interview with Vika Azarenka
November 29, 2005
World number one, Vika Azarenka, told us about being invited to partner Mike Bryan in an exhibition against Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf at the Tamarack Resort's Rock-n-Racquets event in the Taco Bell Arena, Boise State University, on December 3, 2005. Andre and Steffi will be playing together for the first time in the exhibition which benefits the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation.
First of all let me congratulate you on being the ITF 2005 girls world junior champion.
Why are you here at the Eddie Herr International?
I'm here because my friend Sasha (Alexandra Khabibulin) is playing this tournament and I've been practicing close to here in Saddlebrook, so I just came to watch her. That's why I'm here.
You were seen watching her at the US Open also
Yes, but she wasn't playing, just practicing there. She was actually
So you guys are big friends.
You normally train at Saddlebrook?
No, I'm just here for ten days practicing in Saddlebrook. I'm practicing in Arizona mostly.
What brings you over to Saddlebrook ?
I just wanted to practice in different conditions. Also, Sasha and my coach were coming here so I came here with them.
What have you been doing since the US Open ?
I've been playing pro tournaments in India and in Japan and China. I reached the semifinals from the qualies in China.
Yes I saw that. Well done
You have stitched up the girls ranking, but what do you think about all the hoopla about who will be boys champion. Donald Young is number one now and we have Marin Cilic here from Croatia and Ryan Sweeting from the Bahamas both trying to catch him.
I don't know. I feel that it will be interesting, some guys fighting for number one year end. I think it will be pretty exciting for them and a lot of people. I was talking to Ryan for example and he was saying about it. I didn't know they could jump over Donald Young because he had like one thousand and something points. I didn't know it and then he told me that if they win some tournaments they could.
So what does it mean to you being number one in the world?
It's really nice to finish the year number one. I think it gives you a lot of confidence, winning matches going into pros. You get some losses in the beginning but I think it makes you better. A lot of people are going to watch when someone is coming to play in the pro tour. I think it is a good advantage to starting in the pros and I think I'll finish one day the same ranking as in the pros.
You must know that Maria Sharapova started out here at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy. Do you think you would like to aspire your game to hers?
I think I will try to stay with my own game. I want to do it my own way. I don't know how it's going to be but I will see one day like anyone.
I think that's wonderful. So anyway, are you with any family over here?
My mom is coming soon to the USA. She won't be coming here but I'll see her in three days.
Yes, we are going together to the exhibition.
You've been invited to an exhibition?
Yes, I'm playing with Mike Bryan against Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi.
Fantastic! Is it going to be on television?
Yes, on 3rd of December.
Where is is going to be?
In Boise, Idaho.
Is it for Charity?
Yes, Andre is running it for his charity.
Have you met him before?
No, this is the first time.
Won't it be funny on the court playing against him?
Yes, I think it will be really exciting. I don't know how it feels to play against the stars like this. Steffi Graf has been my idol since I was a kid.
Have you ever played against someone famous before?
I don't know. I wouldn't say so. I don't know if it will be a serious match or just for fun for people to enjoy. I think I'll enjoy it anyway. This is the first time Andre and Steffi are playing together.
Mike Bryan is a really top doubles partner.
Yes. I think James Blake will be there too. He's supposed to be like an umpire or whatever it is, but I don't know for sure.
What's going to happen next year, are you going to play all pro?
No point in playing juniors anymore, is there?
No, I think I did the best I think.
Absolutely, you did great.
Thank you. Yes I think it's a good finish for the juniors.
Is it nice coming here and seeing al your friends in the juniors?
Yes, it's nice, seeing a lot of friends from other tournaments. I don't really know if I will see them somewhere again.
Good luck at the exhibition. Hopefully we will watch it on the television.