PRESS CONFERENCE: Victoria Azarenka (d. Giorgi) 1R

Tuesday, Aug 6

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
V. AZARENKA/C. Giorgi
6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Considering how we all know Camila can be so dangerous and how you had your match at Eastbourne against her in the past, how satisfied are you to get the win in just the 2-and-2 fashion and how you served in this match today?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, she’s a very dangerous opponent, as I said, and today wasn’t any different. I felt that it was important to keep pressure. And if you don’t put pressure, she blasts winners. But with that pressure, it’s a little bit more difficult.

I felt that I did serve really well and returned well. So my first two shots were doing a lot of damage, and I think that was a big difference from the matches before.

But the Eastbourne match was so long ago, I don’t really remember. For me, it was important today to really play one point at a time because, against players like this, that’s what is important. And I think I’ve done that quite well.

Q. Just how quickly were you able to get over the Wimbledon loss and move on towards the hard court season? What has the preparation been like for you?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: It’s been really, actually, quite challenging couple weeks for me. I felt that I’ve done a lot of preparation, but I also didn’t give myself any rest at all. So it kind of showed a lot in San Jose that was struggling a little bit with being as motiv — not as motivated, but physically as ready and as alert.

So I’m just trying to stay in the moment right now. I think, you know, in the later part of the year, expecting a lot more results, so there’s a lot more pressure.

So for me it’s important to try to play one match at a time, one point at a time, and to learn a little bit more that, you know, things are a little different for me now.

Q. It’s your first time back in Toronto in a few years. What’s brought you back to Toronto and how are you feeling coming into the tournament?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, it’s a great tournament. I’m always loved playing here and the city is cool. You know, it’s still popping after the championship is won. So the city is amazing.

I love playing in Canada. I feel that Canadian people are so — such big, like, sports fans and really appreciate. This is one of the tournaments where you see full crowds at the qualifying, which is amazing, which is what we want to play, in front of big crowds and people who enjoy sports.

So happy to be here and hope I can stay as long as possible. But this tournament always has really strong fields. And it’s a great way to get, you know, those matches that you want, those clutch matches against top players that you’re going to face in the majors after.

Q. And a belated happy birthday to you.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Thank you.

Q. Still turning the 2-0, I’ll say, because you still maintain a great youth and vigor.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, thank you.

Q. In terms of being like a big sister figure to players like Ashleigh Barty and Zheng Saisai, just your thoughts on their growth from what you have seen and playing doubles and winning in doubles with them throughout this year.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Sorry. You said Ashleigh and who else did you mention?

Q. And Zheng Saisai.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, yeah. I’m very happy for Saisai. She played amazing this week. Actually my friend, when she was playing first round, said Saisai is on fire and then she won the tournament. So it was really cool to see. I’m very proud of her.

And I got to know a player like Saisai playing doubles with her that I didn’t really know personally. So it was an amazing opportunity for me. I found a new friend. And with Ashleigh, I’m very proud of all of her achievements. She’s an incredible role model for our sport and young kids. She’s super humble and an amazing human. We have a lot of fun on the court. She also helped me a lot to have fun on the court. I go through some difficult times. So she’s been very helpful to me.

I also learn a lot from her, and she’s a very different player. She’s hilarious. I had no idea how funny she is until I started playing doubles with her.

Q. Where do you find the balance to play singles and doubles? I feel like a lot of players kind of focus on one or the other. You seem to find success in both. What is the benefit to you playing both as a player?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, when I was younger, I played a lot of doubles. I feel that’s a great development to learn tactics and skill. And for younger players it would always be my suggestion to play in as many possible. At some point you do have to make some choices to be able to focus and achieve your goals.

It is quite difficult to play in and out, you know, in a Grand Slam for two weeks, so sometimes you do need to think about some sacrifices.

At the moment, doubles is a huge help for me getting the match experience. You can’t recreate that in practice. So that’s been really helpful with extra practice to be in the pressure moments, to try to make the right decisions in the clutch moments.

So right now it’s been really helpful. I’m not sure I’m going to play for all the time, but at the moment it’s really helpful. And I believe that doubles I think is really fun to watch, as well, especially when you come to the courts, not on TV as much, because you, don’t I guess, see all the — have all the experience.

But I feel that every time we play, we have a full crowd and people really enjoy our matches.

Q. This year the average age of the title winners on the WTA tour is the lowest since 2008, which was the season that you and Caroline and Aga and Petra, like that whole crew, started winning titles as teenagers. Can you put yourself back to what that was like, that season, to have so many young players coming through? Did you kind of feel like it was the start of something, you know, like this block of players kind of moving up?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I felt at the time that we were coming up there weren’t as many players that were coming through. It was, I would say, maybe five six players that were really, like, making that step forward. And there was a lot of players at that time who, like, Kim and Justine who were really, really consistent.

And the game, I felt, at that moment when obviously Serena and Venus came on the tour, the game kind of changed. And I felt that when we came on the tour, the tour started to shift a little more in terms of physicality.

So I feel this is just another splurge of taking that physicality to the next level. The younger girls are more powerful. When I look at myself when I was 15 and I look at Coco Gauff when she’s 15 is about 28 years difference the way we look.

But I feel that this is really what’s happening is that, you know, new wave of physicality is going to continue to change the game a little bit.