WTA Mallorca, Vika Azarenka: “Being a mum is the best thing in the world”

There have been numerous mothers coming back at the top of the game on WTA in recent times, but that does not take away the remarkable effort from Vika Azarenka to be back on the tour so soon after her pregnancy. The former world number one is still a fighter and a champion as you can tell from her eyes as she speaks about goals, but she also admitted that things do get different when you are a mum.

It was obviously a disappointing loss,” she explained not long after the young Croatian hope Ana Konjuh defeated her 6-1 6-3: “but I think she started very well in the first two games and then I’ve had so many opportunities, like being 30-0 or 40-15 but I let her get back… those wasted opportunities are the reason of this score today: I didn’t have enough consistency, playing two good points and then two good ones. Those up and down have to get better and right now it is hard to find positives but I know I have to work hard from here to get back in the matches.

The quick surface and the power hitting of the 19 year old did not help her get back into the groove of the match, as she made it clear by talking about her opponent’s game: “I think my opponent played very well today and though I hope she will continue playing like this for the rest of the year, it really felt like it was one of those matches where everything was just going one way.

I think I am still not there in the matches and this will take time: my reaction is not there and so my adaptation like here when I went from someone who brings a lot of balls back to someone who basically closes her eyes and hits everything as hard as she can. It’s my own adjustment and it’s something I need to improve. As I said, the score is one thing, but if I took some of these opportunities it would be a different story.

Despite the high goals she is setting for her comeback and the pressure she knows will be on her shoulders, Azarenka knows she has to take her time and put things into perspective: “There’s a lot of things one can think, but I am trying not to think about them, about obstacles and how I can overcome them. I came back earlier than I wanted to, so at the moment everything that I do now is just a plus and it will be helping me on the long run so I gotta give me a little bit of time and not forget that I still need to improve.

I know that there will be a lot of expectations on my comeback compared to, I don’t know, Kim Clijsters, so I will just need to focus on my own way and if it takes longer, it takes longer; if it takes quicker, nobody knows. All I know is that I must keep positive and work hard, because I am a hard worker and I know I will get there eventually, I just need to be patient. I set my bar very high, but I know I will make it at some point.

After the first week on the WTA tour since giving birth to her son, she could talk about what is different as a mum in tennis: “On the tour particularly it is not that different because my son is not here with me on the tennis event, but in between it is different. It takes some adjustments for sure and it is good for me that I started to play earlier, because I am getting used to this and, really, being a mum is the best thing in the world, regardless of tennis matches.

The hardest job? I think it depends on your child, but I don’t see being a mum as a hard job, I mean, it is, but it is mostly a lot of pleasure… tennis as well, but after a day like this it does not feel so, while I’ll soon see my child so… (smiles).”


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