Victoria Azarenko: ‘Undoubtedly, the Olympic Games are the season’s major tournament’
World #2 seed Victoria Azarenko of Belarus believes that the forthcoming Olympic Games in London will be the major tournament of the season. Speaking to journalists after her master class for young athletes (at the Republican Tennis Olympic Training Centre in Minsk) she noted, “I’m always thinking about the Olympic Games; undoubtedly, they’ll be the major event of the season. However, I have Wimbledon ahead, so must concentrate on this,” notes Victoria, adding that she’ll be training in Minsk.
“In recent times, I’ve been trying to distract myself from tennis. I spent a week visiting various cities, going to the countryside and running along the avenue. Did people recognise me? I was running so quickly that they didn’t have time to do so. The vital thing is that I’ve finally managed to sleep enough and have renewed my strength,” she explains.
She admits that Wimbledon can hardly be viewed as a rehearsal for the Games, despite both tournaments being held on grass courts. “Yes, Wimbledon is probably the closest tournament to the Olympics but they are different competitions, with different moods and motivations. Moreover, Wimbledon lasts a fortnight and the Olympic event only one week,” she stresses. She views her singles performance at the Olympic Games as a priority, although she also ‘wants to achieve success’ in partnering Max Mirny.
She is taking her loss of first seed ranking magnanimously, adding, “I may be now ranked second worldwide but have the chance to become first again, which will only give me additional motivation to work hard.”
Maria Sharapova knocked Azarenko from first position after the French Open, earning 9,490 points (against Azarenko’s 8,800). The Belarusian tennis player was ranked first worldwide for 19 weeks — from January 30th.