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October 24, 2012

Victoria Azarenka


6‑7, 7‑6, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ Have you played in a better match that you can remember?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ A better match?

Q.テつ Yeah.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I think so.テつ It was definitely a great fight.テつ You know, I'm more proud of the way I handled and stayed in that match, because all those emotions kind of overcome the hitting shots and moving around.
It's just that fight, that tension that you have throughout the match, it's just, I don't know, overwhelms the rest.

Q.テつ There were kind of so many ups and downs, but the two shots you played at match point down, I mean, they were pretty special, weren't they, in terms of quality of shot and choosing to play those two shots when you had to play them?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, I felt like it was a lot of up and downs, because Angelique played sometimes a little bit more safe and made me run too much.テつ Sometimes she just went for her shots from some angles that I didn't even expect that.
I think what was also the biggest difference from our previous matches was she was serving incredible.テつ In the key moments, she was just going for it.テつ I felt like I still could have returned a little bit better.
She provoked a lot of mistakes from me which was also not very pleasant for me, but on the match points I just thought I had to go for it.テつ She will not miss, so I didn't have to wait for her mistake.テつ I had to go for it.
I was so determined to make it happen.テつ I wanted to change the momentum.テつ I wanted to take the kind of destiny into my hands.テつ You know, if I would have missed those shots it will be up to me, not up to my opponent.

Q.テつ Everyone was getting very excited and they were on Twitter about the match.テつ They were having some comparison with your comeback with Djokovic, it was a Djokovic comeback because you were hitting winner left and right.テつ What do you think about this comparison?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I felt like there are a few comparisons with me and Djokovic, especially this last year.テつ But I don't ever want to take any of his credit for his amazing wins and those comebacks.
I just did my own.テつ I think it was pretty remarkable.テつ But it's different.テつ It's women's game.
But, you know, I'm just really pleased that not maybe playing your best tennis you kind of feel more satisfied than if maybe you would have played your best tennis.

Q.テつ A lot of people were comparing this as one of the best matches of the year with the scoreline and the intensity and the crowd and everything.テつ You also seemed sort of frustrated with some of your tennis at certain points.テつ How do you come down on how good this match was and how good you played?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I think it was amazing too for the crowd, for our game, to see those kind of battles, you know.テつ No matter what the score was, there was always opportunity to go for winner.テつ There wasn't like any slack.テつ I felt honestly like that.
So I don't know.テつ I feel really proud that I was part of this match.テつ Maybe didn't seem so good when you are in the court when you miss couple of shots.テつ Doesn't seem as pretty.
But I felt that the match was really high quality from both of us from the first point to the last.テつ I feel it's important for the game and important for me to get kind of awake in the first match.
So, yeah, I'm happy I went through that.

Q.テつ How satisfying is it for you to play in this sort of tournament, this high‑stakes, top‑eight tournament with a crowd that's that's loud and involved in the match the whole way?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I think it can always change the momentum.テつ It can always help you to be more energetic, kind of more believe in yourself you can do it.
Honestly you feel like you don't want to leave the court because the atmosphere is so good.テつ I guess that's why I stayed for three hours.
But it's incredible, the atmosphere there that we go through.テつ To be the last tournament of the year you have to give it all.テつ I just hope we have more such exciting matches later in the week.

Q.テつ What is more satisfying for you:テつ this win or this award?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ (Laughter.)テつ Both.テつ I will take everything.テつ You know, this is very unexpected for me.テつ As I was joking, you know, two years ago I was fined for missing a press conference, and today I'm sitting here receiving an award.
So I feel like there's been a lot of improvement on that side from me, and I'm really happy about that.

Q.テつ Do you think to have survived a match like that shows how far you've come physically, emotionally, mentally in the last 18 months?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I think so.テつ It's part of growing, part of having a lot of experience.テつ Like at match points I had still clear mind what I had to do, and it takes time to go through that and to learn those things.
So definitely helped a lot.

Q.テつ You lost your first set since the final in US Open after 26 straight sets.テつ Did it feel strange or different?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I don't know.テつ I didn't know that statistic really.テつ I felt like it was in my hands, kind of in my hands the first set.テつ I let it slip away a little bit.
But I have to give a lot of the credit to Angelique.テつ She provoked those mistakes, few that I did.テつ She went for her shots and made her winners.
I'm a little bit disappointed with myself, but I turned it around.テつ That's important.テつ I don't like to look back too much.テつ I definitely will take into consideration the thing that I didn't do quite well in the first set.

Q.テつ Is it somehow very special that tomorrow obviously you're playing Serena, a win for you will guarantee a No. 1 ranking and obviously she the player of the second half of the year.テつ Does that make it a very special occasion for you and in a sense one that's easier to get up for rather than playing someone else?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I don't know.テつ I think it's always kind of special when I play Serena.テつ We always play on the bigger stages with her, so this is also another big stage.テつ Tomorrow it's going to be another day, you know, a little bit different condition.テつ We never played indoors, so I'm looking forward to that.
I don't really think about the ranking.テつ I actually didn't even know that.テつ So I will just try to focus on my game, because after the game it will be decided.テつ It's kind of out of my hands before I control what happens on the court.

Q.テつ You talked about having to go for your shots when you were match point down.テつ Is that something that you've always kind of mentally been able to do, or is that something that's evolved over time, having that courage and knowing you can't leave it on the court, you've got to go for it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I think it comes with experience.テつ It comes with being in those situations and being in probably the opposite of those situations when you have match points and you feel somebody goes for it.
So it's kind of a I feel like a learning experience I went through quite a lot.テつ I had match points I lost; I saved match points I lost.テつ So it definitely helped me to have a better understanding of what you have to do so.
As I said, you have a much clearer mind on those special occasions.

Q.テつ And then just talking about crowd, which a lot of the players have been extremely complimentary about, what's so unique about the crowd at the Championships in Istanbul as opposed to Stanford or Toronto or something like that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, I think the last tournament of the year where it's kind of all the best players in the world and they fight for this last trophy, it's going to be always special no matter where it is.
But this crowd is unbelievable.テつ I mean, they are so into it, and it helps us as players kind of to stay alive out there, you know.テつ To go on the court, I was really nervous going on the court today.テつ I felt like, Oh, my God, I cannot wait to get out there and feel this whole atmosphere.
It kind of worked a little bit against me so I didn't start so well my match, but later on it just gives you a boost of energy.テつ It's spectacular to kind of feel that there are so many people just watching that.
Before actually the matches start they were so excited to be here.

Q.テつ I was curious about something you said earlier comparing getting this award to being fined for skipping a press conference.テつ You seem a lot more comfortable behind the microphone now.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, I got to know all of you guys.テつ (Smiling.)

Q.テつ Is that all it is, more time up there, or have you been working on things to get better at this?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Both.テつ I feel like I was just a little bit shy.テつ I didn't really know how to handle that.テつ Nobody really educated me how to speak to media.
I started to be more myself and started to show my real personality, which I think helps.テつ I don't try to be a creative image of somebody.テつ I'm just trying to be myself now.

Q.テつ It sounds strange to us, because as media we consider a lot ourself sometimes.テつ It's about one week we are talking about you with the possibility to win two matches and become No. 1 of the world at the end of the year for sure.テつ You say just before that you didn't know it.テつ I mean, you don't read about the stats, the fact that if you beat Serena tomorrow you'll be definitely No. 1?テつ You said you didn't know it.テつ I mean, it's strange to us.テつ We have been writing every day about this.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I read articles, I do.テつ I read how Neil sometimes posts pictures as well.テつ I enjoyed last night how you were backing up all the way to the hotel.テつ (Laughter.)
No, I never actually go and look in the rankings honestly.テつ I stopped doing that about five years ago.テつ A friend of mine said, Just look at your ranking in the end of the year and see how it's going to be so you don't feel that pressure that you have to be better or something.
Since then, I actually stopped looking at it.テつ Of course I know that I'm No. 1.テつ It's hard to miss.テつ But I don't even know sometimes whose 5, 6.テつ It's not as important for me.テつ For me, important is to go out there and play matches.
Trust me, I do read a lot of articles.テつ I like the criticism sometimes.テつ It's refreshing.テつ Kind of helps you to sometimes get angry and perform better.
So I enjoy.テつ (Smiling.)

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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