Here’s the complete interview transcript of the Victoria Azarenka Interview which took place after she lost the US Open 2013 Championship final match to Serena Williams. This was a rematch of their US Open final last year which means that they won’t be losing/gaining any ranking points. Source (US Open)
Q. How would you describe your determination and Serena’s determination once that match got going today?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I think it was raising, you know, from the first point the tension, the battle, the determination, it was raising really, you know, kind of like boiling the water or something. It felt from every point, you know, it was rising the level, and, yeah, it was a great match.
Q. As it went on, how much did you feel that tension?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, you always feel it, you know, because you’re in that moment. So you just try to stay tough and try to resist for whatever it takes.
Q. That second set obviously was just an amazing comeback on your part.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Thank you.
Q. Talk about the emotions having completed, you know, and finished that set. But then going into the third set, was there a bit of almost a letdown emotionally?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, there was no letdown. I think it was the moment in the third set that the momentum changed a little bit, and I kind of felt like I lost that momentum. But it wouldn’t happen because Serena didn’t do something. It didn’t happen just because I was, you know, out of focus or something. She really made it happen. In that particular moment she was tougher today. She was more consistent, and, you know, she deserved to win. I wish I could do something better today. You know, I felt like I had opportunities in the first set, as well. But, I mean, it’s okay. It goes that way. I did everything I could. The game overall, there are things could have been better. But, you know, I gave my heart. I fought as hard as I could. So that’s what, you know, is important for me, that, you know, I lost to a great champion, but I still gonna have my head up.
Q. I will ask you about the wind. It seemed to be a major factor, especially for her. She seemed to be mistiming a lot of balls. You seemed to be able to keep finding corners a lot even after it was fairly gusty out there. Was that just about footwork, and how much do you think that helped for your end, maybe an advantage for you maybe?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, the wind, you know, is something that is absolutely out of your control. It wasn’t pleasant. It, you know, sometimes maybe played some factor on some points. But overall, I mean, you just have to forget about that. It’s not the wind. It’s not the sun. It’s about the match. You know, it’s about the ball. You try to do whatever it takes to win the point with whatever circumstances you’ve got to go through. But, yeah, it wasn’t pleasant. It wasn’t nice. Skirts were always, you know, lifting up. You had to pull it down all the time. But these are conditions you have to play in.
Q. You had fun talking about your X Factor in a joking way the other day. On a serious note, what is Serena Williams’ X Factor? Can you put into words what makes her so special as a champion?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, there’s one word. She’s a champion, and she knows how to repeat that. She knows what it takes to get there. I know that feeling, too. And when two people who want that feeling so bad meet, it’s like a clash. That’s what happens out there, those battles. And in the important moments is who is more brave, who is more consistent, or who takes more risk. And with somebody like Serena you got to take risk. You can never play safe, because she will do that. She did that today really well.
Q. Did you sense that in the early third of that final set Serena was taking a lot of pace off the ball, making you generate all the pace?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. I think she changes up sometimes. Sometimes she really goes for it; sometimes she finds great depth; sometimes she finds good angles. So her variety is really good, you know, as well as mine. Sometimes, you know, I also try to redirect balls. I think she was, you know, being a little bit more consistent. As I said, in the important moments she really took her chance. Sometimes I was maybe not or a little bit too rushed or, you know, playing safe.
Q. You have beaten her in big matches on tour. Haven’t beaten her in a slam yet. Do you sense a big difference when her when you play her, and what do you think it will take from you to make that next step in a slam against her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don’t think there was much of a difference, you know, today or maybe Cincinnati. I think the quality of the game and the quality of determination was the same. You know, we have opposite results, but I think overall the match from last year is something; this match is a different story. It showed a different maybe not Serena, but it showed a different me as a player today. And I felt that way. So I think that, you know, it’s important to just try to go for those chances. I can’t wait for the next chance.
Q. Looks like from the side that this one hurts worse than the one last year. Is it really tougher to take this loss compared to last one?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It’s different. It’s different, and I will not think of how tough is this loss gonna reflect on me. I’m just gonna take the best out of what happened today, because there are a lot of positive things. What’s negative is the result. But to take overall, you know, to see how much you rise to the occasion compared to the other matches, I think it’s pretty remarkable. And the challenge that is in front of me is only gonna make me more motivated. I think, you know, we showed today that, you know, woman’s game is really, really competitive.
Q. You handled Serena’s serve pretty well for the most part all day. Were you happy with your own serve? Do you think the wind affected it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Didn’t help. Didn’t help, for sure. You can always pinpoint what could have been better. I’m just trying to look overall. And, yes, I’m going to try to improve that particular aspect, because the gap between Serena’s serve and my serve is pretty big. But I don’t want to compare that because, you know, I think she has the best serve of all time, definitely. I’m just trying to find the way to raise my level on that.
Q. Do you think that it was the serve that actually made the difference today? It was a pretty close match. It wasn’t a big difference. Do you think that was the key?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. Nope.
Q. When you think about Serena being close to 32 years old, having 17 majors, and the Open era record being Graf’s 22, what are your thoughts on what her chances are to get that far, given that players like you and Maria and others are still competing against her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, it’s not something I’m really thinking about, to be honest (smiling). But I think it’s incredible what she’s achieving. She’s playing definitely her best tennis right now. It really shows how focused and how composed and how much she can raise the level. That’s just really exciting for me, you know, to be able to compete against that type of player who can be the greatest of all time, and I’m playing against that person in the finals of the Grand Slam. So that’s really, really exciting.
Q. Were you conscious, when you lost the first set just six straight points from Serena, did you think at all about last year’s match? Was there any sort of flashback?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, not at all.
Q. In the future, do you think you’ll see this as a tremendous opportunity lost, so close to our greatest championship in this country, or somehow do you think it will be a steppingstone? Can you talk about that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I will always take the best out of that, because you cannot sit and say, Oh, my God, you know, this is the worst thing that could have happened to me, because it’s not. It hurts really bad. I’m not gonna lie. It hurts bad. But to just take the most positive out of that and, you know, see that light in the tunnel, as you can say, is good. I can see a lot of positive things from that. So I’m just gonna go back out and work my ass off, you know, to go and fight hard again, to put myself in this opportunity again.
Q. Obviously the match stayed very, very tight; always within a couple of games within each other until the third. Just wondered what allowed her to get the distance from you as the third set wore on?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think the third set, even though the score was 6-1, was much closer. I had a lot of opportunities that I didn’t convert. She took those opportunities really well. So that’s more of the story that I feel happened. Not that, you know, that big gap of the 6-1. Even in the last game, you know, last couple of games I had break points and stuff. Yeah, just, you know, looking back, I’ll just really taking good notes. There is no other way than going out there and working hard again, you know, to practice and keep going again.
Q. You said the other day that Serena pushes you to play your very best tennis. It was certainly on display out there tonight. Serena was talking about you a couple days ago after her match, and she said that she’s watched you play, you know, other players, and that she feels that when you play her it’s like a different player at a different level. Do you agree with that? Do you also then look at playing Serena as an opportunity to take your game to another level that maybe other players don’t push you to?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, to be honest, I watch her play too and it goes vice versa, because you know, some matches she wins 7-5 in the third, and then when we play in the Olympics and the score is 1 and 2, you know, it’s a little bit different. But overall I think it is true. I think when you have a bigger challenge in front of you in anything in life or, you know, in any practice, you try to be better. So, you know, as I mentioned before, she’s my biggest challenge. Every time I play I need to, you know, raise that level, because in some matches, even though you’re not playing your best but you find a way, you know, to work through it and, you know, win ugly sometimes. But with her you have to, you know, rise to the occasion. I always will look in the opportunity to play against the best player and test myself and go for that challenge and, you know, fight hard. After that, as I’m going to do today or tonight or in two days or whatever, I’m going to reassess on what other things I want to improve. I already have a pretty clear image.
Q. You mentioned that you’re eager to get right back out there, but what are you going to do for the next five to ten days?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I’m actually going to the practice court right now (smiling).
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, no, no. Tonight is easy. And for next couple of days I can’t wait to go back to Belarus and see my family and just, you know, kind of relax a little bit, take a couple of days, and then right back at it.
Q. Who is going to win the men’s final?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Who’s gonna win? I don’t know. Who I want to win? You know, Rafa convinced me, you know, to vote to just, you know, how do you say? Support him. Support him (laughter). Okay.
Q. How did he convince you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: How? He was practicing with his shirt off (laughter). (Applause.)