There were no excuses. That is not Victoria Azarenka's way.
This has been an injury-impacted season -- and on Tuesday she said she had food poisoning -- but Wednesday's 6-4, 6-2 loss to Ekaterina Makarova was, Azarenka said, because of how well Makarova is playing.
After reaching the final of the U.S. Open the last two years, losing to Serena Williams both times, Azarenka went out in the quarterfinals to a solid effort from Makarova. It was disappointing but hardly deflating for Azarenka, who bristles at questions of how a loss impacts her psyche.
"How do you think somebody will answer a question like that?" Azarenka said. "Of course it is disappointing. It's not about that you have been in the final that's going to make it better. It just is what it is today. It's not the end of the world. It's something I can take positive from this tournament. Two months ago I didn't even think I was going to be able to play today. But trying to ask and put some kind of pressure like that with those questions, I think there is no point."
And there was no way she was going to blame the food poisoning.
"I'm not going to make excuses for myself," she said in her typically direct way. "You can ask me 20 times the same question. I'm not going to make any excuses. I did the best I could today. I want to give full credit to my opponent. She deserves to win. She played better than me today. That's it."
Even if her body has yet to return to full strength, her resolve is unbowed.
"Can I play better? Absolutely," Azarenka said. "Will I doubt I can play at a high level? No chance. Nobody will tell me what I can do and can't do."