Azarenka dropped her racket to the ground and, after shaking hands with Li and the umpire Alison Lang, went tearfully to her players' box where she was embraced by her support staff and friends who included American musician Redfoo.
"I think there was ... everything. Emotion, relief, joy. You never know how you're going to react," she told the host broadcaster Channel Seven. "It comes from the bottom of the heart.
"It has been a really tough couple of weeks. It has been emotional," she added of the criticism she was subjected to after she took an injury time out in her semi-final against Sloane Stephens.
"Unfortunately you have to go through rough patches to achieve great things that is why this makes it so special for me to go through that.
"And fortunately I'm able to kiss that beautiful trophy."
In Image: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus holds her trophy after winning the women's final against China's Li Na