Press conference after QF vs Kuznetsova.
Victoria Azarenka 23-1-13
Wednesday, 23 January, 2013
Q. That first set was 77 minutes. You said you were prepared for what Svetlana might throw at you. It was a long set. Just talk us through that first set. It was close and good tennis.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I feel like at the beginning it was a little bit like play around, you know, a lot of back and forth. I think we were both producing, you know, good tennis, but I felt like she was a little bit on top of me on the important moments. I didn't really take advantage of that, and she really did. So I felt like that was the main thing that she got that lead.
Then I turned it around and I took control in my hands and it was more up to me. That's what I felt like was a turning point mentally and physically, you know, and everything else there.
Q. In that 10 deuce game, was that the turning point? Is that what you were talking about, the very long game?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Was it at 2 1?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It wasn't for me a turning point, that's for sure, because I lost two games after that (laughter).
But that's what I'm talking about. You know, it was a lot of kind of back and forth. Even though we know each other so well, it was a little bit of a feel there.
There were not really many mistakes; we were really just going for our shots at one point.
Q. You've played a lot of morning matches here. Are you a morning person?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No.
Q. Does this bother you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm not a morning person, but when I don't have a choice, I don't have a choice. I have to play. If it would be my choice, I wouldn't be waking up before 11:00 (laughter). It would take a long time to get out of my place.
But, you know, being a professional tennis player, you kind of cut all that stuff out and you try to be disciplined and professional. Those are the kind of sacrifices you have to do.
Q. As the No. 1 player on the women's side, do you think you should be having at least one night spot or a late afternoon start?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know what, I don't really care about that. It doesn't bother me. It doesn't, you know, do anything to me. Whenever I play, I play. I just show up to do my job. Night session, day session, I don't mind.
Of course, everybody loves to play night session to have so much attention. But I feel like the crowd is always there, you know, the stadium's always filled up, so it doesn't really matter for me.
Q. First sets sometimes aren't that important. Today it feels like that was an important first set to win.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's always important. But you're absolutely right. I think it was a lot of pressure there, a lot of, as I said, back and forth. It was important to take the opportunities to kind of make a big statement.
I think I did that and I turned things around into my own way.
Q. In the context of coming to a semifinal in a Grand Slam, that's the sort of match you really wanted to outfox your opponent and know that your good tennis can come right when you want it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I think you cannot expect to have your best tennis on every single point, on every single game. But it's important to know that when you need it, it's there and you can rely on that.
That's what gives you, you know, confidence. That's what keeps you fighting all the time, that you just have to try and try and try.
Q. Serena is still playing out there. Should she be your next opponent, what can you do differently against her in a match that would turn the tide against her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know what, I talk so much before any matches before that, so I just prefer to keep it quiet and go out there and try to do my best.
There's no point to think what I should do. I just have to go and show my best tennis. It's as simple as that.
Q. The No. 1 ranking is on the line over the next week. Is that something that you're focusing on?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think that's what you guys focus on more, to be honest (smiling). Everybody's talking about it. Everybody's writing the statistics, the headlines, whatever.
For me it's important to just take it match by match. I'm here really to win the title. You know, the ranking comes with that.
Q. Has it mattered in the past how well you were going into the match against Serena or not?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. Obviously not (laughter).
Q. Practicing well, not practicing well, all of that is out once you get on court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You can feel great and then come on court and play like crap honestly. It can be the other way around. You may not be able to feel anything during your warmup.
But it's just a matter of feeling. You cannot predict. That would be a mistake to predict something.
Q. The last few days of the tournament, do you actually get a little bit excited or nervous, a semifinal, final? Do you feel an adrenaline rise, or do you try to suppress that and try to treat every match the same?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It would be silly to say I'm not excited, I'm not nervous. I think the person who is never nervous is really scary person. I mean, is a robot really.
You know, everybody have emotions. It's just a matter how well you can, you know, control them for you to feel good before you go on court or when you're on the court.
It's just a matter of how well you prepare yourself mentally, physically, you know, to be in the state of mind that you want to be out there.
Q. Is it really impossible to read Serena's serve? You're a great returner, you're fine on second serves, but you played her enough times, do you find yourself guessing on the first serves or not?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think against everybody you sometimes guess because you can read, but, you know, it's not that obvious sometimes. So you kind of unconsciously guess, unconsciously react. Sometimes you just choose the side, I'm gonna go there and maybe it comes to another side.
It really goes off the feeling, you know. I think it's important to just have the same attitude on every serve you get.
Q. I would think against her maybe the most important thing is returning, because you stay with her off the ground all the time, but against any player it's her serve that sort of bails her out even if she's not playing well.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's pretty obvious. Yeah, that's probably the toughest thing, you know, to deal with.
But you have to take the tough things and deal with them.
Q. Any comments on Sloane in case she beats Serena, what you know of her game.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think Sloane is a very, very talented girl. I think over the last couple years you see her development, you know, as a tennis player. Her game has come together. She's all around player, very competitive.
I think she has a good potential. It's just a matter of her, you know, getting all those details in place and really wanting to achieve great things.