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October 26, 2009

Victoria Azarenka


ANDREW KRASNY: She's enjoyed a stellar season on the Sony Ericsson Tour this season highlighted by winning her first premiere title, the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. She started the season by winning 24 of her first 26 matches. Winning three singles title, Brisbane, Memphis and Miami, after reaching the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, she made her top 10 debut last March 23rd. She also reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon as well as the semifinals of Rome. She's making her debut at the year-end Championships, here from Belarus, ladies and gentlemen, Victoria Azarenka.
Questions, please.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Hello, everybody.

Q. That wonderful start that was just mentioned, virtually propelled you here, you benefited from that great open to the year, it's not been quite as strong a close to the year. Any reason for that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, you know, you cannot play the whole year winning the tournaments, losing like one or two matches in three months. But I think I still played pretty good. I had really tough matches against great players, like Maria and Kim, in her best form, I think. I'm happy about my results, even though they weren't that good. I just have to learn from it and try to do better next time.

Q. How much of an ambition was it to come to this Championships, be one of the leading players of the year? Quite a thing for you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, it was a goal for me from the beginning of the year. I'm really happy that I achieved. I mean, I didn't really expect it. I just really wanted to play it. But I'm happy with my results, I got here.

Q. Is there some thing that's happened in your game that has been a difference perhaps this year? Just growing up, maturing as a player?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I guess, you know, the experience from past two, three years on the Tour helped a lot, finally winning the first title after four finals, that gave me more confidence playing big matches after that.
So I think just overall my game got better and I started to play on a higher level.

Q. I think even in the second half of this year your results have been better than last year. Has there been a problem with people saying, What's the matter, there's something wrong, she's not winning tournaments, simply because you won a big tournament early in the year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, you know, you always gonna hear criticizing even you do good or you do bad sometimes. For me, you know, as I said, I'm happy with my results. I had close matches. Sometimes you learn better from your losses than from winning, so...
As I said, I'm happy with my results. I just want to try to do better next time.

Q. Have people been trying to tell you you've not been doing well when, in fact, you have?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, people keep saying, you know, How come you've been winning in the beginning and now you're not winning? I don't know. As I said, you cannot win the whole year without having a little bit of going down.

Q. This week aside, how excited are you about the next few years and your development as a player, being involved in with all these great champions? Is it an exciting prospect for you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, definitely, I'm very excited because I'm happy that I can still improve a lot, which gives me more confidence coming next year and everything. I just want to work hard and do better.

Q. The most eye-catching result of your year is the Miami final against Serena. Is that the best match you've ever played?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I don't think so, because Serena was kind of injured a little bit there. Even though I played really good, I don't think it was my best match.

Q. Which one was then?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I don't know right now. I had few. On the top of my head, I cannot say.

Q. You get very emotional and passionate in some of your matches. Is that both a good thing and a bad thing, to be that way?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I'm emotional person, you know, all the time. Actually, I'm a little bit different off court. But I'm emotional and very passionate person. I'm very competitive on and off the court.
Sometimes it doesn't really go well for me, and I get upset in the matches, which doesn't really work well for me. But I'm working on it. And I think I got better, especially with the last tournaments I played.

Q. Can you also use it in your favor?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, definitely. Sometimes you just need to get angry to get back on the track.

Q. You and Caroline are kind of the juniors in the competition. Is that good, seeing how it works, to get a feel for this big event, a sense of how big tournaments are in this small select group, being the youngest?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I mean, me and Caroline, we're very good friends. I think it's great that we share this moment together, first time in this tournament. I don't know. For me it's really exciting. I'm sure it is, as well, for her.

Q. Do you think you've had a good draw in terms of which group you're in?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, there is no good or bad draws here. Here are all the best players in the world. So you have to play the best against any of them. So for me, I'm just looking forward to any opponent I play.

Q. Would you have preferred to have been with the Williams sisters, for instance?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I wouldn't mind playing them (smiling).
Thank you.

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