DOHA, Qatar - Victoria Azarenka and Samantha Stosur were the last two players standing at the Qatar Total Open in Doha last week, the first leg of the two-week Middle Eastern swing that has brought everyone to Dubai this week. After the final, which Azarenka won, the two met the press as usual, but this time some of the questions dug deeper than usual, revealing another side to the players and their unique mentalities on the sport. Here's a taste...
"I think confidence is very overrated. It's something invisible, right? Something you cannot explain. Every time you step on the court, you try to find a way to beat your opponent. One word, 'confidence', is not going to help you. You have to go through the tough moments, the pain, the ache, the nerves... you have to go through all of that. You just have to accept you're a normal human being and you're going to go through all of that. Just one word, 'confidence', I don't know."
On the expectations in Australia...
"Up until last year I was seeded quite highly in Australia and whatever else, but this year was obviously different. Before this year I wasn't really expected to go out and have really fantastic tournaments according to my ranking. I thought I had handled that situation quite well up until this year, really.
"I was surprised that it kind of crippled me the way it did this year, because I thought I had it under control and all the experience from previous years I thought would come into effect, and for whatever reason it didn't. I didn't play well, I didn't handle it, and you move on. As soon as I'm playing in another country, I'm playing well again. It's just one of those things. It is difficult to play a home Grand Slam. I love it and wouldn't change it for anything, but of course it just makes you want to do better and better while you're there.
"I'd like to think next year is going to be a lot better. It can't get much worse. I'm always trying to work through different things and different scenarios. But I'm not really worried about playing in Australia right now - I have 10 more months to play this year, then I will figure out what I need to then."
Azarenka and Stosur were the standout players in Doha, Azarenka going all the way to the title losing just 18 games in five matches and Stosur losing just one set en route to her biggest final since winning the US Open. They are ranked No.1 and No.5 in the world, respectively, on this week's WTA Rankings.