Aug 19th, 2013, 12:37 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
PC after SF WIN against Jelena Jankovic (SRB;#15) 4:6 6:2 6:3
Q. Have you ever played in a match where there were 23 breaks in 27 games?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I don't care about that. As long as I won the match, that's all that matters, and I didn't count. I noticed it was a lot of breaks, but who really cares? I think everybody kind of struggles with a serve here for some reason, but whatever.
Q. Have you noticed other people, I think‑‑ like today both DelPotro and Li Na were double‑faulting a lot on big points. Was there something in the air here that's throwing off serves?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I think it's difficult to catch the timing, I think. Especially at night, it makes it a little bit more difficult. During the day, it might be a little bit easier.
Yeah, something a little bit tough for everybody, I guess. I thought it was just me, but I noticed that. I'm not that special.
Q. What were the keys today to your win?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it was important to take chances, you know, on the first two points. I didn't see Jelena play like that in a while, especially that aggressive. So it was great to go through that challenge. I think we haven't played in a while.
So for both of us was kind of important game to play, but overall, I think we played great tennis. Really we're stepping up, taking our chances, and great rallies, great returns, obviously, amazing returns.
Yeah, the movement, I think, was good from both of us.
Q. Speaking of movement, you had a lot of interesting reactions after points today. You were moving a lot. There were a lot of like gifts that this match made essentially.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm sure. I think, once I start competing more, this somehow comes out. I never noticed that.
I actually heard that from my boyfriend for the first time, and he said, Why do you stick your ass out when you play? I said, well, I don't do that. He's like, Yeah, you do. Like what? He's like, Yeah, you do that, and he was trying to imitate me.
I really don't notice that when I do that. It's just reaction. I know that I don't go forward, so I kind of make fun of myself. But it's okay.
Q. A good montage on the broadcast of like all of them from the match like back to back to back.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I can't wait to see that. Actually, I'm going to tweet something really funny. I already thought about it. So, yeah, just stay tuned.
Q. There's some good stuff on the internet already.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, what I want to post is different.
Q. We didn't get to talk to you after you played Caroline. Just curious, where do you think Caroline's form is at right now? You guys haven't played in a while either.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, because we haven't played in a while, but I've seen a couple of matches where obviously she had a little bit of struggles, some tough losses, even though she was close to win.
But yesterday I felt like she really played her tennis the way she used to before. She looks really fit. So I think maybe was against me, I'm that lucky, but I felt like she was really playing well and being more aggressive, especially in the second set.
So, yeah, I feel like she's coming up again.
Q. What are you most pleased about from the week and even going back to Carlsbad, about your game, kind of after Wimbledon? Like technically, specifically, serve? Movement?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Really, serve?
Q. I'm throwing it out there.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Thanks. I think I feel much fitter, actually, than I ever was before. I think it shows on the court a lot.
Game‑wise, to me, what's important is to work through those tournaments, to take it as‑‑ you know, not as a practice, it's too out there, but as a preparation for the Open. That's what I'm trying to do, you know, to try to move more forward and cover my court.
So I feel like over these last two tournaments, my game is coming more and more together, and that's what is my goal to be that‑‑ to have it together at the US Open.
Q. Can players fall out of shape with respect to competing and their ability to compete? Have you ever felt that? Like when you come off of a long break, like maybe you had after Wimbledon or something, that it takes a few matches to kind of remember how to‑‑ like tonight you competed very well.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, I think so. I think it's very personal for everybody.
You know, obviously, I'm not going to talk like I'm very old or something, but I have spent a few years on the tour. So I have kind of‑‑ I kind of know the experience. But I still prefer to play a couple of matches because sometimes when I come back, I'm like, Oh, I missed the shot. Oh, it's okay. Next one, it's okay. Next one. When I'm really competing, that doesn't happen to me.
Q. Serena next, obviously a tough opponent for you. You did get a win, first one in a while, over her in Del Mar. Does that match give you more confidence than you've had in past years against her? And what do you make of what's going to happen tomorrow?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's going, as always, just going to be a new match. We never played here, and we haven't played on hard courts since February. So it will be interesting to see how we're going to play against each other.
There's not‑‑ as I said, there's no better challenge than face the best player in the final before a big event.
So I'm just looking forward to go out there and try to do my best. Obviously, I want to win, but I'm just going to try to stay in that moment and work on the same things that I've been working and trying to put together throughout this US Open Series. That's it.
Q. You've had two very late night matches, and now you have to turn around for a 4:00 p.m. start. How are you going to pace yourself? How are you going to steady yourself for the final tomorrow?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, just rest, eat, get treatment, sleep. Nothing special. It's just nothing to do. It's just a part of recovery‑‑ good food, good massage, good sleep. That's it. Mentally to be fresh, mentally to be excited, that's the most important for me. Then my body follows.
Aug 19th, 2013, 08:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
Western&Southern Open 2013 Cicinnati, USA
PC after TOURNAMENT WIN against Serena Williams (USA;#1) 2:6 6:2 7:6
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Thank you.
Q. How are you feeling?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Great. I am feeling very good. Obviously, a big win. It was a great match. Really, really pleased with the way I pulled it out. It was a great battle.
There were no anything give away. It was pure fight. So I'm really happy.
Q. I think you lost the first eight points of the match in a row. Then you broke that Love and then she held a Love. Were you feeling like‑‑ did you see this was all coming to that point? Even through the whole first set, it looked like it might be one‑way traffic a bit.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: If I were to be focused on that, then it would go that way, but I was just trying to focus to find the rhythm. You know, sometimes it's a little bit more challenging for me to start the match because she has big game with big shots. So it kind of‑‑ I get a little bit slower into the match.
But the important thing is how I adjusted to it. I really stepped it up. I was fighting hard and changed my game and just have to maybe take into consideration the next time we play to try to be there right from the beginning because it is crucial.
You don't want to give any chances at any point because Serena is such an incredible player that she will take everything.
Q. Was it a matter of kind of being better on the execution side, or was it technical that kind of helped you turn it around in the second set?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it was more about being there myself really because‑‑
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Not really focus, but really start to go through my shots. It was a little bit too passive, a little bit too slow. One step not enough. But it's all about really turning it around and wanting to turn it around, and that's what I did.
I really wanted to try my best, and sometimes it doesn't happen right away, but if you keep going, knowing what you have to do to win, that makes it easier.
Q. Vika, overall, what were the keys today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Take your opportunities and really don't let her swing through because she has those amazing big shots from every possible position. So I always had to be aware and to match that up, to try to step up whenever I have an opportunity.
It's always the matter of one or two first balls to really who's going to take advantage and do something with it. That's about it.
Q. She said that her level‑‑ she felt like not‑‑ like she didn't have a high level of energy perhaps, which isn't to take away credit from your win, but did you notice that at all? Was that something that you sort of capitalized on that she might not have been as spry, I guess, today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I didn't really watch‑‑ I don't really watch my opponent much, but I think it was a pretty good match overall.
It was very intense throughout the whole match. I felt like my energy wasn't maybe there 100% at the beginning, but that's what the match is about. It goes up and down, and you battle against somebody, and you have an edge or then you don't have an edge.
So that's what is exciting about that to try to take your opponent to that place where they don't feel at their best.
Q. This match was very similar to last year's US Open final in terms of‑‑
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I knew I was going to get that question. I knew it.
Q. In terms of momentum.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm psychic.
Q. But in terms of momentum, obviously with one big difference being that you were able‑‑ did that cross your mind at all during the match, or is it something you fall back on in terms of how to react in certain moments?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. I didn't think about that. I just‑‑ I was really focused on the moment of what I have to do in that particular moment. Actually, not even thinking what happened in the last point, what's going to happen in the point next game, or what do I have to do? I was just trying to stay focused on one‑‑ actually, one shot at a time really because that's what helps me too stay focused.
Because if I'm thinking about too much ahead, then I'm rushing or something. So it was important for me to just keep that focus on my execution.
Q. Victoria, you've now won 2 of your last 3 meetings against Serena. Not a lot of players can say that in recent years.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: My third win, huh?
Q. That's more than you had before.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm very happy about that. I'm not making fun. It's just a little funny.
Q. Do you feel like it's becoming more of a rivalry recently?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think‑‑ you know, I don't think about that I want to be a rivalry. I just think about that every time we play, I face a big challenge, my biggest opponent, and that's what I want to go through.
And playing in the final of any tournament against the best player, that's what you really strive for and to overcome and beat. That's why I'm playing tennis. That's what excites me. That's what motivates me.
You know, I had tough losses before against her, but I feel like I learned from those losses, and it helps me improve. No matter what would have been an outcome today, I feel like I'm playing better and better. I'm reaching for the new level that I want to be at, physically, mentally, tennis‑wise, and that's the progression that I'm really the most excited about.
Q. Vika, in general, you play her pretty close, win or lose. Why do you think that is? Is it just your level of play or the way you match up against her or anything else?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I would think of myself as a pretty good player. Yeah, I think‑‑ you know, we have so much respect for each other's game, and we both know how hard each other work, and that respect of getting better every time is like taking‑‑ you know, pushing the limits every time much higher.
So I don't know, I'm just excited of being a part of playing against Serena, playing against all the other girls, you know, really raising my level, and just playing tennis is what I love to do.
I don't know why I am playing so close against Serena, but I had pretty bad losses too. I don't want to really think about them. I just look forward in what I have to do next.
Q. You guys seem to get along pretty well off court too.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, we are.
Q. Does that‑‑ how much of like the way you guys play together on court translate into how your relationship is off court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think on court we just fighters out there. I don't feel like it's principle, you know, principle game. I just enjoy that battle that much and have a lot of respect.
And off court, Serena is a great person. I like her a lot. We get along. We have a good laugh. We're talking after the match. So it's no problem.
But to be able to compete at that level, it's great, and I think it's exciting for the fans to see not only the good fight on the court but a good relationship off court as well.
Q. She said she encouraged you to pop the champagne on the court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: She did. She said, yeah, you should pop it. I was like, I know, I want to, but I need to get more practice because I felt like I'm not directing it too well.
Q. She said a lot of good things about you. It sounds like you guys have personalities that go together well off court as well.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I think so. I mean, we have great relationship off court. It's always been that way. When I was just coming on tour, I was always looking up to Serena because maybe she's been on tour for a while, and once I got to know her, we just kind of clicked, and that's pretty much it.
Q. Vika, I hate to take it back to the actual match, but the volley‑‑
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's fine.
Q. But the volley that you hit at 6‑6 in the breaker was quite something. Do you remember much of that point? It seemed like the point of the match and a huge turning point, obviously, you got your second match point.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I had to‑‑ at this level, at this moment, you have to come up with something extraordinary if you want to win, just to sit and wait and hope for a mistake, forget about it. I learned that last couple of meetings that is not going to happen.
So I was just trying to make‑‑ make my chances, make my opportunities happen, and I knew I had to step up and be aggressive. Yeah, that volley was pretty good. Should come more to the net.
Q. You're very good at the net. You know that you are, doubles and all that sort of stuff. Is that kind of the next evolution in your game is trying to transition to get you up there more? Because you're more than competent up there.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I think so. I think it's been a little bit more noticeable in the last couple actually tournaments, you know, in Carlsbad as well. It's something I want to do more.
Like I said, it's a progress, and now I'm off to the US Open, try to kind of still raise that level and try to be there at my peak.
I felt like this match is a great setup for me to feel that way in the US Open.
Q. Victoria, coming off a win over Serena and you only lost one match all year on hard court, do you feel like you should be a favorite going into the US Open?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I will not be a favorite. I still think that just, you know, we're in the United States. So we're going to‑‑ Serena is going to be‑‑ she is No.1 in the world. She is a great champion, and she's defending champion, so she's going to be a favorite there.
About who's second favorite, third favorite, I don't really care about that, and I never really pick people, only maybe sometimes guys who I want to win, but that's it.
But I think it's a great boost of confidence to go to the US Open, great week to go through matches back to back. Tough matches is also important for me to feel like I'm back competing at the same level constantly and consistently. So that's what I'm most excited about.
Q. What do you remember most about last year's final?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Party after.
Q. It's good that you can remember it.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I always remember, unfortunately.
Q. Vika, the game you're playing now, say, versus two years ago, how would you describe it to a casual tennis fan?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think I improve a lot more my physical ability, which helped me to do a lot more on the court, you know, find different angles, find different shot selection. You know, the variety is definitely much better.
I learn how to win ugly sometimes, you know, even when I double fault for 15 times or whatever.
So these things that you can call experience, going through tough matches and really dig deep, that maybe two, three years ago, I didn't know that place that I can dig in.
So I think all of that is kind of shaping up to be a different player from two years ago.
Q. Vika, I know you don't like to look at rivalries or what one might call a rivalry, but in terms of how the tour gets sold and who people pay attention to, rivalries kind of matter. So do you think that you and Serena have the preeminent rivalry in the women's game right now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's a matter of‑‑ as a player, you don't really decide that. I think it's exciting for the fans to see who they want to see, and if it's me and Serena, then that's just a great pleasure for me. So I think I will just leave it up to you guys and to the fans because it is important to know the opinion of how people see you, and it also matters how well you take it.
But if people want to see us play more and more, I'm up for it.
Q. So who would you pick on the guys' side to win the Open?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's a tough one. It's really tough because they're‑‑ I mean, last year I wanted Andy to win‑‑ well, he won Wimbledon, and I never seen him so happy. I was so proud of him. I feel like Rafa is playing incredible right now, and he's such a nice guy. I would love to see him win. Who doesn't love Roger? It's tough not to love him.
So it's hard to choose between‑‑ and Novak is an incredible guy. He's really funny, and he's an incredible athlete. This is my top four.
Q. That's not a choice.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I know, I know, but I think I will root for Rafa a little bit more. It would be great to see him back and winning on hard courts.
Aug 30th, 2013, 04:08 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
USO round 2
Q. Just want to know how did it feel out there today for you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It was a good match I think. It was very good and solid beginning of the first set, and good second set. You know, towards the end I felt like I let her play a little bit and she really went for her shots, so I had to adjust a little bit better. Took a little bit longer time. But I'm glad that I closed out the first set. It was important. Really was more dominating in the second.
Q. We always see you coming onto the court with headphones. What are a few of your favorite songs right now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: There is a lot of remixes that Redfoo does for me actually. So there's not really names of the songs. And he did the remix to Beastie Boys which is incredible, absolutely. Listen to Rhianna always. You know, some other mixes. These two are one of my favorites.
Q. Your Nike shoes, they're shiny under the lights. When do you actually get the shoes in advance of the tournaments, how many weeks in advance?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I knew about these shoes for a little bit because New York is a special place with the night session. They always want to do something that's going to pop out. And I love that idea when they hits the lights it gives that brightness. It feels like, you know, you're electric with your feet. It gives me that feeling, that energy. And the day shoes, I think they're really funky colors. That's what I love about the shoes. I always have my own shoelaces. That's kind of my trademark. But, yeah, the black shoes are really fun.
Q. How long does it take to break them in when you're playing?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I go through about four, five pairs during the tournament. I'm pretty used to it. I wear them one for the warmup, one for the match. It's always few pairs that I break in, break a little bit, and play with them.
Q. You had the revelations in Paris about how you're having a great relationship with clay. Talk about your romance with hard courts. Is that more like an old lover who you're familiar with?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Old lover, huh? Well, that's a good one. I would say is my husband, hard court, my husband more that way if we talk about relationship status because we have been together for a long time, you know, got really comfortable with each other. Yeah, it's my husband.
Q. When it comes down to it in the relationship, who wears the pants, the husband or you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I think I'm the one who is doing that, because without me would just be hard court. With me on it, it's Vika on hard court.
Q. Vika, a hard court lover?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, hard court lover (laughter).
Q. For recreational tennis players that would like to play like a pro, what are the exercises you do in the gym?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: In the gym, I think you have to be aware of the whole body preparation. Tennis is one of the sports that requires physical ability, like speed, power, reaction to put it all together, changing directions. I think it's important to always work your whole body, your body weight. Core stability is one of the things. I love to do footwork. I love to play basketball. To me, I think it's a similar movement. You change direction for the reaction. You don't know the other person, what he's going to do. It's one of my favorite things. It's really fun.
Q. What is more nerve wracking, back when you were lower ranked coming into slams, or now that you're a top ranked player, having the 'favorite' tag? Does the experience change the feelings?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, for sure. I mean, when you're a junior or you start just coming up, you are just really thinking about just winning a match or something. When you become higher ranked, you're thinking about winning a tournament. Not that before I didn't think about winning a tournament, but you just get different levels of excitement a little bit. But I always feel like I'm playing in the present, one day at a time. I have always been like that. But I think the expectations from yourself, you know, the goals are definitely different now than was before.
Q. Could you say what your grandmother's advice to you was way back when, when she said to get yourself in gear?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It wasn't that much of like a sentence. It was just that, you know, energy, just few simple words that you just realize, you know, you just want to enjoy your life and not take anything for granted. I just kind of realized, the way she was talking about her life, you know, there was a war and everything, what happened to the world, like real tough situation. We're talking about a tennis match. The perception of it loses really quick for me. So I realized that whatever I do is not the end of the world when you lose a tennis match. It's just something you go through in your job. So that made me realize that this is what I love to do, first of all, and that's what I want to continue to do. To understand how to make it better, I have to give everything every single day.
Q. Kuznetsova said the fact that the Russian grandparents had to go through World War II gave them a toughness. Do you think that's possibly the case?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think a little bit, but not too much. I don't think we have that kind of life. I'm sure nobody does. But it's just interesting to learn the history of people, you know, like grandparents, how they lived, what do you have right now. It's that evolution that just sometimes you have to go back and look from a different perspective.
Q. Some players have the routine of eating dinner at the same restaurant every single night, and other players will try different places. Where do you fall in that? What are some of your favorite spots in the city?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Whole Foods, my favorite spot in the city. It's easy. You can get absolutely everything. But my all time favorite was a Tower Restaurant, Asian cuisine. I can't have any of that now.
Q. If you win the tournament and can splurge, what you would splurge on?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Chocolate or ice cream.
Q. Do you go to the deli section at Whole Foods?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Whole Foods is like Disneyland for me. I love it. I just watch, look through all the stuff, all the crackers, all the nuts, whatever, fruits. Just try some things. Also the deli section is very good. It's always fresh, homemade, organic. It's important for me to have good food.
Q. Have you ever been to Russian restaurant, Mari Vanna restaurant?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Actually, I went with Maria Kirilenko. We had dinner together. It was my first time. The restaurant was really fun. It was interesting to be in that community, Russian community in the States. The food was great.
Q. Do people recognize you in the checkout line at Whole Foods?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, sometimes. Yesterday I had a big 'fro. When I took out my braids, it was like that. I don't think anybody would. I couldn't recognize myself.
Q. Next round you're facing Alize. I assume you're expecting a tougher battle.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's a different match, for sure. Alize is a great player with a lot of experience. She's been top 20 before. It looks like she's improving much better this year. We had a tough match in French Open. I'm really looking forward to play against her. She's a young player. She's the same age. Highly motivated. Yeah, it's going to be a great match.
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