Victoria Azarenka: A Strong Contender at the Australian Open

No matter how she arrives at the tournament, Victoria Azarenka is always a strong contender at the Australian Open. At 34 years old, the Belarusian beat Ostapenko this morning and once again sets foot in the round of 16 of the individual draw.

Champion in 2012 and 2013. Semifinalist in 2023. Quarterfinalist in 2010, 2014 and 2016. We did not need more evidence to explain the special bond that exists between Victoria Azarenka and the Open the Australia, although the Belarusian insists on reminding us. At the beginning of a new season for the veteran player, Vika has returned to the second week of competition, remembering her best times at Melbourne Park. After beating Jelena Ostapenko, she is now waiting for Dayana Yastremska.

“It wasn’t an easy round, that’s for sure, Jelena is a great player, always dangerous. She is a great Grand Slam champion, I knew she was in good shape, we played a couple of weeks ago in Brisbane and it was a very tough battle. I knew that she had to start the match very strong, try to put all the pressure on her to not let her dictate and I think I did it very well. Then she was able to take a step forward in the second set, but I felt like she still had my chances. The only thing I needed was to convert those chances, so I am happy to finish in two rounds,” said the one from Minsk after beating the Latvian for the fourth time.

Azarenka’s history is full of great results, great titles and multiple rivalries. She was, for a time, one of the few players capable of stopping the best version of Serena Williams, capable of storming the world No. 1 and making everyone fall in love with her burning charisma. But everything changed when she became a mother, had Leo and faced some problems that almost kept her from professional sports. Fortunately, Vida’s character was above any adversity that her destiny had in store for her.

“Some days you feel differently, other days you look low on energy, other days you look too excited or too anxious. True understanding comes when you understand what you need at each moment, accept the moment and see what tools you have to handle each situation,” the Belarusian reveals about the experience she has been gaining. “Over the years you understand yourself, your triggers, the things that make you feel better and worse. I wouldn’t call it dominance, but it is essential to control yourself. Everyone has their tendencies, a different story, that’s why I don’t give advice to people. You have to really understand what each person is going through before trying to help them,” says the current #22 in the ranking.

On the box, Azarenka’s seniority prevents her from relaxing thinking about possible crosses. Will cross in the fourth round against Dayana Yastremska, a player as dangerous as any other. “Here every match is a battle, there is no bad player in the fourth round of a Grand Slam. If they are here it means they worked just as hard as everyone else, that’s why they deserve to be here. Right now the level of tennis is very competitive, we have a deep closet of players who can beat anyone on any given day. I think that’s what makes them more dangerous, although consistency can sometimes be on or off. You never know what kind of opponent you will have that day, but in a Grand Slam there are never easy matches. The evidence that there are so many seeds eliminated is that the quality and level of other players are really high,” says the two-time Australian champion.

A LEVEL TO EXPLORE

As a curiosity, they proposed to Azarenka a small game at a press conference, to compare herself to her self from ten years ago, when she was fighting from the front line for the Grand Slam and to rule the classification. “I don’t compare myself at all, that’s what people from outside are already there for. First of all, I wouldn’t want to go back ten years, basically because there is no way to do it. I love who I am, I worked very hard to overcome certain moments in my life and mature. Going through difficult experiences made me learn from them, gaining wisdom that is impossible to have at 22-23 years old,” recalls the Belarusian, a professional since 2006.

For Victoria, above any record that can be compared, especially those related to numbers, there are sensations, progression and maturity as people. Terms that she has attached to a speech that is worth listening to. “Sometimes they showed me videos of myself from the past to compare the evolution of my game, but I admit that it is a bit embarrassing. What people usually compare is the results, but not the real evolution of the game. I only compare myself to who I was yesterday, that perspective helps me understand how I can improve, to maintain that desire and intention to learn. I feel like I am still growing, I am still reaching my full potential, the day this stops we will move on to something else,” she concludes with a smile.

2024-01-21 00:00:32
#bad #players #Grand #Slam

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