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Old Apr 8th, 2012, 01:22 PM   #481
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

More detailed information about their first practice session can be found at

http://www.lequipe.fr/Tennis/Actuali...zarenka/275438
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Old Apr 17th, 2012, 11:03 AM   #482
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Vika and Amelie are watching the Murray/Troicki match together in Monte Carlo
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Old Apr 21st, 2012, 01:45 PM   #483
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka



Open Court
Thursday 26 April at 1030 BST / 1130 CET and 1730 BST / 1830 CET
Saturday 28 April at 0830 BST / 0930 CET and 2200 BST / 2300 CET
Sunday 29 April at 1730 BST / 1830 CET at 1730 BST / 1830 CET
Saturday 19 May at 1730 BST / 1830 CET
Sunday 20 May at 0830 BST / 0930 CET and 2200 BST / 2300 CET
Duration: 30 minutes

In April, ‘Open Court’ is in Monaco, the adopted home of male world number one, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and female number one, Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka.

‘Open Court’ features an in-depth profile on Azarenka, who claimed the number one ranking in January when she stunned Maria Sharapova and won the Australian Open title. CNN’s ‘World Sport’ anchor Alex Thomas travels to Monaco to meet the tennis star and find out how she seized her ranking and why she’s the woman to beat on the circuit this year. This month’s programme also questions Azarenka about the pivotal point a year ago, when she nearly quit the sport.

The programme also catches up with Djokovic on the sidelines of the Monte Carlo Masters Tournament. He’s never won this tournament but would like nothing more than to steal the title from Rafael Nadal. April’s show takes a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like on Media Day at this exclusive tennis tournament and witnesses how Djokovic deals with requests from journalists across the globe.
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Old Apr 24th, 2012, 06:22 PM   #484
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

http://www.wtatennis.com/page/OffCou...747821,00.html

Victoria Azarenka
On whether people play better against her now...
"I've had tough matches throughout the year, but I definitely feel some players go up against me with nothing to lose now. They're playing better, just like I did against the top players before I became one. It's a good challenge to have really. I can't worry about it - I just have to go out there and play my game."

On comparing the men's and women's games...
"They're completely different. The men's game is in an era right now with three guys winning absolutely everything and Andy Murray, who is winning quite a lot too, but no Grand Slams. But every time you look at the draws it's Djokovic-Nadal, Federer-Nadal, Federer-Djokovic... it's always the same, but it's still exciting to watch. With the girls it's nice to see lots of different players winning the Grand Slams, like Li Na was the first Chinese player to win one, also Sam and Petra won last year, so it's exciting, and I'm sure the crowd enjoys it too. But my job is not to judge - my job is to go out and play tennis."
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Old May 12th, 2012, 06:08 AM   #485
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

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Old May 12th, 2012, 03:56 PM   #486
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

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Old May 14th, 2012, 08:09 AM   #487
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

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She's in 3rd And who the hell are Carrie Manolakos and Olivia Lopez anyway?
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Old May 14th, 2012, 06:31 PM   #488
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka Press Conference
Rome, Italy Monday, 14 May, 2012

Q: What are the major adjustments that you have to make going from the blue clay to the red clay?
AZARENKA: I don't know because I haven't really play here. First of all I have to get a feel and then I have to adapt and then I can tell you. At the moment, I don't really know.
Q: When you look at the year that you have had. At the start of the year, did you think that it would have been possible, what you have done so far?
AZARENKA: No . I really didn't think of it that way. I was always taking it one day at a time. I wasn't thinking of my ranking and what it will be in 4 months time. You set yourself goals until the end of the year and so you can see what you have done, what you have reached, what you have achieved, I had
a goal until the end of the year and I reached it earlier that I expected and I had to set some new goals for the end of the year and so I was really proud of what I did.
Q: …[inaudible]….
AZARENKA: Yes, that and also to win a Grand Slam and to be number one.
Q: …[inaudible]….
AZARENKA: It went great. It was our first tournament working together and I had a good result and she was also happy. The most important was that the communication was there. She fit well into our team – for my side it was a great experience and we'll see each other in Paris.
Q: Vika, try to thing again about the Madrid final – what was the problem the blue clay or simply Serena Williams?
AZARENKA: I don't know if it was Serena or the clay., I don't see it that way – I don't think that I played a good match and she did. You know, we can sit here and complain about the clay or the wind but it is the same – it wouldn't make any difference. Obviously I have a clear picture of what I have to improve in the next match. It is pointless to talk about what is the problem. There is no problem – she just played better that me.
Q: …[inaudible]….
AZARENKA: Well it is a lot more attention for sure. If you have more responsibility carrying the sport a little bit but nothing too unpredictable but it is a good feeling to have, and I enjoy it.
Q: …[inaudible]….
AZARENKA: No – I am still the same person and my ranking will not change me from who I am and I will always be myself.
Q: Whose idea was it to work with Amelie?
AZARENKA: Sam's
Q: Right. What did he say. Why did he think she would have been good for you.
AZARENKA: Well, he's known her for a long time and I have a lot of respect and I think our careers has a lot of similarities in the way we organise our teams and so I think that was the main key.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 08:58 PM   #489
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka 1st Round Interview

Paris, France Monday, May 28, 2012

Q.60 unforced errors in the match. In terms of your rise to No. 1, your game, normally you're much more consistent than that. You give little away. What was wrong today in your opinion?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Sorry, six ‑‑ what you said?
Q. 60 unforced errors.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it says it all. Bad days happen. Unfortunately today I had way more mistakes than I usually do, but, you know, it happens sometimes.The first match, they're not easy. But in the end of the day I still won the match, I manage to go through those 60 mistakes and still win the match. I think that's pretty good statistics.
If it would be 60 winners and I would lose that match, or win this match this way, I think that would suck a little bit more.
Q. Do you think that's one of the things that changed as opposed to maybe year or 18 months ago that you can get out of these situations now?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, for sure. Before maybe I would just give up and go home. I was kind of thinking there was a flight straight to Minsk around 3:00 tomorrow so I could catch that, but I didn't want to leave too soon.
Q. Do you have any explanation? Did you feel any extra pressure before playing or tired?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I think it's maybe mix of things. You know, I was waiting quite a long time here for a first match, so I couldn't wait to get out there. Maybe I was rushing so much, you know, to finish the point or, you know, outburned a little before the match.
But, you know, these things happen. Plus also I have to give her a lot of credit. She played really well, and she pushed me to dig deep today.
You know, bad days happen. The important thing is how I come out of it. Tomorrow is opportunity to build up from there. That's it.
It was a good test, that's for sure.
Q. Do you have any problem with the clay court this year? Seemed to struggle a little bit.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No. Not really. I don't think it was the clay that was bothering me today. It was just ‑‑ I was just missing, you know, like this, like this, everywhere. It happens.
Q. What about your shoulder? In Stuttgart you talked about that. Today it seemed like your serve ‑‑ serve is a big part of your game. Didn't seem as strong as normal. How is your shoulder? Is it okay or is it still troubling you a little bit?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, it's much better. You know, the pain went away, but, you know, I didn't have much of time to prepare. But from what I have, I think I have done really well. Me and my team.
It's just, you know, the start to build up from here. It was the first match.
Next match I have, as I said, I have opportunity, you know, to push it to next level and raise my game.
Q. What went through your head, 4‑Love down, break point down in the second set? Do you think you can get out of it or you felt it's not your day?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, there was a mix of things. Sometimes I felt it was not my day. Sometimes I thought, yeah, maybe I still fight, I still have a chance. Sometimes it was like, you know what? Forget it. I don't want to do it.
But the important thing in that, you know, really miserable, if you can say, moment, I stay strong and I just went for my shots. I just went for what I had to do, and I didn't do before.
That shows a little bit of, you know, not losing courage, I guess.
Q. So on the second serve ace were you just saying, All right, I'm playing so bad I'm just going to hit this ball down the T and if it goes in, good, and if it doesn't, then I don't care?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, I was just thinking, you know, if I miss so much, then at least I can miss good shot instead of, you know, missing so many bad ones.
Q. So it sounds like a lot was going through your mind today on court. Why? Did you wake up and not necessarily feel good? Does it ‑‑ sort of the pressure of the occasion, playing a Grand Slam as the No. 1, which obviously you know about and lots of young players face, was that a part of it, too?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: You know, you can sit and look for excuses, what happen or whatever, you know. I just try to not approach it that way. I just trying to think what can I do better next time. You know, not think, did I not wake up, did I not eat enough?
Tomorrow is the day that I have to, you know, work. It's a new opportunity. That's it. I'm not thinking about being here No. 1 or that should put any pressure on me, because there is still 128 girls in the draw who want to win the tournament. You know, it's just the beginning.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 02:07 PM   #490
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Top Seed Azarenka Struggles in Her Opener
PARIS — So Victoria, how is your French?
Rotten, Victoria Azarenka announced, sitting in the comfort of an armchair after an awkward match.

“But I understand a lot,” she said. “I am still really shy to speak. I’m picking it up, and I listen and I understand more. I can write better. It’s easier for me to think it through, but to speak is still difficult. But I’m young. I can catch up.”

Still, there were moments Monday, quite a few in fact, when it appeared that Azarenka would not have the chance to work on any more French or tennis at Roland Garros this spring.

Seeded No. 1 at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time at this French Open, the tall, Azarenka, a powerful Belarussian, came perilously close to becoming the first women’s top seed to lose in the opening round here since 1925. Though she took an early 2-0 lead in the late morning sunshine on Court Philippe Chatrier, she soon found herself out of sorts and down a set, 0-4 and break point to a flashy Italian journeywoman, Alberta Brianti.

“Honestly at that moment, I thought, ‘It’s done,’ ” said Amélie Mauresmo, a former top-ranked player who is Azarenka’s new adviser.

Falling behind, 0-5, in the second set might have made a major upset just about inevitable, even though the 32-year-old Brianti, ranked 105th, had shown no previous inclinations to create shock waves at major tournaments. But Azarenka, still tempestuous but no longer overwrought when confronted with her own tennis imperfections, proceeded to rear back and, suspect right shoulder and all, smack an ace on the line with her second serve.

If the ball had bounced another inch or so to the left, she might have been booking a flight to Minsk or Monte Carlo instead of her next practice court in Paris. But she held serve and proceeded to win six straight games to even the match at one set apiece and ultimately prevail, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-2, despite making an unsightly 60 unforced errors and struggling to generate her customary speed and rhythm with her serve.

“Sometimes, I felt it was not my day,” said Azarenka, who said the shoulder problem, which caused her to retire from her last tournament in Rome, was much improved. “Sometimes I thought: ‘Yeah, maybe I still fight. I still have a chance.’ Sometimes it was like: ‘You know what? Forget it. I don’t want to do it.’ But the important thing in that really miserable, if you can say, moment, is I stay strong, and I just went for my shots. I just went for what I had to do, and I didn’t do before.

“That shows a little bit of not losing courage, I guess.”

The French Open has become a home tournament of sorts for Azarenka. She is based in French-speaking Monaco after leaving her former training base in Arizona. She began working with the French coach Sam Sumyk in 2010, and her physical therapist Jean-Pierre Bruyère, her sparring partner Julien Jeanpierre and her new star recruit, Mauresmo, also are French. All this explains Azarenka’s crash course in the language, even if most members of the team have a global outlook and, in most cases, home addresses outside France.

“That’s why we are smiling when we see or hear or read about the French connection,” Sumyk said. “Of course we are French, but we feel like citizens of the world a little bit. It’s weird to say that, but we feel like, I don’t know, this is not really a French team.”

Sumyk, a modest club player in his youth in Brittany, left for Florida in his 20s and eventually began coaching Meilen Tu, the former tour player from the United States who is now his wife and Azarenka’s agent. He and Tu live in Calabasas, Calif., north of Los Angeles. Bruyère lives outside London. Mauresmo, like many present and former French tennis stars, resides officially in Switzerland.

But Monte Carlo is now the hub in the spinning wheel of Azarenka’s peripatetic life. She and her team gather there or, more often than not, elsewhere. They spent Christmas in Dubai with her boyfriend, the tennis player Sergei Bubka Jr., and his father Sergei Bubka, the former world-champion pole-vaulter from Ukraine.

“This lifestyle is really difficult, but it’s also really interesting,” Azarenka said in an interview Monday. “I don’t know on the part of being a coach, but as a player you can only appreciate those people who travel with you so much and they just kind of dedicate their life to you. So that’s really something that you cannot say thank you with words.”

Sumyk, tan and tattooed, has also coached the tour players Elena Likhovtseva, Gisela Dulko, Ann Kremer and Vera Zvonareva. He was between jobs and spending a rare Christmas with his French family when Azarenka, who knew him through his wife, Meilen Tu, called and asked him to be her coach.
Two and a half years into their professional relationship, Sumyk still has no formal contract with Azarenka, which they say suits them both.

“I’m a very honest person,” Azarenka said. “We never have a problem with that. We have complete trust, which is perfect. We don’t need that. We are fair with each other. A lot of coaches sometimes wouldn’t say something that you are doing wrong just because they are afraid to lose their job. Sam will tell me right away. He’s not afraid to lose his job. He said, ‘Well I’m always going to be honest with you.’ And I appreciate that.”

It has not been a trouble-free rise to the top. Azarenka dropped from No. 7 at the end of 2009 to No. 10 at the end of 2010. An intense personality with a perfectionist streak, Azarenka considered quitting the sport early in 2011, only to find renewed inspiration from her grandmother in Minsk, who urged her to press on and emphasize the positive. But her climb has been steady and convincing since then. Her fiery on-court behavior still resurfaces, — she dropped a racket and shrieked in dismay on Monday — but Azarenka credits Sumyk for helping her manage it better.

“I don’t think he made me do it,” she said. “I feel he was guiding me, which is the smartest way, because when you push somebody to do something they don’t know or they have never experienced, they kind of put a block on it and reject it. It’s like a parents-kid relationship.”

Sumyk was also open and confident enough to agree to add Mauresmo as a consultant in April after Azarenka had already won her first Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open this year and risen to No. 1. The idea was to avoid complacency and to bring on board a former champion who knew how to navigate the game’s biggest tournaments.

“She was the same as me,” Azarenka said of Mauresmo’s approach to her career. “We built a team around us, and we are working toward the same goal. There might be better coaches, there might be better fitness trainers, there might be better physios in the world. But for me, it’s important to have people who really have my back and who really care about me and who really want to succeed with me.”

It is interesting that Mauresmo’s first Grand Slam tournament with Azarenka is the French Open, a tournament Mauresmo never came close to winning — despite her clay-court prowess — because of the weight of expectations, both her own and the French public’s.

Azarenka’s edgy, erratic performance Monday must have looked uncomfortably familiar to Mauresmo, who was sitting next to Sumyk in the players’ box, folding and unfolding her arms as the errors and shrieks piled up.

“To be honest, I think it’s a new situation for her,” Mauresmo said on the British network ITV. “It’s the first time she is playing a Grand Slam tournament as the No. 1 player in the world. She was maybe not expecting this emotion to get to her, but it got to her today. So now I think my role and Sam’s role is to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Or at least if it happens that she react a little quicker than she did today.”

It all worked out in the end this time, though, unless of course you were a Brianti fan, and now Azarenka can keep working on her French. A victory speech “en français” does not seem likely, however, unless she starts playing much better tennis.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 09:23 PM   #491
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka Press Conference
30.05.'12 FO 2nd round win over german Dinah Pfizenmaier(#198)

Q. Was it very different from the first round, a little bit quicker?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: A lot quicker. (Smiling.)
Yeah, I mean, it was different game. You know, I didn't really know my opponent today, and it took me, you know, first few games to kind of understand what she does and what kind of game she plays to adjust a little bit, but since after a few games, you know, I started to find my better rhythm. Definitely played much better today.
Q. It is now public knowledge that you have quite a few French people around you. Can you explain, apart from their technical and professional qualities, that they have been picked for? Can you explain what is specific about French people and what have you been learning about France and French people in general by being around them?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, kind of start to get more mentality, because I feel like every nation have their own seeing of things, you know, that some parts that I find normal, they don't find normal or the other way around.
But saying about that they're all French, it's not really just because I really like French people. I do like them, but that's not really the case. It was just a coincidence.
Plus, you know, like Sam and Jean Pierre, they don't even live in France anymore. They are a little bit more international. But, yeah, I learned a little bit about the French, as I said, mentality and understanding of things. A little bit of language, still not good. A lot of French people like wine, that's for sure. I know that. That's pretty much it.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about the spot of No. 1? I guess it's bit fun for you, but it's a lot of responsibility. Do you feel like above the women's tennis? Do you feel the best player in the world, or you don't think like that?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: No, I don't think like that, because, you know, being No. 1 is a difficult job, because everybody want to catch you, everybody want to move you from the spot.
You have to work like No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 100. You still have to put in a lot of work. Nothing is going to come easy just because you're No. 1. You actually have more people trying to more people motivated trying to beat you.
Q. Today your opponent was a German newcomer. It was really exciting playing you on the center court. She said you would probably regard her as a little fly and maybe not even remember her name. Do you give some credit to her?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Of course. I mean, she came all the way from the qualifying. She won four matches here. She's a young girl. I never knew her before, but, you know, I had to do a little bit of research yesterday, and I do remember her name. It's just difficult a little bit to pronounce.
Now for sure I know how she looks, so I will see her hopefully many more times.
Yeah, I think she has big potential. She has good shots.
I think she did really well today. She has a good game, so hopefully she has a good future.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 03:22 AM   #492
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

I am loving her interviews. Heartfelt and honest. Great Vika
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Old May 31st, 2012, 11:32 AM   #493
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

A video of Vika's practice on Roland Garros Philippe Chatrier's court.

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Old May 31st, 2012, 04:53 PM   #494
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

If she will do more 'practice'-sessions like this^ we can expect more 'bad-day' matches

Just lovely when she's smiling/laughing..
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Old May 31st, 2012, 08:20 PM   #495
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Re: News and updates about Victoria Azarenka

latest blog

Quote:
Although I went to the States at 15, I am pretty familiar with clay. Before I went to the USA, I spent nine months in Spain, and Spain means clay. Also, most of the junior tournaments I played in Europe were on clay. Even in Belarus, most of the outdoor courts are clay. We only have about five months of the year to play outside, and indoors it's mostly hardcourts, carpet or some kind of beat-up older surface, which makes it even faster. Once you make that transition into professional, you're kind of stuck with hardcourts most of the time. So I don't mind it at all.

I spent a time around hockey when I came to the USA (she was aided by and lived with retired National Hockey League goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and his wife, who is a friend of Azarenka's mother), but I'm not following too closely because the person I follow is no longer playing. I still try to follow a little bit. I have so many things to do it's difficult, plus I'm really into soccer. I'm a big Barcelona fan. If I had to pick I'd say the Devils are going to win. It's pretty amazing for L.A. to be in the finals, and it would be amazing if they could win the cup.

I'm traveling with my mother, Ala, here in Paris. She doesn't come to many tournaments these days. She used to, but she has work to do. She has my dad and brother to take care of. My mom is really easygoing. She never bothers me. She's been with me throughout my career. She's my biggest fan, and she helped me through so much, not like a coach, but organizing my life and making sure I'm OK.

Max, my older brother, is getting married after Wimbledon. I'm in the wedding, which is in Minsk. They actually scheduled it then to make sure I'm there. I've been in one wedding before. I missed four weddings last year that I was supposed to be in, so it's something I'm looking forward to.
It's not always easy to have a boyfriend who is also a professional tennis player like I do. Sometimes I think it would be easier if Sergei (Bubka Jr.) wasn't a tennis player. We see each other pretty often, especially this year. We've traveled to some of the same tournaments. We try to figure out our schedule so we can be together. I live in Monaco, and he lives there, too. But some time apart is good, too. It keeps the relationship fresh, that's for sure.

I've known my next opponent, Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada, for a long time. We played in juniors and started our professional careers together. When I was part of the ITF development team, we traveled to Canada, the U.S. Open juniors and then a tournament in Kentucky, so I saw her everywhere. I don't know how many times I played her, but a few. (Azarenka leads the series 2-1 in WTA matches.) She's a good opponent. She's had good wins over top players. She's dangerous.

Some people say it's hard to maintain relationships once you reach the top.
For me, not so much. I try to stay the same person as I've been before. The distance comes because you're a little busier. Personal distance? I don't think it's there. People might look at me differently, but that's not up to me really. That's up to them.
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