Victoria Azarenka said she was “struggling” following her early exit at the Australian Open, adding: “My confidence level is not there.”
An emotional Victoria Azarenka broke down in tears at the end of a news conference following her first-round loss to Laura Siegemund at the Australian Open, after discussing the “struggle” she is facing as she attempts to regain top form.
The women’s champion at Melbourne Park in 2012 and 2013, Azarenka has missed a significant chunk of the past three seasons due to injuries, the birth of her first child and a subsequent custody battle.
After losing in three sets to Siegemund on Tuesday, the former world number one cut a disconsolate figure as she addressed the media and reflected on a “s****y beginning of the season”.
When a reporter then asked Azarenka about the resilience she has shown in dealing with a number of challenges in recent years, the 29-year-old wept before fighting back further tears to reply: “I’ve been through a lot of things in my life and sometimes I wonder why I go through them, but I think they’re going to make me stronger.
“I want to believe that and I’m gonna work hard for it. Sometimes I just feel I need a little time and patience and a little support.”
Earlier in the news conference, Azarenka said: “I’m playing very good in practice and I’ve been doing a lot of great things in warm-ups, then in matches I think I’m underestimating [the impact] of not really playing for three years on a high level.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 15, 2019
“It’s not easy to just, out of nowhere, start playing well. I guess I need to continue to work hard and try to find solutions, but I’m struggling right now to do that.
“My confidence level obviously is not there … it’s a struggle at the moment. It’s not easy to sit here right now and be positive, but I don’t have a choice. You’ve got to keep going. It’s not going to stop me.
“I have to work hard. I have to find the solutions. It’s the beginning of the season; it’s a s****y beginning of the season for me, but it’s not the end of the year.
“I don’t think, sitting here today, I have failed. But I’m struggling. Failing is when you give up and you don’t try again, but I’m struggling. So if I’m going to continue to struggle to get out of that, if that’s what I have to do, that’s what I’m going to do.”