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January 6, 2022

Victoria Azarenka

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Press Conference


6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Busy day today, singles and doubles, getting through in both. How did today go from your perspective?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, definitely was a good day for me. Kind of starting strong in singles, getting through that match. It was not easy playing against an opponent I never played before. Kind of playing I would say inspiring tennis.

I think there was a little bit of momentum shifts that I could have maybe prevent a little bit, but I think that it was also important to have those type of balance a little bit early in the season to get adjusted to the momentum shifts.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The way you finished your 2021 season in Indian Wells, did that put you into a positive, super motivated mind frame in the pre-season? Look pretty sharp out there.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, if you saw my pre-season, I don't think you would be able to say that. As I said yesterday on the court, it was pretty chaotic with kind of a lot of things going on.

But I think that last year I finished -- I mean, I think people pay a lot of attention on the result the way I finished. For me was really important the way I was able to kind of shift my mindset in a way to learn to be more bold, to be more open-minded, to try new things, not back off when it doesn't work maybe the first try. I think that was the positive that I took from the end of the season kind of moving forward.

Q. In terms of your chaotic pre-season, how did that mindset manifest itself?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, the focus is always kind of the same: What can I add to my game? I think my focus kind of end of the season was already trying to implement new things: coming into the net, using my serve more, being more aggressive, movement, efficient movement.

I feel like I just kind of laid the groundwork end of the season and continued just making more repetitions on that. Always try to push a little bit more. I think physically at this stage it's very important for me to be very smart about my training schedule, which is also another learning curve of adjustment.

Yeah, I think the groundwork for kind of implementing new things was laid last season.

Q. I heard you say on court that your off-season was chaotic. If you're happy to talk about that, what made it chaotic? What kinds of things were you dealing with?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: A lot of (indiscernible), trying to run a business, trying to open another business, playing tennis at the same time. A lot of management, management things. I kind of thought, Why don't I try to do everything myself? It was a little bit too much.

I started to do my show again. There were just so many things that I thought I could handle all by myself, but at the same time I felt like my priorities were on trying to kind of hold on to everything. I was losing a little bit sight what really is important, where only my focus and my presence could be important, and another like assistant can help me out. I took that load a little bit in the end of the season.

I had COVID in November, which was absolutely sucks. That kind of pushed back the training for a bit. Yeah, it was a little bit like little things. It didn't go smooth.

But we're here and I'm trying to make the best out of that. I still feel like I've had good practices, good time because I had a lot of time to prepare. But it was chaotic, for sure.

Q. So far so good because you're into the quarterfinals, where you play Iga. You played her at the US Open. You had some really nice things to say about her. Were you prepared a couple weeks later she would go on to win a Grand Slam and come into the top 10? Were you prepared for how quickly it would come together for her?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think right now it's kind of tough to predict these type of things. As I said after the match, I think she's very talented. Was I thinking after US Open she's going to win French Open? No.

But those breakthroughs happen quite often now and the competition of tennis is really, really high. I think last year showed quite a lot of those breakthroughs and people are really taking their opportunities.

I think the consistency, again, is something that is not necessarily for everybody, but I think that's also the hardest part, is not doing it once but to stay there and continue to face the pressure. That's not easy.

I think for a lot of younger girls, that's their learning curve right now.

Q. At various times last year you played some outstanding matches. Certainly the Indian Wells final was probably the best women's match of the year. As you look now towards 2022, is there a different mindset or perspective in how you approach this year compared to maybe last year or other years?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I would hope so. I hope I don't stay the same throughout I don't know how many years I've been on the tour.

I think evolution of my game is pretty visible right now over the last few years. I feel like I am trying to adapt to also new generation. There's a lot of young talents coming. Cannot stay still and be stuck in 2012 and 2013.

The mindset is definitely a lot of experience, on court, off court. It helps to be able to integrate your lessons from off court to on court and vice versa. Also to detach myself a little bit from just playing.

I definitely feel like I've grown a lot, and I don't have the same approach as I had last year or two years ago. I think that's too staggered. Is that the word? I try to always kind of look for something that can help me to learn and grow.

I think the learning process for me is the most important.

Q. 'Static' I think is the word you were looking for. Do you still set goals? Is there a target for you for this year, specific achievements?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, my goals are always the same. My goals are something that doesn't I think change. My ultimate goals are to be No. 1, to win Grand Slams. That's why I play. That's what I believe I still am capable to do. Until I don't feel like I'm capable of that or I don't believe in myself that I can, I won't be playing.

My dreams and my goals do not shift.

Q. You mentioned 2012. It's the 10-year anniversary of your win at the AO and you also became No. 1. You said you don't look back that much. When you hear that, how do you think about that now? Is it special to you?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Special? I mean, I think the moments that I've had are always going to be special. I can't go back there. It's as simple as it is. I cannot feel those emotions that were at 2012 because, I mean, I don't even remember what happened 10 years ago. How can I remember how I felt or what was going on?

But it's pretty incredible that 10 years later I'm still here. I love the game. I want to play. I want to improve. I have my son here who's watching me, is motivating me. There's a lot of things that are incredible.

I'm not sure it feels like it's been 10 years ago. I think the time kind of flies by. I definitely appreciate it a lot, always going to be grateful for that. I don't hold on to the past because I believe that it doesn't leave enough space for what I can do now and in the future.

Q. You mentioned Leo is with you. Has it crossed your mind what it would be like to win a major with Leo in the stands?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: With him in the stands? That will be tough because, like, I'm that type of mom that when he is in my vision that I pay 100% attention to him. It's very hard for me to focus on something else.

He watched a little bit of my doubles. He watches my singles at the stadium. I don't know if winning and him being there is a possibility as of yet.

To achieve something like that and to show him as an example of going after your dreams, working hard towards your dreams, I think that is bigger than just result.

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