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January 26, 2012

Victoria Azarenka


V. AZARENKA/K. Clijsters
6‑4, 1‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ How proud are you that you ended the third set so well?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I was really, really happy to win the match, you know.テつ I think it was really difficult third set.テつ There was a lot of ups and downs, but in a good way, you know.
She was coming with some incredible shots; I was really going for it.テつ So it was really important to get that 5‑3 lead, you know, and keep on putting pressure.
Of course, really happy.テつ You could see it after my match.

Q.テつ What were your thoughts when you won that last point?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ You know, I kept thinking, What are my thoughts?テつ It's so many, you know.テつ You're just like relieved and you're happy and you're like excited.テつ There's so much going on through your mind that you just can't pick one thing what's really happening to you.
But definitely relief and a lot of joy.

Q.テつ It's been a long time you've waited for this moment.テつ How are you going to turn this around and make sure you get back on the job, not let those emotions overtake you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I'm still in the tournament so I have my mind still in the tournament.テつ You know, today was not the end.テつ I have one more match to go.テつ I have to stay humble and stay focused.テつ So that's it.

Q.テつ How badly have you wanted this opportunity?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I really want it bad, you know.テつ It was difficult, you know, to get back in the match, to keep fighting, keep going.
But that's, you know, what it's all about.テつ It's all worth it.

Q.テつ That's got to be the biggest win of your career, beating a four‑time Grand Slam champion in the semifinals, no?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, it was definitely one of them.テつ It's also very different because it was such a different stage for me of the tournament, especially in a Grand Slam.
So, yeah, it's huge.

Q.テつ Was that the toughest match in your career to end it up?テつ You mentioned on the court you were nervous.テつ Was that maybe the toughest one?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I don't know if it's the toughest one, but it's really one of the most emotional ones probably.
I think every single person experienced that, you know, having that nerves that coming.テつ But it just a matter how much you deal with it, how you deal with it.
You know, I don't think you have to deny it because it happens to everybody.テつ You just have to try to control it.

Q.テつ What did you think after the second set when Kim was so dominant?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, you know, she was really dominating.テつ She made me run so much, I felt like I was, you know, running like a marathon out there.テつ I just tried to start to be more aggressive and try to play my game and, yeah, start from the beginning.
I have one more set to go.テつ I have another, I don't know, hour, 30 minutes, 40 minutes to make a difference.テつ That was my mental approach.

Q.テつ How much do you think the fitness work you did in the post‑season contributed to coming out tougher in the end?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I think it was a huge push, you know, for me.テつ Definitely one of the biggest things I've done.テつ It helped me mentally to know that I can handle it.テつ I can play for as long as I need.
So that was really big and important moment to stay tough out there.

Q.テつ Almost every player will say, I believe in myself, I believe in my game.テつ But sometimes, especially when they're younger, maybe they don't really understand the circumstances.テつ Is there a difference now when you say, Yes, I believe that I can go beat someone like Kim, than maybe like a couple years ago?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I think there is a difference between saying it and feeling it, you know.テつ You really have to trust.テつ You really have to feel it, you know.
Not because, Oh, I believe I'm going to do it.テつ No, you just have to work your way through it and always try to make that extra during practice, because it's not coming in one day.
Even if you believe one million percent, it's not going to happen.テつ It's a lot of hard work.テつ Those details, that confidence that you do off the tennis match, you know, makes you believe and being more confident, I think.

Q.テつ Can you talk about facing Sharapova or Kvitova in the final?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I don't know who's going to win, so I think it's going to be a different approach from each one of them.
As I mentioned before, I really have to be focused on myself.テつ Whoever's on the other side is going to make trouble, no matter who that is, and they're going to try to win.
For me it's important to stay positive and stay on the same track:テつ focused.

Q.テつ Do you feel better playing against each one?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I think it doesn't really matter, you know.テつ In finals can happen anything.テつ So we'll see who I play, then I'll adjust.

Q.テつ Do you remember your first ITF events in Israel in 2003?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ You mean the 10,000s?

Q.テつ Yes.

Q.テつ You must have been really small then, huh?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I was really small.テつ I remember even few girls who are playing quallies here, I was playing with them.テつ They were kicking my ass.

Q.テつ What were you doing over there at such a young age?テつ Most of the kids are playing juniors then.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ You know, I think I turned to the pro tour really early.テつ I was 16.テつ When I just turned 16 I was playing full‑time on tour already.テつ I finished juniors when I was 15.
I never played the tournament under‑16 because there was no really point to play that.テつ I don't know, I was just trying to grow and see how I can handle, you know, and just to mix it up a little bit.テつ That's it.
I mean, in juniors I was playing pretty good.テつ Just wanted to already step up a little bit.

Q.テつ In a sense, you're still very young.テつ But you've been on the tour almost 10 years now.テつ Can we call you a veteran?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ 10 years, that's too much actually.
Yeah, I mean, I was just in Thailand.テつ We were counting.テつ I was six full years on the tour when I'm just 22 years old.テつ That's pretty impressive, you know.テつ It feels a long time.
But, I don't know, I'm glad to be here.

Q.テつ Is there any extra satisfaction knowing that you've knocked out the defending champion here?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I don't know.テつ I don't think about it that way, you know, that I knocked out somebody.テつ Just for me it was important to overcome that challenge and that obstacle.
Kim is such a tough player.テつ That was important.

Q.テつ The legs thing that your manager is tweeting at you, what is that all about?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Ask her.テつ She is there.テつ She is just really jealous of my legs (laughter).テつ I mean, she has a beautiful body and all, but she just doesn't have that maybe length of my legs, so she's jealous (smiling).

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