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QATAR TOTAL OPEN


February 11, 2013


Victoria Azarenka


DOHA, QATAR

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Having had time to assess what you did and what happened in Australia, is that any different from your immediate verdict?  It was a great achievement to win, but you had a rough ride during some of the tournament.  Do you have any delayed thoughts about all of that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  No, not really.  I mean, everything what happened has happened, you know.  You cannot take back anything, and there's nothing really to talk about.
You know, I really lived that moment through everything.  You know, you just take experience, and you live throughout the whole journey.  It's never a smooth ride for anybody.  It's going to be a little bit bumpy.
So it's been, you know, very special moment, for sure, to just come back and repeat what I have done the year before.  It was extra special.  In the way it happened, it's definitely not easy.  I'm glad I went through that.

Q.  Do you think the Vika now is different from the Vika of two or three years ago who might not have dealt with that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:¬† Yeah, I think so.¬† I think I learned throughout the years‑‑ you know, I also grow, and only still 23 years old, so there is a lot of time I can improve.
But with all the years, you know, I really give myself a chance to learn and to improve.¬† Not only tennis‑wise but physically, mentally.
So it's definitely something that defines me more as a player.  I try to write my own script, my own story, not letting anybody else define the player who I am.

Q.  You seem to enjoy playing here in Qatar.  How does it feel to be back?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  It feels great.  I have been here in December practicing for two weeks, and it's always amazing hospitality, you know, going back from the tournament that was, you know, the Championships.  So I always love coming back here.  It's a great event and always very tough field.
Yeah, I enjoy.

Q.  You have had a great 2012.  You're fresh coming from the second Australian Open.  Who do you think can stop you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  That's a good question.  I don't know.  I don't try to think about who's going to stop me.  I just really try to focus on doing my job.
Whoever is going to be in front of me, I'm trying to beat.  I will never think of who is going to stop me.  I'm just going to think that who I have on the other side who can't stop me.

Q.¬† You know, obviously Australia was very big, but you didn't have a chance to face Serena in the final, which probably would have been a great challenge.¬† I mean, you have had a tough run against her.¬† What would it mean to beat her‑ I mean, this isn't anything like Australia or any of the majors‑ just to beat her here and kind of get that off your back a little bit?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I wasn't going to meet her in the finals, anyway.  In the semifinals, if that would be possible.
For me, it doesn't matter.  If I have Serena any tournament, I would love to play against her any given day, because I think she's a great champion, great challenge to have.
It's not really my fault she didn't make it, you know, for us to play together.  But I'm sure we're gonna have more matches in the future.  If it happens here, it happens here.  If it happens any other week, other week.
I'm just looking forward to, you know, accept any challenge that will be thrown at me.

Q.  The other thing that's on the table this week is the No. 1 ranking.  You have had it for 51 weeks.  But for the first time in a while, Sharapova, Williams, and yourself all could come out of here with a No. 1 ranking.  What would it mean to retain it in such a tournament like this with all the top players?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  It's the same story as I had two weeks ago I had at same press conference, the same questions.  I'm just going to answer the same way:  I'm here to win the tournament, and the ranking is a bonus that comes with it.
There is no point to jump ahead, you know.  We still have to play the tournament.  The ranking doesn't come out till the next Monday, so what's the point?

Q.  Are you surprised how well you have done in the last two, three years?  You have won Grand Slams, Olympic medals.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:¬† No, I'm not surprised.¬† If I would be ‑‑I don't want to feel that I'm not reaching my potential, you know.¬† I worked really hard to achieve those goals.¬† That's what I dream about.¬† That's what I want to achieve.¬† That's what I practice for.
So, no, it's no surprise for me.

Q.  So basically it's a lot of hard work for you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Well, it's a combination of a lot of things:  determination, hard work, you know, talent, really wanting to do well.  And, yeah, at this level there is so much more attention to paying details and execute the details, because everybody knows how to run, how to play tennis, how to serve, how to return.
It's the moment where you really need to bring your heart, your A game.  That's what defines the best player.

Q.  If I were to ask you, is other Grand Slams more important to you or staying No. 1?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Grand Slams.

Q.  This is the first chance we have to ask you, but most players, when they have won multiple Grand Slams and particularly at the same place, they look at each one a little differently.  Could you assess how you look at your first and then the recent one?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:¬† Well, the first one is always ‑‑it's like your first love, you know.¬† You think it's the best thing that ever happened to you until you get the second one.¬† Then you think this is the best thing that ever happened to you.
So it's kind of a similar feeling there, you know.  First one, it was like, you know, a kid's dream came true.  When I started to play tennis, that was the ultimate goal.  I wanted to be a Grand Slam champion.  And when it happened, you kind of think that it's hard to realize what you have done.
And the second time is just you want to repeat that feeling that you had for the first time because it's amazing.  It's very hard to describe with words.  So you are just always looking for that opportunity to relive that moment.

Q.  You seem to like it here, obviously.  You have won it.  What, away from the tennis, have you done?  Any kind of fun stuff like favorite restaurants?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:¬† Yeah, I think there are so many places.¬† You know, the place where we stay we're very spoiled.¬† We are staying at the Ritz‑Carlton, and there is an amazing buffet, and I don't like to go there because I always overeat, everybody overeats, so I would rather order room service or some normal restaurant, but the food is incredible here.
I have done it, not this trip, but last trip I have done ‑‑ we went Jet Skiing all the way from the Ritz‑Carlton all the way to the downtown to the Four Seasons Hotel, rode around there, then got lost.
I was a little bit scared that I will run out of gas to come back, because it was getting a little bit dark already and cold.
I saw a few boats, and they were waving at me, and I was like, Well, I'm lost.  Where is the place that I have to return?  Because I thought that people would be thinking that I stole the Jet Ski or something.
But it was really, really fun to do.

Q.  Back to your rivalry against Serena Williams, are you disappointed with the consecutive losses you have had against her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Well, I'm not happy about it.  (Smiling.)
I mean, that's for sure.  I don't really think about it that way, anyway.  It's in the past, and I never really look in the past.  I make room for new memories in the future, you know, to have my full focus, my full attention to live in the present and in the future.

Q.¬† In terms of the No. 1, do you think it's good actually for the tennis that there's this three‑way thing going on now, that it's good for the fans, it's exciting?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah, I think it's exciting.  Twitter and Facebook is blowing up, you know, so we have a lot of questions.
But I think it's important also for the players, you know, to keep that competitive spirit, to kind of be on the watch out, you know.
For me, it's just extra motivation, really, to have that living and playing in this era of such  competitive tennis, women's tennis.  You know, so many great girls are really stepping up their game.  I feel we can see a lot of elevation in the women's game.
So for me, being as a player, it's really exciting.

Q.  At the Australian Open there was a lot of, not only with yourself, but there were injury timeouts and a lot of talk about that.  Now that it's been a couple of weeks, do you think the rules or the way that whole thing is handled should be changed in any way, or do you think it is what it is and if you're injured you're injured and move on?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Honestly, I don't know.  I always give the benefit of a doubt, as I said.  I never question anybody.  If they need to do that, they need to do it.  They must have a reason for that.
So, you know, the rules are the rules.  If they're going to be changed, they're going to be changed.  It's not up to me.  Nobody will ask me to change the rules, that's for sure.
But I never have a problem with anybody, you know, who has a medical timeout, who doesn't.  I just try to play my game and that's it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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