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Azarenka buoyed by Mauresmo link-up

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Originally published on: 15/05/12 00:00

Mauresmo joined Azarenka’s entourage as a consultant for the first time last week in Madrid, where the 22-year-old Belarusian reached the final before losing to Serena Williams.

“It went great,” said Azarenka (who won't be joined by Mauresmo in Rome this week). “It was our first tournament working together. I had a good result and she was also happy. The most important thing was that the communication was there. She fits well into our team. From my side it was a great experience and we'll see each other again in Paris [at the French Open], so it was good.”

Mauresmo, a former world No.1, retired three years ago after a career in which she won 25 singles titles, including both Wimbledon and the Australian Open. She has been doing commentary work for French television but also had a spell working with Michael Llodra’s coaching team.

Azarenka revealed that recruiting Mauresmo to her entourage – which already has one French member in her physiotherapist, Jean-Pierre Bruyere – had been the idea of her coach, Sam Sumyk. “He's known her for a long time,” Azarenka said. “I’ve known Amelie as a player too and I have a lot of respect for her. I think our careers have a lot of similarities in the way we organise our teams, so that was the main key.”

In seven tournaments so far this year Azarenka has reached six finals. She won in Sydney, Melbourne, Doha and Indian Wells before suffering defeats in Stuttgart (to Maria Sharapova) and Madrid (to Williams). The only tournament in which she failed to reach the final was in Miami, where Marion Bartoli beat her in the quarter-finals.

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