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April 2, 2011

Victoria Azarenka


V. AZARENKA/M. Sharapova
6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When are you moving to Miami?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Today. (Smiling.) I'm staying.

Q. Talk about the match. Obviously you got off to a great start after the 1-1 situation and Maria was spraying the ball. You just played well the whole way, didn't you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I think I had the right tactics. You know, she likes to swing big, and when she has time it's very heavy and coming fast. So I was trying to take time away and not let her do that.
So I think it seemed like she was missing a lot because of my game. But in the end she really stepped it up. I don't think I did something wrong, she was just going for her shots, catching few lines, and playing really good.
So I just had to really hang in there and keep playing my game.

Q. How did you break her so often? Was it her serve or were you so confident in the return game?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think I have one of the best returns. That's one of my weapons. It was a little bit tough on one side with the sun. I think she felt a little bit uncomfortable. For me it was also a little bit uncomfortable. Right after your first shot sometimes it's a little blurry.
Besides that, yeah, I think I was returning really well today.

Q. You seemed comfortable and relaxed. Is that the case, and why was that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I'm very relaxed all the time.

Q. You seemed right at home.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, you could say that. I think I changed my mentality a little bit. I'm enjoying myself so much on the court that there's no room for me for frustration, even though I know somebody's really pissed off about it. They want to see me very emotional. They like it. But that's how I am right now.

Q. What is it about the conditions here or in Miami? Do you think it's a coincidence that you've won two of the last three times here against big time players?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I think the heat really suits me well. (Laughing.) No, I mean, it feels good. Hardcourt is one of my favorite surfaces, and I've been just really working hard for this last two tournaments.
I played very good tennis in Indian Wells, and unfortunately got injured. It was amazing for me to come here, didn't really practice enough, and step up my game so well.
With that, I really have to thank my physio, J.P., who did an incredible job for me to be able to play here.

Q. What's the key about your patience? Because in the past, you lose your head and you lose the match.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You're absolutely right.

Q. What's the key?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: What's the key? I just don't care if I lose. I'm just there to do the best I can. I'm going to fight for every ball, and for me it's just to do the best job as possible. What outcome comes out, it's not up to me. I'm just there to do my best job.

Q. You talked a few times about being so happy and not caring about losing and stuff. You mentioned you had a bad period after Dubai. Talk a little bit more about how you arrived at this present mentality.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, it was kind of funny, you know. I went home and spent three days at home just by myself and just realized few things what I want to do with my life, how to really find that balance to raise my level.
I guess it takes time and sometimes loneliness to realize what you have to do in your life. So I just came to practice before, and I just tried every day to be happy, to enjoy myself on the court, and do, as I said, the best job as I can.

Q. What was behind this gesture here after you won?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Spinning. I didn't realize, you know, I won the match because was so crazy. I was like fourth match point, or I don't know which one.

Q. You didn't realize it was match point?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. I mean, I realized it, but in my head it was just spinning a little.

Q. Maria's only two years older than you but has been around for a long time. When did you first see her? There are similarities in your games. Is there anything you took from her watching her coming up?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I wouldn't say that, but I know she's been around. She's really one of the youngest players to be on such a high level. That's really remarkable from her game and her personality.
But, no, I don't think we have the similar game at all. The similarities are that we're both aggressive players. The way we hit our shots, the way we play the ball around, I think, is very different.

Q. I think most athletes would probably tell you if you don't care if you win you're probably not going to win. Seems contradictory.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, for sure. Well, you always care to win. What I meant by not caring about losing is not to create such a big drama out of it. If you lose the match, I mean, you just lose a tennis match. It's not the end of the world.
You can see so many things happening in the world, and I know it sounds a little bit out there, but look what happens in Japan, for example, and we're here playing tennis, being able to do something that we love.
So, I mean, why make a big deal out of it?

Q. The last three players you played in the tournament, Clijsters, Zvonareva, and Sharapova, they made a lot of mistakes playing with you. Do you think it's just a coincidence, or it's your game that makes them play not too well?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's the game that you make. Because for example, when I lose to somebody and I make mistakes, people don't say, Oh, she didn't play well. They say, for example, Clijsters or Zvonareva really beat her. So I think it's in the other way. Sometimes players make more mistakes, but also you can take it in the way your opponent makes you to miss.
For example, you can see so much with Caroline's game. She makes players miss, and not because they're playing bad.

Q. Were you thinking of quitting when you came to that decision a few months back? If so, what would you have done?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I would have fun.

Q. Were you thinking of quitting?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: For a second. For a second, really slight second, but then my mom just kicked my ass for that. (Laughter.)

Q. How does that trophy feel different from the one two years ago?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's more heavy. (Laughing.) And it's different. But it's very special. You know, it is very special.

Q. Is it any different winning it the second time?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's always different. Always. You know, it's different mentality right now.

Q. Now that it's all said and done, who has the better shriek?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I think mine is quieter.

Q. Did you think she was louder today?

Q. What do you do with $700,000? When they hand you that check, does it boggle your mind?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, you know, you have to pay taxes from it, so it rips your heart out. (Smiling.)

Q. Is there something you want to buy?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: If I want to buy something? You know, I have absolutely everything that I want in my life. It's not money that's going to make me happy.
But it's nice. You know, it's good. You can't complain.

Q. Have you heard from Caroline yet?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I heard from her yesterday. She wished me good luck. I don't know if she's here. I would love to know if she's hear. We can go celebrate maybe.

Q. Do you think you're able to win a Grand Slam this year or to be No. 1 at the end of this year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, a lot of French people like to put pressure on somebody, right? You know, I'm really thinking about it. Definitely it's one of my goals to try to climb up highest ranking as possible.
But I would like to take it step by step and really develop my game. It's really developing right now. I think you can see the difference. So I would really like to stick with that and move forward.

Q. You haven't won a lot matches last year on clay. What do you think you need to improve on clay this year to do better?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, last year I was injured throughout the whole clay court season. It started in Marbella and I couldn't recover. So the most important is to be healthy, and, as I said, try to develop my game. Because you have to adjust for the clay with the movement, with your shots.
So just really have to be smart and work hard to get ready and change a little bit the way I'm going to be playing on clay.

Q. When were you first aware of Maria? Wimbledon final? Did you see her on TV?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Maria first time? Yeah. I saw her when she was 12 first time, and then when she was 14 she was like three times bigger. (Smiling.)

Q. Was that a junior tournament?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, at Eddie Herr.

Q. With Caroline Wozniacki, did you learn something from her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think you can learn a lot from her, how she is on the court. She is such a good fighter. She really plays every ball, no matter what. You can see how much -- if she's not feeling great she can turn the matches around.
I think everybody, you know, can look up, especially kids, to really look up how well she does that.

Q. When you got the two let cord winners in a row to win that game, were you thinking, This is my day or what?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I have to be lucky sometimes. You know, you have to be sometimes lucky. But unfortunately she got a let at 30-All after, and I was like, well, you know, it's going to go back and forth.
You got to take it what it is. Unfortunate, but sometimes it's luck also.

Q. Do you have a preference in terms which major you would like to win?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. It's the same points. Maybe a little bit different of prize money, but title is good.

Q. But your game seems perhaps better suited to hardcourt, you think?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Probably. But as I said, you have to adjust and be smart of how you prepare yourself to play on clay or grass. I had very good matches on grass. I played very well last year, so we'll see.

Q. Do you feel that by winning the tournament, like Maria, that you're going to be getting more endorsements? You have the perfect name to sell Victoria's Secret.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It would be good. My agent has to work hard for it. But thanks for the tip.

Q. When you say home, is it Minsk?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's Belarus, yes, Minsk.

Q. When are you going to play doubles with Caroline?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Doubles? Well, she doesn't want to play doubles. She's all about singles.

Q. You won in Memphis.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, we did. I don't know, but I would love to play with her one day. I'm playing with Maria Kirilenko right now. She's a fun girl. She's a great friend of mine. We have some great results.
We'll see with Caroline. One day for sure.

Q. You had great results when you played with Shahar Peer, too. Any chance of that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. Right now I'm playing with Maria until the end of the year, but you never know.

Q. Are you going to drink champagne tonight?

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