London - Back in action after the birth of her son, former
world number one Victoria Azarenka admits she dreams of capping her return by
challenging for the Wimbledon title.
Azarenka will be playing her first Grand Slam since taking
time off after last year's French Open to have her first child in December.
In her first WTA tournament since baby Leo was born,
Azarenka was beaten by Croatia's Ana Konjuh in the Mallorca Open second round
Kim Clijsters, Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong are the
only women to have won a Grand Slam after having a child.
It would be an extraordinary achievement if Azarenka got her
hands on the Venus Rosewater Dish, but the 27-year-old Belarusian has no
intention of going through the motions at Wimbledon.
Asked if she would dedicate a Wimbledon title to her son,
Azarenka said: "Both, you know, for him and for me as well.
"It feels great. I always love coming here. It's such a
special event for any tennis player, any tennis fan.
"Being back here with an extra member of my team is
"My expectations for myself are always really high in
terms of my effort, in terms of my preparation.
"Everything I can do in my power to be at my best on
that particular day. As long as I do one hundred percent, I'm good with
Azarenka, who faces American Catherine Bellis in the
Wimbledon first round, is a two-time Australian Open champion and reached the
All England Club semi-finals in 2011 and 2012.
She is down at 678th in the world after her break from the
game and will play at Wimbledon using her protected ranking of sixth from 12
Regardless of her results as she works her way back up the
rankings, Azarenka is confident she can cope with being a mother while on the
hectic WTA tour.
"The changes, it's like 180 in your mentality, your
daily activities. When I go out to practise, of course I practise there. I'm
present. But after that, it's all about somebody else," she said.
"It's not about me anymore, which in tennis is a little
bit tricky. Being in an individual sport, you have to be a little bit more
"So it's a little bit of a mind trick that I have to do
to feel okay with taking some time for myself, not feel guilty that I don't
spend my every free second with my son, which is sometimes tough.
"But it also gives me I feel like a really good balance
when I am done with my practice or my matches, that I'm able to shut off from
tennis topic, just lose myself with my son, which was actually pretty hard
thing to do before."
Being at Wimbledon comes with the bonus of allowing Azarenka
to let her family take care of feeding Leo if he wakes up hungry during the
"I obviously have help. My mum is here, my
boyfriend," she said.
"Actually, I love to wake up in the middle of the
night, because he wakes up hungry sometimes.
"But I understand that when I play it's a little bit
different. I get to sleep through the night.
"The first three months was not easy. But he's a very
good baby, so I don't have much to complain about."