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AUSTRALIAN OPEN


January 27, 2012


Victoria Azarenka


MELBOURNE, VICTORIA

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How is the practice and preparation going?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  You were watching my practice.

Q.  Yeah.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  So why are you asking me this question?

Q.  I just wanted your feeling.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Oh, okay.  It's pretty good.  I mean, it's easier today just to go on court and feel the ball, move around a little bit.
I don't know.  I felt good.  Pretty nice weather out there.

Q.  Feel a bit more real today?  Has it sunk in that you're actually playing your first Grand Slam final?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Is it real?  It's always been very really for me.  I just don't want to jump ahead.
Today is kind of a little bit of a day off, so I would like to enjoy it.

Q.  How do you keep the nerves in check?  You're not playing tonight, you're playing tomorrow night, so you have to wait.  What do you do to calm yourself?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I just relax, try get my mind off the tennis court, you know.
I think I can do it quite well.  Watch few movies, read a little bit.  Just do something different.

Q.  How do you feel about Maria as an opponent?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I think she's a very tough opponent.  She's been in the finals here, she won here, so definitely she has a lot of experience.
We always had difficult matches, so really looking forward to that battle.  It's not going to be easy.

Q.  Is that a concern for you that she has played six Grand Slam finals before and this is your first in terms of handling the occasion?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  No, it's no concern for me.  I mean, worked hard to be in this situation, so why stress about it?  I want it and that's what I'm looking for, so I'm just going to go out there and try to do my best.

Q.  Do you take some confidence out of the fact that you've beaten her before in two finals?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I think it's very different.  You cannot really look back.  It's always difficult to play somebody you've beaten before.  They have extra motivation to beat you.
What's the most motivation you can have than playing in a Grand Slam final, right?

Q.  If you win tomorrow you'll take your first Grand Slam title and become world No. 1.  Are you ready for the pressure and the responsibility that brings?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  You guys love doing that, huh?  You know, let's talk about it tomorrow.  Then I'll tell you my feelings, okay?  Fair enough?

Q.  I'll ask you tomorrow.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Thank you.

Q.  Talk about your sort of physical transformation and some of the restrictions your coach placed on you.  I've heard he took away chocolate and whatnot when you first got together?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Oh, my God.  My coach has such a serious face, and he likes to say some crazy stuff.  Of course I eat chocolate.  I mean, what girl doesn't eat chocolate?
No, I mean, the restrictions, no.  It's just kind of try to figure out yourself the balance, you know.  Of course you're not going to go and eat a kilo of ice cream before your match.
You just have your own diet, trying to stay professional with everything, because the details are what's the most important at this level.
And fitness‑wise, yeah I've been doing a lot of hard work in the gym.¬† I think it's working out pretty well.

Q.¬† Stats tell us, Vik, that you've played six times; three wins each; you've got two wins each on hardcourts; you played twice last year and it's 1‑All.¬† What's going to be the difference?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  That you for educating.  I had no idea about that actually.  The difference, as I was saying before, in finals anything can happen.  It's different stage of a tournament.  It's a battle for giving really your all and how well you can manage it.
I don't really want to take the back experience.  Of course I know Maria's game; she knows my game.  So of course it's going to be a little bit of a similarity there.
But I mean, it's going to be a different match; whole different approach.

Q.  You've had a lot of success in Australia at different times in your career.  Is it a special place for you to play?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I guess so.  I won my first Grand Slam as a junior here, so it's always going to be very special place for me.

Q.  Brisbane, was that your first tour win as well?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Actually, that's true.

Q.  You're getting a lot of education today.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I know.  I really should follow my career a little bit.

Q.  Do you think it's fair that it's being promoted as the two screamers and two loudest girls on court, this final that's coming up?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Oh, my God.  Every, every press conference.  Can you surprise me sometimes with a different question?
No, I mean, whatever people call us, you know.  I respect every opinion.  That's it for me, you know.

Q.  You guys have been on the tour together six years.  Why has it come up now, the vocal thing?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I guess some people are just bored, you know.  They created that machine that can measure it.  So I mean, money well spent, huh?  (Thumbs up.)

Q.  You've played six matches against her.  Do you ever hear her from the other end?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Well, I'm not deaf.  Of course I hear her.  I'm sure she hears me.  And about another 15,000 people hear us maybe even further away.
Yeah, I mean, it doesn't bother me.  As I said, I respect every opponent.  Whatever they do, they try to do their best job.  I think that's fair enough.

Q.  Do you feel like you've matured a lot, too?  Do you feel a lot more mature and able to handle your emotions better now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah, for sure.  I had, how do you call that, meltdowns?  There you go.  (Smiling.)
Yeah, I had some.  For sure you can see some on YouTube.  But, you know, I grow as a player, I grow as a person, and I try to learn from my mistakes and make it better.
So I'm proud of what I'm doing.  I just want to keep going and keep raising that level.

Q.  Do you let yourself think about what it might feel like have to have that trophy tomorrow?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  It's too early.  Why go ahead?

Q.  Do you have to work to block that out and not imagine holding it and the being a part of it, not imagine being world No. 1?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  It's pretty easy, I mean, if you don't really think about it.  First I think I have a really tough match to play.  Whatever is the trophy or ceremony, it comes after.
Before the match nothing actually is going to happen.

Q.  How has your dancing been Melbourne?  You said you were working on your moves in Sydney.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah, I've been working on it every warmup before my match.  It's getting better.

Q.  Will we see any dancing on court if you win?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Probably.

Q.  You're normally listening to your iPod before you come on court.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah.  It's right here with me.

Q.  What do you think you will be listening to tomorrow before you go on court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Really will depend on how I feel.  There is not a particular song or superstition that I have.  It's just whatever I feel like singing, I feel like dancing.  Whatever comes in mind.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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