Mar 11th, 2012, 10:10 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
BNP PARIBAS OPEN
March 9, 2012
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
V. AZARENKA/M. Barthel
6‑4, 6‑7, 7‑6
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. All about survival, huh?
That's exactly what it was, it was survival. But, you know, it's a good feeling also to come after a match like this with a win, because, I mean, I could have been already beating myself up somewhere in my house after losing.
But I'm here, you know, and I got through. That's I think a good sign. You know, to win when you're not playing your best it's, you know, more joyful.
Q. What happened to the serve, especially in the game with the three doubles? Can you even figure out what happened in that game?
It was three doubles in a row, so it's six serves in a row that I missed. I don't know. I mean, today my game was not at the best as well as the serve was not at the best.
My return was not at the best, but as I said, the most important is what I had in the end, and in the end, everything got better. I got through, and I'm happy that I went through this tough battle.
Q. Is this the most difficult match you won this year?
Well, by the score, for sure. But, I don't know, it's‑‑ you know, I had a lot of matches already, and every one I have a special memory about. But it's definitely was one of the ones that I really didn't play my best.
But as I said, I'm really happy that I went through.
Q. You have played her a couple times this year and your level maybe wasn't at its best, but do you feel like she's improved or improving or...
Yeah, I think she played unbelievable tennis, definitely. The best of our previous matches. I have to give her a lot of credit for making me, you know, also not playing well. She really stepped it up and showed some incredible strokes, serve, you know, so all the credit to her.
I think she's improving. I mean, I never really heard much about her before this year. I mean, obviously I have to play every tournament against her now, but, yeah, she's definitely one of the players who are, you know, coming up and very dangerous.
Q. You were up 5‑1 and then I think two points away in the second set.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I also had a match point.
Q. She did something differently or you did differently?
I think it was a combination of both. She played well; she stepped it up. Of course, she had nothing to lose.
Me, I just, you know, wanted to go for my shots but didn't go for my shots, so I hesitated too much.
Q. Were you mad at yourself for having to play a third set after the second set got away?
Well, I wasn't really happy myself. I didn't want to high five myself, but that's what it was, you know. I had to, you know, stay in the match. It was really difficult beginning of the third set to stay in the match, but, you know, that's what it is.
Q. Is it fair to say maybe even at this time last year that's not a match you would have been able to pull out?
Definitely not probably. As I said, I would be probably trying to skip the press conference and go back somewhere and hide and drive really fast. I don't know. But definitely, yeah.
I mean, it's important to find a way to win a match when you're not playing well or things are not going your way.
Q. You probably have been asked this a billion times, but...
So you just want to ask me again, right? Okay. Let's do it. Billion and one.
Q. Could you just recount the moment when you encountered your grandmother and going through great struggles and she gave you advice and told you to get with it. Could you talk about that, please?
Yeah. I mean, she just, you know, really changed my perspective of life a little bit. I really started to look at things differently because, you know, there's no really time to complain when you're so lucky to be able to do something that you love and you're actually good at it. You just have to work hard and enjoy being here.
Q. And what did she say to you?
Absolutely nothing related to tennis, I can tell you that. I don't think you can really write something about that. She was just telling me about her life, about my mom's life, about, you know, different situations in life, what's happening not only to her, to different people.
It just made me realize that, you know, why am I complaining about losing a tennis match when people really struggle with some difficult moments?
It was really that moment also with Japan what happened last year. It was like, you know, people are really trying to survive for their life and I'm complaining about tennis match. I mean, such a wuss. Come one. Give it up. Get it together.
Q. For somebody who used to have a temper, you, and would get frustrated, in the third set today can you actually enjoy the battle or do you find yourself still getting frustrated?
I don't think I was at my best in the first two sets with my approach, mental approach, but the third set I got much better.
Actually, as you say, I enjoyed playing more, and I enjoyed playing a tougher battle that I knew I had to overcome because I'm losing already. I was in the winning position; now I'm losing.
So I really have to fight hard and dig deep. I just, you know, looking forward to play every point.
Q. Being No. 1, do you feel like a greater responsibility to win these matches because you're No. 1? You don't want to be the No. 1 ranked player who lost her first match here? Does that make a difference?
I don't really care about that. As you can see, Mona was really motivated to beat me today. She really played incredible tennis. That's another thing that I have to learn from.
Q. Your next match. You're playing Svetlana.
Okay. Thank you for telling me that. I didn't know.
Yeah, well, it's going to be a tough one. We haven't played in a long time, so I'm really looking forward to it. Tomorrow, I don't have a match. Go back on the tennis court and try to improve a little bit. It's going to be tough match, for sure.
Q. Irina Falconi was talking to us here yesterday, and she said Azarenka is the only one who is winning a lot of matches. She seemed to set you apart from all the other women. Do you feel that's an accurate summation of where you are at the moment?
Um, well, thanks to Irina for that. I guess because of my match record that's what it stands out for, but there are other girls who are winning a lot of matches.
Actually, my opponent, she actually won more matches than me I think this year. She just‑‑ I just lost less.
But, I don't know. I mean, I don't actually know what to say about that. I'm just trying to look at my own path, at my own results, and not really pay too much to the others.
Q. Can you remember being on the other side of the equation, like a young player against a top player and serving for the match, can you remember what that kind of felt like?
Yeah. I remember.
I choked a lot. (Smiling.) And I lost a lot of matches. I mean, it was a learning experience, I guess. I'm sure Mona can learn a lot from today's match. It was a great experience.
I had bad losses, but, you know, I think it's a good‑‑ as I said earlier, you learn a little bit more from your losses than from your wins because you look more into details than when you win.
Q. Obviously a match like today is not only physically but mentally taxing. After going through something like that, do you feel like you are mentally stronger now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: For sure. I think I won this match mentally more than physically or tactically or whatever. That was really what brought me a win today, my fighting spirit, till the last moment.
Q. You're obviously known for your intensity on court, and yet at the final of the Australian Open when you finally won, there was this incredible moment when you seemed to be saying, Oh, my god, and there was this photo of you ‑ I don't know if you can see it ‑ one of the great photos in tennis recently. Could you just reflect on that moment when you finally won?
I felt just like so relieved that it was over. That intensity, that you're like, you know, really stressed and you're so into the match, you're in the zone, and then when it's over, you're like, everything drops. Your energy just kind of loses your body.
That's how I felt. I just lost all the energy and I was just‑‑ I didn't know what to do. I had no ‑‑ not emotions. I had so many emotions overwhelming that I didn't know exactly what I was feeling, you know.
So it took me about a few days to realize what I have done, because in my moment it was just everything was happening so much, so quick, and I couldn't, you know, enjoy that precious moment.
Q. Do you think you'll remember that moment for the rest of your life?
Oh, for sure, for sure.
Q. Can you talk about the doubles partnership with Petra and how it came about?
Oh, it came about like our coaches agreed. You know, we played our first match yesterday. It was great experience. We had a lot of fun. It was just, you know, it was really easy‑going.
It's great to have a partner who can hit so hard that I don't need to do anything. You know, it was a funny story that she hit‑‑ I don't know, I think she ripped down the line some shots just to make a clear winner. I just didn't even see the ball.
I said to her, Wow, that was a bomba, and she started laughing. It was funny.
Q. Was there any strategy?
She's just, oh, I just tried. Yeah, just make a winner. Okay. High five. Okay. I tried to make one, too.
Last edited by Vikapower : Mar 11th, 2012 at 10:18 PM.
Mar 19th, 2012, 11:51 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
Article on BBC website by Jonathan Overend
'Pressure is overrated' says Azarenka
Post categories: tennis
Jonathan Overend | 08:05 UK time, Monday, 19 March 2012
Victoria Azarenka strides into the room with her usual confident air.
It's a room full of chairs and spotlights, a desk and a microphone at the front, where the players come for post-match press conferences. It's designed for more than the four of us.
The tall 22-year-old is taken aback. Instead of 20 or 30 middle-aged hacks ready to fire questions, there's me and the guy from the Palm Desert Bugle. Linda, the stenographer, is ready to transcribe for the benefit of folk off doing other things.
While some superstars would get a bit offended, Azarenka simply laughs, pulls out her mobile phone and takes a snap which she later posts to twitter. We all laugh. She is a very normal person who likes a giggle, a dance, and the odd game of tennis.
Two days earlier, our meeting was in the players lounge at Indian Wells. Fresh from a pummelling of Agnieska Radwanska, supposedly one of her nearest rivals, Azarenka was unsurprisingly in a jolly mood. She wanted to talk about the Olympics, the English accent, this and that. Eye contact throughout. No clock watching or agent loitering.
Her agent is actually a former player, Meilen Tu, and a close-knit team including coach Sam Sumyk, fitness guru Mike Guevara and physio Jean Pierre Bruyere, who previously worked with both Tim Henman and Andy Murray, is rightly thanked publicly every time she wins a title.
Which is quite often right now.
What a start to the season with four back-to-back titles and 23 match wins. It's the best start to a season since Martina Hingis in 1997 and it's thanks to a brutal backhand and a much improved forehand. Depth and accuracy. Consistency.
Having worn a series of T-Shirts with cryptic logos throughout the California tournament, Azarenka paraded after the final a slogan which needed no interpretation: "Unstoppable".
That's what it feels like. Who is there to stop her? Certainly not Radwanska; certainly not Sharapova on the evidence of the finals in Melbourne and Indian Wells; perhaps Petra Kvitova? Maybe when Serena Williams returns? The challengers are hardly queuing up.
I put it to Azarenka that she looks and sounds comfortable with the world number one ranking. She appears set to stay there for some time.
"Well it doesn't hurt to be number one!" she tells BBC Sport. "But there is more responsibility and motivation for the other players to beat you."
"I've got to stay humble and stay on my feet and keep doing what I did to get to number one".
The obvious thing to assume with Azarenka is that her breakthrough win in Melbourne, her first Grand Slam title, has given her confidence to dominate the way she is. She laughs and tries to explain.
"I think confidence is overrated! Everybody says, 'You're winning on confidence', but it is invisible, you cannot play with it, it's not something you can control. How do you use it?"
So does she believe in pressure, another great abstract element to sport?
"Pressure is something that is also overrated! You can bring it on yourself, somebody can say a few things and you feel pressure.
"For me the best word is adaptation. You adapt to any situation, you adapt to dealing with pressure, confidence, your opponent. You adapt, you try to be better. That is the most appropriate word at this level."
For all her qualities, Azarenka is not without her detractors. Some don't like the finger wagging celebration, others feel she makes a meal of things on the court. And, of course, there's the shrieking/grunting.
Questions about the issue were curtailed by WTA officials this week, on the presumption that the subject has been firmly put to bed. Far from it. It remains a live issue, even at the tour's top table.
On the morning of the Indian Wells final, the organisers were stating their opposition to the noise - not just from Azarenka but Sharapova too. And crucially Steve Simon, the BNP Paribas Open tournament director, who sits on the board of the WTA, revealed that the issue is "on every agenda".
Over breakfast with visiting reporters, Simon told us: "It's pretty hard to tell somebody at this point, 'You can't grunt any more.' This isn't new. I think if you ever did put it in [the rules, not to grunt] you'd have to start it down in challengers and satellites and slowly work it in."
Is it a subject of debate on the board? "Oh yeah. It's on every agenda. We sit there and have this conversation."
Honestly? It doesn't bother me that much. I think anyone who turns up to the tennis everyday becomes immune to it. But I know it puts people off coming to watch players like Azarenka which is a huge shame. The Australian Open women's final this year wasn't a sell out. This is where the sport has a problem.
But, as Azarenka constantly says, she's done it since the age of eight. It happens naturally. She says she can't stop it.
The casual fan may be struggling to warm to the Belarusian but those who study the game, and certainly study the form, can put the noise to one side and just admire the ongoing achievements of the "unstoppable" Victoria Azarenka.
Official bagel and breadstick server of Vikaland
Mar 24th, 2012, 08:54 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
Sony Ericsson Open - Miami,USA
March 23, 2012
V. AZARENKA/M. Krajicek
6 3, 7 5
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. It's been said that a champion always find, you know, the way in a tough match. You were in a little trouble in that second set. What happened there? How did you get out of it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I felt like she started, you know, to really go for her shots. Because, I mean, I was up with a break. I felt like she didn't have she had nothing to lose, so she went for her shots; she was really aggressive.
And me, I kinda stepped back and was, you know, thinking about too much and waiting for her mistake instead of really creating my opportunity. That's how I felt.
So, you know, but I have to give her credit. She played some great games. I think I could have been more aggressive and play more my game, but, you know, I found the right shot selection and the right opportunities when I needed at 5 4 and 5 All; from 5 All I felt like my game was back, you know.
So it was important to pick up and raise the level at the end of the match when I really needed it.
Q. You're going on 24 0 right now, a great winning streak. Some have compared your season to Djokovic's. Do you think you could finish with the same intensity and trying to get more wins and continue that streak? How does it feel to be compared to his winning streak last year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, definitely it's a great honor to be compared to a champion like Novak. I think we have a little bit different path and different careers. You know, he has to have all the credit of what he did last year.
So I will just leave it at that and try to make my own way. But, you know, I'm not really thinking about numbers, the streaks, whatever. It's your job to count; mine is to play tennis.
I just try to, you know, stay focused every day and try to be the best player as I can be on every single match, every single practice.
That's what is the most important for me, to keep the motivation, to keep determination to improve.
Q. I have a question about Roland Garros. I would like to know...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You're French, right?
Q. I'd like to know what is your best memory related to Roland Garros? Not especially one of your matches but in general, your best memory?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Best memory? Actually, the best memory would be related to the match I think when I won mixed doubles in the French Open. It was really exciting. Also, I played in the finals in doubles.
I don't know. I like Paris. You know, I think it's a little bit difficult with the crowd there. They always, you know, not always warm up to you, to anybody (smiling).
But it's a great city. A lot of people really know the tennis and really appreciate the game. For me, it's exciting to every time go back there.
I don't know, I mean, Paris is a lovely city. I always look forward to go back.
Q. You have won four titles this year. What do you think is the reason for this at the beginning of the year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, everybody keep asking me this question, and I don't know what to tell you. There is no really an answer. There is one thing that I do, and it keeps happening for me, to win, you know. It's just a lot of hard work that I have been putting in my offseason last year and the years before.
It's just, you know, I feel like my game become more complete. I become a better tennis player. I became stronger physically, which also helps me a lot. It's just really, you know, about doing the best job as possible every day, you know, and keep the same focus.
But there is really no magic here.
Q. Is there any sense of fatigue at the moment?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, physically I think the most important at these stages and when you play long tournaments, the recovery is the most important. So you really have to, you know, be disciplined and be really focused on your recovery.
That's what I am trying to do. I have a great team behind me who helps me with that. I think it's important to also have a fresh mind, you know, to make sure that you go with the desire every day to practice or to matches.
But recovery is very, very important.
Q. Your next opponent, Heather Watson, who you played at the Australian Open earlier this year. She was struggling a little bit at that point, but I just wonder what you remember about that match? It was one you won comfortably, but what do you know about her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think she's a great player. I really like her as a person. She's always smiling and she has this you know, she's like a little sunshine every time I see her.
I really like her as a person. I think she's a great up and coming player. You know, she has a lot of potential and she's definitely a fighter. You could see here, you know, she had some good matches, especially with the one I think she was down.
Q. Love 5.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, so that shows a big character. I'm looking forward to play against her again.
I don't really take too much previous matches, because every time you play somebody again it's a new story. So I'm sure she's gonna be really motivated and try gonna come up with her best tennis. So I have to face it as an adversity, and I'm looking forward to that.
Q. Talk about and evaluate your serve. Talk about how that's progressed.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Today was not so good (laughter.)
But it was a little bit difficult I think here with the wind, you know. It's really unpredictable. Michaella was returning really well today, so sometimes I just didn't really place it well.
But I feel like my serve improved a lot since last year. That's definitely one thing that I'm looking forward to improve every day. It can become a lot better.
But, you know, it's just one step at a time. I feel like for tall girls it's a little bit difficult to serve, you know. It's a little bit ironic, but it seems kinda true.
Q. You have a great team with you.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah.
Q. What's so special about your coach and your relationship with him? How does he motivate you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, my team is not only my coach. It's my physio, fitness coach, my agent. Everybody, you know, have their own scenario in my career. We all have the same goals.
So everybody, you know, trying to do the best job as they can in their own field.
It's important, you know, just to have good energy around us, you know. We all really care about each other, so that's also important, you know, to have that great relationship.
You know, sometimes, you know, you don't feel that good physically, so you need somebody to help you a little bit more, pump me up or something. So they do a very good job with that.
So, you know, I always thank them a lot, because without them I wouldn't be sitting here and having the results that I have, that's for sure.
Q. It seems more and more players play golf between matches to relax.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Golf?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. I don't. I played twice in my life, and it was a little bit boring for me.
But everybody keeps saying that I have to learn, you know, to really like it. So I'm gonna give myself a try when I have time off. Not between matches, definitely.
Q. Your level of maturity seems different now. Now you're No. 1; now you won a slam. When you finish the match, you pat her on the back. You have showed her some sympathy for that moment. Do you see yourself in their place sometime? Because you're in a different place right now.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I just honestly I didn't know it wasn't anything personal to tap her shoulder. I think she gave me a great fight, so I just said, you know, Good match, you know, with respect, as I always try to be.
So that's it. She said, Good luck. I said, Thank you very much. And I wished her good luck to her, too.
The level of maturity, yeah, I mean, I'm a year older now, a year wiser, so it has to pay off somehow (smiling).
I'm trying to learn, you know, there is always different experience, you know, a little bit different position. But I'm still the same person. I'm never afraid to show the real me, you know. I think that's important.
Q. During the last few years there have been many female players who won one Grand Slam and have been a little while as world No. 1. You have now won the Australian Open and are the world No. 1. What is important now to keep winning and keep staying at the level you are?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, for me, you know, ranking was never a big issue. Of course you always dream about becoming No. 1 because it's a statement that you're one of the best players in the world, so it's definitely was in my mind.
But for me, it always was about improving myself, you know, because I knew before I win tennis matches I would not have a better ranking.
So there is, you know, a step by step. That's what brings the ranking and brings the trophies, as well. So it was always about taking that one at a time and building the momentum.
So, I don't know. I don't really focus on anybody else, you know, besides myself. Even though I won I achieved two of my dreams, I have so many goals in front of me that I would like to achieve.
So as I said, I would like to improve in everything as I can, because, you know, I have to stay very focused and keep my determination because there are so many girls who want my spot. I have to keep working even harder.
Q. Your grandmother, of course she's very happy when you won the Grand Slam, but how did it mean to you to be you know, you became No. 1; you achieved your dreams. How did it feel like through a relationship with her? What did she say to you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, you know, my results or something will never change my relationship with my grandmother, because for her it's important for me to be healthy and happy in whatever I do.
So results, of course she's really happy for me, but I think when she sees me happy, when I'm healthy, that's the most important for her.
And, you know, winning Indian Wells was great opportunity for me to dedicate it to my grandfather who passed away. I'm sure it meant a lot to her as it meant even more to me. That was important.
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