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March 9, 2012
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
V. AZARENKA/M. Barthel
6‑4, 6‑7, 7‑6
THE MODERATOR:Â Questions, please.
Q.Â All about survival, huh?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â That's exactly what it was, it was survival.Â But, you know, it's a good feeling also to come after a match like this with a win, because, I mean, I could have been already beating myself up somewhere in my house after losing.
But I'm here, you know, and I got through.Â That's I think a good sign.Â You know, to win when you're not playing your best it's, you know, more joyful.
Q.Â What happened to the serve, especially in the game with the three doubles?Â Can you even figure out what happened in that game?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â It was three doubles in a row, so it's six serves in a row that I missed.Â I don't know.Â I mean, today my game was not at the best as well as the serve was not at the best.
My return was not at the best, but as I said, the most important is what I had in the end, and in the end, everything got better.Â I got through, and I'm happy that I went through this tough battle.
Q.Â Is this the most difficult match you won this year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Well, by the score, for sure.Â But, I don't know, it's‑‑ you know, I had a lot of matches already, and every one I have a special memory about.Â But it's definitely was one of the ones that I really didn't play my best.
But as I said, I'm really happy that I went through.
Q.Â You have played her a couple times this year and your level maybe wasn't at its best, but do you feel like she's improved or improving or...
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Yeah, I think she played unbelievable tennis, definitely.Â The best of our previous matches.Â I have to give her a lot of credit for making me, you know, also not playing well.Â She really stepped it up and showed some incredible strokes, serve, you know, so all the credit to her.
I think she's improving.Â I mean, I never really heard much about her before this year.Â I mean, obviously I have to play every tournament against her now, but, yeah, she's definitely one of the players who are, you know, coming up and very dangerous.
Q.Â You were up 5‑1 and then I think two points away in the second set.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Yeah, I also had a match point.
Q.Â She did something differently or you did differently?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I think it was a combination of both.Â She played well; she stepped it up.Â Of course, she had nothing to lose.
Me, I just, you know, wanted to go for my shots but didn't go for my shots, so I hesitated too much.
Q.Â Were you mad at yourself for having to play a third set after the second set got away?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Well, I wasn't really happy myself.Â I didn't want to high five myself, but that's what it was, you know.Â I had to, you know, stay in the match.Â It was really difficult beginning of the third set to stay in the match, but, you know, that's what it is.
Q.Â Is it fair to say maybe even at this time last year that's not a match you would have been able to pull out?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Definitely not probably.Â As I said, I would be probably trying to skip the press conference and go back somewhere and hide and drive really fast.Â I don't know.Â But definitely, yeah.
I mean, it's important to find a way to win a match when you're not playing well or things are not going your way.
Q.Â You probably have been asked this a billion times, but...
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â So you just want to ask me again, right?Â Okay.Â Let's do it.Â Billion and one.
Q.Â Could you just recount the moment when you encountered your grandmother and going through great struggles and she gave you advice and told you to get with it.Â Could you talk about that, please?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Yeah.Â I mean, she just, you know, really changed my perspective of life a little bit.Â I really started to look at things differently because, you know, there's no really time to complain when you're so lucky to be able to do something that you love and you're actually good at it.Â You just have to work hard and enjoy being here.
Q.Â And what did she say to you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Absolutely nothing related to tennis, I can tell you that.Â I don't think you can really write something about that.Â She was just telling me about her life, about my mom's life, about, you know, different situations in life, what's happening not only to her, to different people.
It just made me realize that, you know, why am I complaining about losing a tennis match when people really struggle with some difficult moments?
It was really that moment also with Japan what happened last year.Â It was like, you know, people are really trying to survive for their life and I'm complaining about tennis match.Â I mean, such a wuss.Â Come one.Â Give it up.Â Get it together.
Q.Â For somebody who used to have a temper, you, and would get frustrated, in the third set today can you actually enjoy the battle or do you find yourself still getting frustrated?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I don't think I was at my best in the first two sets with my approach, mental approach, but the third set I got much better.
Actually, as you say, I enjoyed playing more, and I enjoyed playing a tougher battle that I knew I had to overcome because I'm losing already.Â I was in the winning position; now I'm losing.
So I really have to fight hard and dig deep.Â I just, you know, looking forward to play every point.
Q.Â Being No. 1, do you feel like a greater responsibility to win these matches because you're No. 1?Â You don't want to be the No. 1 ranked player who lost her first match here?Â Does that make a difference?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I don't really care about that.Â As you can see, Mona was really motivated to beat me today.Â She really played incredible tennis.Â That's another thing that I have to learn from.
Q.Â Your next match.Â You're playing Svetlana.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Okay.Â Thank you for telling me that.Â I didn't know.
Yeah, well, it's going to be a tough one.Â We haven't played in a long time, so I'm really looking forward to it.Â Tomorrow, I don't have a match.Â Go back on the tennis court and try to improve a little bit.Â It's going to be tough match, for sure.
Q.Â Irina Falconi was talking to us here yesterday, and she said Azarenka is the only one who is winning a lot of matches.Â She seemed to set you apart from all the other women.Â Do you feel that's an accurate summation of where you are at the moment?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Um, well, thanks to Irina for that.Â I guess because of my match record that's what it stands out for, but there are other girls who are winning a lot of matches.
Actually, my opponent, she actually won more matches than me I think this year.Â She just‑‑ I just lost less.
But, I don't know.Â I mean, I don't actually know what to say about that.Â I'm just trying to look at my own path, at my own results, and not really pay too much to the others.
Q.Â Can you remember being on the other side of the equation, like a young player against a top player and serving for the match, can you remember what that kind of felt like?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Yeah.Â I remember.
I choked a lot.Â (Smiling.)Â And I lost a lot of matches.Â I mean, it was a learning experience, I guess.Â I'm sure Mona can learn a lot from today's match.Â It was a great experience.
I had bad losses, but, you know, I think it's a good‑‑ as I said earlier, you learn a little bit more from your losses than from your wins because you look more into details than when you win.
Q.Â Obviously a match like today is not only physically but mentally taxing.Â After going through something like that, do you feel like you are mentally stronger now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â For sure.Â I think I won this match mentally more than physically or tactically or whatever.Â That was really what brought me a win today, my fighting spirit, till the last moment.
Q.Â You're obviously known for your intensity on court, and yet at the final of the Australian Open when you finally won, there was this incredible moment when you seemed to be saying, Oh, my god, and there was this photo of you ‑ I don't know if you can see it ‑ one of the great photos in tennis recently.Â Could you just reflect on that moment when you finally won?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I felt just like so relieved that it was over.Â That intensity, that you're like, you know, really stressed and you're so into the match, you're in the zone, and then when it's over, you're like, everything drops.Â Your energy just kind of loses your body.
That's how I felt.Â I just lost all the energy and I was just‑‑ I didn't know what to do.Â I had no ‑‑ not emotions.Â I had so many emotions overwhelming that I didn't know exactly what I was feeling, you know.
So it took me about a few days to realize what I have done, because in my moment it was just everything was happening so much, so quick, and I couldn't, you know, enjoy that precious moment.
Q.Â Do you think you'll remember that moment for the rest of your life?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Oh, for sure, for sure.
Q.Â Can you talk about the doubles partnership with Petra and how it came about?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Oh, it came about like our coaches agreed.Â You know, we played our first match yesterday.Â It was great experience.Â We had a lot of fun.Â It was just, you know, it was really easy‑going.
It's great to have a partner who can hit so hard that I don't need to do anything.Â You know, it was a funny story that she hit‑‑ I don't know, I think she ripped down the line some shots just to make a clear winner.Â I just didn't even see the ball.
I said to her, Wow, that was a bomba, and she started laughing.Â It was funny.
Q.Â Was there any strategy?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â She's just, oh, I just tried.Â Yeah, just make a winner.Â Okay.Â High five.Â Okay.Â I tried to make one, too.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports