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September 6, 2013
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
V. AZARENKA/F. Pennetta
THE MODERATOR:Â It will be the first time we have a 1 versus 2 singles final in women's singles here in 2003, and it's a rematch of last year's final.
Q.Â Talk about the opportunity to get back out there in a Grand Slam final against Serena.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Well, it's amazing opportunity, something that every tennis player dreams of, you know, to be in the final of the US Open and play against the best player in the world.
It's something that I'm so excited about, and I can't wait to go out and play.Â Right now I just want to enjoy the moment of today, because we play in two days.
Q.Â Just talk about are you happy with the way you played out there?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I'm happy I'm in the final.Â There are always things that can be better.Â I felt like, you know, the first set was a little bit tricky.Â Momentum wasn't there a little bit.Â I felt like I had a great groundstrokes, everything.Â You know, just one shot wasn't working and threw my rhythm a little bit off‑balance.
Overall, you know, just being able to pick up and raise the level in the important moments, that's what, you know, it's all about, to be able to do that.
Q.Â Away from tennis, you have quoted the Pointer Sisters twice now today, I'm so excited, and I danced to Marvin Gay.Â I just wanted to ask you, you have sort of a special window into Motown with the Gordy family.Â I just wanted to ask you about that whole experience, your discovery of classic R&B.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I mentioned learning about the history of music, because I knew those artists, I have listened to the songs, didn't really know it that well.Â But to learn the history of how it was made, you know, how it came across, how much of a difference it made in the world, that was, you know, something incredible and so fantastic.
To see by the play and learning through Mr.Gordy and Red Foo, it's about incredible.Â So I'm really honored to be in that position.
Q.Â If you could follow me here, two very different questions.Â Just to extend, who are your favorite Motown artists or favorite songs?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â You're going to get me in trouble for that (smiling).
Q.Â And then on a serious tennis basis, how do you think Vika's, your game, has changed this year from last year on hard courts?Â Can you break it down?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Yeah, well, let's stay with the serious stuff and then we'll go to the crazy.
Difference between last year I think in the game, it hasn't changed tremendously.Â There are aspects that got better physically.Â Mentally I felt like it was a great turning point for me on some level for my career.Â You know, just really good experience.
I feel like I'm a better player.Â I'm a more complete player.Â You know, that's what you aim for after one year of work.Â So in terms of that, I'm pretty pleased.
And going to the music, probably my favorite artist would be Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder is incredible.Â The song, it's tough.Â There are so many.Â But I Heard It Through the Grapevine is one of the best ones.
Q.Â You're a more complete player in what way?Â If you could just extend on that briefly.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I think all around, you know, from the groundstrokes to movement to coming in to variety.Â I think all those little things are coming together.Â You know, paying a lot more details on how to create a bigger arsenal.
Q.Â You always say what's in the past is in the past, I don't look back, only looking forward.Â As you approach the final, do you make an exception there and think back on the wins you have had over Serena this year, or is it the same thing, clean slate, new match, you don't care what happened in the past?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Not that I don't care what happened in the past, but I think there is no need for paying so much attention to what happened.Â You always gonna take a few things, you know, positive or negative and try to, you know, kind of apply it in your new match, new performance.
But it's always a new story. I don't even think that it's going to be close to the same as it was last year.
Q.Â In your wins you have had over Serena this year, what is it in your game that you think has matched up against her game?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â It's tough to say.Â I think that, you know, the battles that we had, it was really just taking each other out of the most comfortable zone and just fight for every ball.
Because, you know, we know each other pretty well.Â You know, I know her strengths; she knows my strengths.Â That's what it's all about, about those turning points, who wants it more, who's willing to go for it more.Â It's a bunch of combinations.
Q.Â How do you get Serena out of her comfort zone?Â Not many people are able to do that.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â You've got to fight.Â You know, you've got to run, you've got to grind, and you've got to bite with your teeth for whatever opportunity you have.
You know, she's obviously an amazing player.Â She's the greatest of all time.
Q.Â You seem to have become a specialist winning tough matches.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Oh, wow.Â That's a compliment.
Q.Â Are there other players from either the past or present who inspire you who you like to watch like in a mental capacity?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Rafael Nadal.Â I really admire him for that mental strength and the fighting spirit he got.
Q.Â In the evolution of your rivalry with Serena, how much does confidence matter for you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I think it's important, you know, but I do think it's overrated.Â As always, I thought that.
But it's just important to have self‑belief and confidence in what you do and have a good plan, you know, clear mind, and just be aware of what's going on, what's coming at you.
Q.Â What do you mean overrated?Â Do you mean that execution is more important, or what would be more important than that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â For me, confidence is a word that what it is, really, it's the feeling or it's the way you feel the ball or it's your mental, you know, strength.
I don't know what that word really means, because it's not ‑‑it's just a word that's been made up, confidence.Â It's not the actual feeling or something.
So that's why I think it's overrated.
Q.Â Quickly on the tournament, just watching you serve over the last couple of years and then in this tournament, it seems like the speed is a little bit down and the placement which you always consider to be more important is not there.Â Is that the wind, or are you a little bit sore in the hip?Â You're not hitting it the way you want to?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â No.Â I think just the rhythm sometimes is off.Â Sometimes can be a little bit emotional, but sometimes just so focused that you don't realize what you're doing wrong.Â So it's just a mix.
But I think, you know, when I need to do something it comes back, so it's just a matter of being consistent and understanding of what I have to do on the court.
Q.Â What gives you the most belief when you play against Serena?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I want to win.Â That's all it is.
I don't think of who I'm playing.Â I just want to win the match.
Q.Â You have had success against her two out of the last three times.Â What do you think is the common denominator?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I don't know (smiling).Â I don't know.Â I just really try to play my best tennis, you know.Â When you play against Serena, you have to play your best because she makes me play my best.
I think I kind of do the same way to her, you know.Â I think we kind of raise each other's level all the time and, as I say, take each other to the limit.Â To go out of that place where you sometimes don't know, you know, how far you can go, but you just still go for it.
Q.Â Can I ask you again about Pennetta and the matchup today?Â She lost eight times the serve out of nine.Â You made four double faults first two games.Â It was tension?Â Pressure?Â The wind?Â What was the reason for that, so many breaks in the match?Â How do you rate this match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I think it's just my mistakes where I felt like I was a little bit out of rhythm.Â Maybe a little bit wind, but I don't try to find an excuse of what didn't happen.Â I just try to think what I can do better.
I felt like in the second set I got my rhythm better.Â You know, that unfortunate game which was a little bit stupid from my side I played at 4‑1 which I had to close out.
But the breaks, I felt I was very solid from the ground today.Â There was just, you know, one piece missing with my serve to put all the game together.
Q.Â How do you rate her performance?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Well, I think first of all it's incredible tournament from her, to see her doing so well.Â She played really well.Â She was getting to the balls, you know, sometimes I didn't expect to come back, and she really surprised me in those kind of ways.
She was really solid.Â I just felt that I was able to play better and execute better on the important moments and really take my chances.
Q.Â You have been playing so beautifully, so powerfully, but it's my sense that fans are still trying to get to know you, even though you have been on tour for a while.Â The other day we spoke about Red Foo and the X Factor and all that.Â What's the X Factor in your life?Â What can you tell fans about what they don't know about you or what makes you tick?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Well, I think my personality comes out across a little bit more.Â I don't feel shy anymore as much as I did maybe before.
I feel like it's important to just show who you are.Â I'm never afraid who I am. Â I like to have fun.Â I like to joke around.Â I'm trying to be a little bit of a comedian sometimes.
I thought, you know, when I go to the interviews or when I am with the fans or something I should be the same way as I am around my people, because they are all laughing with me all the time.Â I'm just making them laugh all the time.
That's what I try to bring out more and feel more comfortable.Â And it feels so much natural right now for me that I enjoy it.
Q.Â How do you think that your friendship with Serena has affected the on‑court sort of intensity of your matches compared to matches you both play against players you're not maybe not as friendly with?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I don't think it affects at all.Â We're experienced enough, especially Serena, to know that on court is business; off court is you're regular people that just respect each other for their work or for who they are.Â That's it.
Q.Â Only one of the two finalists can come out of it.Â You are a double Grand Slam winner.Â What does that say to you about this match coming up and how it will reflect on your respective seasons?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I will see that after the match, really.Â I don't think of this match to reflect on my year really.Â I just take it as what it is and try to enjoy it, because it is a great opportunity.Â You know, that's what I was working all this two weeks for to be able to have that opportunity.
So right now it's all about Sunday.
Q.Â You're one of the best, if not the best, at redirecting the ball on the WTA.Â I wanted to ask you if you think that's going to be really key up against Serena.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Um, I don't know.Â I mean, it's just important to really take my chances, because she's a player who doesn't give you anything.Â She's really, really powerful, so it's important to try to find a way to be dictating yourself.
Q.Â Stefan seems very, very comfortable interacting with the public all the time, and I'm sure you have seen that a lot.Â Does that help you learn how to take it easy and interact with the public?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Oh, definitely.Â Helped me so much with that.Â As I always thought, it's a learning experience to learn how to interact with people, to see their perspective of how you take on things.Â He helped me tremendously with that, and just to open up and be who I am more, you know, because he's ‑‑he knows me more than the public, for sure, because we are around each other so much.
So he just told me, you know, Just bring out what you show in front of your team and how you are around your people.Â That's what I'm trying to do now.
Q.Â He hasn't gotten you to sing in public yet?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Singing in public?Â I do sing in public, actually.Â I do dance in public.Â It was just the other day ‑‑two nights ago we were dancing in the garden here.
Q.Â And you dance on court a little bit.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â I do.Â I love that.
Q.Â If you win the title, maybe singing on court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:Â Let's just wait (smiling).
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports