Victoria Azarenka Biography

Tennis Player(1989–)
Victoria Azarenka is a Belarusian tennis player and Olympic gold medalist. She is also the first Belarusian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title.

Synopsis

Victoria Azarenka was born in 1989 in Minsk, Belarus. After learning to play tennis at age 7, she competed in her first professional match in 2003. Azarenka claimed her first Grand Slam title at the 2012 Australian Open, and went on to win a gold medal in mixed doubles at the 2012 Summer Olympics. In 2013, she captured her second consecutive Australian Open championship.

Early Life

Victoria Azarenka was born on July 31, 1989, in Minsk, Belarus. She has one brother, and her parents, Fedor and Alla, nicknamed her "Vika." Azarenka began playing tennis at age 7 when her mother, who was working at a tennis club at the time, handed her a racket and suggested she hit a ball against a wall to keep out of trouble. She was instantly hooked, and soon decided that she wanted to play professionally.

At age 15, Azarenka moved from Belarus to Scottsdale, Arizona, to train. She was aided by the famous NHL goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and his wife, who are friends of her mother's.

Athletic Career

Azarenka played the first match of her professional career in 2003. In 2005, she won the Junior Australian Open and the Junior U.S. Open, becoming the first Belarusian woman to be named an ITF junior world champion. That same year, she won her first ITF Women's Circuit title in Luxembourg. In 2006, Azarenka landed on the WTA's Top 100 list. Over the next few years, she continued to climb the rankings.

In 2009, Azarenka defeated Marion Bartoli to win the Brisbane International title. At the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, she became the sixth teenage female singles champion in the event's history after beating Serena Williams in the final.

Although Azarenka won the Bank of the West Classic in 2010, she had a difficult year overall. She retired from a number of games due to injuries, and at the U.S. Open, she collapsed on the court during her second-round match. She was diagnosed with a concussion she had sustained after tripping during a warm-up exercise and hitting her head on the ground. In 2011, Azarenka won the Sony Ericsson Open, and she climbed to No. 3 after the U.S. Open.

Azarenka started 2012 off strong, winning her ninth WTA title at Sydney, before defeating Maria Sharapova in the final of the Australian Open to win her first Grand Slam title. Her ranking jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 on January 30, 2012, making her the first player to skip the No. 2 slot on the way to No. 1. She also qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where she won the gold medal in mixed doubles with Max Mirnyi, as well as the bronze medal in women's singles.

Later that year, Azarenka was named the top seed at the U.S. Open. She made it to the final round in women's singles, but lost (2-6, 6-2, 5-7) to American Serena Williams, who was ranked No. 4 at the time.

Azarenka nabbed her second straight Australian Open title in January 2013, and went on to advance the final of U.S. Open later that year. However, the 2014 season proved a difficult one for the Belarusian star. Sidelined by a foot injury early in the year, she reached just one tournament final before announcing an early end to her season in September to let her body recuperate. 

Personal Life

Azarenka is known for the grunting noises she makes when hitting the ball. In 2010, she posed in a bikini for the French edition of FHM magazine.

Azarenka has dated professional tennis player Sergei Bubka Jr. and has been romantically linked to LMFAO singer-turned-solo artist Redfoo.

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