Sloane Stephens Victoria Azarenka Jessica Pegula Australia Belarus county Park city Melbourne, county Park rowing Sloane Stephens Victoria Azarenka Jessica Pegula Australia Belarus county Park city Melbourne, county Park

Victoria Azarenka: Criticism from last Australian semi took 10 years to get over

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independent.co.uk

Victoria Azarenka said it has taken her 10 years to get over the criticism she faced following her last Australian Open semi-final after finally making it back to the last four.The Belarusian defeated Jessica Pegula 6-4 6-1 in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park on Tuesday and is putting together her best run since winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.The second of those proved controversial, with Azarenka taking a long medical time-out after failing to serve out a semi-final win over Sloane Stephens, who was then only 19.Azarenka broke in the next game to clinch victory and told the crowd: “I almost did the choke of the year.

I just felt a little bit overwhelmed realising that I’m one step from the final and nerves got into me for sure.”Azarenka later said she had pain in her chest and took the medical time-out for that reason but she faced a barrage of criticism for her actions before going on to defeat Li Na in the final.Asked about the incident, a fired-up Azarenka said: “It was one of the worst things that I’ve ever gone through in my professional career, the way I was treated after that moment, the way I had to explain myself until 10.30pm at night because people didn’t want to believe me.“There is sometimes, I don’t know, an incredible desire for a villain and a hero story that has to be written.

But we’re not villains, we’re not heroes, we are regular human beings that go through so many, many things.“Assumptions and judgments, all those comments, are just s**t because nobody’s there to see the full story.

It didn’t matter how many times I said my story, it did not cut through.“I was thinking about it. It took me 10 f***ing years to get over it.

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