a little bit better alertness about her game. She has a really big serve. She served so many aces in our doubles, I was like, This girl doesn't miss a serve.

I think it's going to be really exciting, to be honest. She's definitely had some really good matches here. It's going to be exciting. I'm really looking forward to the challenge, trying to find a solution again.

As I said, I think it's going to be a great opportunity to play against another young player. They are very dangerous, as I've seen today. I need to stay on my track and have fun.

I'm sure it's going to be a fun, fun battle. I enjoyed today a lot. It was great. There was a lot of tight moments. It was a lot of fun.

Q. The last few matches, even in Cincinnati as well, your court position in the rally has been consistently tight to the baseline, much of what we're used to seeing of you in the past. Is that coming from reading the game better? Coming from your movement being better than it was before when you weren't winning these matches?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's about, first of all, being physically able to do that, especially on a consistent basis. I think when you are able to kind of stay on the baseline and kind of apply that pressure, it's a lot of physical work so you have to be prepared. I worked really hard on that, to be able to do that.

But it's also understanding the timing of it. The timing is really important. Sometimes to be able to cut those angles, to be able to rush your opponent with maybe not as much power, but with that precision and closer to the ball.

It was really about understanding, kind of feeling the game a little bit. Physicality is a big part of that, for sure. But, you know, there are some players who are able to generate power with their arms. I'm able to generate a lot of power and redirecting the ball with my movement. I've just worked on that.

Kind of understanding, again, what are my weapons, really start to work and execute them better.

Q. If you had to change anything in the way you're playing at the moment or make any adjustments, would there be anything you need to adjust or are you pretty satisfied?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, I'm pretty satisfied. At the same time, you know, I want to continue to improve. I think it's about being consistent on trying to execute those little details.

Like today I felt that I was playing well, I was moving real well, but my second serve wasn't really doing much today. I felt like my timing was off. I went after the match and practiced and found that rhythm again.

Sometimes those little things, when they don't work but you don't make a big deal out of they're not working, they're not as visible. Today for me, it felt like I wasn't doing that well.

There's always things that you can find. I think it's the matter of, like, you win the match, like, you don't have -- I will never reach perfection. I accepted that. I will never reach that. But I'm going to try to just climb as close as possible to that, so...

Q. Do you feel your tennis --

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Sorry, sorry, I know what it is. Can I cut you off for one second?

I want to improve my tweener, because I've been doing bad on that. I've been doing better in practice. But the tweener, it was a joke. The Cincinnati one was a joke, so...

Q. Do you feel you appreciate your tennis more now than when you played before, that you enjoy it more now?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, yeah, definitely. I feel like I am very -- I feel like I've been always passionate, but the joy of playing and kind of accepting the process, all of the good and bad in the process, I have never done that before in my career, even when I was No. 1, when I was winning Grand Slam. I was never able to reach that level of, you know, happiness on the court, joy on the court, enjoyment of that.

I'm very pleased with that, for sure.

Q. Do you think this is the opportunity to finally win the US Open? I'm asking you because of the great sporting level you have at this moment. We follow you from Colombia. In the last press conference you gave, you said that you know some words in Spanish, that you sing some songs. Tell us a little more about this.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Let me answer the first one because it's a professional question, then I'm going to get into the fun stuff.

So the first question, if it's a good opportunity. I think it's a great opportunity to play and to win. Everybody have the same opportunities. What you do with this opportunity...

For me, I always take it one match at a time. It's a long road. I know I've been down this road. I think that also kind of helps me to stay in the moment and enjoy the moment. It's a great opportunity. But I want to keep my head straight on one objective at a time. I think that's the best way to execute it.

Now, I know Maluma, Karol G, J Balvin. You want me to continue more? I know -- Ozuna is not Colombian, but I love Ozuna too.

What album do you want to talk about? Maluma just came out with a new album that is pretty good. Maluma is pretty good. I've been listening to that. Karol G, Tusa is an amazing song. I think it should have won the VMAs. I'm going to make that controversial comment.

J Balvin, I love J Balvin. His album Colores is my favorite, so...

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