"It took me 10 f*cking years to get over it" - Victoria Azarenka recalls Sloane Stephens controversy at Australian Open 2013

Victoria Azarenka recalls Sloane Stephens controversy at Australian Open 2013
Victoria Azarenka recalls Sloane Stephens controversy at Australian Open 2013

Victoria Azarenka, who is through to the semifinals of the 2023 Australian Open, has called out those who accused her of cheating 10 years ago.

Azarenka was up against America's Sloane Stephens in the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open. After taking the first set 6-1, Azarenka struggled towards the end of the second set and failed to convert five match points.

She then left the court, but spectators saw her medical timeout as an excuse to disrupt Stephens' rhythm.

Azarenka later revealed that she experienced unbearable pain in her ribs at the time, and had difficulty breathing. She went on to beat Stephens (6-1,6-4) before winning the final against Li Na, to become a two-time Grand Slam winner.

The 33-year-old Belarusian defeated Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the Melbourne Major on Tuesday. In her post-match press conference, she was asked about the incident in 2013.

"It was one of the worst things that I've ever gone through in my professional career, the way I was treated after that moment, the way I had to explain myself until 10:30 p.m. at night because people didn't want to believe me," Victoria Azarenka said.

The 24th-ranked player added that she had finally moved past it and didn't care about others' judgments anymore. She declared that she was "at peace" with herself and did not, therefore, want any validation from others.

"It took me 10 (expletive) years to get over it. I finally am over that. I've been called that I'm cheating, that I'm faking, that I was trying to throw people off their game. It's everything that is so wrong about my character if somebody actually knows me. Now I just don't care. I am more and more confident in what I know about myself, and I'm at peace with that."

Victoria Azarenka hails Andrey Rublev for his win in Australian Open 2023 R4

Victoria Azarenka during the 2023 Australian Open
Victoria Azarenka during the 2023 Australian Open

In his fourth-round clash on January 23, Andrey Rublev defeated Holger Rune 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(9) to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals for the second time in his career. The 25-year-old saved two match points and fought back from 0-5 in the deciding set tie-break to set up a last eight clash against Novak Djokovic.

Much like the rest of the tennis world, Victoria Azarenka was impressed by Rublev's performance and took to social media to congratulate him.

"The nicest and pure hearted person @AndreyRublev97. Way to fight," Azarenka tweeted.

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Edited by Arshit Garg
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