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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Viktoria Azarenka: “One of my worst experiences”

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MELBOURNE. Viktoria Asarenka completed the first semi-final at the Australian Open in Melbourne with her 6: 4, 6: 1 over Jessica Pegula (USA), in which the Belarusian meets Kazakh Elena Rybakina in the early morning (CET). The Wimbledon winner beat Jelena Ostapenko (Lat) 6:2, 6:4.

In the obligatory media round after the match, Azarenka was – once again – confronted with an old accusation: in 2013 she had left the pitch for almost ten minutes in the semifinals against Sloane Stephens, ultimately winning the game. Criticism of her ranged from unsportsmanlike to breaking the rules.

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The reason was completely different, as Asarenka explained yesterday. At that time she was “overwhelmed” by her feelings and panicked, she “couldn’t breathe anymore”. She was deeply affected by the public reactions at the time. “The way I was treated was one of the worst experiences of my professional career.” Far too often, the 33-year-old continues, there is a desire for a villain and hero story, “but we’re not villains, we’re not heroes, we’re people who go through a lot.” It took her ten years to get over it, “now I don’t care anymore”.

The first men’s semi-final is also fixed: Stefanos Tsitsipas (6: 3, 7: 6/2, 6: 4 against Lehecka) meets Karen Chatschanow (Korda gave up).

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