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March 18, 2012

Victoria Azarenka


V. AZARENKA/M. Sharapova
6‑2, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ That trophy looks very heavy.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ It is.テつ You can try it.テつ No?

Q.テつ Almost perfect match again for you; few unforced errors; you dictated pretty much; didn't let her into the match.テつ Seems like you get in these big spots now and you can't seem to lose.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I was really actually nervous before the final, you know.テつ Um, I knew Maria played some excellent tennis this week.テつ She's always very tough opponent to play.
What was important for me, you know, to try to put as much pressure on her, not to really let her into the match, because, you know, when she has a little window open she always gonna take the opportunity and she's gonna fight no matter what the score is.テつ I always know that.
So I really had to stay on my feet and keep putting that pressure and playing my game.テつ It was a little bit difficult with the wind to control, but I handled the situation really good, and I'm really happy that I went through with this determination.

Q.テつ We were talking in the press room, and no one can figure out how anybody can beat you.テつ How do you think anybody can ever beat you the way you're playing now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I don't know.テつ I actually haven't thought about it, but I think it would be really interesting to play myself, you know, just actually for my own improvement to see‑‑ to figure out the way to beat myself so I can improve even more.
Honestly, I cannot really tell you anything about that.

Q.テつ It's no secret that many players atop the WTA rankings in recent years have struggled either to stay there or to win slams.テつ You've won a slam and now you seem to be staying there and using No. 1 as a springboard in a very confident way.テつ Why do you think you've been able to handle being No. 1, or it seems that way, in comparison with others?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I don't ever like to compare to anybody.テつ You know, as I said before, I try to take my own path and my own way of handling things.
You know, I know it's never gonna be easy, so every match I take it as important as any match it is, if it's the final of Australian Open or the first round.テつ You know, I could have been out here in the first round.
But that's the importance of being on top of the game when you're not playing your best.テつ You know, trying your best every time, every point.
So I just really focused on every match at a time.テつ I'm not thinking too much ahead, that, you know, I'm No. 1, I have to continue winning or something.テつ I'm just trying to be the best player and the best person I can be on every single day.
That's kind of what works for me.

Q.テつ Talk about just being No. 1.テつ Is that something that you're comfortable with, that feels good, or...
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ It doesn't hurt.テつ (Smiling.)テつ Trust me, it doesn't hurt.
But, you know, it's a number.テつ It's what it is.テつ This is the position that I work really hard for.テつ It's always been my dream to be that.
I just try to improve myself every day, you know, to hopefully hold it for as long as I can.

Q.テつ What were the conditions out there in the second set?テつ As you're trying to wrap it up, it's getting cloudier and darker.テつ Were you trying to get it in before the rain comes?テつ Were you thinking about that at all?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Actually, I wasn't thinking about that.テつ It was a little bit chilly, and it didn't seem like nice desert today too much.
No, I didn't think about the rains coming.テつ I was just, you know, trying to focus on every point, one point at a time, one game at a time.テつ That's it.
You know, it could have been three sets; could have been two sets.テつ I was just trying to stay in the moment.

Q.テつ This time last year at this tournament you were forced to retire against Caroline.テつ You win Miami, and from time pretty much to here you've kind of gotten rid of the retirements and a lot of the injuries.テつ Talk about that.テつ Because 2009‑2010 wasn't so easy for you physically.テつ Now that you're healthy, seems like you're able to winch more consistently now.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, injuries, there's something that you normally never expect, you know.テつ You don't know when it's gonna happen.テつ So you just try to prevent it as much as possible.
You know, I have been learning a lot more about my body, you know, how to warm up, how to handle myself in the different situations.
So a lot of experience also helped me, you know, to really know how to handle myself, you know.テつ Because sometimes you feel you have pain and you feel it's injury, but maybe it's not.テつ It's just tight.
So this process about learning about your body, it really help me out a lot.テつ And also, you know, the scheduling and the way I train, the physical condition, you know, helps a lot, plus hopefully stopped growing for a while now, finally.
So that kind of helps, too.

Q.テつ Obviously you've been winning a lot.テつ There are a few players you don't have winning records against:テつ Caroline, Venus, Kvitova.テつ Do you want to face those players and challenge yourself?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Of course I'd love to play any of them.テつ For me, the bigger challenge it is the more exciting it is.テつ That's what I'm looking for, you know.テつ And the players who I played this year wasn't easy, as well.テつ But of course I would love to take that challenge.

Q.テつ Specifically what did you learn from that tough go with Serena at the Open?テつ How will you play against her the next time you face her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ That's a nice one to ask, how I'm gonna play.テつ I have no idea.テつ Actually, I haven't thought about it until I actually face that adversity.テつ I don't try to really think about it too much, you know.
So I know she's a very difficult player to play.テつ I mean, she's a great champion.テつ So, you know, I will have to definitely bring the best out of myself to beat her.

Q.テつ You say being No. 1 is just a number.テつ What's the nicest thing about being No. 1?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Um, I don't know.テつ That you don't really have to find yourself in the draw anymore, you know.テつ It's the first one.テつ (Laughter.)
It's the first one out there, so that's pretty much it.

Q.テつ You have handled Maria and she's a tough opponent, but in finals before you've handled her and you were able to move her side to side pretty effectively.テつ Is that a matchup, because of your mobility, that you relish that moment with her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I don't know.テつ I think Maria is one of the toughest players to play out there, and I think her game and her determination, her mentality, especially, you know, she's such a fighter it brings the best out of me, you know.
I feel like I always have to be at my best level and my highest performance to beat her.テつ So I think that kind of motivation, I guess, you know, brings out the best tennis in me.

Q.テつ Your winning streak has been compared to Novak's last year.テつ One of the questions with Novak last year was going into the clay where he had never done that great as to whether or not he could sustain it; he did all the way up through Roland Garros.テつ With you, you've been a great hard court player, maybe not done so well on clay.テつ Can you talk about the challenge of playing in clay and winning big tournaments on clay?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Actually, I think I did pretty well last year on clay.テつ It was the best year for me on clay that I've done before.テつ So I actually like the surface.
You know, I'm gonna have a mini preseason before the clay tournaments, and that's it.テつ I'm really looking forward to it.テつ It's, as I said, another challenge for me, something to go over my limits, taking me out of my comfortable zone, if you can call it that, you know.
I really have to push myself to improve in that situation.テつ So there is nothing that's really gonna stop me from improving.テつ That's it.

Q.テつ What tournament will you play on clay before the French Open?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, for sure I'm gonna play Rome and Madrid, the ones that are mandatory.テつ Stuttgart, probably.テつ So we'll see.

Q.テつ Three?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, it's a lot.テつ Yeah.

Q.テつ Earlier in the week you were asked whether you were going to go undefeated this year, and you laughed.テつ So are you ready now to do it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I'm gonna laugh again, and I'm go gonna tell you exactly what I answered before:テつ I'm taking it one at a time.

Q.テつ You seem very happy these days.テつ Is this really a lot of fun for you, the winning, the No. 1, the undefeated?テつ Does it improve you, you know, sort of as a person, mood, all of that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Um, mood, yeah.テつ I mean, you cannot really complain or be, I don't know, sad when you're winning, right?
But for me, it's important to stay humble and to know that what I have been doing is working, you know, and don't forget those little details, and being disciplined, professional off the court is as important as being determined and, you know, really hard working on the court.
I just, you know, really like to stay humble.

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