DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
THE MODERATOR: Victoria would like to start by making an announcement.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I unfortunately have to withdraw from this tournament due to a right foot injury, which happened last week. I have been obviously playing on it a lot, a lot of tennis over the last five days, especially, so going to a new tournament is too much to handle right now. It keeps getting worse.
It was an unfortunate decision that I had to make, and, well, obviously very disappointed with that.
Q. So the same kind of problem as last year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, different.
Q. An injury, you come here, you can't play?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: If you want to put it that way. It's not that I'm repeating something. It's just been a lot of tennis over the last years, and the schedule is sometimes difficult and rough on the body, so...
Q. When did you first feel it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Tuesday of last week.
Q. Is it anything to do with the problem you had in Australia?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No.
Q. So what have you actually done, Vika? What's the problem?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Bone bruise on my heel.
Q. Do you know how much rest you're going to need?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: We'll see. I mean, I just need to re‑evaluate and see. I have been advised by my physio that it's just not getting better. We tried. So that's it.
Q. When was the call made, final decision, that you would be withdrawing? When did you know that it was...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: When was what?
Q. When was the call made that you wouldn't be able to play? When did you finally know?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Today.
Q. There has been a lot made on the men's tour specifically that the men play too much on hard courts. Rafa Nadal has come out and said that they're playing too many games on hard courts and it takes the toll on the body. Do you think the same applies in the women's game, that there's too much of a physical exertion on hard courts and it's taking its toll?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know if it's just the hard courts, but it is very difficult on the body. The game became so physical, and it takes so much out of you that sometimes, you know, you just need a break.
These little things that happen is just giving you a warning that you have to take care of yourself, because health is the most important thing that you can do. It's just very unfortunate, because, you know, the schedule is so packed when sometimes you need to make it in advance and you never know what could happen.
So it's just a frustration of not being able to play every week that you can, but you have to also realize that‑‑ you know, you need to listen to your body sometimes.
But I do think that the physical is becoming harder and harder.
Q. How beaten up physically did you feel after Australia?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: How? What? After Australia?
Q. Beaten up.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know what? The first day, everything is great. The second day after that, you feel pain everywhere in every part of your body, and it's difficult to ‑‑I never realized before after I have done it how actually how much it takes out of you physically. Mentally, it just drains you so much.
To live through that, you realize how much difficulty, and you can see a lot of players don't play right away after. So it definitely has a very, very hard impact.
Q. And is this injury, have you been told, is it because of the number of matches you're playing? It's not a specific thing that you did in a particular match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm not sure, really. I'm not sure about that, because I just start feeling pain. And sometimes it's more; sometimes it's less. It's unpredictable.
So that's what ‑‑one day was better, second day was worse, and the other day, yesterday, was a bit worse, especially with the flight, even though it was a mild flight. It's just ‑‑ you know, these little things, and the body shuts down after such a big event, you know. It was pretty difficult all the days in a row to play, unfortunately.
Q. Were you playing on painkillers in Doha?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I tried two days, but sometimes for me it's better to feel the pain so I can control a little bit and not to ‑‑because when you take too many painkillers, you cannot feel your foot or something, and it may just cause something that can hurt worse after.
Q. You have been unlucky now here for the last year and this year with the injury. Are you considering to think about your schedule, reconsider your schedule and maybe not plan it next year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I'll have to look at that. But sometimes you have to plan so much in advance, and you cannot know in November what's gonna happen in February.
So this is what makes it a little bit difficult. But it looks good to me to play two tournaments back to back, but you never know how well you're gonna do or how your body is gonna respond.
So you just have to move on and try to deal with the situation. I'm very disappointed I cannot play here, and I feel I'm playing very good at the moment, but I need to be smart. I cannot force. I cannot, you know, make myself worse than what it is. It just won't make any sense.
Q. After Australia, how much of a break did you take from just practicing, from being on a tennis court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I took six days. Six days I didn't do anything. I just tried to recover with the jet lag and it's difficult to sleep sometimes.
And after about three days you don't want to really do anything. It's just‑‑ as I said, it takes a lot out of you. And especially, for me, last couple of days of the Australian Open took extra out of me.
Q. Sorry for your injury.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Thank you.
Q. I have a question about Kuznetsova. She was denied a wildcard for this week. She won two times a slam. Do you think it's lack of respect for her, or what do you think about it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, I didn't actually know about that, I'm sorry. So I don't know. I mean, the tournament‑‑ it's the right of the tournament and they choose who they want to choose.
My option, I think, she is kind of a player that's supposed to be playing in a main draw, and I'm sure in one, two months she will get her ranking up because her game is at the high level. I have seen it. You know, I played her in Australia. I just think she's gonna be fine in one month to get anywhere she wants by herself.
Q. Obviously tournaments like this want the top players to play them. You being a top player, you go deep in most tournaments. Do you think it's going to be progressively difficult for you and any player at the highest level to play back‑to‑back tournaments in future, that it's just too much toll, a fortnight, three weeks? Is it just too much for...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Sometimes it is too much. Sometimes it's okay. It really depends how your body responds.
But realizing that you play five days in a row against top players in the world, and in two days you have to be again to play all those matches again. So sometimes it is too much. Sometimes, you know, we have easier matches, so you have, you know, your body feel great or ‑‑it's never predictable. You cannot predict that way.
You just try to play. And I tried, but my body says no. I cannot force. I cannot put myself in a position to hurt myself. That would be just stupid.
Q. In Doha a lot of players pulled out early for a variety of reasons. There's the issue of just the schedule and how tight it is and how much you played. We've heard a lot from the men, but do you also feel for the women it is just too much?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, sometimes it is. I mean, you don't see everybody playing here this week. Maybe some players will not play Indian Wells. You know, they choose their own options. I wanted to play here. I really did.
It just, you know, didn't happen. It was just about my injury. But I would play if I would be fine.
Q. But do you think in the future you might consider, like Serena has done, to kind of like play much more selectively versus the 30 tournaments kind of season?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think you have to be really smart, but because of the scheduling ahead that you have to commit to a lot of tournaments, it makes it a little bit more complicated sometimes to commit. And that's sometimes the reason that, you know, you have to pull out, because sometimes it's too much.
Honestly I don't know what's gonna happen in the future. I just try to schedule as best as possible, but sometimes you need to make adjustments, like everything you do in life.
Q. You just said that because of the quality of the field. Is Doha into Dubai one of the toughest turnarounds because so many top players are playing those two tournaments and there aren't easy matches?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Probably, yes, it's one of those. During the summer we have also back‑to‑back Montreal and Cincinnati. So sometimes it's more difficult than the other days. But I can only speak for myself.
But it is getting more and more competitive. Not even every week. Every match you have to give your 100%. There is no easy rounds. Right from the tournament, you have competitive fields.
It's maybe not like maybe 10 years ago, but I never played 10 years ago, so I can't answer really, cannot really say.
Q. What's next for you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm going to the States, and I need re‑evaluate, hopefully get my nail cut out because it's still there from Australia. (Smiling.)
But I'm just gonna take my time to make sure I'm 100% to start training for Indian Wells.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports