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Azarenka still hungry for more


Justin Marville

Azarenka still hungry for more

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For those who watched, Victoria Azarenka seemed to have made a statement.
If you ask her, she believes her game isn’t saying anything right now.
She might’ve disposed of Venus Williams in straight sets during their Tennis Pon de Rock exhibition, but the world No.3 isn’t ready to make lofty predictions for the Australian Open after reasoning she is far from her best ahead of next month’s Grand Slam.
“Oh hell no, I’m still in my preseason so it’s far from my good form,” said the Belarusian sensation when asked if she close to peaking.
“I’m just looking forward to playing and being at my best then but I’m not trying to raise my expectations too early. But I really have to pick it up in the next few weeks.”
A 22-year-old former US and Australian Open junior champ, Azarenka achieved her career high and current ranking a couple months ago after this year’s first-time semi-final Wimbledon showing.
This was after the highest ever ranked Belarusian had an encouraging quarter-final run through Roland Garros as well. And on both occasions, Azarenka lost to the eventual winner.
But she more than had the appearance of a Grand Slam champ last weekend while producing a series of stunning winners from either end, having flattened out most of her groundstrokes from the baseline.
Whether it was off backhand crosscourt passes or singeing down the line forehand winners, the domineering Azarenka seemingly had the ability to produce passing shots at will.
So much so that the world No.3 even came up with one at match point, coming up with a near impossible angle off a crosscourt backhand return.
At times Venus could only stand and applaud as the ensuing returns whizzed past her almost motionless frame. Other times, the elder Williams sister merely found the middle of the net while trying to deal with her counterpart’s power.
“I was just really enjoying myself out there,” said Azarenka of the 6-4, 6-3 victory.
“I tried to play loose and I’m sure Venus was out there enjoying herself too.”
But in spite of her domineering showing against Williams, and the fact the former No.1 is currently rebounding from an autoimmune disease, Azarenka was far from willing to write off Venus for the year’s first Grand Slam.
“I’m sure she’ll recover by then,” said Azarenka of the seven-time Grand Slam champ’s chances.
“She’s a great champion, she knows how to play tennis and I’m certain she’ll put up a great challenge at the Aussie Open.”

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