Victoria Azarenka: Belarus Star Smart to Take Time off Until Wimbledon
After a disappointing French Open, Victoria Azarenka needs to take a break if she is going to rebound at Wimbledon.
And she knows it (via Roland Garros' official Twitter account).
Azarenka says she does not plan to play any tournaments before Wimbledon. #RG12— Roland Garros (@rolandgarros) June 3, 2012
That means no Eastbourne International.
The World No. 1 clearly has the talent to dominate women's tennis for the next decade. She's only 22 years old, but she has already won the Australian Open and advanced far in many other slams. She's strong and aggressive, and when she's on, Azarenka is tough to beat.
But that's not the problem.
Azarenka has both mental and physical issues.
The mental ones are often her undoing (via ESPN):
She is volcanic. Until this year's Australian Open—where she came back from a second-set drubbing in the semifinals to defeat Clijsters 6-4, 1-6, 6-3—Azarenka was the one who often cracked first. Smashed rackets, on-court tirades, cursing like a Minsk taxi driver. "My mind is never quiet," she says. "It is constantly thinking."
And when Azarenka isn't suffering these meltdowns, and she's not cursing out Maria Sharapova (see below), she's withdrawing or playing poorly because of injuries.
Most recently, the Belarus star was forced to withdraw from the Italian Open—the last preparation tournament for Roland Garros—because of a right shoulder injury.
It's not the sole reason she lost at the French, but sometimes being healthy is more important than getting in "practice" tournaments, especially for Azarenka.
Who is your early favorite for Wimbledon?
Just take a quick look over her match history as a professional, and you'll see how many times she has been forced to withdraw or retire.
Additionally, the tournaments have been piling up for Azarenka in the past few months. It's understandable that she is beginning to break down or feel the pressure.
Remember, she's still just 22.
In what is now her second-best finish at a slam, Azarenka made it to the semifinals at Wimbledon last year before losing to Petra Kvitova.
As long as she gets a few weeks of rest to assure she is full of health and, most importantly, passion (she almost retired last year), the world No. 1 will prove she deserves that spot in London.
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