Victoria Azarenka Brands US Open Heartbreak As ‘Painful But Not Disappointing’ - UBITENNIS
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Victoria Azarenka Brands US Open Heartbreak As ‘Painful But Not Disappointing’

The two-time major champion exits New York with her head held high after once considering leaving the sport for good.

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Victoria Azarenka (image via https://twitter.com/usopen)

It is a case of what might have been for Victoria Azarenka after at one stage being on course to lifting her first Grand Slam title in seven years at the US Open.

 

The former world No.1 led Naomi Osaka by 6-1, 2-0, before the Japanese star battled her way back to clinch victory. Becoming only the fourth woman in the Open Era to have won the New York title after coming back from a set down. The loss has also ended Azarenka’s 11-match winning streak in America after winning the Western and Southern Open leading up to the Grand Slam.

“I think it’s definitely been a great three weeks of tennis. I haven’t had such results in quite a long time, so I’m very excited for it,” Azarenka told reporters.
“It doesn’t change for me much. Of course, I would have loved to win but It is what it is.’
“I’m very proud of myself. I want to continue to keep going the same way, enjoy myself. It was a lot of fun for me to play, to be in the final of the US Open. I’m very grateful for this opportunity.”
She added.

Despite being on the verge of her third Grand Slam title, Azarenka is refusing to let the loss keep her down for long. She was unseeded in New York but still managed to knock out four seeds en route to the final. Including six-time champion Serena Williams in the semi-finals and compatriot Aryna Sabalenka in the second round.

“I’m not necessarily disappointed. It’s just painful. It’s painful to lose,” she explained.
“I was close. But it didn’t go my way. Am I going to think about it too long? Not at all.’
“If I win or I lose, I’m not going to change. I’m not going to sit here and be miserable. This was an experience that was just an experience that didn’t go my way.”

Azarenka’s resurgence on the Tour comes after what has been a roller-coaster past few years. After taking a break from the sport to give birth to her first child Leo, the 31-year-old encountered issues off and on the court. A custody battle with her former partner resulted in her missing a series of tournaments at one stage. She has also experienced struggles with consistency and only managed to win back-to-back matches in six out of 18 tournaments last year.

At a point she considered walking away from the sport permanently after also starting this season later due to ‘personal problems.’

I was ready to stop definitely. I said that before,” Azarenka states.
“I hadn’t touched my racquet for five months. I was really not planning on coming to play until I had my personal issues are solved.’
“So I never really made the final decision because I was going to do that after. So it was pretty close. But what kept me in the game is my desire to go after what I want. That’s pretty much it.”

With retirement thoughts now a thing of the past, many are wondering if Azarenka has what it takes to return back to the top of the women’s game on a permanent basis. On Monday she will enter back inside the world’s top 15 on the WTA rankings for the first time since January 2017 ahead of the clay-court swing.

I think expectations are just obviously a lot more coming from the outside where you kind of feel like you have to put a certain pressure on yourself to be able to deliver something,” she said.
“But I’ve been down this road now a few times. I hopefully learned my lesson how to navigate the situation.”

There will be little time for reflection due to the packed WTA schedule. On Sunday Azarenka will be flying to Rome ahead of her first round showdown against Venus Williams at the Italian Open in a couple days time.

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Father Of Dayana Yastremska Reveals The Reasons Behind Her Lacklustre Season

Alexander Yastremsky says his daughter was ‘mentally broken’ in recent weeks due to a personal issue.

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Rising star Dayana Yastremska struggled on the Tour during the second half of 2020 due to a family-related issue, according to her father.

 

The world No.29 closed out her season with three consecutive first round losses at the French Open, Ostrava and Linz to players who were ranked lower than her. Yastremska looked to be on course for a strong year after reaching the final of the Adelaide International in January. However, since then she has only managed to reach the quarter-final stage in one out of 10 tournaments played.

Reflecting on his daughter’s difficult season during an interview with Ukrainian Tennis, Alexander Yastremsky says she had been ‘mentally broken’ in recent weeks due to her mother having a series of surgeries on her eye.

“People were complaining like why Dayana had such poor results at Roland Garros and afterwards but they didn’t know it was a hard time for her mother,” he said.
“Before the first round she had a retinal detachment. She went through three surgeries in Paris and two more at home. Everything is fine now but at that time Dayana was broken mentally.”

Besides her mother’s health scare, Yastremska had to find a new structure in her team after the departure of Sasha Bajin following the US Open. Bajin, who is the former coach of Naomi Osaka, worked with her for less than a year. Last week it was confirmed that he will be working with Karolina Pliskova in the new year.

“Sascha Bajin is a good coach, very helpful but it turned out he wasn’t ours,” said Alexander. “I don’t look at this partnership as a mistake for Dayana, it was another experience for her but I don’t see any advantages either.”
“Everyone looks only at how good you play and what result you get.”

Prior to Bajin, Yastremska worked with Belgium’s Olivier Jeunehomme who guided her to three WTA titles between 2018-2019. Since his departure, she is yet to add to her title tally but did rise to a ranking high of 21st earlier this year.

“It’s not easy to work with Dayana she has a tough personality,” her father admits. “Relationships on and off the court are very important for her.
“Right now we have a new team, very positive and committed . That’s the key for us. There’s no need to brag about their achievements. Results will come and time will tell. Our focus is on the off-season and hard work.”

Yastremska has started her off-season in Dubai. She ends the year with a win-loss record of 15-12 and has made just over $486,000 in prize money.

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Karolina Pliskova hires Sascha Bajin as new coach

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Former world number 1 player Karolina Pliskova has hired German coach Sasha Bajin for the upcoming 2021 season. The Czech player has split up with Daniel Vallverdu. 

 

Under the guidance of Vallverdu Pliskova has not won a single title in 2020 but she reached her second final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, the tournament she won in 2019 beating Johanna Konta. This year she was forced to withdraw from the Rome final against Simona Halep due to an injury problem. 

Pliskova successfully defended her 2019 title in Brisbane and lost to Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in the third round of the Australian Open and was defeated by Elena Rybakina in the quarter finals in Dubai. She lost to Ons Jabeur in Doha. In her first tournament after the suspension due to the pandemic Pliskova was beaten by Veronika Kudemertova in the second round at the Western and Southern Open in New York. At the US Open Karolina was knocked out by Caroline Garcia in the second round. 

The Czech star lost in the first round in Ostrava after winning the first set. 

Bajin parted his ways with Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska in 2020. The Ukrainian player was not happy after Bajin praised Naomi Osaka, who beat Yastremska at the US Open. 

Pliskova introduced her new coaching team to her fans on Twitter. 

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WTA will change the names of tournament categories

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The WTA will change the names of its tournament categories to be in line with ATP, according to Spanish sports newspaper Marca. 

 

The Premier Mandatory tournaments (Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing) and Premier 5 tournaments (Doha, Rome, Rogers Cup in Canada, Cincinnati and Wuhan) will shift to 1000s. Premier tournaments will be renamed 500 tournaments under the new system. International events will change to 250 events. $125Ks will be renamed as 125-events. 

Points given to the winners might not be the same as the event level unlike the ATP tournaments. The WTA currently awards 1000 points, 900 points and 470 points.The WTA tournament in Madrid will extend by three days. It will be a 11-day event. 

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