SONY ERICSSON OPEN
All Eyes On Azarenka
by Peter Holehan|
The first quarter of the 2012 WTA Tour has been centered on World No. 1 Belarusian Victoria Azarenka and has left the tennis universe wondering how much further she can continue her 23-match winning streak.
Conquering Russian Maria Sharapova (World No. 2) in the final of the Australian Open in January and again in the final of Indian Wells last weekend, Azarenka has an added incentive to keep herself rolling in that she will be attempting to defend her crown at the Sony Ericsson Open over the next couple of weeks.
“It’s an amazing feeling definitely,” said Azarenka of her ascension to the top ranking that she’s held since Jan. 30. “I’m really focused on doing my job every day and being 100 percent and giving everything that I have in practice. It’s the most important thing for me back then and still is. I try to stay disciplined and keep to my routine.”
According to the WTA Media Information system, Azarenka has totaled 9,730 ranking points or 1,800 more than Sharapova. She has lost just five sets this year and made history by becoming the first Belarusian to obtain a No. 1 ranking.
While her year has already begun discussion among media and fans alike as to how her 2012 stacks up against Novak Djokovic’s 2011 performance on the men’s circuit, Azarenka said she hasn’t really spoken to Djokovic.
Instead, she insists that she’s just concerned with playing as best she can while leaving no regrets on the court.
“I probably wouldn’t say that [I don’t care that I lose], but I just don’t take it so hard on myself. It’s not the end of the world if I lose a tennis match,” she said when asked if she cared whether or not she won.
“For me, the most important thing is that I did the best that I could on that particular day. If I’m true to myself and I did everything that I could then I’ll have no regrets. Take the most positive things and learn from them.”
Azarenka’s draw presents the possibility of meeting three players ranked among the top10 before reaching a potential championship match. They are No. 7 Marion Bartoli of France, No. 3 Czech Petra Kvitova, and No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.
The long and lean 22-year-old could face Bartoli in the quarterfinals and would not face Kvitova or Radwanska until a potential semifinals match up.
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