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Victoria Azarenka confirms plans for comeback during the 2017 US Open Series

Azarenka gave birth to her son three months ago.

News 26 Mar 2017, 16:57 IST
Victoria Azarenka
The 27-year-old recently hired Michael Joyce, former coach of Maria Sharapova

What's the story?

Much to the joy of tennis fans around the world, two-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka has announced her plans to come back to competition during the US Open Series in August this year. The Belarusian, who was on a sabbatical for her son’s birth, recently told the Tennis Channel that even though she has plans for a summer return, she is in no mood to rush things.

Currently, she is physically rebuilding her body and working on things that tennis players usually focus on in the off-season.

“My goal, for now, is to be ready for summer, the US Open Series, and we'll see where it goes. This is realistically where I want to start. Also if Leo is ready to travel the world, I want to be comfortable”, the new mom said, adding, “I don't want to rush anything. I've done it before after injuries and it didn't work out well.

“Even though it's a completely different story this time, I want to give myself the best opportunity. I don't call it a comeback. It's more a continuation of my career and going after my dreams and goals."

In case you didn't know...

Azarenka gave birth to a healthy baby boy Leo in mid-December. Since then she has been working hard to get back in shape in order to rejoin the Tour. The 27-year-old recently hired Michael Joyce, former coach of Maria Sharapova and a new fitness trainer with whom she has started training three weeks ago.

The heart of the matter

Azarenka made a grand start to the 2016 season, winning three titles that included the ‘Sunshine Double’ at Indian Wells and Miami, before revealing her pregnancy in July. Her impeccable form was reminiscent of her exploits in 2012 when she won her first Australian Open crown and went on a 26-match winning streak.

Azarenka has insisted that she intends to be better than that when she resumes competitive play. Her goal is to improve every facet of her game from serve to shot selection to movement and even shot technique. With the aim of making her game even stronger, she has already started adding more components under the supervision of Joyce. 

That is the only reason she is taking time to come back, Azarenka emphasised, pointing out that she wants to get back and be the best again.

What's next?

The US Open Series kicks off on July 31 at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford where Azarenka has been a former champion. That same week, the lower-tier Citi Open will be held in Washington DC parallely. The US Open Series then moves to Toronto for the Rogers Cup that begins on August 7.

It will be followed by the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati the very next week where the Belarusian has reigned supreme in 2013 with a stunning three-set victory over Serena Williams in the final. The Connecticut Open will be staged the following week with the Series culminating at the US Open – a tournament where Azarenka is a two-time runner-up – scheduled from August 28-September 10.

Author's take

With Maria Sharapova's impending return from suspension during the clay season and now Azarenka's comeback from her maternity leave, the WTA Tour is set to be pretty exciting in the next few months. Both of these former World No. 1s are known for their fighting spirit and tenacity which gives fans ample reason to look forward to seeing them back in competition again.

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