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January 22, 2012
V. AZARENKA/I. Benesova
THE MODERATOR:Â Questions, please.
Q.Â This was the third time you played in the first match of the day in the morning.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Yes.
Q.Â Are you getting used to these early starts or is it difficult to get going?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â No, I've been doing it for years already.Â It's fine for me.Â I adjust whenever I know the schedule.Â I adjust my sleep, my food.Â So for me doesn't matter which time or what part of the day to play.
Q.Â Do you feel like you're flying under the radar here a little bit at the tournament?Â There's focus on other players.Â Do you feel like you play better when there's not so much attention on you or does it matter at all?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â No, I mean, it's fair enough to have more attention on some players who haven't played in a little bit.Â A lot of people are kind of curious to see what form they are in.Â Of course, Serena is one of the biggest names, and like Kim.
For me, doesn't really matter.Â I try to focus on myself.Â Whatever happens happens.
Q.Â Have you ever felt better at a Grand Slam playing‑wise?Â Seems like you can't miss a ball.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It doesn't feel that way sometimes, but thank you for that.
No, I think I'm in the best shape physically right now, so it kind of helps other aspects of the game.Â I don't know.Â I feel pretty good out there.
Q.Â Meaning it's helping defensive points when you're not dictating at the beginning?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â It helps just the mindset, as well.Â I feel like I can play there as long as I need to play.Â I'm there on every point.
Q.Â Did you do anything different in the off‑season conditioning, fitness‑wise?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I have a fitness coach who I've been working with since summer, Mike.
Q.Â From LA?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Yeah.Â It's been like a real long period of time that we could work fitness specific.Â So that was I think different than what we were doing during the season, because you can't really push, especially in the end of the season.
Q.Â So you feel your endurance is better, you're faster, stronger?Â How do you feel?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I feel I look better.Â (Laughing.)
Q.Â Did you say you feel you look better?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Yeah.Â It helps confidence.
Q.Â So you watch yourself on TV and say, Oh, my God, I look great?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â During the off‑season, good angle, not so good, tighten it up (smiling).
No, I'm joking.Â But, of course, when you feel stronger, I feel faster.Â That's important that from matches to matches I feel I'm in the same shape, so it helps a lot.
Q.Â Sixth time in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam.Â You've been to the semis once.Â What are your expectations now for the next couple matches?Â Are you feeling good enough to go to the semis or beyond?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I take it match by match.Â I'm just going to be focused on my next match instead of focusing too much on what's going to happen after.
I have a tough match.Â I think I play Radwanska if she won yet.Â She was winning.Â She's very tough opponent.Â So just going to try stay focused and play the same way I've been playing previous rounds.Â That's it.
But, you know, it doesn't really make sense to jump ahead too much.
Q.Â You have a pretty long history with Radwanska, played her in Sydney.Â You know her really well.Â You're friends.Â She's a whole different type of player style‑wise.Â Talk about that.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Yeah, we had so many great matches, long matches, long rallies.Â I'm sure it's going to happen again.Â But I think she improved tremendously since the end of last year.Â You could see the difference.Â She became more aggressive.Â She improved her serve.
It's going to be a really tough battle.Â Mentally it's difficult.Â She's a very difficult player to play against.Â But we'll see.Â I mean, I'm going to be out there trying my best and fight hard.
Q.Â Could you talk a little bit about your coach, Sam, and the relationship you have with him.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â It's great relationship.Â We are great friends, if you can call it that.Â But I think he's a very good coach.Â For me he helped me so much, not only on court but off court, you know, try to manage my emotions, as well.Â He was the one who helped me a lot.
I don't know.Â We get along really well.Â I think it's going to be a long‑term thing.
Q.Â Is he tough?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Yes, he's tough.Â He can be really brutal sometimes.Â I'm serious (smiling).
Q.Â How is it for you when he's really brutal one day and the next day you need support emotionally?Â How does that kind of work?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Well, if he's brutal, he's brutal for a reason.Â If he's tough, he's tough for a reason.Â I don't try to find excuses and try to back out.Â I just try to accept.Â If I've done something wrong, I have to accept and move on.Â I have to be better.Â He has to challenge me, as well.
Q.Â But you'll argue with him.Â I assume you're not the type of person if someone says something to you to do everything this way, you think another way, I'm sure you express your opinion a little bit?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I think that's one of the most important things that player and coach has to have, is a compromise.Â I think the coach should take a player's side and look from the side of the player; the player has to look the other way, because the coach wants to make you better.
So sometimes you have to do things you don't like.Â If he tells you have to go and sit in the ice.Â Who likes that, right?Â But you have to do it.Â So I think the compromise and the communication is the most important thing.
Q.Â You haven't been very much tested since the beginning of the tournament.Â Is it a good point because you keep energy, or bad because you would like to have a big fight to prepare for the big moments?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think I've been tested.Â I mean, the score maybe sometimes doesn't say it, but I try to keep challenging myself.Â It's very easy to go from a 5‑2 lead, 5‑1 lead back to 5‑4, 5‑All.Â It's that challenge that you make yourself to commit and win that set with that score.Â So I think I've been challenged quite a lot.
But, as I said before, I take whatever I have.
Q.Â You said on court the other day Monfils is teaching you dance moves.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â We were playing an exhibition together.Â He's such an amazing athlete.Â He always has fun, you know.Â I think it's really important for everybody to do.
So he was dancing all the time.Â We had few parties.Â He was dancing.Â Put an iPod and was dancing.Â He was teaching me a few moves, like a Dougie and the Jerk and other things, like freestyle.
But, I mean, some stuff I have no idea how to do it, and I will never be able to do.Â But I'm getting better.
Q.Â You're ready for your Petkovic type dance after your win?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â It's a little different dance than Petkovic.Â She's a little more smooth.
Q.Â If you won the tournament, would you be willing to do a little bit of a dance?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â We'll see.Â As I said, I don't want to jump ahead.Â But why not?
Q.Â Who were you listening to on your iPod when you came out today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Today particularly I was listening to Keri Hilson song with Nelly, Lose Control.Â Kind of ironic.
Q.Â I heard Anna Kournikova is your big idol and she cares about you a lot.Â Is that true?Â How did you get to know each other so well?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I used to watch her when I was growing up, coming on tour.Â She's a very sweet person.Â She's a good friend of mine.Â I met her a few times in Miami because she lives there.
We always keep in touch.Â You know, I actually kind of have little bit of her style here of shorts, bringing back a little bit of her style.Â But I think she's a very nice person and I like her a lot.Â We get along well.Â So I hope to see her really soon actually in Miami.
Q.Â Is she coming to the tournament?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, she came last year to watch me play.Â She said she ate about two packets of gum because she was so nervous.Â It's like,Â Next time I might not come.
Q.Â Who would you like to see winning the men's tournament?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know.Â I mean, there are so many great players.Â But I think it would really be nice to see Andy Murray get one.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports