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Profile of Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka was born on the 31 July 1989, in the town of Minsk, Belarus. When she was growing up, her father, Fedora Azarenka, and mother, Alla Azarenka, nicknamed her ‘Vika’. Her mother was a tennis coach at the local tennis club, in Belarus. To keep Azarenka out of mischief, her mother gave her a racket and ball and encouraged her to play against the wall. It wasn’t long before she participated in her first tennis game on a real court. With constant practice Azarenka was developing her skill as a tennis player, as she practiced late into the evening. It was now her mother who was telling her off for arriving home late in the evening.
Deciding to follow her dreams of one day becoming a professional tennis player, Azarenka immigrated to Scottsdale, Arizona. At the age of fifteen, she was coached by a famous NHL goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and his wife. Khabibulin and his wife were already friends with Azarenka’s mother, who encouraged her daughter to immigrate to Arizona as the climate meant she was able to train more often.
In 2003, Azarenka turned professional and played her first tennis game, making grunting noises for which she would become well known for every time she hit the ball. Two years later she won the Junior Australian and the Junior Open USA. Now an ITF Junior World champion, it was the first time in the ITF history that a Belorussian woman had won the title. In Luxemburg, she won the ITF Women's Circuit title in the same year. For the next four years, Azarenka continued to win more tennis tournaments, emerging as a promising tennis player. In 2009, was a promising year for her when she won the WTA tournament at the start of the year. She beat Marion Bartoli later on in the season and won the Brisbane International title. Azarenka dispatched her rival Serena Williams in the Sony Erickson, Miami open, becoming only the sixth woman to win the tournament. In 2010, Azarenka decided to drop out of a number of tournaments due to a number of injuries. When her head hit the ground during the warm up, she sustained a concussion injury at the US Open and collapsed in the seventh game. In 2011, after rebounding from a disappointing previous year in the sport, she managed to win the US Open. 2012 would prove to be a promising year as she achieved number three in the world rankings. Starting the year in Sydney she won the WTF title for the ninth time in a row. In her first Gland Slam at the Australian Open, she achieved a noticeable win over Maria Shapnova. At the London Olympic Games, she won gold in the mixed doubles with Max Mirnyi, and bronze in the single women’s tennis. Her win was even more significant as it was the first time a Belarus woman had won medals at the Olympic Games. At the US Open in the same year, she reached the finals only to be beaten by her old rival Williams. At Wimbledon this year Azarenka was playing in the opening game against Maria Joao Koehler, when suddenly she shrieked in horror when she fell on her knee. Despite her injury, she managed to play on beating her opponent.