Q. We admire your effort tonight, because obviously we could tell you were hurt. But early in the match, did you ever think about maybe just saying, I'm not going to play anymore and move on?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, of course, you know, these thoughts come to mind, especially after playing and just not being sure if you're ready or not.
But, you know, I wanted to give my best shot. Obviously it was maybe a little bit too early. But, um, I gave a fight, you know. I'm pretty proud of whatever I did today. I think it's pretty good considering what I have been through.
She played well, you know, but I just felt I was trying to battle, you know, my own issue, which is still okay, you know. It's experience. It's something that you have to go through after injuries, you know. I just need to see what's the best for now, because, you know, they have a tournament in Miami. We'll see.
But right now I just need to ‑‑I want to feel pain‑free, because it's not the most fun to be out there like that.
Q. Where is your foot right now? How do you feel about it? Do you think you can go on and play in Miami next?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. We'll see. It's tough. It's tough to say, because, you know, this problem that I have is something that is not so easy to get rid of.
You know, it can flare up very quickly back. And, you know, the scary thing about it is that when you feel it, it just at some point it doesn't go away.
It obviously came back a little bit tonight, and, you know, the hesitation for me on some steps was very obvious.
But as I said, I just wanted to try to give my best effort as I could with whatever I had. I just tried to fight. I just tried to do ‑‑basically all I had was my fighting spirit today. And, you know, I should be ‑‑I should just look positive. I tried to do my best.
Q. When did you feel it flare up tonight?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it was one of the‑‑ at the beginning, in the early games. It was just one of the wide shots. My foot twisted a little bit, and that's it.
Q. Did you have medical assurance that you couldn't do further damage to it as long as you played tonight?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm too stubborn for that. As I said, I just wanted to give my best.
When I'm on the court, I just want to try to do as much as I can, even if it's on one leg. You know, I'm going to try to fight and give it everything I have.
It's a learning process for me, something that I have to go through. I just have to push myself through.
Q. How and where did you exactly injure the foot?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It happened three days before the Australian Open.
Q. In a practice session?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Uh‑huh.
Q. What's the diagnosis?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Sorry?
Q. What's the diagnosis? Is it plantar fasciitis?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, it's a medical‑‑ I have no idea how to call it. In between my bones there is an inflammation that is nerve damage.
Q. In the toes?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's between.
Q. Why the change in mindset about retiring?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Because I want to learn how to go through the tough thing, how to try to do the best in the toughest situation, you know. Sometimes it takes time. It's a process to go through.
You've got to learn how to win, you know, in bad situations and ugly situations and stuff. That's part of our job. You can't feel great every day, so...
Q. Did you feel like you were risking something by being out there today? Because there were times you'd go down and wasn't sure. A lot of times if something is hurting you can have a compensation. Were worried about that at all? Watching you wasn't clear. You looked stable.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Of course you have doubts. Every time you do a step, I have doubts. I have to run out wide and I think, Oh, should I go or should I not go? But I just wanted to go. I just decided that I'm going to go and I'm going to try.
Q. If this wasn't a mandatory tournament ‑ we talk about the schedule a lot and things ‑ if it wasn't a mandatory tournament, do you think you would have played this week?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I wanted to play this tournament. I wanted to see how it is, because at some point you've got to test it. You know, thinking now, it might have been too early. But I wouldn't know if I didn't try.
So I think I have a lot of good things to look forward to. I just need to work through a little bit of the rough time.
Q. You mentioned about you retiring earlier in your career. Do you think that lately, and Istanbul too where you played through pretty clear pain, you were trying to make up for that or prove something to yourself?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I'm not trying to make up for that. Whatever I do is for me. I'm not trying to prove anybody or try to make up ‑‑I am who I am. I think you guys already learned that. I say what I think, I do what I think, and it will always be like that.
I'm not creating a persona. I am who I am.
Q. Did it ever hurt like this in practice leading into tonight's match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It did. It did a little bit. You know, it was one day was great and one day not as great. As I say, you've got to try to know. If you don't try, you always wonder. Now I don't wonder.
Q. Do you think it would have been different if you played during the day when it was warmer?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. I don't think there is any difference. The girl is‑‑ Lauren is a great player. You know, you also have to give her credit sometimes. In this situation it's not easy to close the match and she's done it. I think she has a great future ahead of her. I'm sure I'm going to play her again, hopefully under different circumstances.
Q. Sam came out. You could hear him say, You're in pain. Just walk away. After that, scoreboard‑wise it became a lot more competitive match. Did something he say spur you on to pull it closer?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I guess you probably heard Sam the first time in three years actually speaking on court (smiling), and, you know, we both knew when I walked on the court I shouldn't expect much today.
And what can he say? He can just give me options just to show me the situation from his perspective. You either can walk away or you either can try to do something. And to walk away, it's very easy; trying to do something it's harder.
Q. How worried are you about this injury going forward? Do you feel like you're going to recover fairly quickly, or do you have no idea how long it might take?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. But I will take my time for sure to get rid of it.
Q. Did you feel like you could win today? Like you were going to be able to with the limits you had on you with your injury?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I think even in the first set I had too many chances that I didn't convert. First game, second game, I was always up, so, you know, in the match you should take these chances regardless.
But, you know, first tournament back. I don't try to find excuses because it's silly to do that. But there are obvious things that I should have done better today. So, you know, it's a work in process.
Q. When you were playing on it, did your feet feel like it was getting worse? Would you have any concerns if you went to a third set?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I tried to stay in the moment, really. You know, when I was up a break 5‑4, I was kind of just a little scared there at the moment because I felt my foot. But after, you know, it was 6‑5, but I still wanted to fight. I was just trying to play game by game, point by point, and see how it goes.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports