Sony Ericsson Open - Miami,USA
March 23, 2012
V. AZARENKA/M. Krajicek
6 3, 7 5
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. It's been said that a champion always find, you know, the way in a tough match. You were in a little trouble in that second set. What happened there? How did you get out of it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I felt like she started, you know, to really go for her shots. Because, I mean, I was up with a break. I felt like she didn't have she had nothing to lose, so she went for her shots; she was really aggressive.
And me, I kinda stepped back and was, you know, thinking about too much and waiting for her mistake instead of really creating my opportunity. That's how I felt.
So, you know, but I have to give her credit. She played some great games. I think I could have been more aggressive and play more my game, but, you know, I found the right shot selection and the right opportunities when I needed at 5 4 and 5 All; from 5 All I felt like my game was back, you know.
So it was important to pick up and raise the level at the end of the match when I really needed it.
Q. You're going on 24 0 right now, a great winning streak. Some have compared your season to Djokovic's. Do you think you could finish with the same intensity and trying to get more wins and continue that streak? How does it feel to be compared to his winning streak last year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, definitely it's a great honor to be compared to a champion like Novak. I think we have a little bit different path and different careers. You know, he has to have all the credit of what he did last year.
So I will just leave it at that and try to make my own way. But, you know, I'm not really thinking about numbers, the streaks, whatever. It's your job to count; mine is to play tennis.
I just try to, you know, stay focused every day and try to be the best player as I can be on every single match, every single practice.
That's what is the most important for me, to keep the motivation, to keep determination to improve.
Q. I have a question about Roland Garros. I would like to know...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You're French, right?
Q. I'd like to know what is your best memory related to Roland Garros? Not especially one of your matches but in general, your best memory?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Best memory? Actually, the best memory would be related to the match I think when I won mixed doubles in the French Open. It was really exciting. Also, I played in the finals in doubles.
I don't know. I like Paris. You know, I think it's a little bit difficult with the crowd there. They always, you know, not always warm up to you, to anybody (smiling).
But it's a great city. A lot of people really know the tennis and really appreciate the game. For me, it's exciting to every time go back there.
I don't know, I mean, Paris is a lovely city. I always look forward to go back.
Q. You have won four titles this year. What do you think is the reason for this at the beginning of the year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, everybody keep asking me this question, and I don't know what to tell you. There is no really an answer. There is one thing that I do, and it keeps happening for me, to win, you know. It's just a lot of hard work that I have been putting in my offseason last year and the years before.
It's just, you know, I feel like my game become more complete. I become a better tennis player. I became stronger physically, which also helps me a lot. It's just really, you know, about doing the best job as possible every day, you know, and keep the same focus.
But there is really no magic here.
Q. Is there any sense of fatigue at the moment?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, physically I think the most important at these stages and when you play long tournaments, the recovery is the most important. So you really have to, you know, be disciplined and be really focused on your recovery.
That's what I am trying to do. I have a great team behind me who helps me with that. I think it's important to also have a fresh mind, you know, to make sure that you go with the desire every day to practice or to matches.
But recovery is very, very important.
Q. Your next opponent, Heather Watson, who you played at the Australian Open earlier this year. She was struggling a little bit at that point, but I just wonder what you remember about that match? It was one you won comfortably, but what do you know about her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think she's a great player. I really like her as a person. She's always smiling and she has this you know, she's like a little sunshine every time I see her.
I really like her as a person. I think she's a great up and coming player. You know, she has a lot of potential and she's definitely a fighter. You could see here, you know, she had some good matches, especially with the one I think she was down.
Q. Love 5.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, so that shows a big character. I'm looking forward to play against her again.
I don't really take too much previous matches, because every time you play somebody again it's a new story. So I'm sure she's gonna be really motivated and try gonna come up with her best tennis. So I have to face it as an adversity, and I'm looking forward to that.
Q. Talk about and evaluate your serve. Talk about how that's progressed.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Today was not so good (laughter.)
But it was a little bit difficult I think here with the wind, you know. It's really unpredictable. Michaella was returning really well today, so sometimes I just didn't really place it well.
But I feel like my serve improved a lot since last year. That's definitely one thing that I'm looking forward to improve every day. It can become a lot better.
But, you know, it's just one step at a time. I feel like for tall girls it's a little bit difficult to serve, you know. It's a little bit ironic, but it seems kinda true.
Q. You have a great team with you.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah.
Q. What's so special about your coach and your relationship with him? How does he motivate you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, my team is not only my coach. It's my physio, fitness coach, my agent. Everybody, you know, have their own scenario in my career. We all have the same goals.
So everybody, you know, trying to do the best job as they can in their own field.
It's important, you know, just to have good energy around us, you know. We all really care about each other, so that's also important, you know, to have that great relationship.
You know, sometimes, you know, you don't feel that good physically, so you need somebody to help you a little bit more, pump me up or something. So they do a very good job with that.
So, you know, I always thank them a lot, because without them I wouldn't be sitting here and having the results that I have, that's for sure.
Q. It seems more and more players play golf between matches to relax.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Golf?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. I don't. I played twice in my life, and it was a little bit boring for me.
But everybody keeps saying that I have to learn, you know, to really like it. So I'm gonna give myself a try when I have time off. Not between matches, definitely.
Q. Your level of maturity seems different now. Now you're No. 1; now you won a slam. When you finish the match, you pat her on the back. You have showed her some sympathy for that moment. Do you see yourself in their place sometime? Because you're in a different place right now.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I just honestly I didn't know it wasn't anything personal to tap her shoulder. I think she gave me a great fight, so I just said, you know, Good match, you know, with respect, as I always try to be.
So that's it. She said, Good luck. I said, Thank you very much. And I wished her good luck to her, too.
The level of maturity, yeah, I mean, I'm a year older now, a year wiser, so it has to pay off somehow (smiling).
I'm trying to learn, you know, there is always different experience, you know, a little bit different position. But I'm still the same person. I'm never afraid to show the real me, you know. I think that's important.
Q. During the last few years there have been many female players who won one Grand Slam and have been a little while as world No. 1. You have now won the Australian Open and are the world No. 1. What is important now to keep winning and keep staying at the level you are?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, for me, you know, ranking was never a big issue. Of course you always dream about becoming No. 1 because it's a statement that you're one of the best players in the world, so it's definitely was in my mind.
But for me, it always was about improving myself, you know, because I knew before I win tennis matches I would not have a better ranking.
So there is, you know, a step by step. That's what brings the ranking and brings the trophies, as well. So it was always about taking that one at a time and building the momentum.
So, I don't know. I don't really focus on anybody else, you know, besides myself. Even though I won I achieved two of my dreams, I have so many goals in front of me that I would like to achieve.
So as I said, I would like to improve in everything as I can, because, you know, I have to stay very focused and keep my determination because there are so many girls who want my spot. I have to keep working even harder.
Q. Your grandmother, of course she's very happy when you won the Grand Slam, but how did it mean to you to be you know, you became No. 1; you achieved your dreams. How did it feel like through a relationship with her? What did she say to you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, you know, my results or something will never change my relationship with my grandmother, because for her it's important for me to be healthy and happy in whatever I do.
So results, of course she's really happy for me, but I think when she sees me happy, when I'm healthy, that's the most important for her.
And, you know, winning Indian Wells was great opportunity for me to dedicate it to my grandfather who passed away. I'm sure it meant a lot to her as it meant even more to me. That was important.