Tennis

Radwanska slams Azarenka

2012-02-23 20:06
Agnieszka Radwanska (File)

Dubai - World No 6 Agnieszka Radwanska launched a verbal attack on Victoria Azarenka, the world's leading female player, after reaching the semi-finals of the Dubai Open on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Pole said she was "angry" and had lost respect for the superbly in-form Belarussian, alleging that Azarenka's behaviour in Doha last week had not been good for the image of the game.

Radwanska appeared to be referring to Azarenka's hobbling and wincing between rallies during parts of their semi-final match, whilst still moving well enough during the rallies to secure a solid straight sets win.

It follows Radwanska's criticisms of grunting in the women's game last month after losing to Azarenka in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Radwanska's latest comments came when she was asked in a press conference here whether she had been annoyed at the end of last week's loss in Doha.

She replied: "Well, to be honest, I don't think this is worth a comment. But I think after this match... just lost a lot of respect. That's it.

"If you do this in the match, if anyone didn't see the match, I think it's just a quick look on YouTube and you'll know what was going on," she continued.

The questioner responded by saying that he had not been seeking for Radwanska to criticise another player, but she continued anyway.

"Yeah, I was angry because I don't think this is the great image for the women's tennis, what was going on there," she added. "So, yeah, unfortunately."

Youtube clips show Radwanska offering a peremptory handshake to Azarenka with no eye contact at the end of the match, and include a TV commentator saying that Azarenka's behaviour had affected her opponent's focus.

However, Azarenka's contention that her ankle had been painful was lent weight by her decision on Wednesday to withdraw from the Dubai Open to allow more time for it to heal.

Radwanska's critical remarks in Australia came after a three-set loss to Azarenka, whose hooting and shrieking while striking the ball has been attracting criticism for some time.

Though Radwanska suggested she had got used to this, she nevertheless used post-match interviews after her loss to Azarenka to criticise Maria Sharapova's shriek. She described this as "pretty annoying" and "just too loud".

"Of course everybody can make some noise. This is tennis," Radwanska said.

"But I think it's just too loud. I don't think it's very necessary to scream that loud. So if they (the WTA) want to do something, why not?"

During some of Azarenka's matches in Melbourne, spectators mimicked her noise, and the host broadcaster, Channel 7, produced a "Whoo! meter" to measure it.

Although Radwanska is at career-high ranking, she is more than 2 000 points behind Sharapova, who is No 2 in the world, and more than 3 700 behind Azarenka at No 1.

However Radwanska can climb one place to number five, above US Open champion Sam Stosur, if she wins the Dubai Open title this week. On Friday she plays Jelena Jankovic, the former world number one from Serbia in the semi-finals.

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