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Australian Open: Victoria Azarenka before the semi-finals: “Ten damn years!”

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Status: 01/25/2023 1:43 PM

Ten years after her second and final Grand Slam title, Victoria Azarenka is back in the limelight in Melbourne. The 33-year-old talks about panic attacks and fear of failure on the sidelines of the Australian Open and explains: “Tennis courts trigger these fears.”

Written by Yannick Schneider, Melbourne

“Really? From this sign of care to the next?” In disbelief, Viktoria Azarenka asks her fitness guru and adds with a very critical undertone: “They are a bit far away.” The 33-year-old from Belarus is a responsible athlete. Not only PR consultants on the WTA tour regularly feel this during press conferences – when they touch on sensitive topics.

The 33-year-old sometimes gives her team a little more work and questions things, as her game-free Wednesday at the Melbourne facility showed. It had to Francis Boogie During a warm-up before tennis practice, Azarenka explained exactly why the lane in which she had to expect tennis balls and then catch them with one hand left and right was so big. The coach simply replied: “Yes you can do it”.

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After nearly two weeks on the east coast of Australia, it should come as no surprise that she didn’t make too many mistakes during her next training session. Azarenka reached the semifinals for the first time since her two titles in Melbourne in 2012 and 2013. She defeated former tournament champion Sofia Kenin Madison Keys And the third most circulated place in the tournament, Jessica Pegula, so all the greats of the WTA tour. Now wait with file WimbledonWinner Elena Rybakina, who eliminated the world number one with Iga Switek, on Thursday morning (26/1/2020) German time is perhaps the most difficult task in women’s tennis these days.

Azarenka on panic attacks: ‘Tennis courts trigger them’

Instead of sports, Azarenka’s press conference was about other things: panic attacks and fear of failure. Some will immediately remember last year’s Miami Open. At that time she left her young opponent Linda Frohvitová during the match, shook her hand and disappeared. She later regretted this public appearance. “Being in such an uncomfortable position is scaryNow success is back, Azarenka explained. “Tennis courts, probably for everyone, but especially for me, raise these concerns a lot.” It took her a long time to really realize it and deal with it.

Your team around the coach Maxim Chutakyan He is now supporting her. The Frenchman is 28 years old, was in the top 600 in the world rankings five years ago, and has completed his coaching license in the famous centre. MouratoglouThe Academy in Nice. There, two years ago, he built trust with Azarenka, who put him in front US Open Championship Promoted to Sole Coach in 2021. With a Fitness Coach Francis Boogie It was presented by physiotherapist Alain Obst Down as a closed unit. Azarenka looks solid.

Azarenka on sexual violence ‘happens left and right’

This has not been the case for a long time. The player from Belarus has lived in California for many years. After the birth of her son Leo six years ago, there was a custody battle with the father, which is why she was not allowed to leave the state for a long time and missed several tournaments, including double Australian Open.

As a result, there were no major successes, but she still had responsibility on the WTA Players’ Council. during the US Open Championship Last year, she was the first to clearly report sexual violence on the women’s tour, report on toxic player-coach relationships, the risks to young players and demand new rules to better protect officials. “Something’s going left and right on the tour.”Azarenka said. There have previously been allegations of rape against a former coach of the French player Fiona Ferro become public.

“Ten damn years to beat this.”

Yet just one step to the end Australian Open. Like ten years ago, 2013, is unforgettable. In the semifinals vs Sloane Stephens I took a wide medical break at the time, went for ten minutes and then picked up the victory. Then I stumbled across a TV interview and later the press tour with two different injury announcements. Accordingly, the media response was negative. “It was one of the worst experiences of my career, the way I was treated in public after that, how I had to explain myself until 10:30pm because no one would believe me. It took me ten damn years to get over it.”

In this world, there is sometimes an incredibly great desire for stories that contain heroes but also villains. In this regard, she has to agree with Novak Djokovic, who revealed something similar. “But we’re not bad.”Azarenka explained. “We’re not heroes either. We’re ordinary people who go through too many things.”

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