No limits: Victorious Azarenka
Melbourne - Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka warned there were no limits to what she could achieve after destroying Maria Sharapova in the final on Saturday.
Playing in the first grand slam title match of her career, the 22-year-old from Belarus showed nerves of steel to demolish 2008 champion Sharapova in 1hr 22 minutes and immediately set her sights on the rest of the year.
"It's going to be a long year. It's going to be a lot of matches. I just want to keep improving," said the new world number one. "I feel like there is no limit, really."
After making a slow start and going 2-0 down, the Belarusian won 12 of the next 13 games to sweep to the title with Sharapova unable to respond.
"It's a dream come true, you know. I have been dreaming and working so hard to win a grand slam, and being number one is a pretty good bonus," said Azarenka, who replaces Caroline Wozniacki as world number one on Monday.
Azarenka dominated Sharapova by stepping up to the baseline and taking the ball early, pressuring the Russian into making a host of uncharacteristic errors.
She outplayed Sharapova in all departments, matching the Russian’s power from the back of the court and volleying confidently.
"Today I didn't think going into the match that I had to play perfect. I just had to play better than my opponent," she said. "The first two games were a little bit of a disaster, but then I kind of got the momentum going.
"I relaxed and I started focusing on the moment on each point, you know, trying to do whatever it takes to win that point."
Despite appearing ice cool on the outside, Azarenka admitted she had been a bundle of nerves before the final.
"I was super nervous, I couldn't wait to actually go on the court and play," she said. "It was a long wait, you know. I was like, OK, I'm ready to go. I'm ready to go. When is it coming? When is it coming? What time is it?
"I just think I really handled the situation well after that little slack period in the beginning."
"She really started aggressively," Azarenka added. "It kind of kept me a little bit off guard, because I tried to be aggressive myself and it didn't really work. I missed a few shots.
"But I'm glad I could stay humble and just take it one at a time. Just keep fighting, keep fighting, and changing the momentum."