Australian Open: Victoria Azarenka ahead of semifinals: “Ten damn years!”

Status: 25.01.2023 13:43

Ten years after her second and closing Grand Slam title, Victoria Azarenka returned to prominence in Melbourne. The 33-year-old, now talking on the sidelines of the Australian Open, talks about panic assaults and fears of failure, explaining: “Tennis courts carry out these fears.”

Yannick Schneider, Melbourne

“Really? From this sponsorship badge to the subsequent?” Victoria Azarenka asks her health coach in disbelief: “They’re a bit far,” including in a rigorously essential tone. The 33-year-old participant from Belarus is a accountable athlete. Not solely the PR consultants of the WTA tour really feel this, but additionally throughout press conferences – when delicate subjects are mentioned.

The 33-year-old typically offers his workforce extra work and asks questions, as was proven by a gameless Wednesday in Melbourne. The similar factor occurred to Francis Bougie During a warm-up earlier than tennis apply, Azarenka defined why the hall was so massive that she needed to predict the tennis balls after which catch them with one hand, proper and left. The coach solely replied: “Yes, you possibly can.”

After almost two weeks on Australia’s east coast, it ought to come as no shock that he did not make too many errors in his subsequent coaching session. Azarenka reached the semifinals for the primary time since her two titles in Melbourne in 2012 and 2013. She beat former event champion Sofia Kenin, prime seed Madison Keys and WTA Tour No. 3 Jessica Pegula. Now Wimbledon winner Jelena Rybakina, who has dethroned world primary Iga Svitek, faces maybe the hardest activity in ladies’s tennis today on Thursday morning German time (January 26, 2023).

Azarenka on panic assaults: ‘Tennis courts trigger it’

Azarenka’s press convention was about different issues as a substitute of sports activities: panic assaults and worry of failure. Some will instantly keep in mind final 12 months’s Miami Open. At that point, he waved his hand and disappeared, leaving his younger rival Linda Fruhvirtova in the course of the match. Later, he publicly regretted this scene. “It’s scary to be in such an ungainly state of affairs,” mentioned Azarenka, now again to success. “Tennis courts are most likely for everybody, however for me specifically, it is scary.” It took him a very long time to actually really feel them and take care of them.

His workforce round coach Maxim Chutakian is now supporting him. The 28-year-old Frenchman, ranked on the planet’s prime 600 5 years in the past, accomplished his teaching license on the prestigious Mouratoglou Academy in Nice. There, two years in the past, he trusted Azarenka, who promoted him to sole coach ahead of the 2021 US Open. With health coach Frances Boogie and physiotherapist Alan Obst, they invoice themselves because the ‘Down Under’ indoor unit. Azarenka seems robust.

Azarenka on sexual assault “It occurs proper and left”

This has not been the case for a very long time. The Belarusian participant has been residing in California for a few years. After the beginning of her son Leo six years in the past, there was a custody battle along with her father, so she was not allowed to depart the state for a very long time and missed many tournaments, together with the Australian Open twice.

As a consequence, there have been no main successes, however he took on obligations within the WTA Players Council. At final 12 months’s US Open, she grew to become the primary to publicly report sexual assault on the ladies’s tour, reporting poisonous player-coach relationships, risks to younger gamers and calling for brand new guidelines to raised defend these accountable. “Something occurs proper and left on the tour,” Azarenka mentioned. Allegations that the previous coach of the French participant Fiona Ferro was raped have already turn into public.

“Ten Years to Get Over It”

Now we’re one step away from the Australian Open closing. As unforgettable as 2013 was ten years in the past. In the semi-final towards Sloane Stevens, he took an extended medical break and left for ten minutes earlier than securing the win. He then sunk in with two totally different statements concerning the harm in a TV interview after which a press spherical. Media protection was correspondingly damaging. “It was one of the worst experiences of my profession after which how I used to be handled in public, I needed to clarify myself till 10.30pm as a result of nobody would imagine me. It took me ten years to recover from it.”

This world has an extremely massive want for tales that typically contain heroes in addition to villains. In this regard, he has to agree with Novak Djokovic, who found one thing related. “But we’re not villains,” Azarenka defined. “We are usually not heroes both. We are strange folks, we undergo many issues.”


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