Written by Senior Tennis Editor Peter Gehr
Victoria Azarenka: tennis player on a mission to continue winning after her victories by claiming a Grand Slam at the Australian Open, and her recent win in Doha puts her in a very dominant position in women’s tennis. The world No. 1 seed in WTA ranking is set to carry her confidence and new-found stability in her game by continuing that winning streak through the 2012 season for as long as possible, and, when you’re on top of the world, why not make such a claim.
Azarenka is the first Belarusian to win a singles Grand Slam, and it’s a great achievement for her. She also won the APIA International in Sydney prior to her greatest accomplishment in Melbourne and consequently dethroned Caroline Wozniacki from the top seeded position.
Victoria Azarenka: Tennis Player on a Mission to Continue Winning
“I think confidence is very overrated,” said world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka after defeating Sam Stosur 6-1, 6-2 in the Doha finals for her 17th-straight win to open the 2012 season.
That sounds exactly like something the most confident player on the WTA might say. Azarenka won her opening tournament of the season, took home her first Grand Slam, ascended to No. 1 and then consolidated the ranking with the win in Doha. Her rise comes exactly one year after she says her game “was a little bit of a mess.” Now she’s playing through injuries, hitting her groundstrokes with power and precision and putting away top-ten opponents in the first set.
Though it’s too early to make comparisons to Novak Djokovic’s run at the beginning of 2012, the whispers are already there. A win in Dubai this week would turn them into legitimate conversation.
Some facts from Azarenka’s undefeated start:
• She became the first player since 2004 to win her first three tournaments of the year. Justine Henin won Sydney, Australia and Dubai that year. One year earlier, Serena Williams won her first three events (spread out over a longer time frame) in Australia, Paris and Miami.
• The longest win streak to open a season in the past 15 seasons belongs to Martina Hingis. In 1997, she won 37 matches in a row. The streak was eventually snapped in the French Open final.
• Steffi Graf holds the record for the longest season-starting streak. The German won 45-straight matches at the beginning of her dominant 1987 campaign.
• Azarenka plays her next match Wednesday in Dubai. With each successive win, she’ll generate more comparisons to Djokovic and his record start to last season. But you could also make the comparison to Djokovic’s 2012. Through Feb. 21, the world No. 1 is still undefeated on the year. He’s 7-0. Click here to visit the original source of this post
Victoria Azarenka: tennis player on a mission to continue winning in 2012, and with that mental edge and fitness levels at peak, it’s quite possible for her to achieve this goal. The feisty 22 year old bases out of Monte Carlo, and with the new season still in early stages she is manifesting greatness in her game, as long as she can keep her emotions in check and use that energy to power ahead and dominate her rivals.