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An Interview With: Victoria Azarenka

Monday, September 1, 2014

Q. One of your favorite subjects is Gaël Monfils. How would you describe what it's like to watch him play?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think he's one of the best entertainers in tennis. I think it's so amazing to watch him play. Sometimes I get a little bit frustrated with him because I know he should win some matches that he loses. I think he's still yet to reach his full potential, because I think he's super, super talented.

Q. What are your thoughts on his match tomorrow?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's going to be interesting. Obviously Grigor is playing really well and really confident this year. I think he stepped up on his whole other level, so it will be tough. But we'll see (smiling).

Q. That was I think one of the best women's matches that we've seen so far this week.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Thank you.

Q. A tough fight from both sides. Curious if you were surprised about what Krunic was able to do, or impressed? That was the first time you played her. I don't know if you saw her much before.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I haven't watched, so obviously I didn't have a lot of data on her or, you know, much of an idea. I think she played exceptionally well today. I'm not sure if I would have watched the matches before that would help me a lot, I think because I felt like not knowing much she still played on a really high level and pretty consistent through the whole match. She gave a fight, and she wasn't afraid to go big on the important moments. I was a little bit surprised that she's not that tall, and she hits the ball and unleashes her forehand with so much power. So that was quite surprising. But, you know, I think she's a young player. She has a good future if she keeps going this way.

Q. What do you think you have proven to yourself about the physical ailments you have overcome and in gaining confidence as you have advanced?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Proving to myself?

Q. Yes, because when you have physical problems you have to get back to a certain stage. How have you done that and what have you shown yourself?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I just really try to focus on, you know, each day at a time. I don't look back of how tough it was. I just try to make the best out of that situation. I have been working really hard on my body and try to come back stronger than I was before, so I feel that I'm still in the process. But I'm glad that I'm making this run to create myself opportunities to have, you know, competition, endurance, get match after match after match in a Grand Slam, you know, on such a high level. So it's a great achievement. But in terms of, you know, body, what did I do, is just really try to stay positive and work hard. That's a simple answer. I don't think there is much of a magic happening unless you just put all the chances on your side to try to do your best.

Q. You won the girls title here. Do you think that gives you an advantage when it comes to the women's title here?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: No (smiling). No, because I think you have a seen a lot of junior players who won, you know, juniors and we never saw them again.

Q. What are your thoughts on the matchup with Makarova?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think she's a very tough opponent because she's very consistent. You know, she reads the game really well. We had some tough matches in the past. I think she's not afraid to play against top players. She handled herself well against, you know, big names in Grand Slams. She's definitely playing well. I'm looking forward to that match.

Q. What have you enjoyed the most during this tournament so far in the way you've played given what you've suffered?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: You're making it sound like I went through, I don't know, that I almost died and, you know, there was 10 sharks and I got attacked and I survived. And, you know, I saved a dolphin, as well. It's not that complicated, really. You know, what I enjoy is to play tennis. To be talking about what happened with my injuries, I mean, it's useless already. Really what I want to do is to focus on the moment and, you know, just leave this moment, enjoy this moment because I really do, and try to make the best out of this particular moment. What happened in the past, you know, I ain't got no genie in the bottle to wish what could I do in the past.

Q. Just going back to the recent past, the match that just finished, you know, you were happy at the end that you won. There were moments of frustration kind of during the match. I'm curious about some of that frustration. I know are they're intense and emotional and all that. But in terms of the frustration, how much of it was what she was doing, like getting back tons of balls? How much of it you didn't feel like you were kind of hitting maybe quite as well? What was the balance between what she was sort of doing and what you were maybe struggling to do?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, it kind of comes together, you know. She obviously brings a lot of balls and she makes you go sometimes for extra shots. I didn't feel so much frustration. I just wanted to push myself to be doing the right thing. The only thing I was frustrated is because I kept putting my butt back, like, I mean, I wouldn't follow the ball. That was the frustrating part, that I kept doing the same thing. But I think that's what she does with her game to really push -- for yourself to find an opportunity and go for it. I think in the second set I have done that and in the third set I have done that to break her and really take the lead.

Q. Did her style of play remind you of anybody in particular?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I didn't think about it.

Q. You were talking about Milos's sleeve before, and Serena was saying that she was the one that said it first, that she wanted the sleeve. What do you think about that?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: When did she say that?

Q. The other press conference before.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: She said today?

Q. She didn't mention you, but I was thinking maybe she was...

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well we got it all squared out because I text her right after. I said, Hey, I already said that first, so back off. She said, Oh -- and she said very nice tweet. She said, Oopsy. I said really? That's what you went with? Oopsy? So, yeah, it's pretty fascinating. I was thinking about that tweet for like before my match when I was watching, because I played after Milos. I was like, I can't wait to tweet that, but if I do that before my match you're going go, She's not focused. I was like, okay, I will do it after my match. So I tweeted after my match. The funny story, I actually went on his Twitter after. I like to see who people follow sometimes, and that dude follows Milos Raonic's hair, Milos Raonic's Sleeve. To me, it's incredible. He's a rock star.

Q. You might get your own account with the thing you were doing today.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I'm not going to develop that, but I'm sure a lot of people would like to do that.

Q. You mentioned that not a lot of people have won the girls' and the women's singles. Why do you think that is? Are the skills that different, to win the two events?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Do you really want me to answer that question?

Q. Honest answer.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: But you don't have like a perspective on that question? Like the juniors and the pros? It's whole different world. Like really, it's a whole different world. Mentality, the preparation, the physical aspect, I think is just night and day.

Q. You talked about Milos' sleeve. Do you feel comfortable back in the shorts? During your big winning streak, beginning of 2012, all in shorts. I'm wondering if you're in a happy place again now that you're back in them.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Ben, you're killing me every time.

Q. It's a good question.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, I missed you so much. You didn't show up in any of my press conferences before and I was wondering when are you going to show up with some ridiculous stuff. I think my shorts are in a happy place, you know. They are on a happy place. You know, it's on my butt, so it's in a happy place.

Q. What was Gaël's reaction, if you heard it, to your happy birthday song?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, he text me that he loves me very much and -- not in that way. Okay. Okay. I just wanted to wish him happy birthday. I wanted to make it special. He was really touched. So I think that was kind of cool.

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