Victoria Azarenka biography
Victoria Azarenka was born in 1989 in Minsk, Belarus. She began playing tennis at age 7, and played her first professional match in 2003. She landed on the WTA top 100 in 2006 and nabbed her first Grand Slam title in 2012. At the 2012 Olympics in London, Azarenka won the gold medal in mixed doubles with Max Mirnyi, and the bronze medal in women's singles. In 2012, Azarenka made it to the final round of the US Open, but lost American Serena Williams.
Victoria Azarenka was born on July 31, 1989 in Minsk, Belarus. She has one brother, and her parents Fedor and Alla Azarenka nicknamed her "Vika." Azarenka began playing tennis at age 7 when her mother, who was working at the tennis club at the time, handed her a racket and suggested she hit a ball against a wall to keep her entertained and out of trouble. She was instantly hooked, and soon decided that she wanted to play professionally.
At age 15, she 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.
Azarenka played the first game of her professional career in 2003. In 2005, she won the Junior Australian Open and the Junior US Open, becoming the first Belorussian 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 in the ranks.
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, 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 US Open, she collapsed on the court in the seventh game. She was diagnosed with a concussion that she 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 US Open.
Azarenka started 2012 off strong, winning her ninth WTA title at Sydney, then defeating Maria Sharapova in the finals at 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. Azarenka's win was the first tennis medal ever for earned for Belarus.
Later that year, Azarenka was named the top seed of the US Open. There, 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 seemed to be set for success at the start of the 2013 US Open, beating France's Alize Cornet 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-2, in the third round of the tournament.
"The dynamic of the match was a little bit weird for me," Azarenka said afterward, according to ABC News. "I felt like I didn't take my opportunities in the first set, which was kind of a waste and it gave her a lot of confidence, and she really came up with the great shots when she needed with the big serves. I'd actually never seen her serve like that before, so that's definitely a big improvement from her side."
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 been dating professional tennis player Sergei Bubka Jr. since 2011. Both are based in Monaco.