Flushing Meadows, NY – Everyone loves a party girl.
Or at least one that seems to be enjoying herself.
And for the last two years, Victoria Azarenka has become the fan favorite at the US Open.
“I think my personality comes out across a little bit more,” she said. “I don’t feel shy anymore as much as I did maybe before. I feel like it’s important to just show who you are. I’m never afraid who I am. I like to have fun. I like to joke around. I’m trying to be a little bit of a comedian sometimes.
When I go to the interviews or when I am with the fans or something I should be the same way as I am around my people, because they are all laughing with me all the time. I’m just making them laugh all the time. That’s what I try to bring out more and feel more comfortable. And it feels so much natural right now for me that I enjoy it.”
Great and now after 6-4, 6-2 dismantling of Flavia Pennetta, Azarenka is in the Finals again at the US Open, looking to avenge her loss last year to Serena Williams.
Azarenka is an interesting story. She went from one of the faceless Russian players, who dominate the pack to one of the more fun personalities.
And even more, her game has improved, even from last year. Now the 24 year-old feels she is better mentally able to play in these high level matches.
“Difference between last year I think in the game, it hasn’t changed tremendously. There are aspects that got better physically. Mentally I felt like it was a great turning point for me on some level for my career. You know, just really good experience.
“I feel like I’m a better player. I’m a more complete player. You know, that’s what you aim for after one year of work. So in terms of that, I’m pretty pleased.”
And it shows. She won the last two Australian Opens and went to last year’s Open final. Now, she needs to break through in Flushing.
Of course it’s going to come against her buddy, Serena, someone she knows well and had her number recently.
“It’s tough to say. I think that, you know, the battles that we had, it was really just taking each other out of the most comfortable zone and just fight for every ball,” Azarenka said. “Because, you know, we know each other pretty well. You know, I know her strengths; she knows my strengths. That’s what it’s all about, about those turning points, who wants it more, who’s willing to go for it more. It’s a bunch of combinations.”
Those combos will be on display on Sunday when she takes on Williams. It will be a tough match to say the least, and Azarenka knows it will be a battle.
“You’ve got to fight,” she said. “You know, you’ve got to run, you’ve got to grind, and you’ve got to bite with your teeth for whatever opportunity you have. She’s obviously an amazing player. She’s the greatest of all time.”
So much so, if Azarenka does win she may sing and dance on the court.
“Singing in public?” she thought. “I do sing in public, actually. I do dance in public. It was just the other day ‑‑ two nights ago we were dancing in the garden here.”
And in two nights she might be doing it again as Open champion.