Q. Did you bury a few ghosts out on that court after what happened last year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, absolutely not. I don't think it's really important what happened last year. I was really happy to go out there and play. It's a beautiful court. It's a beautiful tournament.
So no bad thoughts. Just excited. I was super happy to get a win.
Q. Your feelings after all the struggles, the time off the tour to win a slam match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I'm just very happy to be able to play. This is what I love to do. The best feeling is to play pain‑free. That's what's important for me.
I think, you know, getting the game together and the timing, it's all a long process. But the important is that I'm there, you know, 100%. My focus is there. My desire and concentration is there. So that's what all I can ask for in myself.
Q. What was the ordeal like to be away for you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: What was it like? You know, I think you feel like you have a lot of time off, but in the same time you got to do a lot of rehab if you want to get back to the court as soon as possible so it doesn't feel like a lot of time off.
But I've been mostly in L.A. I've been traveling a little bit for my injury. I've been to Germany to do treatments. I've been to New York to get another treatments.
It's been a little bit of traveling, a little bit of home, but a lot of rehab.
Q. What about the mental side of it? You mentioned how much you enjoy being on the court. What was it like for your psyche to be off the court all that time?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, the toughest part about the time off and my rehab in particular was that I didn't know when I was going to be able to go on the court because it was mostly a day‑to‑day progress and how it was going to feel.
Some days it was getting much better. Some days were a little bit setback. That was the most difficult part.
Once I start moving, I start feeling well, once I got on the court, you know, I didn't really feel like, Oh, I'm missing about a hundred balls, but it didn't matter, it was just important to actually hit the ball.
Q. You seemed very happy in Eastbourne last week despite losing.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I wasn't really happy. I wouldn't say that (laughter).
I don't think I put myself so much down because I knew what I was coming from. I was just being a little bit realistic. I wanted to take the most positive out of what happened.
That was an ultimate test for me to see where my game is at, where I need to work on. That's pretty much it.
So I was just happy to get that kind of a base to move forward.
Q. How did today compare with last week?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I felt a lot better. I felt like this whole week I've been training here, I've been getting better and better every day.
The timing is something that just sometimes clicks. As I said, important for me is to be there 100% and to have my concentration level 100% because that's what helps in those key moments.
I felt like today I managed to find that and turn some things around for me, especially in the second set.
Q. What was the condition of the grass today versus what you experienced last year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't remember last year much. It's been so long ago.
It was great today, you know. To step for the first time on the court with the fresh grass, with those lines just lined, it was beautiful. I was really happy to be out there.
Q. Why Argentina?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Why not? You know, because I've been a support of Argentina for last three World Cups. You know, they even have pictures of me wearing Argentina shirt from maybe 2000, I don't know, 10. I love Messi. I think he's one of the greatest players of all time. He's so little, so cute. It's just fun.
Q. And your nails?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: They're growing. I need to readjustment them again.
Q. Tennis is sometimes described as a profession, sometimes it's called a sport, other times it's called an art. You spoke about learning you had a joy of painting. Talk about the joy of your art, dealing with space and color.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, the painting came to me just kind of all of a sudden. I just wanted to try it. I feel it's one of the best ways to express your emotion because I don't look at it as an outlet to paint something and I'm going to sell the painting or to make money out of that. For me it's just to express what it is.
At first‑‑ I'll tell you a funny story. I start painting. I don't know what in the hell I paint. I was like, Okay, I feel very emotional right now. I am just going to put all the colors. I started doing it with my hands. I didn't want to wash my hands, so I just did like that on my shirt.
Then I forget. It dried out. I put the shirt on. I walked outside because I was lazy. People were like, Wow, that's such an amazing shirt, where did you get it?
I was like, Really?
They were like, It's so cool.
I actually had a meeting with Nike. I said, I can make many more like that if you want to. Come to my house, we'll just do that and stuff.
Then I had some friends over. I had a big canvas. I wanted to see what people want to bring to the painting, what they think about it. I gave each of my friends their space, like a corner or whatever. We builded that painting that I posted with the hands.
I felt like it's just emotions and the thoughts of people you care about in one thing and I can keep it in my house.
Q. Last year's champion is really into art. Who are some of your favorite artists?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: To be honest, I'm not very educated yet on the art piece. I was actually the other day talking about that with Ernests Gulbis. He's very smart actually. He was telling me about the history of art a little bit, you know, the Impressionists and how the black square that came out, and I didn't know it was the point of where people didn't really know what to do next, and then they started reinventing art.
That was really fun for me. I learned some things, but I think I will be more interested in knowing the history more once I get into it.
Q. You touched on your support of Argentina. How about the World Cup in general. What does the World Cup mean to you and what is your passion for the event?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, World Cup is like one of those events like Olympic Games. It brings all nations, all people together just glued to the TV or glued in the stadium, that moment of celebration. That moment of peace, that moment of love for the sport. Appreciation is just amazing being an athlete and see people appreciate that so much and be supportive. It's just absolutely amazing to me.
Q. Do you think Wimbledon does that to an extent?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, yeah. I mean, people are camping outside. It's just incredible. Just to see any sport in general, when you bring people together for that moment. When we walk on the court, all eyes on you, it's the most amazing thing.
When you're not playing, that's what you're missing, is that moment. It's beautiful.
Q. What goes through your mind when you watch Messi?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You don't want to know. You don't want to know (laughter).