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Victoria Azarenka shares her fears while playing tennis, reveals having panic attacks in the past

Victoria Azarenka is the World No. 24
Victoria Azarenka is the World No. 24

After winning her Australian Open 2023 quarterfinal clash, Victoria Azarenka openly spoke about unpleasant experiences on the tennis court in the past and the importance of enjoying the process more than anything else.

The 24th-seeded Belarusian eliminated third-seed Jessica Pegula in their last-eight clash on Tuesday, 24 January, and reached the semifinals in Melbourne after ten years. Both of Azarenka's Grand Slam triumphs have come Down Under — in 2012 and 2013. The match that lasted one hour and 37 minutes saw her beat the top-ranked American 6-4, 6-1.

33-year-old Azarenka won 68% of the points on her first serve and broke her opponent as many as five times. She now leads 3-2 in the head-to-head against Pegula, who praised the winner for maintaining a high level throughout the match.

In a press conference, Azarenka described her battle with anxiety as well as her fear of losing and not being able to do what she loved.

"I feel like the tennis court triggers a lot of fears, a lot of anxiety," Victoria Azarenka said. "Fear of failing is a big one. To not be able to do what I want to do. So subconsciously, sometimes it stops you from doing it. I think the point of being uncomfortable is scary. I've had panic attacks before. For me to recognize the difference was a hard one."

When asked what she enjoyed the most on the court, Azarenka said that it was accepting whatever was happening and the process.

"Being able to accept everything that I'm going through. If I'm not playing well, I'm looking for a solution on how to overcome that, which in a lot of cases in the past, I would just react and be angry. I feel like I'm enjoying the process. It's such a cliche thing to say and a lot of people say that, but I mean it. Even if I said it in the past, I didn't really understand it fully. Now I do," she added.

"Leo doesn't really care that I'm playing here" - Victoria Azarenka on her son

Victoria Azarenka with her son at the 2022 Australian Open
Victoria Azarenka with her son at the 2022 Australian Open

In an on-court interview after winning the quarterfinals, Victoria Azarenka revealed that her six-year-old son, Leo, wasn't too thrilled about his mother playing at the Australian Open and wanted her to reach home as soon as possible.

"Leo doesn't really care so much that I'm playing here," she said. "He worries more about his football but obviously, he's watching some matches but he definitely wants his mom to be home. So few more days here and I'll be back."

Azarenka will take on Elena Rybakina in the semifinals on Thursday, 26 January.

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Edited by Advait Gangoli
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