Victoria Azarenka Indian Wells Masters 2022

‘It was a mistake’ – Victoria Azarenka regrets playing Miami Open after controversial retirement

Victoria Azarenka revealed that playing the Miami Open “was a mistake” and she feels as if she “shouldn’t have gone on the court” after abruptly retiring against 16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova.

In her Miami Open round of 32 tie, two-time Slam winner Azarenka retired at 2-6, 0-3 down in the second set to 16-year-old Czechian prospect Fruhvirtova, who has taken Miami by surprise.

During the match, Azarenka shouted up to her team “why am I here?” She then later called for a medical time-out despite no evident signs of injury.

However, before her trainer could arrive to assess her the Belarusian had already exited the court. This means World number 279 Fruhvirtova will progress to the round of 16 and will face World number six Paula Badosa.

The sudden and controversial retirement was branded “disrespectful” by former World number five Daniela Hantuchova, mainly for the lack reasoning behind her decision and the unsportsmanlike behaviour shown to her 16-year-old opponent.

In her post-match press conference, an emotional Fruhvirtova revealed Azarenka had been her childhood role model.

In a statement following her controversial retirement, Azarenka wrote “I shouldn’t have gone on the court today.

“The last few weeks have been extremely stressful in my personal life. Last match took so much out of me, but I wanted to play in front of a great audience as they helped me pull through my first match.

“I wanted to go out there and try but it was a mistake. I always look forward to the challenge and pressure of competition but today it was too much. I have to and will learn from this.”

Azarenka also appeared to be troubled at last week’s Indian Wells Masters as she broke down into tears against Elena Rybakina. Azarenka eventually went on to lose 3-6, 4-6.

She also deleted all of her social media platforms after her loss in the Californian desert.

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.