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February 17, 2012

Victoria Azarenka


V. AZARENKA/Y. Wickmayer
6‑0, 6‑4

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ You had a very clean first set, 6‑0, and then things get a little bit more complicated.テつ How did you leave the second set?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, the first set was‑‑ I would consider it as a perfect set.テつ You know, I was really going for every shot I could, and everything was working.
Second set I had opportunities in every single game.テつ I just couldn't really convert them.テつテつ But, you know, it's important the way I finished the second set.テつ It was the same way I started the match.
So, you know, you cannot play every single point perfectly, but, you know, she came back.テつ She started to go for her shots, which I was expecting it from her, as well.テつ But as I said, I'm glad the way I finished it.

Q.テつ One of the things yesterday and today, when you got into a little bit of trouble, you really kind of settled down, didn't let it get to you.テつ Even last year in Dubai‑‑ I think it was Dubai‑‑ I'd see moments where, you know, when you get in those same situations you were less certain, you get frustrated.テつ I mean, maybe you can talk about, you know, maybe part of your mental toughness.テつ It seems like you're much more mature‑‑ I don't know if that's the right word‑‑ or just more maybe mentally tough on court than maybe you were in the past.テつ I mean, do you feel that way and why is that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, definitely than last year.テつ Last year by this time I was a little bit of a mess.テつ You know, I couldn't control any of my emotions, and I didn't really enjoy any part playing tennis, but that's one thing that when I came back after Doha to Indian Wells I had to change, you know, was my mentality on court, the way I approached the match, the way I approached the tough moment.
I don't try to, you know, think why is it happening to me.テつ I just try to accept and deal with it, you know, deal with the situation.テつ You know, every opponent is going to try to beat me, beat the other players.テつ I just, you know, try to stay really focused on each moment because I know what ‑‑it doesn't matter what's the score is.テつ You always have a chance until the match is done.
So that's kind of really my approach for every match, and, you know, I'm trying to win every point I can.テつ Of course, I'm not going to win every point, but that's the mentality I'm trying to keep up.

Q.テつ When we wrote about the Australian Open, they talked about at one point‑‑ and they didn't say which year, but they said after Doha at one point you considered quitting.テつ Was that last year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, that was last year.

Q.テつ Talk about that.テつ So you went back home and your family kind of talked you out of it?テつ What happened?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, I mean, I lost a really, really bad match here and a few before that.テつ It was just not fun for me to do, because I'm the type of player that plays with a lot of passion, a lot of desire, you know.テつ Every time I was stepping on the court, it was like a misery to me.テつ I didn't really want to be in that misery.
So I just told my mom, I don't want to play anymore because it's not fun.テつ She's like, You know what?テつ I think maybe you're tired, you're burned out.テつ Just come home and see what happens.
And then a few long talks with my grandmother, and, you know, I kinda bounced back.テつ I realized there are more important things in life than just, you know, losing a tennis match.テつ It's just ‑‑I have to be, you know, honored that I play something that I love.テつ That's it.テつ I just have to enjoy it.

Q.テつ Also, you mentioned this earlier in the week, your fitness.テつ One of the commentators noted when you were out there, I think it was one of the 18‑shot rallies, and your opponent was kind of looking very tired after it.テつ You didn't show any signs of fatigue.テつ I mean, is your fitness, is it at a different level than it was a few months ago, as well?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Definitely.テつ It's improving, and that's one thing that I feel like I can improve it even more is my fitness, and I make sure that I'm really enjoying that part.
I worked really hard in the offseason.テつ I did way more fitness than I probably did tennis.テつ But, you know, I don't know.テつ I mean, we have just been doing, I guess, a very good job with my fitness coach, and it was one of the also parts that was maybe missing me from, you know, playing those big tournaments, because it's not only two weeks, it feels like three weeks, kind of, so I think I'm more stable in that way.

Q.テつ Obviously less injuries.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Hopefully, yeah.

Q.テつ I mean, like for fitness, is there anything with your routine that you've done that you didn't do before, I mean, in terms of specific weights or specific kind of routine?テつ When you mention fitness, can you be more specific that you did in the offseason that you maybe didn't do before?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I cannot really give you some magic thing that I did and it really works for me.テつ It's just a combination of whole‑body workout, you know.
I think tennis is one of the sports that you really use every aspect of your body.テつ It's not only footwork; it's not only power.テつ It's also explosivity, speed, and strength.
I think we did a very good evaluation and program to balance everything and kind of, you know, take me a little bit to be a better tennis athlete.

Q.テつ Can you talk a little bit about the semifinal match and the possibilities there?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, both opponents are difficult.テつ You know, Agnieszka, I have had so many tough matches with her, and we played three sets I think the last three matches.テつ She's a very difficult one to play with.
On the other hand, Christina is up‑and‑coming American, has nothing to lose and she's been showing some great tennis.
So I don't know.テつ We'll see how it goes, but I'm really excited to play either one of them.

Q.テつ Did you watch Christina play last weekend when you were there, Worcester?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Oh, yeah, of course.テつ I was cheering our team on, but, you know, as I said, she showed some excellent tennis, and, you know, we'll see how it goes.

Q.テつ We have three first‑time Grand Slam winner last year, and each of them signed some sponsorship deal.テつ Li Na got more than ten.テつ I wonder if your agent bring you some good news already?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ My agent is right there.テつ You can talk to her.

Q.テつ And also, can you talk about where does tennis rank in your country based on the popularity?テつ Do you feel you have already helped tennis get even bigger there?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I certainly hope so.テつ Tennis is actually pretty big in our country.テつ I think it's the second‑biggest sport after hockey.テつ We have a lot of great tennis schools and a lot of kids playing, so unfortunately not too many professionals yet, but hopefully there will be growing more kids and more involved to play.
There is actually two young girls that I, a little bit, mentor and help out, so I hope to see them on tour really soon.

Q.テつ In your Twitter, you said you have a new passion in photography.テつ Obviously every day you can see lots of pictures of your own on Internet and magazine and newspaper.テつ Do you comment, I really like this one, or, This picture is not that great?テつ Can you talk about that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, there are some ugly ones; there are some beautiful ones.テつ But I'm not the one to choose the pictures for the newspapers.テつ It's the newspaper's job.
I do love to take photos, and I have a friend who is going to teach me a little bit more to be more professional, because everything I do I try to do it as professional as possible.
So hopefully I will learn some more, and maybe you will see my work one day.

Q.テつ After the Australian Open victory, how has it affected you in terms of when you walk onto the court?テつ Do you feel differently now when you're taking on an opponent after having won that major?テつ Does it give you more confidence?テつ What kind of difference does that make for you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, the biggest difference, I don't get asked the question, Why you're No.テつ 1 without the Grand Slam?テつ That's the biggest difference I think I can feel.
Other than that, I mean, it's a number.テつ Of course it's a great thing to win the major, but as I mentioned before, I want to keep going the same way, and I am just hungry for the new ones to come.テつ I mean, it's a great feeling to have that, but, you know, it's time to move on and work harder to get another one.

Q.テつ Compared to maybe before the Australian Open, do you feel opponents are coming after you differently than they were before?テつテつ I mean, when you're on court, is there a big difference that you could attribute to being No. 1 or winning the Australian Open that maybe you didn't feel before?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Um, I think opponents have more motivation definitely to beat me, but I take it as a good challenge for me.テつ You know, I like challenge, and it's something that, you know, really motivates me as well to go and give my best every day.

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