News and updates about Victoria Azarenka - Page 37 -
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post #541 of 957 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2012, 01:27 AM
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Coffee break with Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka: No, I don't drink
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post #542 of 957 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2012, 08:05 AM
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

fantastic interview

2012 & 2013 AO Champion - Winnerenka

2012 & 2013 USO Finalist - Chokerenka
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post #543 of 957 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2012, 07:30 PM
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

US OPEN 2012
Victoria Azarenka Press Conference
2R WIN over Kirsten Flipkens(BEL;#133)

Q. Another strong match. Talk about the match and how you feel you played.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it was another good performance today. You know, it was a little bit difficult with the wind today, you know, to adjust. It was blowing a lot from one side. You kind of had to adjust every time you changed sides. When the wind is behind you had to be more patient, sometimes more aggressive, more spin. On the other one you had to kind of fight against. So I think I adjusted really well. You know, her game is also a little bit unpredictable. She likes to move the opponent around; she has different variety. It wasn't as easy maybe as the score was, but I think I played well. I moved well, which was important, you know, to execute in these conditions.

Q. Her weapon seemed to be the slice backhand. What did you do to counter that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I practiced yesterday. (Laughter.) I practiced yesterday for that. She has a really, you know, deep slice and it's a little bit tricky. It took me first few shots to kind of adjust and feel her ball, but, you know, I had to stay aggressive and not to let her try to command me with that shot.

Q. Jie Zheng in the next round.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Okay. I didn't know that.

Q. You have played her before. What can you anticipate from that matchup?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I mean, she's definitely a really tough opponent. She had big matches; she had big results. You know, she's unpredictable. Really stable. She's very consistent. It's going to be interesting. We haven't played in a while, I think. I don't actually remember the last time we played.

Q. It was in 2009 in Tokyo.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Tokyo. Oh, well, so, it will be definitely a big challenge, you know. She can definitely show good tennis, and I kind of need to step it up in the later rounds coming up. We'll see. I'm looking forward to play against her.

Q. Two years ago you had to retire. The third round has kind of been your threshold. In your mind do you feel you need to get past that in order to validate anything?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't feel like I have to prove something. Of course I would rather always win than lose. Taking last year's experience or the year before that, I can't really look back on it and take something. I mean, I can take something from it, but not really look back. The next match is gonna be, you know, the usual match for me. I don't have anything that, you know, it's the third round or I have to win that I didn't pass last two years. It's just gonna be another match. I have a tough opponent. You know, I'm up for the challenge.

Q. Do you feel very different coming into this year than any previous year at the Open considering everything that's happened so far this year? Should we consider you a different player than the one who has come here in the past?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I hope so. But, you know, the expectations are higher, for sure. You know, there is more attention that people expect you to play better. For me, I always take it match by match no matter where it is, what my ranking is. I have been doing it for pretty much my whole career. I'm just always focusing day by day. As far as I can go, we'll see, but I try to stay humble and focused.

Q. This is Kim Clijsters' final tournament. Can you share some of your memories of what it was like playing against her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I never played her here at the Open, but we had great matches. Definitely the one we had in Australia this year was absolutely amazing. As I said before, Kim is, you know, a great role model for all of us. She has a great personality. I was actually just chatting with her about shopping in the locker room before we came out. I mean, she's just great for our sport. For sure we'll miss her.

Q. Would you describe shopping as your hobby?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. Not hobby. I think it's something that every girl enjoys to do when they're in a good mood, but mostly when they're in a bad mood, I would say. (Laughter.) It's just something ‑‑ for me, it's when I have free time, which I don't have a lot, I can do something. You know, I like to shop. I like to look at things around. I like to buy gifts most of the times.

Q. This tournament and all the other slams we have a day off between matches. Is that easier on you, or is it a challenge to keep your focus instead of playing every day and showing up the next day knowing you have to play?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm not sure about that, because I always take Grand Slam not only as a two‑week tournament. I take it as a three‑week tournament. You are here always normally earlier, so it kind of starts already a little before. In terms of physically‑mentally, I think that Grand Slams are the toughest ones to play for sure. We have more matches. You have, I don't know, more things to do always. I'm actually not sure. It's good to have day off sometimes ‑‑ if you don't play doubles, for example. So if you just focus on your singles, it definitely gives a little bit of a, you know, a breathe through such a long tournament.

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post #544 of 957 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2012, 11:14 PM
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Vika will play in Monterrey 2013 (the article is in Spanish)
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post #545 of 957 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2012, 11:34 PM
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Originally Posted by VIKA-GOAT View Post

Vika will play in Monterrey 2013 (the article is in Spanish)
That's why ESPN Latino got her and ESPN in the US got Burdette
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post #546 of 957 (permalink) Old Aug 30th, 2012, 10:44 AM
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Originally Posted by saul1333 View Post
That's why ESPN Latino got her and ESPN in the US got Burdette
Just watched the video
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post #547 of 957 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 05:33 PM
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Press conference US Open 2012
After 3rd round win over J. Zheng

An interview with: VICTORIA AZARENKA

Friday, August 31, 2012

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That was supposed to be the difficult match. You played another seed.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I mean, I was expecting a tough match. But today I felt like I was really focused on each point that I wasn't really aware on what score it was. I was just trying, you know, to keep that determination and keep dominating her, not really letting her into the match, because I know she can turn things around really quick. You know, she has that type of game that she is a shot‑maker as well. It was important to keep her that she lose a little bit of courage.

Q. TV was saying that was your first night match on Ashe. Is that what Pam said?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: That's what I thought. I don't think I ever played the night match.

Q. So you played Serena during the day?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yes. We played during the day.

Q. Were you looking forward to actually getting out in front of a night crowd? That suits your personality.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I was really looking forward. The other day I played really late on Armstrong my first match, but it wasn't really the night session, you know. When you know it's real night session, you kind of feel the buzz, the energy. But it was amazing, you know, to play in front of this crowd, the biggest stadium of the tennis world. It was incredible. The energy, you don't want to leave.

Q. You're following up Andy. Did you feel the same buzz out there or did you feel the crowd had a bit if a breath took out of it after that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think I felt before that a little bit more when I got out there. I was just trying to be in my zone, you know. But yesterday I was just watching ESPN and suddenly Andy says he retires. I was like, What? What's going on here? I cannot believe that. I don't know. He played incredible today. You could feel how he was energetic, so it kind of inspired me a little bit even more today. But, you know, I was shocked. Yesterday I was listening to the full press conference of him. I mean, it's sad, but he definitely has a good shot with the game he showed tonight.

Q. How well are you playing right now? Are you playing Australia well?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't remember how I played in Australia. Seriously, just the feeling of winning there I remember. You never feel perfect, you know. Like on some practices I felt terrible. Honestly here I felt like I cannot put the ball in or it's going all over the place. But I'm glad when I go to the matches I have that state of mind that I'm really focused and I'm trying to, you know, fight for every ball. I try to make my opponent, you know, if they win the point, make it really difficult for them. So I don't compare too much. I just feel like every tournament is a little bit different when you play, the way you adjust. It wasn't that windy. There was not really many night sessions in Australia. Actually, there was. I'm confusing. But, as I said, I don't really like to compare, but I felt pretty good out there.

Q. You can't remember that feeling of confidence that you could hit any ball you wanted to the first two months of the year? Does it almost seem like a different season?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It doesn't feel like a different season, but it does feel different. When I was in Australia, trust me, it wasn't like I couldn't miss the ball. Maybe it looked like it certainly.

Q. Especially the final.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It certainly didn't feel like it in a lot of matches. (Laughter.) But the important is, you know, have that belief I have, you know, that determination, that desire when I go on court. I feel that's the most important thing, for me to be motivated and passionate when I go out there to fight.

Q. Coming in with the No. 1 seed, how much more pressure is on you here?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, I think people don't believe me when I say that I don't really look at it that way. I don't think about numbers. I think I'm not the first favorite here, as everybody has been saying. Serena is showing some amazing tennis. I feel like, yes, she is the favorite here. But I feel like there's more attention. I feel like there's more people's expectation for me. But I enter the tournament the same way as I was before. I just try to, you know, be consistent, to be hundred percent every day no matter what I do. So that's important for me.

Q. Do you prefer that, not being the favorite coming in here, being under the radar?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I let my racquet talk, not really me talking. I think that's important. You really show when you're on the court are you a favorite? Are you not a favorite? Are you playing well? Are you not playing well? In the end of the day, your game is what shows, you know, who you are in the tennis world. So for me important is just try to be focused and giving hundred percent every day.

Q. In some senses you almost have to earn yourself ‑ you did it in Australia and Wimbledon and to some degree at Roland Garros ‑ night matches, big matches.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I'm not American or French or Australian, for sure.

Q. But you played center court everywhere now.

Q. Do you agree you almost have to earn your way to the big matches?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I never actually thought about it this way. I'm really honored to play on these big stadiums, you know. I appreciate that we have such an opportunity to be able to do what we love in front of such a big crowd. For me it's just a privilege every time I go out on the center court. I don't feel like I have to earn something or I have to show something. I just play. If I get it, I get it. I enjoy every moment and I try to take everything in.

Q. You've always been pretty honest about things. Talking about Serena ‑ and this might be the case with Djokovic ‑ is part of the reason why she's been so dominant is because she was winning tournaments on grass? She did not dominate the hard courts and clay. She played great at Wimbledon and the Olympics. You've had a pretty good record on hard, no?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't think there's anybody who can dominate all the way through, all surfaces. It's just the competition is very high right now at this moment. It's quite difficult to stay in that zone, you know, throughout four, five tournaments, because it takes so much physically out of you. But, I mean, she played great this summer. You cannot deny she was on top of everybody. That's for sure. So it's kind of also exciting to see what's going to happen here, being the last Grand Slam of the year. I don't know. We'll see what happens. But, as I said, yes, she's dangerous on every surface.
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post #548 of 957 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2012, 06:27 PM
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka looks for rightful place

By Matt Cronin
Saturday, September 1, 2012

Top seed Victoria Azarenka strode onto the big court minutes after the soon-to-retire Andy Roddick had put on an a rousing performance, took a look around and made her night-session debut a nearly perfect one. Perhaps it was not memorable to the crowd, as she crushed Jie Zheng 6‑0, 6‑1 in the third round, but it sure was impressive.

The reigning Australian Open champion has played in Ashe Stadium before, but only in the day sessions. Night sessions are made for players like Azarenka, who loves her music, to dance and to be recognized as being a player with game and with flare.

“I was really looking forward,” she said.“The other day I played really late on Armstrong, my first match, but it wasn't really the night session. When you know it's a real night session, you kind of feel the buzz, the energy. But it was amazing to play in front of this crowd, the biggest stadium of the tennis world. It was incredible. The energy, you don't want to leave.“

While Serena Williams dominated the grass-court season and Maria Sharapova was the best player on clay, it was Azarenka who was queen of the hard courts, winning her maiden Grand Slam title in Australia, as well as Sydney, Doha and Indian Wells. She is one of the most ferocious inside the baseliners the tour has seen in the past decade.

She doesn't know if she is playing as well as she was in Australia, when she took down defending champion Kim Clijsters and destroyed Sharapova in the final, but she does recall a few good things.

“Seriously, just the feeling of winning there I remember,” she said. "You never feel perfect. Like in some practices, I felt terrible. Honestly, here I felt like I cannot put the ball in or it's going all over the place. But I'm glad when I go to the matches I have that state of mind that I'm really focused and I'm trying to fight for every ball. I try to make my opponent, if they win the point, make it really difficult for them. But the important thing is to have that belief, that determination, that desire when I go on court, to be motivated and passionate when I go out there to fight.”

After winning the bronze medal at the Olympics, Azarenka flew to Canada and retired in her first-round match. She then went to grab a large dose of mental and physical R & R. She didn’t play badly during the clay- and grass-court seasons, but she didn't always play brilliantly, losing to Dominika Cibulkova at Roland Garros and to Serena Williams at Wimbledon and the Olympics. She managed to retake the No. 1 ranking when Sharapova lost early at Wimbledon, but it’s not like anyone considered her a lock to win the US Open, like they might have had the event been held in March. Serena is many analysts’ favorite, and by the way, it was the great Williams who took Azarenka out of the 2011 US Open.

But while Williams has been unbeatable on grass and did win Stanford on hard courts, she did fall in Cincinnati and did not win any major hard-court title in the first quarter of the year. So Azarenka and the rest of the elite have every reason to show up for the 2012 US Open.

“I don't think there's anybody who can dominate all the way through, all surfaces,” Azarenka said. “It's just the competition is very high right now at this moment. It's quite difficult to stay in that zone, throughout four, five tournaments, because it takes so much physically out of you.

"But she played great this summer. You cannot deny she was on top of everybody. So it's kind of also exciting to see what's going to happen here, being the last Grand Slam of the year. But she's dangerous on every surface.”

In a sense, the vivacious 23-year-old, who goes by the nickname “Vika,” is flying a little under the radar during the first week, with the legendary Kim Clijsters retiring, Venus Williams trying to come back from an illness, Sharapova having ended her engagement, and Serena, as always, being the show stopper.

But Azarenka is a heavy favorite in her fourth-round match against Anna Tatishvili and will be the favorite if she wins that against either British teenager Laura Robson or defending champion Samantha Stosur, whom she has owned.

If she plays to the best of her ability, then she will be front and center again. And if few folks are noticing her now? She doesn't care.

“I let my racquet talk, not really me talking,” she said. ‘Are you not a favorite? Are you playing well? Are you not playing well?’ At the end of the day, your game is what shows, who you are in the tennis world.”
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post #549 of 957 (permalink) Old Sep 3rd, 2012, 03:51 PM
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

US OPEN 2012
Victoria Azarenka Press Conference (with Redfoo)
4R WIN over Anna Tatishvili (GEO;#73)
Q. What's up? We thought he was Sam's fan.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: He's just a big tennis fan. I'm a big music fan. So goes together.

Q. Have you done the shuffle yet?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Not yet. I need to practice first. I already got a free lesson.

Q. How did you find the match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I think the match was pretty good. I think she played really well. There was a lot of long points. I'm happy with the way I played, but I'm such a perfection that I always want to do better. There were a few things I felt like I could have done better, could have been more aggressive and step up a little bit more when I had the chance. But in the end I found that rhythm that I was looking for, and that's important.

Q. You said it was your first match on Ashe the other day. Had you been hoping for your second?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: First night match on Ashe.

Q. Had you been hoping to get another match today on Ashe?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I wasn't hoping. It was a little bit weird situation when you don't know where you're going to play. They need to finish by 4:30 exact or otherwise you're moved. I was like 4:25, 4:26. I was like, Come on, Andy, and he finished seven minutes later.

Q. They told you 4:30 was the deadline?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, 4:30 and not another minute later.

Q. You were just having a wink, right, waiting for the Stosur match to finish?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I fell asleep.

Q. What do you need to improve for the Stosur match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's going to be a completely different style of game. I know her very well; she knows me very well. We played many times. I'm sure she's very motivated because she's done so amazing last year. I think that desire she has is definitely going to carry her through, but I'm expecting a really tough battle, as usual. You know, quarterfinals are never easy. It's my first quarterfinals here, so I'm excited as well.

Q. You nearly came head‑to‑head with her going out there.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Actually, I didn't know I was going to play against her. But, yeah, we crossed by because I think she was spend a little bit more time on the court after she finished her match you know, because there were a lot of fans and she had to sign. Yeah, we just crossed right at the entrance of the court.

Q. What has been being able to perform so strongly in the Grand Slam events earlier this year done for your confidence level here?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, in French Open I didn't do so well, to be honest. But I think, you know, Grand Slam are different tournaments. You kind of have to make sure that you know how to pace yourself. I don't take it as a two‑week event; I take it as a three‑week event because you always come a little bit earlier. It takes a long time. So it's important to make sure that you know what you do every single day, the best way you prepare for the match. So Grand Slams are just very different from any other tournaments.

Q. Did you get more of a rhythm down in terms of how you pace yourself?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I feel like there's more experience from last year that I kind of took. I learned more about my body, you know, what I need to push a little bit more, I need to rest a little bit more. I feel like I find better balance and adjusting throughout the two weeks on what I have to do, how I have to practice. Me and my team, I think we're doing a good job with finding that balance every time.

Q. As more of the veterans are retiring, are you starting to feel more and more like a veteran?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, it's a funny thing. I'm only 23 years old but I play seven years on tour already, so it seems so long. I was like, 2006 I was already playing. Oh, my God, it's been a long time. I don't think I'm old yet, so I will not consider myself as a veteran.

Q. What about being the No. 1 seed? Do you feel like you're the favorite here? Should you go on and win this title?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't feel of myself as the first favorite here, because I think there are so many great players in the draw still. I feel like Serena is definitely, you know, the favorite here. You know, she's been doing amazing this summer, plus being American playing in New York. Also Sam as being defending champion is definitely a favorite, as well. Maria is playing well. Who else is in the draw? I don't even look at the draw, but definitely a lot of players who can definitely pull out the win.

Q. Sam is really confident with her serve at the moment. Does that make her extra hard to beat on this surface?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: We will see in the match, but Sam definitely has one of the best serves out there. I have no idea how she kicks so high. I try during practice, but never works out. But it's definitely big asset, that's for sure.

Q. You're No. 1; you're among the favorites. Is it kind of less pressure for you that way, being among the favorites?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I feel like there's more expectation from people because I don't try to put that pressure on myself. When I go out there I need to enjoy playing. If I start putting pressure on myself I don't enjoy. It's not fun for me. I better just go home. I try to just make sure that I prepared the best as I can for my match and that I have that, you know, passion and desire to go on court. And after, the result for me really will take care of itself. It's going to be hard no matter what. I cannot always win. It's important not to have a regret once you step off the court.

Q. You look so focused when you go out there. You have the hoodie on.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm dancing all the time.

Q. When do you switch on?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I feel like, as you said, everybody has their own way to get into that zone, into that state of mind when you feel like you're ready to be in that bubble for the match. Once I start to warm up before the match and go through my routine, I'm already in the zone. I don't see anybody except my coach honestly, because he throws me the balls. But I have that state of mind that I'm so focused. Honestly, if somebody passed by I just don't see it. Not because I don't want to see it, I just don't see them, so...

Q. Are you going to have to swap boxes in the next match?
REDFOO: I'm just a big tennis fan. I think it's going to be a great match. I'm really looking to see, you know, who has the better shuffle. I'm going to work with her on her shuffle. You know, her left foot goes a little rogue. You know, the shuffle actually came from tennis. I don't know if you guys know, but it comes from the split step and the recover. When you hit a forehand and then you got to cross over, that's where it comes from. That's really what I'm looking for. I'm looking for the footwork, to see who I'm going to put in my next video. Honestly, that's why I'm here.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's going to be kind of like an audition.

Q. Can you confirm your song Shots is about Martina Hingis' net play?
REDFOO: I don't know if I can confirm that. I have to talk to my manager, my publicist. No, the song Shots is a great song to get pumped up to.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm just remembering the time when I listened to the song, when I was listening to it before the match, because, I don't know, it's really ‑‑
REDFOO: ‑‑ aggressive.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's really fun. Actually, my manager likes to dance to it, too. See, she's embarrassed.

Q. It's clearly about tennis?
REDFOO: Well, it is. It is.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: But somebody at the bar will think differently.
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post #550 of 957 (permalink) Old Sep 4th, 2012, 07:32 PM
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

US OPEN 2012 Stats

1R: WIN over Alexandra Panova (RUS;#74) 6-0 6-1
2R: WIN over Kirsten Flipkens (BEL;#133) 6-2 6-2
3R: WIN over Jie Zheng (CHN;#28) 6-0 6-1
4R: WIN over Anna Tatishvili (GEO;#73) 6-2 6-2
QF: WIN over Sam Stosur (AUS;#7)
SF: against Maria Sharapova (RUS;#3)

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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

US OPEN 2012
Victoria Azarenka Press Conference
QF WIN over Sam Stosur (AUS;#7)

Q. How would you describe your fire to win this tournament right now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: A little bit out of fire right now. (Laughter.) I'm just, you know, I'm really looking forward to play the tough battles I have still in the tournament. You know, for being first time in the semifinals in the US Open is incredible feeling for me. Definitely I don't want to stop. I really want it bad. I'm going to do absolutely everything I have, you know, to give it all here.

Q. Sam said that she played her best tennis of the tournament today but it wasn't enough. Did you play your best tennis of the tournament today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, for sure she really pushed me, you know, to dig deep. We fought really hard. I felt like there wasn't something, you know, somebody was missing. It was always somebody had to grab the opportunity, you know, to provoke mistakes. Even though there were mistakes, but there was provoking them, you know, coming in and playing big shots. I think that the quality of tennis was really high, and it was tense because it could go either way. But, you know, it was like breaks but still, you know, somebody ‑‑ like me or Sam we would come back strong and play that next game, be really, you know, determined and motivated even though you lost the game before.

Q. How important is it to have a match like this where you really are challenged? Because thus far at this tournament you have dominated.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, you know, I think everybody prefers to win maybe a little bit easier than this way. (Laughter.) No doubt. But it definitely gives a lot of boost, you know, and energy knowing that you go through the fight to win. It's ironic to hear that, I think, but I enjoy the fight. You know, I enjoy that, you know, struggle, that pain that we go through, that incredible moment that you feel relieved after, you know, you gave it all in every point you had.

Q. What were you telling to yourself in the third set when you kept being ahead and she was coming back then the breaker was crazy and you had this 5‑All. What was going through your mind?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You don't want to know what I kept telling myself. I would have to beep that, I think. I was just trying, you know, to stay positive because I knew I had to find the opportunities. You know, even though I had few opportunities, I kinda missed them. I felt like I wasn't aggressive enough at some point. But, you know, she came back really strong and she actually kept me back, wouldn't let me use those opportunities. I kept telling myself, Don't be a chicken; come on; just go, go for your shots.

Q. At 5‑All in the tiebreaker, what did you think? You know, you hit an ace. Were you nervous at that point?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: When did I hit an ace? Did I hit one today actually?

Q. To go up 6‑5 in the breaker. You saved a break point 5‑All.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: 5‑All I made the dropshot, no? I was lucky that the ball caught the net. I was, you know, just trying to stay in the moment. I didn't really feel like what was the score. I was just trying to, you know, when I had that short ball I had to do something to surprise, because at this moment you have to come up with something different, not the usual what you do. Because one or two shots will just, you know, decide everything. Even one move can decide everything. So I felt I had to come up with something different. I had the dropshot. I showed some good hands, I guess. (Smiling.)

Q. How often do you have to tell yourself, Don't be a chicken?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Not often, really. Sometimes I just go for too much. But today, you know, I felt like she was defending really, really well, you know. I wanted to come in, but she kept the ball so low, you know, during the slice that I was hesitating on couple of occasions. I had to, you know, just really push myself to go and take my chance.

Q. Did you know that the No. 1 ranking was on the line?

Q. So when you went like this at the end to your box, that wasn't...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, it had nothing to do with numbers, really. (Smiling.)

Q. Do you ever get nervous during matches anymore and were you nervous at any time today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Of course. Yes, I do get nervous. I'm a human being, you know. You know, I don't think that there is any player who says that they don't get nervous during the matches or they're lying or they're just too strong. But, yeah, of course you get nervous, because, you know, you sometimes don't want to miss the shot, you know, or you feel like, Oh, maybe I have to be aggressive. So there is this little bit of unknowing what to do, you know, so it brings out the nerves. When you, you know, face break point or something, I'm just calmer when I face a break point because I just feel like I have to go for my shots.

Q. When you faulted were you nervous or you just went for the serve too much?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't ‑‑ I was just ‑‑ shit serve, seriously. It was just a terrible, terrible. Wrong movement. I was not focused enough on my execution, what I had to do.

Q. You put it behind you just like that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I feel like, you know, these kind of mistakes are easier to deal with because they're just silly. You know, it's easier to fix than something that, you know, you had a great opportunity and you missed it right there.

Q. I want to ask you a question about your ambition. You said, "I want this." Does that mean I just want to win this tournament? Does it mean I want to be No. 1 at the end of the year? Does it mean I want to win 10 Grand Slams? What is your ambition about tennis?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: That's a good question. I feel like I will never be satisfied, you know, sometimes. That even though I'm doing, you know, at the peak of my career right now, I feel like I want to do better, I want to do better. The ambitions are really high, but I don't like to jump ahead too much. That's what I felt kind of was holding me back before, you know, is to have that image that I want it so bad that I'm going to go for it. I just try to execute being a good player, improve myself as a player, my physical aspect, and the result is second for me right now.

Q. You have obviously had a great year since Australia. Maybe not the results, but did you miss not having the trophy? Did you miss it? Is that part of, I want to get that feeling back again?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, yes. Of course everybody wants to feel and raise the trophy. Definitely everywhere I go I want to win the tournament. That's the ambition; that's the mindset. When you come to any event, you know, doesn't matter if it's a Grand Slam, I always want to win. I love winning. Who doesn't?

Q. You have been working with your coach about three years now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yes, almost three years.

Q. How important was it for you to find the right person? What was that process like?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It was quite difficult, because the coach I had before, I was with him for four years. I'm the kind of player that don't like to change too much coaches, because I feel like I'm really picky in that way. But when I pick somebody, we try to work things out because you always know it's never going to be a smooth ride. But when you have full trust when the person is really caring about you, wanting you to do well, I think that's important. That's what we have with Sam, you know. We have a good understanding, which took a little bit of while for him to get to know me, for me to get to know him. You know, to have that communication and trust between each other.

Q. If you play Maria in the next round, not looking too far ahead, just one match now, how would you describe what that match will depend on and what you've learned from playing her this year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, she's been showing also amazing tennis this year. She really stepped up her level, you know, winning French Open. It was incredible, that achievement. Maria is always one of these players that, you know, she will give it all no matter what the score is. You know, she's always fighting and she's really tough mentally. It's gonna be tough match no matter what. What do you expect differently in the semifinal of a Grand Slam?

Q. You were talking about learning to trust Sam. How long has it taken you to trust your own instincts on court, or did that just come automatically?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I feel like it's experience, you know. Because you have to go through mistakes more to learn how to understand yourself more, how to, I don't know, feel yourself. For me it's important to feel myself, you know. The main key is I always ‑‑ I never lie to myself. If I feel nervous, I'll say I feel nervous. If I feel relaxed, I'll say I feel relaxed. So I feel this is important to be honest with you yourself and never be afraid of your feelings.

Q. Going back to the ace that was 5‑All, break point in the third set. You only served one ace in the whole match. Does that show your ability to come up in the clutch? Did that feel like a clutch moment for you to come up with that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Why do you guys saying I served an ace? Did I serve an race?

Q. One ace down the middle.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: At 5‑All? Oh, 5‑All in the games. I was like, in the tiebreak? What? (Laughter.) Seriously.

Q. It was a big moment to come up with the ace because she had she just got in front she could break for 6‑5.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, that's what I said. You know, when you're facing a break point you don't feel like you're going to hope for a mistake. You have to make it happen. You have to change the momentum. You have to create something that, you know, that will surprise her. Because. Has the momentum going. She's on the ‑‑ she's feeling confident. You know, she has a chance. I had to come up and be strong, so I was like, Okay. Let's do it. If I miss it, I miss it.

Q. The other thing was the squash shots that she came up with a few times and surprised you. Do you see many of those on tour? Is that another one that Sam has in her arsenal not many others do?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I haven't seen those shots in her game before really. She definitely improved that. But I feel like maybe this court from our previous matches suits her better to do those kind of opportunities, plus with the wind it was sometimes helping. I felt like I was coming with a great shot, you know. Then jogging kind of to the net and the ball comes so low that she kind of caught me off guard a few times because it felt like it was hitting the net.

Q. With your win today you keep your No. 1 ranking. You have a slam; you've been No. 1 for a while. How meaningful is it to stay No. 1 to you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It means a lot, but it's nothing like lifting a trophy, honestly. It's nothing. I cannot compare that feeling to winning a tournament. It's just a number. It's a great achievement. It's something that you work really hard for your whole life to be, but this will not compare.

Q. Maybe talk about Bartoli a bit. You played her this year.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah. Well, Marion is always surprising player and very tough. You know, I feel like she knows how to play big matches. She plays against top players I feel like she played way better than she does against anybody else. It doesn't seem like she had a great summer playing, but she definitely showed some great results here. And beating, you know, such tough opponents, it shows that she's in a good place. You know, either one of those who's gonna win is definitely gonna be a tough battle. They're both really tough mentally; really tough physically, as well. We'll see.

Q. When you played Maria at Australia, what do you think the key to that match was?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I feel like with Maria it's important, you know, who has the first opportunity, you know. It's who is going to be dominating more, who is going to be in control of the game. If I manage to do that, I have more chances on my side.

Q. Many people, especially Europeans, the first time they come here don't like the US Open. They don't like the energy. It's too much. It's overwhelming and distracting, crazy traffic. You obviously clearly love playing here. Did you always feel that way, or was it an evolution to get there? What's it like to sort of get to the place where you love it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I love New York, you know. I feel like it's a great place, just a beautiful city. It's one of my favorite places in the world. I said it many times that I feel like fans are really appreciative here. Really feel like they make you feel special when you step on the court. They are so educated with tennis. But not only with tennis but the whole sports in the States. The energy when you walk on the court, you feel the crowd, you feel the boost. I don't know. I'm very energetic person. I like to be, you know, energetic. So for me it's perfect. But it's up to everybody's taste, right?
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post #552 of 957 (permalink) Old Sep 5th, 2012, 07:43 AM
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Tignor article

No. 1, Whether You Like It or Not
Steve TignorTuesday, September 04, 2012

NEW YORK—After her hair-raising, high-quality, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (5) win over Sam Stosur today, Victoria Azarenka was asked what she was thinking when, after holding the lead for most of the afternoon, she found herself at 5-5 in a final-set tiebreaker.

“You don’t want to know what I kept telling myself,” Azarenka said, grinning. “I would have to beep that, I think.”

What did Azarenka do after racing through all of those beep-able thoughts? She tried a drop shot. Stosur could only watch, surprised and agonized, as it landed a foot in front of the net, and well out of her reach.

“I had something to do to surprise,” Azarenka said, explaining her bold shot choice on a do or die point. “At this moment you have to come up with something different, not the usual what you do. Because one or two shots can, you know, decide everything.”

This is how you get to be No. 1 in the world, and stay there; Vika's win today ensured that she'll remain atop the WTA after the Open. During her time at the top, Azarenka has fought hard, and not always successfully, to quiet her mind without losing her fire, to use her anger rather than let it use her. But she’ll always have her moments. Even on a day when she kept her head together and held off an opponent desperately defending a Grand Slam title, Vika slashed her racquet against the court three times and screamed with anger after bad miss.

The last two months in women’s tennis have been dominated by Serena Williams, her wins, her words, her dance moves. That’s obscured the fact that, after looking burned out and unhappy at the French Open in May, Azarenka has steadied herself. She tested Serena in the Wimbledon semis, won an Olympic bronze in singles and a gold in mixed doubles, and has now reached her first U.S. Open semifinal. In years past, the always intense Vika’s energy has flagged by this point in the season. In 2010, she passed out in the Grandstand during her second-round match against Gisela Dulko.

Today, though, we saw the best of Azarenka, mentally and physically. For a time, I isolated on her and was amazed again by the rapid-fire detail of her footwork. It allows her to hug the baseline and not drop back, even when she’s fielding deep balls. In that sense and others, she’s a lot like Novak Djokovic. If he’s the right man for this moment in tennis, she’s the equivalent on the women’s. Their games are based on movement and all-around competence. While Vika’s serve is weaker, she also has a more aggressive mindset. She rallies from the baseline, but she’s rarely passive; the fact that she plays close to the baseline forces, or allows, her take the ball on the rise. She has a relentlessness that, like Djokovic’s style, takes a physical toll on her opponents.

“She barely gives you any points,” said Stosur, who hadn’t won so much as a set in their six previous matches. “And you have to work hard for every single point you get.”

This match started at 11:00 A.M in front of a mostly empty Ashe Stadium. That might sound surprising when a No. 1 player in the world is on the court, but it’s been a theme of Azarenka’s season. Maybe it’s the peacock-like woooo sound she makes when she hits the ball. Maybe it’s the way she enters the court under a hoodie, headphones on, game face in place, without a smile or a wave for the crowd. Maybe it’s her personality in general, which is hard and focused and all business. Whatever it is, something has kept tennis fans from warming to her. She’s cleared arenas all year.

Azarenka tries. She’s tried to loosen up in the interview room the same way she’s tried to mellow out on court—it’s a work in progress on both fronts. She tried to clown with the audience in Australia after her matches, but they imitated her woooo anyway. Two days ago, she stuck around to sign every last autograph on Armstrong and hung out with RedFoo in the interview room. After her win today, she danced and told the crowd in Ashe, “I hope you guys enjoyed it, because I surely did.” It isn’t that Azarenka isn’t likable. But she’s not a natural performer, and when she plays it’s hard to see much beyond her most obvious traits, her focus and intensity, which never let up or vary much over the course of a match. Azarenka is a tennis player at the expense of being a personality. What makes her very good at one leaves her lacking in the other.

There’s a sense of dissatisfaction and frustration about Vika even when things are going well. This isn’t surprising considering what she said after her win today: “I feel like I will never be satisfied sometimes. The ambitions are really high, but I don’t like to jump ahead too much. That’s what I felt was holding me back before, is to have that image that I want it so bad that I’m going to go for it.” Azarenka has had to make herself less ambitious to achieve what she’s achieved.

Those achievements should be enough for us. Today, for once, they were. The Open’s fans couldn’t stay away from Vika, even if they rooted for Sam once they got there. By the end of their match, which was the best of the tournament so far, the stands were mostly full. Personality or no personality, this was a match that no tennis fan could miss. Stosur raised her game in the second set, and Azarenka raised hers to match it. The two traded four straight breaks in the third set, but it didn’t mean that the play was poor. Each was returning and rallying brilliantly.

Late in the third set, it seemed that things might finally go Stosur’s way. Serving at 5-5, Azarenka faced a break point. Her serve had been weak all day; she rarely cracked the 100 M.P.H. mark, and Stosur feasted on her fat second deliveries. So what did Vika do at this most crucial of moments? She hit her first ace.

“I had to come up and be strong,” Azarenka said of the shot later. “So I was like, OK, let’s do it. If I miss it, I miss it.”

She didn’t miss it. That’s why she’s No. 1 in the world.
I like the bolded bit, the precision and speed of her footwork in preparation for her shots is amazing. I bet she'd be good at Dance Dance Revolution.

The bit about her personailty is stupid though. IMO Vika shows more personality on court than most of the top players.

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post #553 of 957 (permalink) Old Sep 5th, 2012, 08:43 PM
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Originally Posted by Igor_Biscan View Post
Tignor article

I like the bolded bit, the precision and speed of her footwork in preparation for her shots is amazing. I bet she'd be good at Dance Dance Revolution.

The bit about her personailty is stupid though. IMO Vika shows more personality on court than most of the top players.
I agree. Also I think there's nothing to write about her personality that hasn't already been written several times (except if someone would finally try to come up with some positive aspects). They should try to be a more creative when writing about players in general but I guess that's too much to ask for (already looking forward to reading the thousandth comparison of Maria's and Vika's screams ).
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post #554 of 957 (permalink) Old Sep 7th, 2012, 07:57 AM
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

I think this article should be posted her too.

Art of the presser: No. 1 Azarenka treading gently into media waters

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NEW YORK -- Victoria Azarenka's shining moment of the U.S. Open so far did not come on Ashe Stadium center court, where, most recently, the top-seeded Belarusian ousted reigning champion Sam Stosur of Australia to advance to the semifinal round here for the first time. It came just a short walk from the court, inside a room too big to call a studio, too small to call an auditorium -- and yet just right for a performance. Its broad dais, bright lights and theater seating set a high bar, and when the stars fall short the exit reviews can be stinging.

Azarenka? She killed. Her headlining press conference following her 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 victory was a tour de force, thoughtful, endearing and -- perhaps most stunning of all -- fun. It was also a major breakthrough for the 23-year-old, who until recently entered such gatherings with the wariness of a woman asked to stick her head in a beehive.

On Tuesday, in Interview room 1 at Ashe Stadium, Azarenka was honest about her ambitions and how she struggles to reconcile her desire to chase the rush of raising a trophy "everywhere I go" with not wanting to "get too far ahead of myself." She was sweet, expressing genuine surprise when asked about her lone ace in the match, a 92 mph torpedo down the T that erased a break point chance at 5-all in the third set. "Why do you guys say I served an ace?" said a giggling Azarenka, whose clutch play helped ensure she'll retain the No. 1 spot when the new rankings are released on Monday. "Did I? (...) Seriously?"

She even was flattering to her possible semifinal opponents -- including Russia's Maria Sharapova, whom she will face on Friday in Ashe (Sharapova beat Marion Bartoli of France in three sets there on Wednesday). "Maria is always one of these players that will give it her all no matter what the score is," Azarenka said. "She's always fighting."

Simply put: Azarenka owned the room. And who thought that possible after the obliging Stosur news conference that came just before? It had ended with a trophy presentation, after all. The USTA sent her home with a $5,000 silver bowl from Tiffany's, a token of appreciation for the good sportsmanship she exhibited on the court and beyond during the North American hardcourt season. It was a fitting send-off for a player who would win over the press with her grace and generous spirit long before claiming her first major. But on this afternoon she had nothing on Azarenka. If not for the time commitments on both sides of the dais, who knows how much longer she would've held this tough crowd in her palm, how many more critics she could have squeezed into saying She was great! as they streamed out of the aisles?

This Azarenka was 180-degrees from the one who had never met an audience of reporters she couldn't text in front of, the one for whom one-word answers were the norm. Before long, so too was this group ignoring almost every bit of her but the goose honk that punctuates her every stroke.
No young player goes into a relationship with the media easily, much less willingly. It's just another one of those things -- like picking a coach or scheduling practices -- that gets sorted by trial and error. "There's no manual for it," said Jim Courier, who could've written the book on what not to do. During his time on tour in the late 1980s through the early-2000s, the U.S. Davis Cup captain might have claimed even fewer admirers in the Fourth Estate than Azarenka. Why? "I was definitely a little caustic at times," he said. "I got burned with a couple articles early on. It took me a while to figure out how to play the game a little bit better."

Every player brings a different strategy. Not all of them are winners. James Blake's is to speak ad nauseam and say nothing. Andy Roddick's is to always -- always -- be the smartest guy in the room. Roger Federer cloaks his arrogance in his ability to speak four languages with the utmost politeness. Novak Djokovic deflects serious questions about his game with a hair-trigger sense of humor.
Sharapova lets her eight-figure endorsement portfolio speak on her behalf; rarely does she undermine its well-crafted message, one that casts her as the Gwyneth Paltrow of tennis -- tall, blonde and replete with good taste.

But some missteps came this month. On the eve of the fortnight she appeared on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" to promote her candy line. Days later, in separate appearances inside Interview Room 1, she leveled that news with a pair of bombs: In the first she revealed that she had submitted to an ultrasound as part of an investigation into a lingering flu bug, and it had showed that "I was fine, not pregnant." (A day later her agent, Max Eisenbud, visited the media room to emphasize that his client was kidding.) In the second she announced that her near two-year engagement to pro basketball player Sasha Vujacic was off.

So even the most well rehearsed pros get it wrong. There's no magic bullet, no one-size-fits-all approach. "Every player has to walk their own path as far as how they want to manage everything that happens outside of the court," Courier said.

Azarenka's problem was that she just didn't know how. She started out in tennis a bit of a loner, shipped to Arizona from her native Minsk as a teenager to pursue her tennis dream. She was facing her wonder years in a different culture, in a new language. If there was a phrase that stuck it was media obligation, and the last word was never lost in translation.

So worried was the WTA tour of someday winding up with a top ranked player that no one wants to talk to that they asked The Times of London's esteemed tennis writer Neil Harman to give her a crash course in media training after the 2011 Australian Open. The lesson: engage a little bit more. She put it into practice two months later, at the Miami Masters. When about half a dozen reporters showed up for a news conference before she was to meet Sharapova in the finals, Azarenka stepped down from the dais and sat among her inquisitors.

It's the kind of deft stroke that Courier didn't have to try when he was coming up. In his day, a player could get away with being prickly. Today, it pays to be nice. It's no coincidence that Courier's mellowing out dovetailed with the beginning of a second career as a broadcaster.

Azarenka, though, is still learning the game. And that game can still be cruel. She went the whole first week of this year's Wimbledon without being invited to speak at one of the two main pressrooms, where interviews are transcribed; no official record of her speaking existed until the fourth round. It was an astonishingly cold shoulder for a player who was ranked No. 2 in the world, had won the Australian Open and at one point this season was riding a 26-match win streak.

But inside Interview Room 1, these days, Azarenka finally feels the love. Her sessions have had robust attendance. One was even crashed by LMFAO frontman RedFoo, who flanked her on the dais. Call it payback for borrowing his signature jig to celebrate some of her victories. She spent the entire session with a huge smile on her face, like someone who's just figured out the steps to a new dance.

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post #555 of 957 (permalink) Old Sep 7th, 2012, 08:55 AM
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

^ The first sentence is ridiculous. The idea that impressing journalists is more important than what goes on on the tennis court

This from Ben Rothenberg is good.

I think some of the quotes are old, but it captures her quite well

No. 1 With a Sound and Style All Her Own

“I just want to have fun,” No. 1-ranked Victoria Azarenka said this week. “I don’t really care how I sound. I’m not there to win the ‘American Idol,’ or whatever. I’m just there to have fun, and that’s it.”

Azarenka was talking about being on the karaoke stage, but the statement might apply to her tennis as well.

Azarenka carries herself with a braggadocio that is perhaps more expected of Crotona Park in the Bronx than Corona Park in Flushing Meadows, her demeanor closer to streetball swagger than the tame civility of tennis.

Her unapologetic lack of polish has left her as one of the notable presences in women’s tennis, but not one of the most popular.
The stands at Azarenka’s matches at tournaments around the world are routinely emptier than for other women ranked well below her.

One major issue driving crowds away would seem to be her grunt, a distinctive, consistent hoot that can sometimes sound more like an imitation of a Space Invaders sound effect than exertion.

Maria Sharapova became known for winning Wimbledon in 2004 and for her screaming at roughly the same time. But Azarenka’s sound became her calling card before she rose to the top of the rankings.

Azarenka and Sharapova will face off in the Open semifinals Friday afternoon, the latest chapter of a rivalry that has been made up of lopsided finals in 2012. Azarenka defeated Sharapova in the Australian Open, 6-3, 6-0, and again beat her in the final in Indian Wells, Calif. Sharapova exacted revenge with a straight-sets win on indoor clay in the Stuttgart final in April.

Azarenka made it clear that following the path of Sharapova-type glamour on court would not be for her.

“I’ll never be like a Barbie girl, that’s for sure,” Azarenka said. “Like an innocent little flower. That’s definitely not me. But I’m just trying to express myself with however I feel. You can see by me how I feel — it’s always showing.”

She said: “You don’t expect to be smiling when you’re in a tough battle. And when you’re struggling, you just have to let it out sometimes to make sure that you feel better to be ready for the next point. And about showing who I am, I’m never afraid. You cannot be in pretend for people to like you. The most you can be is just to be honest.”

Azarenka’s self-expression after wins — she has won 88 percent of her matches in 2012 — is a finger wagged in the air toward her box and the crowd, occasionally with her tongue stuck out as well.

“It’s different,” Azarenka said of the gesture, saying that it is her equivalent of the kiss players like Sharapova blow to the crowd after wins. “It’s just something my own way.”

Azarenka’s finger got plenty of work at the beginning of the year. She opened the 2012 season with a 26-match winning streak on hardcourts that led her to the No. 1 ranking and titles at Sydney, the Australian Open, Doha and Indian Wells. Adding her five wins thus far in New York, Azarenka is 31-1 this season on hardcourts, not including the loss when she withdrew from a tied match in Montreal during an overnight rain delay.

What has brought out the best in Azarenka this year was being on the brink of defeat.

Down a set and 0-4 in her first-round match against the 105th-ranked Alberta Brianti of Italy at the French Open in May, Azarenka turned around the match with a gutsy (if perhaps foolhardy) second-serve ace on break point. She would go on to win the next six games of the second set and run away with the third.

Azarenka pulled out another big serve in the third set of her quarterfinal match in New York against Samantha Stosur on Tuesday, hitting her lone ace down break point at 5-5 in the third set. Azarenka would also be rewarded for her bold shot selection at an even more crucial stage of the match, hitting an unexpected drop-shot winner at 5-5 in the third set tiebreak to give herself match point.

“I kept telling myself, ‘Don’t be a chicken,’ ” Azarenka said. “ ‘Come on, just go. Go for your shots.’ ”

Azarenka readily agreed that it was her bravery that had made the difference in these situations.

“Yeah,” she said. “And it’s about being a good player as well.”

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