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Azarenka: I’ll always be an emotional player

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Originally published on: 27/06/12 00:00

The 22-year-old from Belarus won her first Grand Slam title at this year’s Australian Open, after which she went to the top of the world rankings, although Maria Sharapova has subsequently reclaimed the position.

“I’m always going to be an emotional player, there’s no doubt about it, because I play with my heart, with passion,” Azarenka said. “But the bad emotions are the ones I have to control – and I’ve been doing a much better job of that. There’s still a lot I think I can improve, especially off the court, but definitely on the court as well.

“Last year I definitely had a moment where I really had to decide – either I had to change something, to be better, to really give myself the best chance to be what I want to be, or just I have to let it go and stop. So I just decided to give myself the best chance, to be professional in everything that I do.”

Azarenka, who reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year, believes she is now more of a complete player. “ I have a better mind,” she said. “I have a clear mind when I go on court. I know what I’m doing. I know that it’s never going to be easy for me, it’s never going to be how I want it.

“Maybe before, when things didn’t happen how I wanted, I was like: ‘Oh my God, it’s not going my way, I don’t want to do it.’ But this year my approach, if it’s not going my way, is that I have to find a way to turn it around. It’s a different mentality, a different approach, and it all came with a lot of learning experience from a lot of matches last year. And I think the best way to learn is from your losses.”

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