World Number 2 Victoria Azarenka (Player Profile) believes the gap between her and Serena Williams (Player Profile) is narrowing, despite more brutal losses at the hands of the US powerhouse this season.
After coming runner up yet again to Williams at the US Open this year, Azarenka claimed that “It’s been really noticeable, the gap from last year we had in the matches has minimised.” Pointing to her two victories over the World Number 1 this year, Azarenka stated “I’ve beaten her twice this year. No one else has done that” but continued to be shrewd in her praise of the record-breaking Grand Slam champ by saying “It’s just exciting to be in the era of somebody and competing with somebody who is considered the best ever and being their toughest opponent.”
Many tennis fans will claim the opposite however; as Azarenka’s head-to-head record against Williams is still a very one-sided 3-13. A fact that doesn’t really give much credence to her comment that comparisons between her and Williams are “like comparing Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather”.
The Belarusian’s positive mental attitude towards the player who some believe to be the greatest female tennis player in the modern era is admirable, however. Despite her bruising 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 loss at Flushing Meadows, Azarenka termed it a “learning experience” and was determined not to dwell on it by being “over it the next day.“I have a 24-hour rule, win or lose. You have to get up and keep going.”
Despite the headline grabbing comments and displaying the grit that’s brought the 24-year old to the very top of the WTA rankings, Azarenka is well aware that Williams is still not ready to hand over her crown no matter how close the two-time Australian Open champ nips at her heels – “Serena is always improving…This is the beauty of the competition. It’s a healthy competition and you have to rise to the occasion and really step it up (to) the next level if you want to be up there. Serena’s still not done.”