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September 7, 2012

Victoria Azarenka


V. AZARENKA/M. Sharapova
3‑6, 6‑2, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ Well, how do you feel?テつ We're getting to the moment of truth.テつ Any butterflies in the stomach?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, the butterflies are a little bit gone already.テつ If it would be right after the match is a different feeling.テつ I had a little bit of time, you know, to settle and realize what I have done.
But definitely really proud of what I achieved today.

Q.テつ What were you thinking after the first set?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ What I was thinking?

Q.テつ Were you thinking, Oh, I have to turn this around?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I felt like towards the end of the first I was kind of getting a little bit better, you know, trying to find the momentum and getting more and more comfortable in the match.
So even though I lost the first set I felt like it was close.テつ I had a few opportunities; I missed them.
But once it finished, I kind of thought that, you know, I had to turn it around and start from zero like it's a new match.

Q.テつ Were you watching Serena's match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ No, I wasn't watching.

Q.テつ Maybe Serena is winning.テつ Could you talk about the match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, yeah, she almost won.テつ Definitely, you know, toughest opponent there is in the draw, and being in the final makes it even more difficult.
So definitely gonna be a tough one.

Q.テつ Why is she so difficult for you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, first of all, if you look at our record it says it all.テつ I mean, I haven't won in any last meetings, so I definitely need to find something to surprise her tomorrow, because she's in a great form, you know, feeling really confident right now.
You know, she has everything on her side.

Q.テつ Do you go out on court with confidence against her?テつ Because, you know, game to game it seems like you should play her a lot closer than you have the last two years.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I guess.テつ I mean, in Wimbledon I feel like the match was, you know, a lot closer.テつ There were opportunities for me to step it up.
But when I go to play against her I don't think that I'm playing against Serena.テつ I just try to go the same way and try to focus more on myself.
But you definitely know that it's gonna be, you know, a big adversity there on the court against you.テつ You have to be prepared to make sure you want to dig deep, you know, and accept the challenge.

Q.テつ What will you have to do well, do you think?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I have to, you know, try to return well, definitely.テつ (Smiling.)
And serve.テつ Because, well, with Serena it's not really the long rallies.テつ It's all about, you know, who grabs the first opportunity, who is more brave to, you know, step it up right from the beginning.

Q.テつ Maria said earlier today that she thought the big difference was that she couldn't get the ball back and in often enough on your serve; your serve was very effective against her in the third set.テつ Do you agree with that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, I think I served much better.テつ It was more commitment from me.テつ You know, I felt like I was creating, you know, those opportunities starting from my serve, which probably wasn't really the case at the beginning.
You know, I was just trying to place it well, not really going with the serve, with a plan on what I'm going to do next.
So I think that was a big change from my side on my serve.

Q.テつ How much do you enjoy playing against Maria?テつ Do you enjoy the challenge of facing her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: テつYeah.テつ I really do, you know, because that's what I feel like we play for, we live for, to play on these big stages against, you know, such champions.
You know, that feeling of winning a great battle is just priceless.

Q.テつ Is there a psychological factor tomorrow that you're going to have to shut the crowd out?テつ Because it is the US Open, and given the decrepit state of American tennis, I assume the crowd will be cheering her on as line the lone face of American tennis at this point.テつ Is that something you can put the ear plugs in and just do what you have to do tomorrow?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I will not really use ear plugs, but I definitely‑‑ you know, I wouldn't be surprised if ‑‑I would be surprised if it would be the other way, so I kind of know that already.
It's not the first time for me to kind of face that.テつ It's definitely gonna be the first time being in the US Open, but, you know, there is a lot of things that been for the first time for me in this year.テつ I just need to adjust and try to be, you know, who I am on the court.

Q.テつ You seem to be having a lot of fun here.テつ You're dancing; you have interesting people in your box; you're vivacious.テつ Has it been as much fun as it appears to us?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, sometimes it's not as fun, you know.テつ Especially in that first set today it wasn't that fun.テつ (Laughter.)
But I try to enjoy my moment.テつ I feel like I don't want it to end.テつ I'm living this great run, you know, this great opportunities that coming at me, that I just want to continue and enjoy that ride.
When I'm on the court, I feel like I'm in paradise, you know.テつ I'm in that most comfortable place I can be.テつ Why not enjoy it?

Q.テつ Does that still go back to that conversation you had with I think your grandmother?テつ Is that still in your mind, that turnaround that you had?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, I guess it's just the mentality change, you know, the approach change.
I just know how to prepare myself to be in that state of mind.テつ It's never always the same.テつ Sometimes to come up with that fire it takes a little bit more energy out of me or, you know, a little bit of adaptation, something that I have to bring myself.
But, yeah, the approach is there.テつ I enjoy playing on the court.テつ It's always there.

Q.テつ You play with that fabulous intensity out there, which is a huge asset.

Q.テつ But the crowd maybe doesn't always warm up to you tremendously.テつ We're here in the media capital.テつ What can you tell fans about Victoria, the young person as a person?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ As a person, I'm definitely not intense in real life, you know.テつ (Laughter.)テつ I'm much more calm.テつ I'm more much more easygoing.
As I mentioned before, this is who I am on the court.テつ This is what brings the best tennis out of me.テつ This is how I approach my matches.
You know, maybe if I would be just, you know, trying to smile every time and be ‑‑I would not be as focused.テつ I'm not really aware of how I am on the court, that intensity, or maybe that face of expression that I have because I can't see myself in the mirror when I'm there.
I just try to be in the zone.テつ That makes me comfortable to play.

Q.テつ And off the court you're calm and normal and laid back and all that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, very, very relaxed.

Q.テつ Has it been a process trying to find a balance between having fun and being in tennis?テつ Like at one point were you too much one or the other and you're sort of reaching that point, or have you always been able to balance?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I enjoy intensity on the court because that's how I play.テつ That's the zone I like to be in, you know, that makes me feel good.テつ It makes me play my best tennis.
So I do enjoy intensity on the court, because I'm a player who gives 100% on every moment on the court.

Q.テつ Was it feeling different after this match point compared to Australia and the semifinal?テつ Can you compare reaching your first final in Melbourne and here?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Definitely different.テつ Every time you don't really know what to do, how it's gonna come up.テつ It's just so natural it brings out those emotions, those feelings that you don't know.
It comes from somewhere so deep inside of you that you don't know what to expect from yourself.

Q.テつ Did you watch the Stosur final last year when she was in a similar position to you, a massive underdog against Serena, and she managed to produce the best tennis and get Serena off her game?テつ Did you watch that match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I watched very, very little.テつ Actually, I think I only watched the highlights.テつ Yeah, but she definitely showed some incredible tennis and showed so much heart.
But, yeah, it has nothing really to do with me because she's a different player.
My match tomorrow will depend on me and my opponent, not what happened a year ago, two different players.

Q.テつ Do you go back through the archives though and look at any video footage of yourself against Serena in the next 24 hours?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I don't want to be depressed.テつ (Laughter.)テつ I mean, there is not really something that you can look at.
But, no, I mean, it's just I'm going to have the same game plan with my coach as we did today and the days before.
I'm not really big fan of watching and scouting.テつ I like to watch tennis when it's live.テつ I do enjoy that.テつ But to look back, no.

Q.テつ It looks like the lessons on the shuffle have paid off.テつ Was he happy with your style out there?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I hope so.テつ We haven't really been practicing yet because I have been playing too many matches.テつ But, yeah, I have been doing some practicing back home with a friend of mine, as well.テつ I'm sure he appreciates that.

Q.テつ Given how well you've played this year at various times and in big matches, I would think tomorrow night going on court you at least want to be competitive; you don't want to walk off getting blown out.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ That's a silly question, no?テつ (Smiling.)

Q.テつ You can answer it, though.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I can answer it, for sure.テつ I think you know the answer better than me.テつ Of course I'm not gonna go on court and say, Oh, I wish I can win more games than I won last time, right?
I'm going always to win a match, no, and to do the best as I can.テつ The result will depend on how well I play or how well my opponent also played.テつ Those are kind of 50/50.
So definitely going with the mentality to win.テつ There is no other way.

Q.テつ When you have such a record against a player and someone like Serena, do you have to avoid the temptation of saying, I've got to change something and say, I've got to just be who I am and do what I do and trust that?テつ Is it difficult to not fall into the idea of how to do something different?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I've got to do something different, to be honest, you know, because the other times didn't really work for me.テつ So I definitely have to, you know, try to make sure that I'm the one who kind of dictates the play and try to, you know, control the match as much as possible.

Q.テつ Could you go back to the grandmother issue and talk about her a little bit?テつ Is she still working hard...
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ No, she's chilling now.テつ No, she's actually enjoying, you know, her life a lot.
We have this house outside of our city.テつ She, you know, spends a lot of time in nature.テつ She looks so much younger now that I have seen her.
Actually, I came to my brother's wedding and my grandma was, you know, with this beautiful dress and with the makeup on, and I was like, Wow, is that my grandmother or is this some really hot looking lady here?

Q.テつ So if she were hot and living the good life before maybe her advice might not have had the impact that it did.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I'm sure it would.テつ She's such a positive person.テつ It doesn't matter how she lives.テつ It's just the spirit that she has and the heart that she has.テつ It's just, you know, something that nobody will ever take away.

Q.テつ Can you tell us her name?

Q.テつ The other day you talked about the importance of your coach.テつ Now could you talk about the manager, how important it is for you to have a manager who knows about tennis well and very close to you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ You know, my team around me is very close people to me.テつ We don't treat each other as the people who work only.テつ We are more like a family that have, you know, a goal to reach same way.
So we're all really close.テつ We go through good times and bad times together, and I feel like it's important to have the people who understand you, who wants the best for you around you.
Because, I mean, honestly I spend so much more time with them than with my family.テつ So that mental help, that closeness that we have, it definitely helps to know that when I go on the court, you know, I have a couple of people behind me supporting me no matter what.

Q.テつ You talk about your grandmother a lot.テつ How much do you talk to your parents about career and how much is it just, you know, kind of personal on how you're doing, that type of thing?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ You mean like my matches?

Q.テつ Yeah.テつ Like after a big win or a big loss do you go to mom or dad or whatever?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, I talk to my mom actually more than I talk to my dad, because, I don't know, my mom is always watching.テつ My dad is not always watching because he gets too nervous.テつ (Smiling.)
But I always keep in touch with them.テつ They're my biggest fans, for sure.テつ My mom can give me sometimes some advice, but she doesn't want to be ‑‑she doesn't want to play that role of a coach or somebody else because she knows I have a great team around me.
She just want to support me as my mom, and she always tells me, I want you to be happy.テつ If playing tennis or whatever makes you happy, you know, that's the best.

Q.テつ Have you thought about flying them in to New York or Australia or another slam just so they could see you in person, or would it make you too nervous to have them in your box?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ You mean like for tomorrow?

Q.テつ Sure.テつ Well, they're too far away, but a couple days ago when you were getting into the semifinals maybe.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I don't think there is really a point.テつ My mom came for Olympics and she stayed all the way through.テつ I don't feel like just for one match to bring them all the way here, plus my dad would be like, I'm not flying that far anyway.
But I definitely like when they come to the tournament.テつ I just always feel sometimes that I need to make sure that I give them so much of my attention because they're my parents.テつ It's a little bit difficult to manage with the recovery and time off court.

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