Victoria Azarenka Australian Open 2022

‘She needs a mental coach!’ – Victoria Azarenka upset by opponents gamesmanship

Victoria Azarenka accused her opening Qatar opponent Yulia Putintseva of gamesmanship when she called for medical attention and said “she needs a psychiatrist.”

Two-time Slam champion Azarenka overcame Putintseva in the first round of the Qatar Open, but the match was marred by tension.

As the tightly-fought encounter reached it’s conclusion and Azarenka was serving to remain in the game, Azarenka was aggrieved when her opponent called for medical attention.

In the deciding third set, Putintseva stormed into a 4-0 lead but Azarenka showed her resilience to battle back to 4-4. Putintseva then held to take it to 5-4 and as Azarenka was serving to keep her hopes alive, Putintseva requested her trainer.

This came after Putintseva smashed multiple rackets in disbelief at surrendering her commanding lead.

Tempers boiled over when Azarenka marched to the chair umpire to complain about the behaviour, she said “before my serve, she can do that. What’s the problem?

“She has to wait for me to serve, she threw her racket like seven times.

“She needs a mental coach, she needs a psychiatrist.”

Whilst Azarenka emerged victorious, the duo shared a cold post-match handshake and Azarenka’s frustrations continued to spill over into her post-match press conference.

Azarenka then followed up in her post-match press conference when she said “there was way too much stuff in this match. Unnecessary stuff as well.”

The pair have also come to blows in the past at the 2019 Grampians Trophy. Putintseva again smashed a racket and then completely refused to shake Azarenka’s hand.

After overcoming the circumstances and wrapping up her 500th career victory, Azarenka will face Madison Brengle in the second round.

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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.