It has been a bittersweet fortnight for Victoria Azarenka.
A few months ago, the former US Open finalist was uncertain she would make the season’s final Grand Slam event, and even though she was able to return for her foot injury in time for the event, she exited the tournament in the quarter-final round after two consecutive finals appearances in the last two years.
The former world No. 1’s loss came at the hands of Ekaterina Makarova, who defeated the Belarusian 6-4, 6-2 to reach the final four in New York. The loss drops her out of the Top 20 in the world rankings for the first time in several years.
“Very disappointing,” Azarenka answered begrudgingly when asked about her emotions following her loss to Makarova. “How many times — like how do you feel? How do you think somebody will answer a question like that? Of course it is disappointing. It’s not about that you have been two times in the final before that’s going to make it better. It just is what it is today. It’s not the end of the world. It’s something I can take positive from this tournament, you know.
“Two months ago I didn’t even think that I was going to be able to play today. But, you know, trying to ask and put some kind of pressure like that with those questions I think is no point.”
While she was undoubtedly disappointed with her loss, Azarenka was able to take several positives from her fortnight in New York, including her general health improvement and that this was her best tournament since the Australian Open at the start of the season.
“It’s first time since Australian Open where I was able to play five matches during the tournament, so I can definitely take out the positive of this tournament. You know, whatever I have done on and off the court during practice I never give up on every single day. You know, I have been working really hard. I know that’s going to pay off. So today is just one of the days that I have to go through, and I’m going to go through it.”
So what is the plan now for the Belarusian? Azarenka expects to take part in the Asian Swing, where she will play tournaments in Wuhan and Beijing. Having plummeted in the WTA rankings, Azarenka’s main goal now is to play as many matches as possible.
“I’m going to play a tournament in Tokyo. I entered tournaments in Wuhan and Beijing. I’m going to try to play as much as I can in the end of the year.”