Immediately after the 6-1 6-4 victory on Thursday, Azarenka said she was struggling to breathe when she called for the trainer at 5-4 after blowing five match points.
She revealed afterwards the issue had been caused by a blocked rib, prompting the medical staff to insist on the timeout, which lasted for 10 minutes.
The Belarussian returned to the court to break the American teenager's serve and book a berth in the final against China's Li Na.
Azarenka was heavily criticised by several former players, with American Brad Gilbert accusing her of gamesmanship.
"I would never do something towards the other players, especially someone like Sloane," Azarenka told reporters on Friday.
"I've known her since she was 16 years old, we've practised a couple of times together and I admire her and really like her as a girl.
"I would never do something bad intentionally.
"The timing was unfortunate.
"When I felt the pain I thought I could continue, but it just got the point where I couldn't.
"Unfortunately that was the thing that I had to do.
"It was my mistake and I can really say I'm sorry for that."
In hindsight, Azarenka said she should have called for medical help at 4-2 when she first started feeling pain in the rib, rather than trying to play on.
"At 5-3 I just couldn't breathe, I couldn't get my timing right," she said.
"I didn't know what was going on.
"So the nerves I was talking about, which is what was misunderstood, I'd never felt that way in my life and I didn't understand what was going on.
"... I just couldn't fully breathe and it was hurting every time I breathed and that's what really freaked me out."
Azarenka still felt a bit sore when she woke up on Friday morning but was confident there would be no recurrence of the rib injury in Saturday's final.
And she was hopeful there would not be any backlash against her from the Rod Laver Arena crowd.
"I'm there to play tennis, like I always do," she said.
"I can't control what people are going to do.
"What I can control is try to be myself."