Victoria Azarenka is back to the game of tennis. After an extended break due to childbirth, the star is back to where it all began.
She was pictured in Belarus at the wall – that was her tennis ‘companion’ – alongside her infant son and a new coach.
The wall is at the tennis facility in Minsk at a small gym. Azarenka trained there a short walk from her parent’s two bedroom apartment. Her mother used to work at the tennis centre so she got the opportunity to train there.
“It was the best hitting partner, because it never misses, never complains, she said.
“I started with 40 kids hitting against the wall, and if you missed, you had to wait five minutes to hit another ball. So you made sure you didn’t miss,” she added, recalling fond memories of the wall.
The former World No. 1 is determined to take her place in the game after taking a break. Alongside her coach Michael Joyce and her son, she says she is keen on achieving her “full potential.” Though she admits that she would have to start from scratch, she has resisted tagging it a ‘comeback.’
After more than a year from the game, she would have no ranking ahead of the hard court tournament in July. She would get entry but no seeding into tournaments. She would be allowed a return to eight tournaments, including two Grand Slams.
The funny thing is as she is returning Serena Williams is embarking on a similar journey, following confirmation of her pregnancy. The top tennis star said she would only return to the game next year, and that’s if she returns at all. Azarenka has always crashed to Williams. A two-time Grand Slam winner herself, she stands to benefit from Williams’ absence but there are many more sharks in the water.