V. AZARENKA/M. Sharapova
Q. What's the overriding emotion at the moment? You have the No. 1 ranking and you've won your first Grand Slam. Which one is more exciting?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, emotions is ‑‑ I don't know. I kind of have different emotions right now. Right after the win I couldn't understand what's happening, you know, and I could not believe the tournament is over because it's been so long, this road since Sydney.
I didn't have one day off, so it kind of kept going kept going and right now it still hasn't hit me that it's over and I won this. I keep enjoying it.
Q. You mentioned your family and the importance they've played and your grandma. Have you had a chance to speak to them yet and what have they said?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I got messages. The calls don't go through a little bit. I think there is reception and there is some Chinese lady keeps talking something to me when I call. So I'm definitely not getting the right place.
Q. What do you think will be the first thing that you say to them when you do get to speak to them?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: The first thing, that I love them so much, and thank you for their support. Because, I mean, without them I wouldn't be sitting here. I wouldn't be celebrating.
Yeah, I owe them everything.
Q. Do you think you played the perfect match today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: If I played the perfect match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't think so. Just the perfect ending and the perfect position to be in.
You know, today I didn't think of going to the match that I have to play perfect. I just have to play better than my opponent, you know.
First two games was a little bit of a disaster, but then I kinda got the momentum going. I relaxed and I start to be focusing on the moment on each point, you know, trying to do whatever it takes to win that point.
Q. A lot of women go into their first slam and get really nervous. Safina did it, Natasha Zvereva, who you know from Belarus got super nervous in hers. Why not you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: What, do you think I didn't get nervous?
Q. No, super nervous to the point where they couldn't really play.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I was super nervous. I couldn't wait to actually go on the court and play. It was a long wait, you know. I was like, Okay, I'm ready to go. I'm ready to go. When is it coming? When is it coming? What time is it?
So I was. I just think I really handled well the situation after that little slack in the beginning. You know, she really started aggressive. It kind of keep me a little bit off guard, because I tried to be aggressive myself and it didn't really work. I missed few shots.
But I'm glad I could stay humble and just take it one at a time. Just keep fighting, keep fighting, and changing the momentum.
Q. At match point in the semis you said your arm weighed like 200 kilos. In what way did that match against Kim help you today for your confidence?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, it was a huge win over Kim, you know, not only because it was a semifinal. It was just beating that great champion, you know, defending champion here.
So it really helped me a lot the self‑belief, you know. You have to go through the tough matches to win the titles. It's always gonna happen. You cannot play perfect all the time.
So for me, it was a huge moment, you know. Great learning experience. Today was another learning experience for me because I have never been in that position, never been in that situation.
It was exciting to see how, for myself, how I could adjust. And I did pretty well.
Q. You mentioned that self‑belief. What will that do now for the year ahead and the possibility of more Grand Slams?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I really have to, you know, keep going the same way as I had my mentality, one at a time, you know. It's gonna be a long year. It's gonna be a lot of matches. I just want to keep improving.
You know, there is no ‑‑ I feel like there is no limit, really, that if I can try my best every day, I can reach a little bit, by little, by little. That's what my mentality, how I have been working hard.
So it's just gonna have to stay the same.
Q. Are you surprised at all how well you played, losing only three games in your first Grand Slam final?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, surprised and not surprised. I mean, I worked really hard and I have been playing pretty well.
It's just the way ‑‑ the score doesn't really tell the story sometimes. It was I think really a lot of tough battles in the first set. I just really played well at the important moments, you know.
So, I mean, surprised? Yes and no.
Q. Can you go back to 2009 when you changed from Antonio to Sam, you know, which was obviously a big moment for you? You had ended that year at No. 7, which isn't a terrible ranking. You made the change anyway. Now it took almost two years to get the Grand Slam title. Just maybe talk about that and how your relationship with Sam has evolved.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, it was a big change after Antonio, you know. Sam is completely different coach with completely different approach and mentality.
I had really great partnership with Antonio, too. We achieved a lot of things. Sam, I feel like he was not pushing me, but guiding me towards that mental approach, you know, to that winning attitude.
He helped me to find my way, not pushing his way or something. So I think I owe him a lot for that, you know, for educating me. I think it's important, especially for the young players, to have that education. That you have to learn how to do it yourself, because in the end of the day you're the one who's holding the racquet. Nobody else is going to do that for you.
Q. What does that mean for you to now be the No. 1 player in the world?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, it's a dream come true, you know. I have been dreaming and working so hard to win the Grand Slam, and being No. 1 is pretty good bonus, you know, for that.
Q. Petra winning Wimbledon and you winning here, is this a changing of the guard for women's tennis, do you think?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it's a great thing for women's tennis. We have good rivalry, I would say, you know. With Petra we had amazing matches.
Unfortunately I haven't beat her, but I'm really looking forward to that. But with Maria playing really well now, you know, Serena is back, Kim, I think it's great for the women's tennis.
With Li Na winning the Grand Slam, Sam Stosur winning Grand Slam, I think it's a great competition, and we can really look forward for women's game. It's at a great level right now.
Q. Changing of the racquet might be one of the most difficult decision for a professional player.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Changing what, sorry?
Q. The racquet. You made that decision, and here is what happened. Did you have any difficulty to adjust to the new racquet?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Actually, you know, I changed my racquet two weeks before the first tournament, so it took me a while to try. You know, we worked really hard with Wilson to adjust a little bit. It took me about four tries.
But I like it, you know. I think it brings a great power to my game, you know. I feel more control. I mean, there's no magic in the racquet. I mean, really, but I don't know.
I picked it up. I tried it. I liked it. And I just, you know, didn't overthink it, because there's no point to overthink. You play, you like it, you keep going.
Q. What was the meaning behind the writing on your coach's T‑shirt? Did you get to find out?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I got to find out. It's his first coach's name. I think it's really cool idea, you know.
I would like to say thank you to my first coach who actually taught me that passion of the game and that love of the game. You know, I owe so much to her.
Q. Do you think this victory will rise the profile of tennis in your country?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I hope so. I mean, definitely a lot of inspiration, I hope, for the kids. That's what's most important for me, that they can believe in themself and try to work hard, you know, to achieve their dreams in the sport.
Tennis is pretty big already in Belarus and we have so many great facilities. I just hope we get more players, because the junior level is a little bit of a struggle right now.
Q. Do you feel like this came quickly or do you feel like it took a long time?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Um, you know, it took a lot of hard work. I don't want to look at that way, how long it took me to come. It's here, you know. I'm trying to live the moment.
As I mentioned before, it took me step by step, you know. Took me a little while to go through a few hurdles, like loss in the semifinal, which was great experience; a few losses in the quarterfinals, you know.
Obviously the big one when I was up against Serena here and I lost, but I'm just taking it as a great experience, a great journey that I pass through, and I just want to keep going that way.
Q. You weren't always comfortable in the public spotlight. You have talked about that before. Now it seems like you've always loved it. Can you talk about that, too, kind of your transition from being a shy, sort of mistrustful person to now when you sort of seem to be embracing it now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I think with my team, my agent, it really helped me to just open up a little bit.
Because people ‑‑ some people judge you by how you are on the court. Some people judge you by a certain thing you do, which obviously can be a mistake sometimes.
I'm a different person when I'm off the court, you know. It just helped me to figure out that it's important to open up, to be yourself, you know. That's the most important thing, to be yourself.
You don't try to pretend that you are somebody who you're not. I'm always looking for that, to be honest, to know what I feel, because there is no point to really hide that.
If you're open, if you can admit your feelings, you can admit what you've done wrong, what you did right, it's easier to move on.
So I'm really glad that I could open up, you know. Really trying to show my personality for people to get to know me better.
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