Oct 23rd, 2012, 06:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
YEC Istanbul 2012
Q. You were 5‑3 up in the final set when you played Serena in New York. How do you feel about playing against her again?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm looking forward to it. It was a great match at the US Open. I was close. I didn't make it, but, you know, I have an opportunity right now to change around or at least to try.
So I'm looking forward to it. It's a great event. It's the last one of the year, so going to give it all here. Definitely going to play her in the group, so definitely have a chance for a rematch.
Q. Even though you were so close in the US Open, she has a great record against you. What generally do you need to do to turn that around, do you feel?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, we will see. Definitely have to serve better when I'm serving for the match. (Smiling.)
But I will also play couple other players as well. But we will see. She's definitely a tough opponent. I don't think we ever played indoor, so it's going to be a little bit of a new occasion.
We will see.
Q. Can you just talk a little bit about winning your first Grand Slam and how that changes your attitude as a player and the rising confidence levels after winning thing the first important major?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: At first it gave a little bit of relief to kind of realize that. I felt like I was always playing on pretty good level but didn't really quite make it to the top of the game.
When I won, I felt like I achieved my potential a little bit better, and it kind of set up a whole new opportunity for goals for me.
It gave a great belief in knowing that I can go to those further stages, and later on it just helps in the key moments to be confident in yourself, to know that you know what to do in the right moments, in the key moments.
So, yeah, it gave me a lot of also opportunity to kind of discover myself better in those stages, because it was for me my first final. And through all those experience that I lived through, they were very memorable.
I think I learned a lot from that that helped me to kind of grow as player during the year as well.
Q. This is sort of event that wraps up the year. Have you had a chance during the last few weeks to sit back and reflect on everything you've done this year ‑ the slam, the many weeks of No. 1, the gold medal ‑ just to soak it all in?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Not yet, because we're still in the action and I try to stay focused. I think after the last match, after the last point, it's going to be the time where you just put down your racquet. You have your team together and you kind of observe all the year and just look at it. That's the time when you take it all in.
But I feel like you can fully appreciate all those things when you're done with tennis, when you can really relax and look back on what you achieved.
Q. I know you want to look forward to this tournament, but do you ever occasionally look back and think with amazement that you nearly decided to stop and give it all away 18 months or two years ago and now you've achieved all this?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, it's incredible that just few thoughts and few perspectives will kind of change your vision of things and help you to improve not only as a player, but as a personality to grow a little bit.
Doesn't happen in one day, but you have that moment when it clicks and you kind of have a better vision of where you have to head, you know. So it's incredible. I'm really actually glad that it happened to me. It helped me to mature a little bit better and to open those doors for me to find and look for a better self in me.
Q. Was there a moment when it clicked rather than being a gradual thing?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it just clicked when I had a real understanding of what I want to do, how I want to achieve things, and how I want to work around it.
So, yeah, it was just pretty much one day and that's it. After that, there was long, long days of hard work and a lot of long practices.
But, yeah, it is was just one day.
Q. Which day was that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It was somewhere in February. I actually should look up in the calendar to just put it in my notes so maybe if I want to write a book after I have some dates.
Q. Olympics were a special moment for you. I would like to know if you see yourself to get involved in the organization of some, for example, WTA event in Belarus like Djokovic did in Serbia? Do you see yourself doing that? You did an exhibition with Caroline Wozniacki in front of the president.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I would love to be involved in more and more events in Belarus. I was planning to do one which is not going to happen anymore, but hopefully in the future we will have some more tournaments so local players have more opportunities to participate in bigger events.
But I would love to bring a tennis tournament to Belarus. I would be really happy to do that.
Q. You were talking about developing a better vision over the years. Did you have to develop that yourself, or is it other people giving you advice that got you to a clear understanding of where you wanted to go?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I think it's a teamwork. I have a great team around me that helped me with absolutely everything. It took me a while to build that comfortable bubble around me, but I'm really happy right now that I have those people involved.
We all work for the same goal, and everybody has their own mission in it, so I cannot say I do it by myself. I would be lying.
Q. Do you feel you've had to tune down your intensity level a little bit dealing with the temper and all that and being a little bit more calm on court in order to reach your goals?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I'm intense as I've always been. Maybe I just manage my bad emotions better, but I'm always intense. You see me on the practice, I'm like a Duracell bunny all the time.
So actually, Sam, my coach, tells me I have to slow down a little bit because I'm so energetic and I never stop and he's very slow. So I think we make a perfect match. It's like this, you know. (Hands showing scales. )
Q. Two days ago you said that you going to be surprised again in this tournament. Can we say this is one of your favorite tournaments in last years, and what would you like to say about the city in the tournament?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, the city I haven't seen much, as only yesterday when we had to drive really, really far away for the draw ceremony.
But I love the atmosphere, how much excitement it brings to the city even before the tournament starts and before the first year was. So that was a very nice surprise for me when I came for the first time.
So far I haven't really felt this on the court yet, because when we practice the stands are empty and it's different.
I'm sure when we walk for the first time on the court it's all going to be back and all the memories from last year will also be there. I just can say that I'm excited to start the tournament. Right now it's difficult to judge when I'm not yet competing.
Q. Given what you achieved this year with the No. 1 and winning a slam, do you have to reset your goals now urgently for the future? If so, what's you're next ambitions?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I have a lot of ambitions. You cannot really go higher than No. 1. I wish I could, but, no. It's a good motivation and good goal to hold it as long as possible.
But by that I need to win matches and win tournaments. So that would be a first priority, to win tournaments and matches, to bring the rankings up, to hold it there.
So next year I will have again the full calendar of tournaments ‑ four Grand Slams, no Olympics, but in four years ‑ so the goals are still the same: Everywhere you go, you try to win and to collect as many prizes as you can by the end of this whole journey.
Q. As a woman, I would like to know...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You as a woman? (Laughter.) Because didn't look like. I'm sorry.
Q. Sorry. I have to concentrate again. As a woman yourself, how did you get in this position in Turkey, Istanbul? What do you know about history, about the culture here? What did you know about the country before you came here? I would like to know that.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, before I came to Istanbul, I have been to Turkey twice already. I been to Cemer and Anatolia for vacation. It's very, very popular spot for Russians for Belorussians. The history amazes me. In one city you have two cultures with European and Asia. It's absolutely the most iconic thing.
You know, it's very rich in history, the whole country, so it excites me to be a part of actually tennis history making in Turkey. I really always enjoyed my time here, and with being here for hopefully this year and next year, I will learn a little bit more and we bring the population to be more involved in tennis, which help you us to learn more about culture and all the other things in Turkey.
Oct 25th, 2012, 09:03 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
YEC Istanbul 2012
PC after 1st RR WIN over Angie Kerber (GER;#5)
Q. Have you played in a better match that you can remember?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: A better match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think so. It was definitely a great fight. You know, I'm more proud of the way I handled and stayed in that match, because all those emotions kind of overcome the hitting shots and moving around.
It's just that fight, that tension that you have throughout the match, it's just, I don't know, overwhelms the rest.
Q. There were kind of so many ups and downs, but the two shots you played at match point down, I mean, they were pretty special, weren't they, in terms of quality of shot and choosing to play those two shots when you had to play them?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I felt like it was a lot of up and downs, because Angelique played sometimes a little bit more safe and made me run too much. Sometimes she just went for her shots from some angles that I didn't even expect that.
I think what was also the biggest difference from our previous matches was she was serving incredible. In the key moments, she was just going for it. I felt like I still could have returned a little bit better.
She provoked a lot of mistakes from me which was also not very pleasant for me, but on the match points I just thought I had to go for it. She will not miss, so I didn't have to wait for her mistake. I had to go for it.
I was so determined to make it happen. I wanted to change the momentum. I wanted to take the kind of destiny into my hands. You know, if I would have missed those shots it will be up to me, not up to my opponent.
Q. Everyone was getting very excited and they were on Twitter about the match. They were having some comparison with your comeback with Djokovic, it was a Djokovic comeback because you were hitting winner left and right. What do you think about this comparison?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I felt like there are a few comparisons with me and Djokovic, especially this last year. But I don't ever want to take any of his credit for his amazing wins and those comebacks.
I just did my own. I think it was pretty remarkable. But it's different. It's women's game.
But, you know, I'm just really pleased that not maybe playing your best tennis you kind of feel more satisfied than if maybe you would have played your best tennis.
Q. A lot of people were comparing this as one of the best matches of the year with the scoreline and the intensity and the crowd and everything. You also seemed sort of frustrated with some of your tennis at certain points. How do you come down on how good this match was and how good you played?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it was amazing too for the crowd, for our game, to see those kind of battles, you know. No matter what the score was, there was always opportunity to go for winner. There wasn't like any slack. I felt honestly like that.
So I don't know. I feel really proud that I was part of this match. Maybe didn't seem so good when you are in the court when you miss couple of shots. Doesn't seem as pretty.
But I felt that the match was really high quality from both of us from the first point to the last. I feel it's important for the game and important for me to get kind of awake in the first match.
So, yeah, I'm happy I went through that.
Q. How satisfying is it for you to play in this sort of tournament, this high‑stakes, top‑eight tournament with a crowd that's that's loud and involved in the match the whole way?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it can always change the momentum. It can always help you to be more energetic, kind of more believe in yourself you can do it.
Honestly you feel like you don't want to leave the court because the atmosphere is so good. I guess that's why I stayed for three hours.
But it's incredible, the atmosphere there that we go through. To be the last tournament of the year you have to give it all. I just hope we have more such exciting matches later in the week.
Q. What is more satisfying for you: this win or this award?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: (Laughter.) Both. I will take everything. You know, this is very unexpected for me. As I was joking, you know, two years ago I was fined for missing a press conference, and today I'm sitting here receiving an award.
So I feel like there's been a lot of improvement on that side from me, and I'm really happy about that.
Q. Do you think to have survived a match like that shows how far you've come physically, emotionally, mentally in the last 18 months?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think so. It's part of growing, part of having a lot of experience. Like at match points I had still clear mind what I had to do, and it takes time to go through that and to learn those things.
So definitely helped a lot.
Q. You lost your first set since the final in US Open after 26 straight sets. Did it feel strange or different?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I didn't know that statistic really. I felt like it was in my hands, kind of in my hands the first set. I let it slip away a little bit.
But I have to give a lot of the credit to Angelique. She provoked those mistakes, few that I did. She went for her shots and made her winners.
I'm a little bit disappointed with myself, but I turned it around. That's important. I don't like to look back too much. I definitely will take into consideration the thing that I didn't do quite well in the first set.
Q. Is it somehow very special that tomorrow obviously you're playing Serena, a win for you will guarantee a No. 1 ranking and obviously she the player of the second half of the year. Does that make it a very special occasion for you and in a sense one that's easier to get up for rather than playing someone else?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I think it's always kind of special when I play Serena. We always play on the bigger stages with her, so this is also another big stage. Tomorrow it's going to be another day, you know, a little bit different condition. We never played indoors, so I'm looking forward to that.
I don't really think about the ranking. I actually didn't even know that. So I will just try to focus on my game, because after the game it will be decided. It's kind of out of my hands before I control what happens on the court.
Q. You talked about having to go for your shots when you were match point down. Is that something that you've always kind of mentally been able to do, or is that something that's evolved over time, having that courage and knowing you can't leave it on the court, you've got to go for it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it comes with experience. It comes with being in those situations and being in probably the opposite of those situations when you have match points and you feel somebody goes for it.
So it's kind of a I feel like a learning experience I went through quite a lot. I had match points I lost; I saved match points I lost. So it definitely helped me to have a better understanding of what you have to do so.
As I said, you have a much clearer mind on those special occasions.
Q. And then just talking about crowd, which a lot of the players have been extremely complimentary about, what's so unique about the crowd at the Championships in Istanbul as opposed to Stanford or Toronto or something like that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I think the last tournament of the year where it's kind of all the best players in the world and they fight for this last trophy, it's going to be always special no matter where it is.
But this crowd is unbelievable. I mean, they are so into it, and it helps us as players kind of to stay alive out there, you know. To go on the court, I was really nervous going on the court today. I felt like, Oh, my God, I cannot wait to get out there and feel this whole atmosphere.
It kind of worked a little bit against me so I didn't start so well my match, but later on it just gives you a boost of energy. It's spectacular to kind of feel that there are so many people just watching that.
Before actually the matches start they were so excited to be here.
Q. I was curious about something you said earlier comparing getting this award to being fined for skipping a press conference. You seem a lot more comfortable behind the microphone now.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I got to know all of you guys. (Smiling.)
Q. Is that all it is, more time up there, or have you been working on things to get better at this?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Both. I feel like I was just a little bit shy. I didn't really know how to handle that. Nobody really educated me how to speak to media.
I started to be more myself and started to show my real personality, which I think helps. I don't try to be a creative image of somebody. I'm just trying to be myself now.
Q. It sounds strange to us, because as media we consider a lot ourself sometimes. It's about one week we are talking about you with the possibility to win two matches and become No. 1 of the world at the end of the year for sure. You say just before that you didn't know it. I mean, you don't read about the stats, the fact that if you beat Serena tomorrow you'll be definitely No. 1? You said you didn't know it. I mean, it's strange to us. We have been writing every day about this.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I read articles, I do. I read how Neil sometimes posts pictures as well. I enjoyed last night how you were backing up all the way to the hotel. (Laughter.)
No, I never actually go and look in the rankings honestly. I stopped doing that about five years ago. A friend of mine said, Just look at your ranking in the end of the year and see how it's going to be so you don't feel that pressure that you have to be better or something.
Since then, I actually stopped looking at it. Of course I know that I'm No. 1. It's hard to miss. But I don't even know sometimes whose 5, 6. It's not as important for me. For me, important is to go out there and play matches.
Trust me, I do read a lot of articles. I like the criticism sometimes. It's refreshing. Kind of helps you to sometimes get angry and perform better.
So I enjoy. (Smiling.)
Oct 26th, 2012, 09:18 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
YEC Istanbul 2012
2nd RR loss against Serena Williams (USA;#3)
Q. How would you characterize the match? Some lost opportunities there. Up 3‑0 in the second, and she came back in and fought and got through in the end.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: As you said, it's been a lot of up and downs. I had too many opportunities that I didn't use. She played really well.
As usual she's on a roll and everything, but I feel like I didn't keep up the discipline I had, the right play I had. When I had the right play I was in control most of the times, but I just couldn't do it consistently today.
Q. Was that just mostly execution or a little bit of nerves? The occasion?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Probably everything. I don't know, it was just difficult to kind of keep it up today.
But I can still see the positive. You know, I have tomorrow another opportunity to play and to win and I'm still in the tournament.
I'll be sad for a little bit, but I'll need to bounce back strong for tomorrow.
Q. Obviously you struggled a lot with your second serve today. Is there something in this shot that you can identify that you think was going wrong or something you need to look at with your coach you think?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I mean, if I would probably know the answer I wouldn't maybe double fault as much.
But I don't know. It's just one of those days that just didn't really work out. I mean, it's a little bit sad to have so many opportunities. Even though I didn't serve as well, I broke her quite a lot today.
You know, throughout the whole game there was a lot of chances; I just didn't take them. I didn't execute well enough. For me, the key word today was "discipline," which was missing.
Q. Obviously you're disappointed, but you have to be somewhat confident coming out of that that you didn't play your best but you did have quite a few opportunities there.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, yeah. You have to look at the positive. It's sometimes difficult to look at it right after the match, but as I said, tomorrow is another day. I'm still in the tournament. I have a chance to still win.
So that's what I'm looking forward. I just want to take the best out of what I did today and transform in a better version tomorrow.
Q. How difficult was it to kind of come down from yesterday's long, long match and recover for this one?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, not easy, but, I mean, everybody is pretty tired here. Everybody plays back to back.
So I cannot say it's piece of cake to do that, but we are here and I'm honored to be here and being in those shoes and in that position.
So I just need to reset my mind, my approach, tomorrow.
Q. What is more important for you: finishing the tournament by being champion or finishing the year in the top place?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: For me, it's important to win the tournament, and then it decides itself. So I'm here to play, to win matches, and that's what I'm going to be focused on.
Q. She's clearly the player that gives you the most trouble and Maria the most trouble. When you go out there against her, thing aren't going well, does it feel inevitable that things are going to slip away from you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Matt, you always put me in the position to find some controversy. I don't know why.
Q. Not controversy.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know why you expect me...
No, I don't think that. I think always as a new match. I try to take every approach and find the keys, you know.
I felt like I done few things pretty good today which I can keep for future, and just adjust some things that didn't work out too well for me today.
No, when I go out there I always try to win. Why would I think any other way?
Q. What I'm saying is with you and Maria both when you guys play your best, it looks like you're right there with Serena, can beat Serena, but usually, at least over the last few years, she's coming out on top. What I want you to do is kind of identify the reason.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, she's playing great tennis. I mean, she's letting her tennis speak for itself. For me ‑ I don't want to speak for Maria or anybody else ‑ but my biggest opponent is her right now.
I'll do everything I can. I might still have a chance to play against her in this tournament, so we'll see.
Q. Tomorrow is going to win stay, lose go home for both you and Li Na. What are your thoughts about the match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Exactly what you said. Win or go home. I'll give everything I have to win because I still want to stay couple more days here and fight.
Tomorrow is gonna be really, really important match, you know, so I have to give my 20% and try to win the match.
Q. So compare with the match you beat her last year at the same stadium, do you see any difference in her game compared to last year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, doesn't matter really the difference between her game. It's going to be a different occasion anyway. Even though we played in exact same stadium, it's going to be different situation.
I think she worked really hard with a new coach, change couple of things trying to be really aggressive, so we always have tough battles. I know she can produce some excellent tennis, so I have to really come up with my best game tomorrow and try to make it.
Q. Obviously the round robin tournament format here is really unique on the whole calendar. Now that you're in this win‑or‑go‑home situation, it's almost like it's a quarterfinal for the tournament almost, and if you win that match you get to the semis, win that match you get to the final. Does that make the rest of the tournament simpler for you mentally?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't think so, because maybe I wouldn't play Serena in the second round and Kerber in the first round.
But, no. Actually I experienced such a thing this year already at the Olympic Games when I had to come back after losing semifinal and play for the bronze medal.
So I think it's a good opportunity to kind of feel it again. I'm just glad I have another opportunity to stay in the tournament and keep the dream alive.
Q. Unlike the Olympics, you could get to play the same opponent in the final here the way it works. Is there any one thing you can identify that you know already you want to do differently the next time you play Serena either here or whenever it is?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't want to think too far ahead. There is absolutely no point to do that. Tomorrow is, you know, kind of what's going to decide for me. If I win, I keep going. I'm going to take it day by day.
Right now I just want to kind of realize what I've done wrong today and how I can improve it tomorrow and just go out there tomorrow and leave everything out there.
Q. Chancing gears a little bit, once again, another great crowd out there. The WTA is looking to find a new host for the Championships. For you personally, would you rather see it in a city like a Madrid or Los Angeles or something like that, a big city, urban area, but maybe the crowds are a little bit smaller, maybe a little bit less enthusiastic, or something kind of like this? Obviously Istanbul has a lot to offer, but you get this sort of energetic crowd.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's important to also kind of maybe have some places where tennis is not as developed but as excited as, for example, here in Turkey. I think it was a great step to kind of open the new doors for our sport to be seen.
I don't know honestly. I have no idea who is betting on it. I think can be really exciting to see new cities or come back to those beautiful ones where we have been many times.
I do appreciate the crowd here. It's really amazing atmosphere to go out there.
Q. You were talking about the crowd, but what do you think about the music on the changeovers here?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Music?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's very different. Sometimes rap, sometimes R&B, sometimes, I don't know, rock, and then it goes to Turkish music. The DJ is doing a great job.
Oct 28th, 2012, 07:38 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
YEC Istanbul 2012
PC after 3rd RR WIN over Li Na (CHN;#8)
Q. It's been is fantastic year for you, 2012: Your first Grand Slam title; winning Olympic gold in doubles; bronze in singles; and now year‑end No. 1.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, it's incredible achievement. I'm really, really proud of that. I still feel that I don't want to really get into it too much because I'm still in competition and I would like to keep that focus for two more days I have left. It's the most that's it's going to take.
But it's important to stay a little bit grounded. After that, I can enjoy my time and celebrate that.
Q. Can you talk about which part of your game you did better than Li Na today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Which part?
Q. Yeah. And what made the difference for both of you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't think it's one shot that made a difference, because you don't win sets just with one shot. It's kind of the whole routine of creating opportunities, sometimes putting pressure, sometimes being consistent.
So it was kind of a whole baggage of opportunities. I know she's a big shot‑maker and is going to go for her shots, so it was important to kind of try to take that away as much as possible.
She was definitely really aggressive on everything she had, and I tried to do the same.
Q. This is the first time I think all year that the WTA Top 4 have all made the semifinals of an event. Seems like you four have really been consistent this year in the way the WTA hasn't had in a few years. What do you think has caused this stability at the top with you at the top of that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think there are maybe a few reasons of things.
(Loud banging.) I hope they don't kill anybody there.
I think it's the combination of things, you know, with few players coming back to the tour, new generation coming up kind of establishing their positions a little bit.
Also with the Roadmap changing the whole tour, the whole calendar, definitely made an impact. I feel like over the years it's just kind of settled down, you know.
I never speak for any other players, but for me, you know, it was a long journey of learning. And the consistency, I've been in top 10 for, I don't know, last four years, so I felt I was pretty consistent.
Definitely this was a breakthrough. It's good to see women's game, you know, raising its level so much more. Especially over this year I felt like all the top players are kind of pushing each other to be better. It's great for our sport.
Q. There is always debates about scheduling at so many tournaments, but do you think at something like the Championships it's right that three of you should have to play today and one player gets a day's rest before such an important semifinal and final? Perhaps we could look at it a little bit better the way it's planned in future years?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think there is always room for improvement in everything. And especially in the Grand Slams, you know, sometimes it's difficult the way they manage it.
The most important with the schedule is they do it a little bit more in advance, you know, so you kind of can prepare yourself better. Not at 9:00 p.m. you know that you're playing at 11:00 tomorrow.
So I think this could be a good move to change, to kind of know a little bit in advance. Because it's always based off TV, and I think we should do a little bit of a better compromise for the players as well.
Q. I know you want to stay in the moment and you got a big match coming up, but I think there has only been 11 year‑end No. 1s in 37 years. There's been others that have done it during the year, but that's not that many players. So talk about the achievement, because you have your name amongst some pretty good people now.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, if you look at the list of these people, it's kind of difficult to believe that a little girl from Belarus is on that list.
But it's really incredible achievement. When I started to play tennis I had this big picture in my head that I want to be there. Back then it's so far away. It's like pretty much touching the sky.
I'm here sitting kind of in the sky, so it's really incredible feeling. I don't think you realize that ‑‑ once you maybe stop playing tennis, you know, when you're not there, you can fully appreciate what you have done.
Living in the moment, I think you lose that sense of those great achievements.
Q. Moving to tomorrow, everyone says every match is a new match. When you play someone six times in a year ‑ I think that's going to be your sixth match against Maria ‑ is it sort of a continuation in a way? You just played a few weeks ago; you played at the US Open; you played during the summer. Is it all fresh, or it is a continuum?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's kind of both. You know, it's definitely not going to be a surprise that I'm going to play Maria, and for her will not be a surprise that she's playing me.
But it is different occasion. It is a different place. We played in the semifinals before, but actually I never played her in the Championships. So it is new and it is not new. So you can take it both ways.
Q. You did some unusual double faults in this tournament.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Really? Pretty common for me. (Laughter.)
Q. Really? I was going to ask if you have any problem with lights or something like that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. I mean, you can find excuses for yourself. I don't try to find them. I just try to find the reason why I did that. Excuses are for weak people.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Thank you.
Q. In men's tennis Sampras was six times No. 1 at the end of the year; Federer, similar story. In women's tennis, recently every year more or less it's changing.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah.
Q. Do you see that as good, or would it be better to have someone steady, consistently No. 1 for the image of tennis, or every year you change?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: What do you think?
Q. I don't know. I'm asking you, because they're more interested in what you're saying than what I'm saying.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: But you're going to write the story anyway, so it is also interesting to see a perspective. I feel like it's kind of people's philosophy there we are never really satisfied. When it's all the same, Oh, it's boring; when it's not consistent, Oh, it's not consistent.
So you can always find a good and a bad. But this is my first year as a No. 1, and of course I would like to stay as long as possible and wouldn't let anybody else, but we'll see how it goes.
Q. Do you think it's probable, easy to happen, or very easy...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Easy to happen?
Q. Or not easy, but...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I know what it takes, how much of a hard work you have to put in, and it's sometimes way too difficult. (Laughing.) That's why it's only 11 people in the history.
Q. We always see you with your headphone before your match. What do you listen? Which song do you listen to before your match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Today?
Q. Yeah, maybe.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I don't listen to every day the same song, but I can share. I was listening to the Wanted, and the name of the song was I Found You.
Q. Which music do you like? Which kind?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Very different kind of music. Any type. Depends on how I feel and what my mood is like. I'm open minded to a lot of different music.
Oct 28th, 2012, 07:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
YEC Istanbul 2012
PC after SF loss against Maria Sharapova(RUS;#2)
Q. Clearly not your best day. Were you tired? Did she play that well? Didn't seem like the normal Victoria out there.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I mean, I'm not going to say that I was the freshest today, and I also don't want to put the things to make an excuses because that's not really my type. I don't like to do it.
I give Maria all the credit today. She played really well and looks in great form. She deserved to win 100%.
Could I play better? Yeah, I could have moved better for sure. But it's done today. I have no regrets. I finished the first time a loss with a smile. And I don't know, it didn't feel as bad today.
Q. So when you woke up this morning was your body very sore and stiff? You weren't running as fast as you normally do.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I was a little bit slow today. My agent offered me her legs today, and I should have taken her up on that. (Laughter.)
Of course it is difficult to finish a match at 2:00 ‑ I don't know what time we finished‑ and come back and do the whole routine. It's difficult. But I don't think anybody‑‑ I think Agnieszka felt much worse than me today.
I saw her before the match and we looked at each other and we laughed really hard. Kind of said it all.
Q. Perhaps it's difficult so soon to think of the year as a whole, but a few reflections perhaps on the high points for you this year.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, now it's easy. Now I think I'm really proud of what I've done the whole year. I started the year with No. 3 and I finished with No. 1, which in numbers doesn't seem like a huge jump, but we all know in reality it's pretty big difference.
I finished the year with a different ‑‑ I'm a different person. Not different person, but a much more mature person, a much more mature player, and I also am very proud of that too.
The whole year was a lot of learning experience, trying new things and taking the whole journey with the good and tough and few bads. I didn't have many. I cannot complain this year.
I take it all. It gives me a great pleasure from this moment to enjoy my three weeks and be happy about it.
Q. You talked about being able to walk off the court after a loss with a smile for the first time. You also had your finger up in the air like you do a lot after wins. How much does that happiness and contentment with your game right now have to do with clinching No. 1 yesterday?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Has nothing really to do with that. This is something I do all the time. It's just me. It's not about proving anything to anybody and not being cocky in any kind of way.
It's just something that I do. Somebody blow a kiss; somebody does something else; this is what I do.
But I don't know. When I left the court I felt that crowd was supporting so much and they appreciated ‑‑ kind of felt like they appreciate my whole year, you know, what I did.
It was amazing.
Q. What was the problem with your right leg in the second set?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Tight, really tight and painful. I don't know. Maybe a little bit of a pull. But I'm not going to even go check it out. I don't want to be professional for next three weeks.
Q. What's the first thing you're looking forward to on your holiday?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Wow, that's a good one. I hope my leg will stop hurting so I can dance.
But definitely just enjoy my time not thinking that I have to wake up and eat the right thing, you know, go and make sure I have to practice.
I don't know. I can sleep whenever I want ‑ and not maybe for too long also sometimes. I'm just looking forward to just kind of have my mind off.
Maybe today just kind of review everything with the team, prepare for next year, and then just fly away.
Q. There was a banner in the stadium that made you laugh. What was it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, what made me laugh?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, I knew I was going to ask this question. You know how I always say I relate music to memories, so that song reminded me of a very funny situation. I just started laughing. I'm sitting there, thinking, Wow I'm playing in the Championships, I'm losing, and it's hilarious, because that image kind of crossed my mind.
That's it. I mean, I tried everything I could today, so I was like, Well, I never laughed really when I was losing, so why not?
Q. So it wasn't about the banner? I saw it wrong.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: A banner?
Q. Yeah, I thought it was about the banner or something like that that you saw on the TV screen.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, no, no, no.
Q. Would you prefer to finish the year in the second place but winning this tournament?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I don't have a chance already winning this tournament, so I'm happy with No. 1. (Laughter.)
Q. What was the funny image?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, if I'm going to tell you you're going to think bad of me maybe.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know Chris Rock, the comedian, so he does great impressions and I love the way he uses his voice. He had this sketch about defending rap music which was hilarious. I don't know. I just started laughing at it.
Q. Can you just talk about the format? Obviously the Grand Slams are tough and the Premiers are tough, here you start on Tuesday, end on Sunday, and you have to play against the world's other seven best players in four days. There's been a lot of tight, great matches, long ones. Can you say this format is one of the toughest things to do during the year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Definitely I would say so...
But the format stay the same. I think the schedule and maybe not starting on Tuesday and starting maybe a little bit earlier would make a difference for all the players to kind of maybe be in the same position.
Because somebody had a day off; somebody didn't; somebody finished late; somebody didn't. You can never have a perfect situation, but I think can be adjusted in everybody's favor.
Q. The courts here are fairly slow as far as hard courts go. The one other time Maria beat you this year was on a clay court. You beat her a lot on faster courts. How much of your matchup, whichever way it goes, do you think is dependant on court speed?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I mean, it felt like my body didn't allow me to play my game a little bit, but also Maria played really well. She really stepped it up.
But I felt like some of my shots maybe didn't work as well as they did on some faster courts. It's about adaptation and looking back in a little bit and try to learn few things on if I play again on something like that what can I do differently.
Q. If I may ask, who do you think will win tomorrow?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Honestly, I don't know. In the finals anything can happen. It just depends on who probably is fresher physically.
But I don't know. By the record, Maria is not holding a great one like I do either. Maybe she wants to change it real bad.
THE MODERATOR: Last few questions.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Come on. We have time. I'm not rushing anywhere. Ask me anything:
Q. I'm sorry about my English level. In the last five, six years, we saw some young girl became No. 1 in WTA standings but they were not able to protect their place and they become average players. So this reality makes you afraid, and how do you think you can protect the place where you are now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I have to work really hard, that's for sure. Honestly, I'm not thinking about the ranking too much‑ ever.
I'm thinking about improving my game all the time and winning matches. That's what automatically brings the ranking up.
The first is for me to make sure that I'm really enjoying my work and doing it well. After that, we'll see. I mean, results is something that is not really in your hands. What's in your hands is the work you can put in, the things you can create, the opportunities, everything you can create.
Result itself, you know, it kind of doesn't depend on you‑ as well as rankings.
Q. Just want to check out with you, is there a plan that you want to listen to some live concerts on your holiday?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, yeah, in the Facebook you saw today; is that what you're asking?
Q. You can tell?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, no, no. I was asking because we put on my Facebook today, we were talking about the concerts and that's why I ask.
Well, the one concert I would love to see I will not be able to see is Michael Jackson's concert. I heard Prince is touring maybe. (Smiling.)
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. Maybe you can tell me. Maybe in China. I'll come to China. (Laughter.)
I would love to see Lenny Kravitz. He's also one of my favorite musicians. I heard Rihanna is going back on tour soon.
Not in maybe this period of time, but soon.
Q. Sticking with the music theme, Red Foo said he invited you to the studio and that you laid down some tracks with him. Have you heard any of the songs that you're on?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: (Laughter.)
Q. We've lost her.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, when you're going to hear the song that... (laughter.)
When you're going to hear the song featuring my voice you're going to laugh really hard, too. So I would love to keep it as a surprise. (Laughter.)
Q. He said your grunt was on it.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: There you go. It's becoming more and more famous.
Oct 30th, 2012, 06:59 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
There's interview with Vika on Russian, so I translated it with some help from Google translate. Sorry for my BAD English, but I've tried
Victoria Azarenka: "The most important match of the tournament – is not always the final match"
First ever tennis queen of the year, earning a season over seven million dollars prize money and also speaking Russian, told the "SE" the reasons of her spectacular rise and plans for the near future, and in addition, expressed the hope that someday she’ll play doubles with one of the Russians again.
This conversation took place on Saturday, a half hour after the semi-final WTA Championships, where Victoria Azarenka lost the first time since April to Maria Sharapova. Nevertheless, in the eyes of the world #1 fire of happiness was burning so bright, that if you want, you could see the glow of it, perhaps, even from Minsk, located one and a half thousand kilometers from Istanbul.
- Victoria, do you remember all of 79 matches you played between January and October? All 69 victories, including six - in the finals, and ten defeats?
- Of course. And not only these matches, and in general, all my matches, since the juniors. Although, of course, some details will be erased.
- And what are the most important?
- It pretty hard to say. Often happens that the most important match of the tournament is not final or semi-final, but the other, at an earlier stage, which is the most difficult to pass. I don’t know about the other players, but for me the best effect has the matches, which I able to win without showing the best game. They temper character. After them I feel more confident and even more eager to win.
- At the end of the last season it was obvious that you improved a lot. Admit, just twelve months ago, after losing in final to Petra Kvitova here in Istanbul, could you imagine that a year later you would be the first in the world?
- I dream about it from the very beginning of my career. Just lately, I probably have more faith in myself. Plus helped a good training in the previous offseason.
- Is it possible to say that you felt the real champion confident after winning the Australian Open?
- Many people think that way, because I won there. But in fact, these things come first with training. In matches you simply show what you have learned there - that's all.
- Can you compare your emotions after winning the Australian Open and now, when you finally managed to secure the first place in the end of the season?
- The feelings is very different, although both of these goals - winning the Grand Slam tournament and be the number one in the world - I wanted most in tennis. I can’t rise above the first place in rankings, but I have won not all Grand Slam tournaments and this slightly change my approach to the solution of the following tasks.
- Vera Zvonareva still speaks with great warmth about your current coach Sam Sumyk and seems to regret that parting with him before the 2010 season. What a merit Sumyk has in your current success?
- His role cannot be overstated. Sam for me not only the best coach, but also a mentor in every sense of the word, a man who knows how to listen and give advice in difficult times. We are very different people, but complement each other well. And we have one goal.
- Zvonareva appreciates Symik’s human qualities very highly. What the difference between him and other tennis coaches?
- Working with Sam, I changed not only as a player, but as a person. He helped me find myself. It’s difficult to characterize him in a few words. Perhaps the most valuable trait of Sam’s character is that he always tells the truth, no matter how unpleasant it may be. Incidentally, I also has this feature, and I will not hide, sometimes it does not only work, but also a hindrance.
- But otherwise, you are different?
- Of course. I'm emotional, and Sam much more calm person. But he understands what it means to be 23-year-old girl with such capabilities, as I have. This is his wisdom.
- Do you feel how you grown up the past year and a half?
- Yes. Sometimes I think that I'm not 23 years, but 35 (smiling). You see, tennis life makes to grow much faster than you want. People who do not know me very well, sometimes simply do not believe that I'm actually still so young.
- What rest awaits the queen of tennis after such a successful season?
- First, I'll fly home. My mom and dad came here in Istanbul, but I really want to see my grandmother. And, of course, I want to sleep at home, in my bed (laughs). And then I’ll make decision, where to go to relax.
- And how long will last your vacation?
- Three weeks.
- How much will change your preparation to the next season compared to last year?
- Sam and I will take all the positive things that I achieved this year, and will try to add something new. The most important thing in our job - not to stand still, but to move forward. But globally in my preparation hardly anything will change. I think that at such a high level, all now depends on the details.
- You will be preparing in Monte-Carlo, as a year ago?
- That's what we have not decided yet.
- Last year you played a lot in doubles with Maria Kirilenko, but this had only one tournament - at Indian Wells, and it took off in the second round. When you decided to concentrate on singles?
- At the end of the previous season. We played very well with Masha almost all year, but physically I was not always ready. And we have been had to refuse from our matches. In these situations, I felt very uncomfortable, because I knew: Maria want to play this tournament. So I decided to focus on singles, so I won’t fail no one else.
- Is there any chance to see you again in doubles - for example, with Kirilenko?
- Of course. Maria was my best partner, somehow we surprisingly quick achieved a teamwork. And if once again I will play doubles, I hope, I will make it with her.
Nov 20th, 2012, 01:38 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: In The Lost Woods
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka joins top women tennis stars at Brisbane International
VICTORIA Azarenka will begin her campaign to defend her Australian Open title in the city where her meteoric rise up the world rankings began - Brisbane.
Azarenka, the world No.1, headlines a stunning array of tennis stars bound for the 2013 Brisbane International, which has attracted eight of the world's top 10 women.
Tournament organisers could hardly have dreamed of a stronger field.
Azarenka will this morning be announced alongside Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams and local hero Samantha Stosur in the field for the event starting at the Queensland Tennis Centre on December 30.
With the women's prizemoney soaring from $655,000 in 2012 to $1 million, the Belarussian had plenty of reasons to head for Brisbane.
But the magnetism of an event that provided her maiden WTA singles success to launch her towards the world's top 10 also was a factor.
"I am really looking forward to returning to Brisbane. The city is beautiful, the venue is first class and I thoroughly enjoyed playing there in 2009 when I won the inaugural title," Azarenka, 23, said.
"I am excited to start my 2013 campaign in Brisbane. I know I will get some tough matches against the world's best there, which is perfect preparation leading into the Australian Open."
She will face the most talented women's field in the tournament's five-year history, with China's Li Na and Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska the only top 10 players not bound for Queensland in the first week of January.
For Azarenka, the assembly of stars sets up the possibility of a mouth-watering showdown with Australian Open runner-up Sharapova, or a duel with Williams, who downed her in their US Open final and a Wimbledon semi-final.
The addition of Germany's world No.5 Angelique Kerber, Italian Sara Errani (No.6), 2011 Brisbane champion Petra Kvitova (No.8), Stosur (No.9) and former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki (No.10) rounds out the dazzling list of likely seeds.
Tournament director Cameron Pearson said the three-way battle between the world's top three players could set the stage for the season.
The men's field is headed so far by Scotland's US Open champion Andy Murray and Australian Lleyton Hewitt.
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