Jul 4th, 2012, 03:20 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
Transcript from QF
V. AZARENKA/T. Paszek
Q. Long day today.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, definitely.
Q. What did you do while you waited?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, yeah, the frustrating thing is that you never know when you're going to play. So you don't know either sleep, eat, wait, go to warm up. This is kind of frustrating part.
By the end of the day, I'm glad I finished today. I had a really good match. Very difficult to stay focused throughout the whole day. But it's the same for everybody. The other girls waited even longer and they were on and off the court.
But it's tennis. It's Wimbledon. It's rain. It's normal, I guess.
Q. (No microphone.)
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I expected her to play really well. She's been playing some amazing tennis lately. No matter what the score is, through her past experience over this month, she can still win. So I was ready every time and you could see whenever she was down, she was really going for it. I had to stay composed and try to stay with her and get the opportunity when I had it.
Q. How would you describe your history playing against Serena Williams and your thoughts on the match on Thursday.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: History? I don't know. I lost to her most of the times. But, you know, I think we played once here only. I don't remember.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, we played here once.
She's definitely a very tough opponent. She's a great champion. It's going to be a tough match no matter what. But, you know, that's what you kind of expect to have in the semifinals. We had good matches. We had bad matches. We'll see.
Q. What are the qualities in her that make her so tough?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, obviously she's a great fighter. She never gives up. You always see that, no matter what the score is, she will go for her shots. She has a huge serve, which we all know. Every player that played against her felt that. It's definitely an asset.
I don't really like to look back in history because every time you step on the court it's a new story. You kind of write your own history every time.
Q. Are you feeling like you're playing at the same level you did at the beginning of the year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't think about that because if you try to look for that feeling that you had before, you're not going to find it. Every day has to be different. There were days I didn't feel great in the beginning of the year as well but I managed to pull through. That's what I'm really trying to be focused, take it day to day, work and build from there.
Q. You played Serena in Grand Slams and other tournaments. Do you sense she's different while playing in Grand Slams?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I think so. I don't know. Every time she plays against me she plays really well no matter where it is. I don't really care about that.
I think everybody take Grand Slam with a little bit more, you know ‑‑ I lost the word ‑‑ more attention, want to win more.
But we'll see. I don't really know.
Q. Did you get nervous in the last two service games trying to close it out?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, not really. She played really well. She went for her shots which I didn't see before. I served a good serve and she just went down the line. Kind of changed the momentum a little bit and she stepped it up.
But, no, I mean, I was feeling pretty good. She just went for her shots.
Q. Second match in a row under the roof.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Is it? Yeah. Well, that was half of the match was outdoor and half indoor.
Q. How are the conditions different?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's not the first time. I played under the roof two matches last year, as well. Actually, we really lucky that we have the roof and we're able to play under, able to finish.
But the conditions are nice. I think it makes it a little bit slower, the court, or maybe just it's an illusion because there's no wind, nothing goes around. The atmosphere is great on Centre Court. It's always special no matter if you play with the roof or without the roof.
Q. This is the sixth time you're going to play Serena in a Grand Slam. Do you expect a little more out of yourself?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I expect to do the best job as I can. That's the most I can ask myself for, to make sure when I leave the court I did everything I can, so... There is no more that I can do than just try.
Q. If you compare 2008 to 2012, you're a better player?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, that's for sure. As I said, I don't really like to look in the history because there is no point. You can just take few things, few pointers of knowing the game of opponent.
But the situation will not be the same.
Official bagel and breadstick server of Vikaland
Jul 4th, 2012, 04:59 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
Good article on Vika on USA Today
WIMBLEDON, England Ė In January, Victoria Azarenka kicked off her 2012 season by winning a tournament in Sydney.
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus has been impressive so far at Wimbledon.
Later that month, she captured the Australian Openó a maiden Grand Slam victory that catapulted her to the No. 1 ranking and sent sighs of relief through a sport still insecure about a slew of Slam-less top-ranked women.
Azarenka was far from done. Titles followed at Doha and Indian Wells, Calif.
When the 22-year-old Belarusian entered Florida's Sony Ericsson Open in March, she still hadn't tasted defeat.
Comparisons to Novak Djokovic, who ripped through a 41-0 start in 2011, surfaced.
By the time Marion Bartoli of France beat her in the fourth round at Miami, she owned a 26-match winning streak, the best start to a season since Martina Hingis 15 years ago. (Hingis went 37-0 in 1997).
As the wins piled up, so did the money.
Azarenka, who left her native Minsk to train in the USA as a teenager, had amassed $4.63 million in prize money entering Wimbledon, nearly as much as the $4.79 million earned by top-ranked Djokovic.
But so far this fortnight the player known as "Vika" is the forgotten champion.
Rarely has such a highly ranked player ó Azarenka is seeded No. 2 ó accrued so little notice.
During the entire first week, she failed to attract adequate interest for a single appearance in one of the two main pressrooms, where transcriptions are made available.
As a result, on Wimbledon's website, there was no record of her having spoken a post-match word until her fourth-round victory Monday.
A few journalists could not recall a player of her pedigree receiving this degree of cold shoulder.
"It's absolutely unheard of," said Neil Harman of The Times of London.
It's not as if her game has been lagging, either.
In her last match, Azarenka blitzed former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 6-1, 6-0. Through four rounds at Wimbledon, no one had dropped fewer games than Azarenka's 14.
It's true that her blazing start subsided in the spring.
After her loss in Miami, Azarenka reached finals at Stuttgart and Madrid but didn't win a tournament on clay. She lost in the round-of-16 at Roland Garros.
Azarenka doesn't seem to mind. The player who often enters the court wearing atmosphere-blocking headphones blaring Rhianna prefers to go about her business.
"You cannot stop people from talking or say whatever they want to say," Azarenka said Monday in her first general press conference at the All-England Club. "Usually you're the one who knows how you feel. It's important to stick to your routine. It might not work every time, but it's important to have the consistency."
For the most part, a rather glum Azarenka was consistent in her answers ó and not exactly filling the notepads of her inquisitors.
Asked about dropping so few games in her run to the fourth round, she said: "Not counting, sorry. Really not counting. Just taking it one at a time."
Her response to a question about big upsets in the women's draw?
"It's not really a question for me. I can only speak for myself."
How about efforts disclosed last week to curb excessive grunting, a problem many have associated with Azarenka?
"I haven't heard anything about it," she said.
To be sure, the WTA has had top players in recent years that have flown under the radar, among them former No. 1s Dinara Safina, Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki.
But none of those players also won a Grand Slam championship, which is particularly perplexing.
According to Richard Evans, who has covered 51 Wimbledons since 1960 and authored books on tennis, it's partly personality.
"She comes across as a tough lady," said Evans, who writes for FoxSports.com. "You don't naturally warm to her."
But he blames the media.
"I think it's our fault more than her," Evans said. "She goes out and wins tennis matches, and she shouldn't have to do much more. We live in a celebrity-driven age and she hasn't caught our imagination."
The Times' Harman, who says he gets on well with Azarenka, faulted the lack of attention on the backlog of headline-grabbing first-week stories such as Rafael Nadal's early exit and the Centre Court roof controversy.
"She's generally misjudged as a person and her quality as a player is underrated," he said. "I think you can't find a nicer, more approachable person in the game."
On Saturday, Azarenka may well emerge as the Wimbledon champion. She defeated unseeded Tamira Paszek of Austria 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in the quarterfinals Tuesday for a chance to go toe-to-toe with four-time champion Serena Williams in the semifinals.
Should she reach the final, Azarenka is guaranteed to reclaim the top ranking she gave up to Maria Sharapova last month. (Only Agnieszka Radwanska has a chance to surpass her).
Should that happen, Azarenka is sure to feel the media spotlight again.
Just don't expect her to expand upon it anytime before then.
"Not thinking about it," she said. "It's too soon."
Jankovic & Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka 2012 Australian Open Champion!
Jul 5th, 2012, 10:20 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka Press Conference
Wimbledon 2012 SF loss against Serena Williams(#6)
Q. What a beast of a day for you. You had to change your warmup strip on the practice courts this morning, then you lose a major semifinal, and then youíre the last player on court and you lose in doubles as well. Horrible day for you today.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Thanks for bringing it up and putting me down. I appreciate that.
But, you know, I actually take a lot of positive things out of today. I think it was a great performance for me. It was a little bit unfortunate, but I can only learn from here and move on.
I mean, I donít have any regrets when I walked off the court today. Thatís important to do.
Q. In the second set you got your teeth into the match. What adjustments did you make and how proud are you of what you were able to do there?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I was just trying to fight because I knew I was going to have a chance sooner or later.
Before that she was playing really well. You know, the serve is just that one difference that makes her ‑‑ you know, brings her to the higher level.
So but I just tried to fight, you know, and tried to stay in the moment. If I have a chance, just try to grab it. Thatís what I did. It was really close, but it wasnít my day today.
Q. Obviously she served so well, a record number of aces. What is it like to face that? What makes her serve so difficult?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, she serves 200. That already makes it difficult. You know, I donít see anybody else serving like this on the tour. You know, she places well. I donít know how many lines I got today.
But, you know, there is no point to sit and cry how unfortunate I was because she played great. I just have to give her all the credit because, you know, she did her job.
I was just trying to, you know, get the ball back as many times as I could, but it wasnít enough today.
Q. There was a point in the second set where you got the break. If it went to a third, did you feel confident it could turn around?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You could say that. You never know what could happen. Thereís no point to talk about. It didnít happen, so just no point to talk about it.
Q. Early part of the season was amazing. Are you feeling the early season is taking its toll, or are you still taking a tournament at a time?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I take one tournament at a time, one match at a time, one day at a time.
I think from the beginning of the year I raised the bar so high that for people, when I lose maybe a little bit early, already itís not good enough.
But I think for me was a great tournament. It could have been better. Yeah, for sure it could have been better, but itís not.
And for me, I already think about my next tournament, my next goals, and thatís it.
Q. Serena thought her intensity dropped a little in the second set. Is that a bit unkind or was it your intensity increased?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, she can say whatever she wants and how she feels. Itís because sheís the only one who knows how she feels. I know how I feel. I cannot speak for her.
For me, I think I stayed pretty even throughout the whole match. But, you know, as I said, I cannot speak for somebody else.
Q. Is she as good a player as sheís ever been right now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I donít know. She seems to play really good against me, so I donít know. I think we both showed good tennis today. But, you know, she was better on this day, you know.
Q. Early in the match the crowd appeared to be laughing almost at some of the noises you make when you unleash your groundstrokes. Did you notice it at all? Did it upset you at all?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. Why would it upset me? You know, you guys make such a big deal out of it, itís a little bit already boring to read all the news. You know, I think everybody does different kind of noises. But, you know, what can you do?
Q. Weíve not noticed that happen on Centre Court here before.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Iíve noticed it everywhere. Men also grunt really loud.
Q. I meant the crowdís reaction.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, maybe you werenít at every match.
Q. The semifinals is a good Wimbledon for you. What do you do next?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I go home. I have my brotherís wedding on Saturday, which Iím really excited about. From there Iím going to practice and prepare, you know, for the Olympic Games.
Q. Who do you like in the final?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I think Serenaís going to win, but Agnieszka is a very good player. Itís not easy to get to the final, so anything can happen.
Q. Which would give you more pleasure: going to your brotherís wedding or playing in a Wimbledon final?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Thatís a silly question. I think you know the answer.
Q. When you come back for the Olympics you can wear what you like. How do you think that affects the prestige of Wimbledon?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I think itís going to be just interesting. Nobody knows how itís going to be. So itís kind of new and exciting to see how itís going to turn out.
But thatís not something that you can wear whatever you want. You can wear your national colors, so there is also kind of a strict regime there.
But Iím actually really excited to see some McDonaldís or Coca‑Cola in the back of the court. It will be funny.
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