Azarenka dreams of fairytale Wimbledon return

2017-07-01 19:28
Victoria Azarenka (AFP)

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 last week. 

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 really special. 

"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 that." 

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 months ago. 

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 selfish. 

"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 night. 

"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."

Read more on:    atp tour  |  wimbledon  |  victoria azarenka  |  tennis


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