Victoria Azarenka defends Novak Djokovic after Serb receives criticism for his behavior as a 6-year-old

Victoria Azarenka wonders at 6-year-old Novak Djokovic
Victoria Azarenka wonders at 6-year-old Novak Djokovic's tennis skills

Belarusian tennis pro Victoria Azarenka heaped praise on Novak Djokovic after a childhood video of the Serb came to light ahead of his fourth-round clash against Alex de Minaur at Rod Laver Arena.

In a video that is almost three decades old, a six-year-old Djokovic can be seen in action on the tennis court, even getting angry at one point for missing a shot. When a fan tweeted the video with a caption pointing out Djokovic's anger as a kid, Azarenka took to social media to defend the 35-year-old.

She wrote:

"Or……maybe look at how unbelievable he is at 6 years old. That can work too no?"
Or……maybe look at how unbelievable he is at 6 years old. That can work too no?…

Djokovic began playing tennis at the age of four after his parents gave him a mini-racket and a soft foam ball, which his father claimed became "the most beloved toy in his life". As a six-year-old in the summer of 1993, the Serb was sent to a tennis camp overseen by Yugoslav tennis player Jelena Gencic.

At the age of 14, Djokovic began his international career by winning European championships in singles, doubles, and team competitions.

The World No. 4 will be in action on Monday (January 23) for his fourth-round clash against De Minaur. Meanwhile two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka, who reached the quarterfinals with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 defeat of China's Zhu Lin, will face Jessica Pegula for a place in the semifinals.

Alex de Minaur stands between Novak Djokovic and a spot in Australian Open 2023 quarterfinals

Novak Djokovic in action at the 2023 Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic in action at the 2023 Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic is chasing a record-extending 10th Australian Open title and a 22nd singles Major crown this week.

The Serb has dropped just one set so far at this year's Australian Open. While Melbourne Park has been a happy hunting ground for Djokovic, this year's campaign has come with its challenges.

He has been hampered by a hamstring injury that has required treatment throughout the first week of the tournament. The injury has looked worse with each passing match, and Djokovic even needed treatment twice during his straight-sets win over Grigor Dimitrov in the third round.

Next up for the former World No. 1 is a quarterfinal clash against home favorite Alex de Minaur. It will not be an easy task as the Aussie has been in fine form lately.

De Minaur came into the tournament on the back of a convincing win against Rafael Nadal at the United Cup, and has dropped only one set in Melbourne so far.

The two players, interestingly, have not met on the ATP tour to date.

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Edited by Anirudh
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