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October 24, 2011

Victoria Azarenka


THE MODERATOR: This 22-year-old achieved a career high ranking of No. 3 in the world and is fresh off of winning Luxembourg just yesterday, her eighth career title. Here from Belarus, Victoria Azarenka.

Q. You obviously just won Luxembourg. How are you feeling? You must be pretty tired.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I mean, it's a good feeling to win the tournament. I read last night, had a good sleep. You know, gonna have a nice media hour. It's gonna help me recover a little bit. I'm sure I'll be ready for my first match.

Q. It's sort of a good tradition for you, two victories this year, last year before the WTA Championships. You had some problems during the season with injuries. You played very well in the beginning and then had problems and now you are playing well. How can you explain it? Is it physical problem for trainings or what?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I mean, the season is really long, so you definitely go through ups and downs throughout the year. Plus, you know, being a top player you have so many commitments to do that maybe sometimes you would like to rest but you have to play, so that's one of the case.
But I think my season was pretty steady. Of course some injuries. But you cannot avoid that playing nine months out of the year.
But I think the season is pretty good. I'm feeling healthy right now. So, you know, looking forward to my last week.

Q. How did you get from Luxembourg to Istanbul that fast?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Plane. You know, there is this nice machine that has two wings and flies much faster.

Q. Direct flight from Luxembourg?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yes, it was direct.

Q. At what time did you take off in Luxembourg and when did you arrive, at what time? Any idea?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it was 8:30, arrived two hours, 45 minutes after that. So you do the math.

Q. In the past they call you the new Sharapova. I don't think you like so much. No? What do you think about now? Which sort of player do you think you are?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm a player that is Victoria Azarenka. There is no Sharapova or nobody else, because I think Maria deserves to be Maria, just herself, not somebody else. Me, I am who I am.

Q. Yes, but I mean, I ask you which sort of player you are, because I suppose I know which sort of player you are. But how you can describe yourself? Which new Azarenka you are?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: How do I describe myself? I don't know. I would leave it -- I would leave the describing to people around me. I cannot really, you know, speak for myself.
I don't judge myself as a tennis player. I judge myself as a person more.

Q. So? Which person you are?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: That's a weird question that I cannot answer. I'm sorry. (Laughter.)
I'm a person who I am. I cannot describe myself in words. I leave it to the people, you know, around, for you guys. You can describe me better, I think.

Q. So you have been here a couple of years not out of the round robin, so, you know, what kind of mindset do you have to have to do well at this kind of event? It's not a tournament. It's a round robin. And then it becomes elimination at the end. Can you talk a little bit about that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Sure. I think, as you mentioned, it's very different from any other tournaments, so you really have to be focused on every match and every game, because sometimes the games makes a difference here to get out of the round robin.
All of the matches from the beginning are really difficult. So, you know, you have to give it all in every match you play and worry about the results and the games counting after. But on every match every moment you have to be 100%.

Q. And also, there is a lot of money at stake in this tournament. We don't hear the players talk about that a lot, but every match is worth more than $100,000. Is that something the players also come into this thinking, yeah, this is a good opportunity to do well?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's a good motivation at the end of the season, for sure.
Well, I would lie if I would be saying, No, we don't care about that, we just play for the love of the game and the points.
But as I said, it's a good motivation. You know, when you're down and you think, oh, I can make a little bit of an extra money, it's -- I think it's pretty -- it pumps you up a bit.

Q. What about Istanbul? Have you been here before? What do you think of the city?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I have been here after the French Open when we came to promote the Championships. I think the city is really beautiful. I would love to go around if I have time and see a couple of places. But I know the traffic is really crazy, so during the week it's going to be difficult. But if I have some time after, I would love to see parts of Istanbul.

Q. Do you think it's important for women's tennis to be in places like this where there is not such a rich tradition of the sport?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Definitely. I think it's a good opportunity to grow tennis, not only in Turkey but all over the world, you know, that other countries also see the opportunity in the future maybe to host the Championships or any other tournaments to make tennis more and more popular around the world.

Q. Maybe Belarus?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Definitely. You know, we're thinking about it. I think we have great facilities to make it a good event. Hopefully in the future we can bring tennis and tennis events there, because right now we have a lot of other events coming, like hockey championships in 2014. Hopefully after that we can have something also tennis.

Q. You've always been kind of really emotional on court, but over the last six or so months it's changed and you're completely different. How did that happen? Was it easy to kind of do that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, it wasn't easy, but, you know, I looked after tournaments in Doha. In February I went back home, I looked a little bit into what I'm doing, and I change a little bit perspective of how I play and what I should do.
I just start to enjoy tennis a little bit more. It's more important for me to be happy playing tennis than, you know, if I do good results and I'm unhappy.
So I really looked back and, you know, took different perspective of the game, and, I don't know, the results came. I became more consistent. It works out good.

Q. After US Open you lost with Serena, but you played a great match. Do you have a feeling after that you was very, very close, what you thought when Stosur beat her, that you were part of that loss in some way because you was very close to Serena or not?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I think you have to give all the credit to Samantha. She played unbelievable match. What happened in our match, you know, you cannot look back and say, Oh, what would have happened if I would have won that match?
It's silly to think that way. I think she deserved to win. I think she played great the whole two weeks.
For me, it was a good learning experience. I really dig myself deep to play that match and fight back. So it was a good opportunity and good lesson to learn.

Q. We see that some of your opponents bring an extra supporter with them, Caroline. And does it help if you have a friend with you on the tournament?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Friend? I have my mom here, so I'm pretty happy.

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