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January 21, 2022

Victoria Azarenka

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

V. AZARENKA/E. Svitolina

6-0, 6-2


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please. We'll get started with our press conference with Vika and special guest Leo.

Vika, talk to us about the match and how you were able to overcome Svitolina.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I thought I was really well-executing my game plan. I wanted to put as much pressure as I could on her and kind of not let her come into the match. She's an amazing fighter. I know if I give her a little room, she's going to get back out there. That was my purpose today, and I think I executed that well.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Leo, how did mummy play today?

LEO AZARENKA: Awesome (smiling).

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Thank you for that. Thank you (laughter).

Q. Vika, what satisfied you the most today?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think the amount of aggressivity I could bring point after point, applying a lot of pressure, the consistency. The breakpoints I faced, I played really strong.

Yeah, taking control of my end of the court, I think that's what I'm more happy about.

Q. You made a point of noting the end of Dylan Alcott's career.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I've said that, I always say, he's a legend to me. I think it's absolutely amazing his achievement, but more the way -- it's not just about winning, it's the way he's winning, the attitude that he brings day in and day out, the resilience and commitment. He's a huge motivation of mine. I've been lucky to have some really fun conversations with him off the court. I will always treasure that.

As I said, I can't wait to see what he's going to do next. I think he's going to be really, really successful because he's got all the right things to make it on TV or whatever he wants to do after.

Q. Regarding the COVID testing, is it sufficient that an honor system is in place in Melbourne, and players aren't obligated to give the results every day?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think we had it both ways. We had it with rigorous testing and people weren't happy. Now it seems people are also somewhat not happy. I think it will be hard to find the middle ground. Hopefully we will.

I think it's important, of course, to take your own responsibility for all the precautions, for all the measurements and for testing. That's really where I stand.

Q. You play the winner of match on court now. Can you briefly talk about both possible matchups.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, both really different game styles. I think the rise of Barbora has been pretty incredible over the last year and a half, basically since COVID. She seems to kind of elevate her game more and more. She has all the good tools to play. She can play aggressive, she can mix it up. Very dangerous player. We played once in Ostrava. It was pretty tight match, actually really good quality.

Ostapenko is a surprising player that you kind of never know what's going to be out there. She seems to be able to raise her level a lot against top players, so makes her very, very dangerous as I noticed in Indian Wells when we played against each other.

Both a bit of a different game style, but pretty difficult matchups for sure. It's second week of a Grand Slam. I don't expect any easy matches here.

Q. Vika, in Indian Wells you were outstanding, the way you played. Two of the best matches of the year in women's tennis. Do you think that is the form that you've got at the moment or has there been a bit of a change?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I hope it's better because I think that's what I'm striving for, is to continue to elevate step by step. I think kind of after the US Open last year, I was able to do a better assessment of what I need to do moving forward of how to improve. That was a positive step forward. I think that is the ladder that I want to continue to climb right now.

Q. Having Leo with you this week, is it more demanding, a distraction, a relaxation?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: All of the above (smiling). It's definitely not a distraction, I will never say that. Being a parent is not easy. He's full of personality. I don't know where he gets it from obviously (laughter).

But I always feel privileged that I'm able to have him here. These kind of moments are really priceless for me. To be able for me to share that with my son is pretty incredible.

Q. You put so much work into evolving your game, being more aggressive. Great results to start the year. In Melbourne Park in particular, how comfortable are you feeling with the way that you're playing, this new-ish game style, compared to Indian Wells?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Honestly I don't really try to compare those because I think the measurement won't be really precise. I think when you look in the past, which I particularly don't like to do, I think your memory is a bit distorted. Maybe you want to remember something, maybe you want to forget the other thing.

I kind of try to take it day by day. I think that kind of mentality, to stay in the present, continue to just do what I can in the moment, that's been helping me more rather than kind of comparing. I think that's really what I'm trying to say is that ladder that I want to climb step by step.

I think the danger for me is to try to skip few steps. I think that is something I'm actually learning not to do. That's been helpful.

Q. Through your first three matches, what aspects of your game are you particularly pleased with?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Definitely the intention of what I want to do. I think my first match there were a couple moments where I felt a bit indecisive, like I have a lot of options. I was able to fix that in my second match and kind of continue that way. That I think was something that I feel very comfortable with.

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