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Yesterday 06:46 PM
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

The latest Fed Cup news:

So, no matches for Vika in this weekend, and Nika Shytkouskaya (born on 2nd February 1999) has replaced her in the Belarus Fed Cup Team.
Jan 28th, 2016 12:20 PM
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Canada is a more sympathetic country but Vika is my fave, who to cheer for?
Jan 27th, 2016 07:00 PM
Break My Rapture
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Well since Bouchard isn't even playing, they might as well let Govortsova and Sasnovich play the first two singles matches. Vika can step in the next day if that goes wrong.
Jan 27th, 2016 04:43 PM
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Now, it's official, Vika will play for Belarus in Fed Cup.
Canada and Belarus meet in the opening round of World Group II on 6-7 February in Quebec City, Canada. This is the first meeting between the two nations.

Canada were relegated to World Group II after suffering defeats at the hands of future champions Czech Republic in the World Group first round and Romania in the world Group play-offs.

Belarus regained the World Group II place it lost in 2012 by gaining promotion from a tough Zone Group I. It won all four ties in the Zone Group before defeating Japan 3-2 in the World Group II play-offs.
As you may notice a certain Ms. Bouchard won't play in Canada Fed Cup team. Perhaps something to do with handshakes?
Jan 27th, 2016 05:37 AM
joshum That's exactly what I think. Mentally she wasn't ready and she didn't play her heart out. If she gave her best, she would have won. She didn't play it as her last match. Not determined enough to win. What a lost opportunity. Reality check she is not in top form mentally and physically yet
Jan 27th, 2016 04:13 AM
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka, QF, 27 January 2016

Angelique Kerber def Victoria Azarenka 6-3 7-5

Victoria Azarenka 27-01-16 - Australian Open Tennis Championships 2016 - Official Site by IBM

Q. How would you assess your performance today? It was a tough start. You came back into this match. Couldn't push it to a third set.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think I was a little bit too flat today. I obviously didn't start great. For me personally, it was a little bit 10% not enough of everything. My footwork didn't have enough. My shots didn't have enough. I felt I did a little bit too many unforced errors in the key moments. I created a lot of opportunities, but then I was not enough on my opportunities. I didn't take them. I had plenty. You know, that's not going to win matches in quarterfinals. You have to bring it, and I didn't.

Q. Do you think it was just a bad day at the office or do you think at some point stress came in the way?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Bad day at the office? Yeah. It wasn't great. But still I have to find the way to win. I did put myself in the situations to be able to turn the match around. I just didn't commit enough, and that's on me.

Q. What happened at 5-2, 40-Love for you? You were kind of in control.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I just answered that question.

Q. What do you feel she did differently compared to previous matches?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think she was aggressive. She served well. Especially in the key moments she served really well.But for me it's tough to judge because I think we know each other so well. Today I really feel that was on me. I didn't do enough with what I had today.

Q. Did you feel it at all before the match, that you weren't firing on all cylinders?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I felt fine. I was thinking about it right now, if there is something I could have done different, if there is something I've done wrong. I went through my routine. Mentally I didn't commit myself enough today. I didn't push myself into making a difference. I was too flat.

Q. Do you plan to play Fed Cup next weekend?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I didn't decide it yet.

Q. You worked a lot this winter. It was a great start of the season. Is this loss going to be easy to put away and go back to work, or do you think it's going to last a little bit, the disappointment?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, I'll be disappointed. I should be disappointed. That's fair enough to be disappointed after a match like this. But if it's going to carry on? No. It's going to be forgotten tomorrow. I have improved so much from last year. Taking this three weeks, you know, I have to keep working hard. There are things I still have to improve. It's very simple in my mind. But there is work has to be done.I'm in the right direction. I just need to keep going that way and work harder, be as professional as I am. I don't feel that I've done anything wrong in my preparation. It's just today I didn't push myself enough.

Q. You've improved a lot, you said. What has Wim brought to you over the last months that have made you, again, get better and better, be a contender?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think overall it's teamwork. It's not just one person. It's everybody bringing what they have on their side. Wim is very positive and very precise with what we do. He's very honest. I like that. I like to be reminded or set straightforward what things need to be improved. That aspect in our teamwork is great, communication.

Q. Do you think you will be able to shake this off as one bad day?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I just answered that.

Q. Going into the next part of the season overall coming out of Australia, how do you feel about you started?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I can't sit here and say, Oh, it's been great. After the loss, it's going to be tough. So I'm going to be disappointed today. I'm going to be pissed off. I'm going to let myself have that. But overall it's not going to affect me in any way because I know the work that I put through, it's paying off. I just need to do more. I need to keep going to be even more consistent. I've shown good signs. I've shown good quality, way more consistent, physically much better. I need to assess a little bit what I can improve and keep moving direction forward.

Q. You talked about improving aspects of your game. I'm sure you don't want to go into great detail. Can you suggest some areas where you think you can work?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Everything. Everything, you know. It's as simple as that. I want to be a better player overall. I want to be better physically. I want to play better. I want to be stronger. Every aspect of my game I have to work on. I have to work on my serve. I have to work on my returns. I have to be able to come in even more. Everything needs to be sharper still. That's the motivation behind it. I need to get better.

Q. Do you think it's only a matter of time that everything is going to come together and, for instance, at the next Grand Slam you'll reach the final?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I'm not hoping for anything. I'm going to put the effort and put the work in. The result, we're going to see what happens. Whatever I'm in control of doing, I'm going to do it.

Q. But your general feeling.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I don't know my general feeling what's going to happen French Open. How do I know?

Q. At the moment. Of course you're disappointed, but in the way you played in the last days and everything, that's what I meant.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think I've been playing pretty well overall, as I said. Three weeks of good tennis, you know, solid effort. I'm not going to take that away from me. But today was not the case. Actually, it is over already. Nothing I can do about it. All I can do is to move on.

Q. Angie is talking about how she has had to push herself to be more aggressive, especially in sort of high-octane situations. How tough is it not to go out there and say I want to do this, but to actually apply the aggressive, go-for-winners play?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, there's one thing of saying it and doing it. There's a difference. But I think she played well. She did go for her shots and I guess push herself through something that maybe she hasn't done before.

But from how I felt, I also let my opponent play a little bit. I think it was pretty clear. But she definitely deserve. She took her chances. She went for it. She got the win, so...

Q. You said you were going to give yourself today to kind of work through today. What does that typically look like for you? Is it under the covers? Is it replaying the match in your head? Going out to dinner and trying to forget it? What does it look like?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know what? When I am in that I'm just going to let whatever emotion comes to me. I'm just going to work through it. If it's sadness, if I need to cry, I may cry. I don't know. If I need to break something, hopefully I don't break anything. But I just might. You know, whatever is natural, is going to come, I'm just going to let it happen today.
Jan 26th, 2016 04:15 AM
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

i just saw this on wall street journal. love the insights of it. and how motivated she is.
Jan 26th, 2016 01:41 AM
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Another insightful interview by Vika. I want to know more about what the jaw thing is about and 5,000 milligrams of Tylenol seems like a lot

The Most Intense Tennis Player on Earth Learns to Chill Out

Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka has rediscovered her mojo by figuring out how to sit around and do nothing

Updated Jan. 25, 2016 4:05 p.m. ET
Melbourne, Australia

Before Victoria Azarenka began to train for this year’s Australian Open, she engaged in a few months of reprogramming.

She adjusted the way she pushed off on her left foot, which had long caused her pain. With the help of a specialist, she changed the way she moved her jaw—with lots of practice in front of a mirror—to give it more range of motion, and to help align her spine. She conquered her fear of needles so she could try acupuncture.

And then there was the most important challenge of all, something the hyperactive Azarenka had always been too afraid even to attempt: She learned how to sit around by herself and do nothing.

“I had no idea how to rest—no idea,” Azarenka said. “I had to learn the hard way, because otherwise I wouldn’t stop, I would just keep going and keep going.”

Azarenka, 26, explained all this during a visit to New York City late last fall, just as the top players in the world—minus an exhausted Serena Williams—were in Singapore competing at the season-ending championships. Azarenka had ended her season after retiring in a match in Wuhan, China in late September. At times last season, she said, her foot hurt so badly that she needed almost 5,000 milligrams of Tylenol to get through a match (that’s the equivalent of 10 extra-strength tablets). When the pain returned in Wuhan, she finally decided to stop. She spent the next three weeks at home in Belarus for physical therapy, light training and swimming.

“Other than that I literally didn’t leave my house,” she said. She paused. “OK, I went out to lunch once.”

Then Azarenka took a vacation: London, Paris, a quick stop in Belgium to visit her coach, Wim Fissette, and his son, who was born earlier in the year. She flew to New York to celebrate Halloween.

On the day we met, she asked to do something fun, rather than sit at a table for an interview. She suggested a graffiti tour of Brooklyn, so off we went to Bushwick. One of her favorite finds: a crew of skeletons under the words “live once, die twice.” Another: A portrait of Frida Kahlo holding a paintbrush. We stopped in a chocolate store, where Azarenka bought treats, hot chocolate and a camouflage hat. She spoke so knowledgeably about cocoa beans that the shop’s saleswoman asked Azarenka if she was Peruvian. “No, do I look like it?” she asked.

It’s not unusual for people to mistake Azarenka for something she isn’t, or to at least think she is much less complex than she is. Her punishing groundstrokes and loud shrieks command attention, but there’s also her precision footwork, tactical acumen and quick hands at the net (she played a lot of doubles as a young pro and won a gold in mixed doubles at the 2012 London Games). She sometimes seems impatient and edgy in news conferences, she said, because she finds them “distant and impersonal” (one on one, she’s engaging and funny). She walks and talks with confidence, but readily admits that by the fall of 2014, she was depressed.

“It took me over a year to be able to control all that,” she said.

On paper, Azarenka’s 2015 was a disappointment: two Grand Slam quarterfinals and a year-end ranking of No. 22, a long way removed from her days as No. 1 in the world and winner of two major singles titles, at the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013. Yet Azarenka said it was probably the most important year of her life.

“People look at my year and say she hasn’t done results, but they don’t see the other side of my life, the personal growth for me,” she said. “I’ve never been more motivated than I am now.”

Her opponents have noticed. Azarenka has won every set she has played at the Australian Open and lost a mere 11 games in four matches. Barbora Strycova, her fourth-round opponent, has played Azarenka at the Australian Open three years in a row. This year was different.

“I have to say that she is very hungry,” Strycova said. “I think she is the one who can think about the trophy.”

Azarenka’s gift is her intensity. Before matches in Melbourne, she stands in the hallway of Rod Laver Arena with her headphones on, hood covering her head, bouncing like a boxer. She fights for points when ahead, when behind, when there’s little chance of winning them. In the first round, she beat Alison Van Uytvanck 6-0, 6-0. At one point in the first set, Azarenka had a comfortable lead when Van Uytvanck served at 40-0, one point from winning what would likely be a meaningless game. Azarenka scrapped and won the next three points, and eventually the game.

After winning her third-round match 6-1, 6-1, Azarenka booked a practice court for some fine-tuning. Fissette, who started coaching Azarenka last season, said Azarenka is just as relentless in practice as she is in matches.

“She’s aiming for a goal and once she reaches that goal, she’s really fist-pumping on the practice court, saying: ‘Yes, I did it!’” Fissette said. “I’ve never seen somebody doing that in practice, but I love it.”

Azarenka has not beaten Williams, the defending champion here, very often, but she pushes Williams like few other players can. No matter the opponent, Azarenka feels this year is bound to be better than the last.

“It’s many more Grand Slams I want to win, as many as I can,” she said. “Let me achieve them first and then I’ll talk to you about it.”
The Most Intense Tennis Player on Earth Learns to Chill Out - WSJ
Jan 22nd, 2016 02:24 AM
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

From AO website - 5 things we learned from day 4

3. It really is a new Azarenka
Much focus has been directed towards Victoria Azarenka, as she chases a third title at Melbourne Park after a couple of lean years which saw her afflicted by injuries and dwindling motivation. Azarenka looks to be back to great form, but she seems a genuinely different person. She has talked in recent weeks about appreciating the journey rather than being too fixated on goals, and she just wants to have fun. That may sound like good PR work, but on Thursday she sounded like she really meant it. Asked after her straight-sets win over Danka Kovinic whether she has exceeded her expectations, she replied "I don't have any expectations." And when asked how she felt about being one of the players to beat, she said "Irrelevant! Sorry, but that's how I feel. You have to go out there and prove yourself, the rest is just opinions." Questions to Azarenka will have to be framed differently in future.
Jan 20th, 2016 04:46 PM
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

^ nice.
Jan 20th, 2016 04:04 PM
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Deeper Than The Dab: Cam Newton And Vika Azarenka Couldn't Be More Alike

I love the article
Jan 19th, 2016 02:14 PM
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka 19-01-16
Victoria Azarenka def Alison van Uytvanck 6-0 6-0

19 January, 2016
Victoria Azarenka, 1R, 19 January 2016
Q. Perfect start to the tournament for you. Even for a perfectionist, that had to have been pretty darn good.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Pretty happy. I don't think I'm looking for perfection. I'm looking for effort. I'm looking for focus. I like that I was very composed today from first point to the last point. Like it didn't matter what the score was, I was there on every point.

So that's what I'm very happy about today.

Q. Now that you've had a bit of time to think after the match, can you elaborate on the smell of the court.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I really don't know the smell. It's like trying to describe a color. Can you?

Q. Different shades.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Shades. But with the words, how do you describe color?

Q. You can say it smells like something.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I have no idea what it smells like. It takes me a little bit down the memory lane. It just, you know, makes me excited. So I would say it's less of a smell as much as memories, you know, and the feelings that I get.

Q. Anything particular about your game, outside of the mental aspect of it, that you were especially happy with today, that you thought you executed really well?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think I served really well today. I was very consistent with it. I did good placement. My return was good, but I think my return is, you know, quite a big weapon. So I'm happy with that.

But overall I think I played a really good match. I was patient when I needed. I was aggressive when I needed. When I needed to change pace or, you know, get that extra shot in, I did that.

There is not much to complain. I just hope to stay focused and keep it up and keep working for the next match.

Q. In Brisbane you were saying in your off-season it took you some time to get your movement back, to be as efficient as you wanted to be.

Q. But you also said it was a long way off; you weren't exactly where you wanted to be. You look like you're moving fantastically out there. Are you far off from where you want to be movement-wise?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I want to think so. I really want to have that as my goal. You know, I'm still reaching for stuff. I mean, really what perfect movement for me is looking at Djokovic. I really love to see the way he moves, how fluid he is, how efficient he is, the transition he does.

For me, that's kind of the goal.

Q. Did you feel the same back in 2012 when you won it?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I honestly don't remember how I felt. All I remember is probably the pictures, the ceremony, the party after, but not really how I felt during the match (laughter).

Q. This is the first love and love result of this tournament. Do you remember that happening often to you? Your opponent made quarterfinals in Roland Garros last year.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I don't know. I really wasn't focused on the score. I mean, the outcome, when you finish the match, is pretty remarkable and it's great. But what I was really happy is that I was able to sustain that for 12 games, you know, and really didn't lose my focus for any point.

For me, that's more important than the scoreline. But, I mean, it goes together.

Q. Do you remember, did it ever happen to you when you were young to lose this way?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: To lose? Yeah, it happened obviously. But actually remember that time very well. I think I was, like, 10 years old, or 11. On the professional level it didn't happen to me. But I was 11 years old. I was trying to get into Nationals for under 18, but obviously I was too young and I didn't get in.

Somebody retired and they gave me the spot. I was in school writing my essay. My dad came in and said, Hey, you got to go. I said, Where, dad?

He said, You got a spot. You can go and play. I was like, Really? He was like, Yeah. So I got excited, went to the court, got beat, I cried myself to sleep that day, and that was horrible experience.

But, you know, I came back to practice the next day, and I don't think that ever happened to me again. Hard work pays off.

Q. Can you remember the last time you had a bagel or a doughnut yourself?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I've actually been on the diet for a while (laughter). I don't eat bagels.

I actually don't remember. No, I don't remember. Maybe Miami against Kuznetsova. I think that might have been the third set. She just killed me there.

Q. I was talking to some of the younger players, early 20s, late teens, asking them who they idolized, who they modeled their game after. Your name came up quite a bit.

Q. Yes. If you can step outside of yourself and look at your game, what is it about your game, do you think, that would make people want to emulate specific things?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's difficult. You know, I always picture like thinking to myself, If I would play against myself, what would I be doing? It's like, I don't really know. It would be interesting just to see that picture, to face myself.

I think I'm pretty all-around player. I think that's what is showing a little bit more right now, more of my variety and the things that I can do. I think that probably my movement is back to -- is pretty good.

I don't know. I'm not a big fan of complimenting myself that much. I just try to always look for I want to get better, you know. But that's pretty interesting. I would actually want to hear from those players what it is that they, I guess, admire about me. That would be a really cool thing.

Q. Does it surprise you to hear that younger players want to model themselves after you?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: It's an honor. I really feel like it's an honor. It's cool. I feel like I'm a kid who wants to grow and who wants to improve as a player. I said it many times. Every time I see Roger Federer, I'm so like a fan girl, even when they were just chatting at the Kids' Day.

I love that feeling, so I think it's just an honor.

Q. Now that you've had your first match, how important was Brisbane and having all those matches rather than potentially losing early and having to go on the practice court?

Q. How important was it to play match play rather than potentially if you had gone out early in Brisbane and having to go to the practice court?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I mean, it didn't happen so I don't really give that much of a thought about it. I also know that today's winners is not going to win me next game. I have to keep working hard and stay focused.

Whatever happened in Brisbane is in the past. I can take my experience, what was working, and try to apply that and keep that. But the rest is kind of irrelevant right now. It's a new story. I have to really, you know, keep myself in the moment.

Q. Back to the bagel. When I asked if you can remember the last time you had a bagel, I meant when you won.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Oh, when I won. Brisbane.

Q. This year?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Brisbane, I think one of the matches was 6-Love. Not two bagels, but one of them, I think, yeah.

Q. So you're sticking with the dab in Australia?

Q. For luck?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I just like doing it. I don't believe in luck. I believe in hard work.
Jan 18th, 2016 10:00 AM
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

I love her attitude!! You go gurl
Jan 18th, 2016 09:08 AM
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Australian Open 2016: Azarenka's goal not to fit in, but to stand out
Australian Open 2016: Azarenka's goal not to fit in, but to stand out
January 17, 2016

Linda Pearce

Sports writer for The Age

It is not every day that a sports reporter interviews an elite tennis player who is also a published writer, one with a monthly Sports illustrated column to bring her own perspective to this global game. In her day job as a dual Australian Open champion, Victoria Azarenka regrets that her thoughts do not translate to the printed word as well she would like, and nor do they provide the same insight into her world as she thinks her columns can.

What question would the keen part-time scribe ask herself, then, if she was in the interviewer's chair? "It depends," Azarenka says. "I've been asking people 'what would they really want to know?' And 'what would I be interested in knowing?' It's not so much 'what would I want to ask myself'.

"Just real stuff. Not just 'oh how did your match go?' That [leads to] pretty basic answers and I don't feel it goes deep enough, so I want to really start to talk about some interesting issues that have never been talked about."

Such as? "Being a female athlete compared to a male athlete. It's a huge difference and nobody really realised that and covered that."

Which may not strictly be the case, but the former world No.1 could certainly bring an interesting voice to the sports gender conversation. Azarenka says she is still marshalling her thoughts on "such a huge subject", but would like to canvass non-tennis athletes, and compare their experiences with her own.

She says she doubts people realise the extent of the challenges and difficulties female athletes face. "Not that you want to feel bad for women but it's an interesting subject, and it would be fun to write about that." At which point, we feel compelled to note how fortunate female tennis players are, compared with most other sportswomen, in terms of prizemoney and profile, for starters.

"Well, that's just money," says an athlete whose official tournament earnings stand at more than $37 million. "I know for a lot of people it's really important and everything, and makes your life easier, and you can say 'hey, well why don't you tell that to people somewhere in Africa who have no money and say money doesn't buy happiness', but the difference between making millions and making thousands I don't think it's that big on your mental state and your mental health.

"But you are right, we are way more fortunate than the previous ladies and champions [who] have been fighting to have equality in women's sports. It's absolutely tremendous and I will always support that, but I think women's equality is a huge issue for women in general, women in life and it's a really interesting subject. Women's empowerment, you can see how much it's rising, and when we talk about being a feminist it's not just trying to do everything by yourself but you want to be recognised for your qualities, not just be recognised because you're a woman."

This, clearly, is not a typical tennis interview, but one that goes to unexpected places. The start was less forthcoming, covering such areas as Azarenka's pre-season (more about the body than the tennis), her health and longstanding foot injury ("it's a question I get asked all the time, and I don't know how to answer it"), her 2016 goals ("I don't say my goals. I think it's the best way for me"). OK, right, then.

By the end, subjects had included the hurt caused by haters on social media to a personal creative bent that has moved from painting to interior decorating and an edgy new YouTube video featuring street art and motorbikes. The perils and pitfalls of honesty. Her newfound ability to love herself, embrace her flaws and, as she likes to put it, "not give a crap" about what others think. The pain and bravery of discussing her past battle with depression.

Certainly, these have been two difficult years for the 26-year-old, who dipped to 48th in the rankings last February, but started this season with an 18th career title at the depleted Brisbane International to earn strong second favouritism for the Australian Open behind top seed Serena Williams.

While there are many question marks surrounding the women's field, there are few about Azarenka's record at Melbourne Park, where the 2012-13 champion has a strong 35-8 record. Yet, as the 14th seed and tournament second favourite drawn to open against Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck on Tuesday, Azarenka insists that where she used to be is not where she is trying to go, as she wants to make herself better than she was before.

She deflects questions about whether it is harder to be where she is now - at to No.16 - considering where she was, on the basis that she gives no thought to the past or the future, only the now. She is more forthcoming on the subject of her current coaching team of Wim Fissette and hitting partner Sascha Bajin, replacements for long-time mentor Sam Sumyk. "I have a new energy, a new motivation around me," Azarenka says. "I'm glad to be working with people who are around the same level emotionally as me and want to have fun, want to do good, just happy people."

Yet Azarenka also acknowledges that if she paid attention to those who perceive or treat her differently now her star has fallen slightly, she would notice that was the case "a little bit". Which does not concern a pragmatic Belarusian who says her family and friends' judgment is more important, and "has nothing to do with me being No.1 or being whatever. I believe in myself. I'm a good tennis player, I want to be a great tennis player. And results is something that I think you get judged [by] but it doesn't define you."

Nor does social media, clearly, although that, too, can be difficult to ignore. Some of it hurts. Of course it does. "I mean, it's not easy to read that stuff. It's not. The difference is how much you hurt. If you're confident in yourself and what you do, and you know what you're doing, it's OK. But you can't say: 'Oh, I don't care about that'. Nobody likes to hear bad stuff about yourself."

More SI column fodder, perhaps, and Azarenka says she has many topic ideas. Many. She also likes to surprise those who would presume to know one of the more forthright, emotional, and polarising characters in the game.

"Not many people know me, the real me, they just see what I am on the tennis court," she says. "I fight on the tennis court, I cuss, I dance, I'm just a rebel, whatever, but I am a really deep person, and I love to cover a lot of different subjects, so I found an outlet for me to show the real side of me.

"Like the video I created. I directed it, we wrote a script, we wrote music with a friend of mine, so it's all me. I'm doing me. Not many people have maybe courage or creativity enough to do that, but I want to bring a new type of athlete to the world, to the tennis world. I think we're missing a bit of personalities, a difference of personalities, excitement of personalities."

Is that because people are afraid to be seen to be different, lest they be judged or scorned? "I think it's a huge problem with social media right now. It's just so easy to be criticised, but if you pay attention to that, you will never be great. You will just try to fit in, and I don't want to fit in, I want to stand out."
Jan 14th, 2016 06:26 PM
Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka ready to strike
Azarenka ready to strike - Australian Open Tennis Championships 2016 - Official Site by IBM

Healthy, happy and settled off court, Victoria Azarenka is ready for a run towards a third Melbourne title

By Michael Beattie | 14 January, 2016

“There is no limit to how far I can go, but I have to be ready.”

In one line, Victoria Azarenka had distilled her 2015 season – a tale of near-misses, flashes of brilliance and inescapable hurt – to a lesson learned the hard way.

From the turmoil of assembling a new coaching staff to her trio of three-set defeats against Serena Williams – each of which ranked among the finest matches of the year – all while dealing with the emotional impact of her father’s spell in hospital shortly after the Australian Open. And underneath it all, there was the left foot injury that dogged and ultimately grounded her entire campaign in Wuhan.

Azarenka had started the year at No.32 in the world, determined to return to the sharp end of the women’s game. She ended at No.22, deflated, but defiant. The determination remains.

"I had a lot of changes last year,” Azarenka said. “It took a little bit of time to regroup, reorganise, mature a little bit, understand how to organise yourself. I'm like a freak right now, I'm super-organised. Now I found what works for me, what makes me feel comfortable, calm, at peace. So it's good."

The tribulations of 2015 are now over – as is a trophy drought that stretched back, almost unthinkably, to August 2013. Victory at last week’s Brisbane International, the site of her first WTA title win in 2009, and for the loss of just 17 games, felt like a watershed moment.

“For me, it's like you're reading a book and you just turn the page," Azarenka said after beating Angelique Kerber in the final. "That part of it was over. You just flip the page. I think that's exciting. I can't wait to read the next page.”

Winning makes everything better. Now up to No.16 in the WTA rankings, Azarenka is moving in the right direction on court, thanks in large part to an off-season spent re-learning exactly how to move. Coping with the lingering pain of her injury had led to compensatory inefficiencies in her footwork that had to be forgotten.

She also arrives with her team in place. The shock split with long-time coach Sam Sumyk shortly after Australian Open 2015 led Azarenka to team up with coach Wim Fissette and trainer Sascha Bajin, a partnership that is now firmly embedded after a tough training block.

Then there’s her attitude. After her victory in Brisbane, Azarenka invited a young fan to join her. Spotted earlier in the week cheering for her hero, nine-year-old Stephanie Taylor earned herself an invite to Azarenka’s box for the final and, wearing Azarenka’s headband, held the trophy during the presentation ceremony.

It was a touching gesture and, at its heart, fun – something Azarenka has worked hard to reconnect with on court. Winning is not her central focus in 2016 – instead it is about working to improve, and allowing the wins to follow.

"I wanted to win the title, but I didn't feel, 'If this doesn't happen the world is going to end,'" Azarenka admitted in Brisbane. "I just feel really excited and happy that I'm doing the right things. I'm excited to keep working hard. Just gives extra motivation to keep working hard and achieve better things. When you're on the right direction, I think it's kind of cool."

The wins will follow. Azarenka is a two-time Australian Open champion and a former world No.1, and while many of the faces in the world’s top 10 have changed during her absence, the game has certainly not left the 26-year-old behind. With her current form and fitness, the Belarusian will be a dangerous teen-ranked seed in Melbourne.

If nothing else, the Australian Open guarantees that she will be in a good place. “It was love at first sight for me with Australia,” Azarenka wrote for Sports Illustrated in November. “The atmosphere is amazing, the fans are highly passionate and there is such history and appreciation for the athletes.”

A wounded Azarenka was a threat. In full flight, she is a contender. Grounded, confident, pain and fear-free, to her mind – at long last – she is ready.
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