‘Big tournaments always motivate me,’ Victoria Azarenka warns Indian Wells rivals
Victoria Azarenka, the only woman left in the Indian Wells draw that knows the feeling of winning a WTA 1000 event, has warned rivals that big tournaments bring the best out of her.
The Belarusian overcame Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-2 in her quarter-final to set a meeting with 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko in the last four.
Among the semi-finalists of herself, Ostapenko, Ons Jabeur and Paula Badosa, only Azarenka has a WTA 1000 title to her name.
In fact, she has 10 , including two at Indian Wells in 2012 and 2016. She defeated Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams respectively in those finals.
When asked what she enjoys about playing the event in California and why she has had such success there, Azarenka had this to say.
“I feel like I’ve always liked playing big tournaments,’ the 32-year-old began in her press conference after the quarter-finals. “Indian Wells is almost like the fifth Grand Slam.
“So, I’ve always had a lot more motivation coming to tournaments like this. I said that earlier, when we come here every year, you sometimes take it for granted.
“Then, two and a half years later, I feel like I actually forgot how beautiful this place is and how fun it is to play here.”
After being cancelled in 2020 and postponed this year, Indian Wells is taking place for the first time since March 2019.
“But game-wise, conditions are pretty tricky here,” Azarenka continued. “So, it’s a lot about adjustment and navigating through the weeks. It’s a two-week event, so it takes a lot of focus, a lot of energy out of you.”
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