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BRISBANE INTERNATIONAL PRESENTED BY SUNCORP


December 30, 2013


Victoria Azarenka


BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How are you feeling at the start of the year physically and emotionally after a bit of rest?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I feel good.  I mean, I feel well rested.  I thought it was a great time off.  I put in some work.  I'm happy with what I've done.  Now it's time to compete.  It's time to be back playing tennis, you know, traveling from places to places.
But I'm really excited to start the new year.

Q.  You have any time to sort of rejoice in 2013?  You only lost only nine matches and won a Grand Slam title.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  No, it's happened last year.  Technically we're still in this year.  For me it's in the past.  I never live by what happened in the past if it's good or not that good.
So the important is to have a lot of room for new memories, for new results, for new challenges.  So that's what I'm looking forward.

Q.  Any trepidation about coming back to Australia with the memories?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I mean, every year I look so much forward to coming here.  It's one of my favorite places to play.  I been here actually not too long ago.  Not for tennis, but...
It's amazing to be back and start always in Australia.  I love it since I was a junior.

Q.  Obviously getting back to the world No. 1 would be a great achievement.  A tournament like this where there are so many top players ahead of a Grand Slam, can you make a statement here?  Can you get under people's skin or get in their head?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I think the importance of playing here is to get ready for the Grand Slam.
Of course you want to win everywhere you go.  Having such a competitive field at the first tournament, it really takes to you see where you're at going into a big tournament.
So I'm really glad that we have such a great field here to play.  It's the matter of how you want to prepare, but the more matches you play, the better.  The tougher opponents, you can test yourself at the early stages.

Q.  Serena sort of joked that she saw some stairs and got nervous.  Are you having a pedicure this year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I mean, I will definitely, but not at the same place.  And very careful, you know.  Just some things you can't control, but you definitely learn from them.
If you make this mistake once, it's shame on that.  But if you do it twice, it's shame on you.

Q.  We love the rivalry between you and Serena.  She only lost four matches; two were to you.  What about you?  You played the last two Opens together.  Do you enjoy the rivalry like we do, someone that really, really pushes you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Oh, yeah.  I think it's great, first of all, to be a part of that rivalry, because it really helps to you grow as a player, as a person.
You know, you learn things about yourself and what you need to improve, because when somebody is taking you to the limit, you really have a good look of what you have to do better to rise up.
I definitely enjoy that and love tough competition.  To take that challenge for me every time is very exciting.  That's what I wake up for and train hard for.

Q.  Thailand was an exhibition, but was there something from that match which told you where you were at this stage?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  For me it was important just to play, you know.  Even if it's an exhibition match, you still get a little bit competitive.  It was important to feel that.  You practice for two months and play points and some sets, but it's not the same.
Once you go in front of the crowd you get that feeling.  It was great to have that feeling, to play in front of the crowd and play competitive.
But in terms of game‑wise, the things I worked on, I'm going to keep going through this whole year.

Q.¬† Did you have a different type of off‑season? ¬†Because from what I've read, you had a back problem in Istanbul.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah.

Q.¬† Did you do anything different in how you went about your off‑season because of that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:¬† Not only because of that, but because of a few things that happened last year I did have a different pre‑season.¬† I changed my team a little bit.¬† So that makes me feel a little bit more happy with what I've done.
In terms of Istanbul, the back problem, it wasn't major.¬† Just really, you know, in the end of the season when you're not very well‑prepared, these things come up.
I felt like I wasn't really prepared back then.  As I said, you learn from your mistakes, mistakes or experience, and you just try to get better.  That's what's exciting for a new challenge, for a new year, to see what can you do better.

Q.  What changes to your team?  Not Sam.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  No.  Sam stays with me.  You know, he's my family.  Yeah, a new trainer, new physio, and some other changes.

Q.  And has that been a new approach in terms of fitness and preparation?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Yeah, of course you will always have it a little bit different with a different trainer.  I'm really happy with my team right now.  I have a lot of girls on my team, which is awesome.
We have great energy.

Q.  Obviously last year Melbourne was a really emotional roller coaster for you.  What did you learn about yourself last year?  Do you think you've grown and it made you mentally stronger?  Will you try to defend the title as well?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I never go back to defend my title.  Like I did last year, I didn't think about defending it.  Right now I honestly don't think about Melbourne.  It's too soon for me.
The whole experience was a roller coaster, but it was‑‑ I only have great memories about it.¬† I remember that feeling, and it will always stay with me.¬† But I try to not get these emotions come to me right now or while I play.
I will look back at it once I'm done with tennis and try to feel that moment again.
Right now, as I said, I need some space for new memories.

Q.  Having been able to win the final, does it make you feel like you can handle anything in your tennis career?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I think everybody can do anything.  It's the matter how bad you want it.  So thinking about what can I do, I feel that I can do anything.
It's just a matter of how well you prepare, how bad you want it.  Sometimes it depends a little bit on your opponent, but mainly on you.

Q.¬† You've played four Grand Slam finals now.¬† Any difference in your game we can't see with the naked eye?¬† Any tinkering you're doing in the off‑season?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  Well, you always want to improve.  I always work on every part of the game.  Movement is very important for me because I like to be aggressive, but I need to be able to defend well as well.
But, you know, just my game will never change dramatically.  I think I'm pretty good at it.  But there are things that, little details that you can add there and there.
So we'll see.  I'm just excited to see what I can do in my first match.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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