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January 20, 2014

Victoria Azarenka


V. AZARENKA/S. Stephens
6‑3, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ You must have obviously have been happy with the win.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Yeah, I'm happy with the way I played.テつ I think we were very competitive today.テつ I know that Sloane is a great player, a very tough fighter.テつ She was holding her serve really well.テつ I felt like I had few chances, but she managed to come back strong.
So was important just to stay in that zone and try to create another opportunity.テつ And, yeah, I felt that I been able to do that.

Q.テつ Did the win feel as comfortable as the scoreline suggested it was?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ You know, I never look at it what was the score.テつ I know how I felt out there.テつ I felt like it was competitive.テつ I just felt that I managed to pick it up on the important moments and really control the game.
Even though sometimes, you know, I missed few shots, I felt like I was doing the right thing.テつ I just wanted to apply that and keep working on that.

Q.テつ You both played last year under the same sort of pressure on center court.テつ Have you noticed much of a difference in her game?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I think she improved a lot.テつ I mean, obviously with a year I think she got much more experience.テつ I wasn't really focused on what she was doing.テつ I was just trying to focus on what I can execute and what I can do well.
But, you know, as I said before many times, I think she's a great player.テつ She has a good future in front of her.テつ She's always a tough competitor.

Q.テつ With the No.1 and 3 seeds out, does that change your mindset at all?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ No, never.テつ It doesn't matter.テつ We still have high competition out there.テつ The players who beat those players deserve all the credit because they've been better, so they are dangerous and they are competitive.
For me it's important to just, you know, keep focusing on my game and play it one at a time.テつ Quarterfinals of a Grand Slam is never easy, no matter who you play.

Q.テつ She drove a ball back at you.テつ Did you feel she had a choice there?テつ Was that the right shot to play, hitting the ball straight at you, hitting you in the hip?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ If I had a problem with it?テつ No.テつ Why would I have a problem with it?

Q.テつ Looked like she was trying to apologize to you.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ She did.テつ That's tennis.テつ I'm just focused on the next point.テつ Maybe she had an open court, but she chose that shot.テつ I have no problem with that.テつ I'm just focused on the next one.

Q.テつ What is the secret of starting a season well, starting the year well?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Motivation.テつ I think the motivation is there.テつ You're hungry to play.テつ I think it's a little bit tougher mentally in the end of the season, especially that last run after the four Grand Slams are done.
And I think the preparation helps, as well.テつ You have a good block of training.テつ Sometimes it doesn't work right away, but I think in the longer run, and mentally, you can rely on that.

Q.テつ How burnt were you at the end of last year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I was tired.テつ I was unmotivated really because I didn't manage my schedule that well, especially after the US Open.テつ I didn't realize how much it took out of me.
I went to play some tournaments maybe I shouldn't have, but I wanted to.テつ I wanted to play.テつ So I actually take that as a very positive thing, that I learned how to be in that situation and how to come out of it.
But, you know, this year, next year, I'll try to manage that a little bit better.テつ But as long as I want to be on the court, you know, I'm feeling pretty good with my game.

Q.テつ How much time did you take off and how much time in the off‑season were you working for the new season?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I took off about five days maybe.テつ I can't sit still.テつ Like I can't sit still.テつ I need to keep moving.テつ I don't play tennis much during my off‑season actually.テつ I didn't play for a month and a half.
But I kept active.テつ I tried to work on my fitness.テつ I done a lot of other things.テつ I paddle board.テつ I danced.テつ I did ballet.テつ As long as I'm active, it's good for me.
Actually, after Istanbul I wasn't really happy with how I finished the year.テつ Took me three days to get over it and I was back at it again, so...

Q.テつ To be successful in a slam over two weeks, you have to be physically fit.テつ Nothing niggling at the moment that's going to hamper you in the next five or six days?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ I don't think about five or six days from now.テつ I think about tomorrow.テつ Tomorrow I have a day off.テつ I'm going to take full advantage of that to recover and to prepare myself for the next match.
I think that's the best approach to go.

Q.テつ What you said on the court with Rennae Stubbs, can we say you are seriously considering having a marriage right now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Why would you take something from that?テつ She grabbed my hand and she saw that there is nothing on my hand, so...
There's an answer.テつ There's nothing still (showing hand).テつ Once you see a big, big bling ‑ big, big bling ‑ maybe.

Q.テつ You said it's larger than Caro's.
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ It better be.テつ Better be (smiling).

Q.テつ Can we say after Serena and Maria are gone, you and Li Na are the overwhelming favorites in the bottom and top half of the draw?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:テつ Well, by the rankings, probably yes.テつ By the game, I don't consider the self just a favorite because I don't consider anybody as the favorite.テつ I just go out there and play my best, because anybody on any given day ‑ we've seen that happen last couple days ‑ can bring their best game.
You have to stay alert.テつ It doesn't matter the level that you're No. 2 or whatever.テつ Everybody has proven that anybody can beat anybody.
The way I approach the matches, I have to be ready 100% for every player.

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