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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday October 13, 2021


Victoria Azarenka is striving to create a more efficient version of herself, and the experiment is already paying dividends for the two-time Grand Slam champion.

Tennis Express

Azarenka spoke this week to WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen (see video above) about learning to become a more aggressive, efficient player. She believes that style of game suits her better at this phase of her career – based on her results this week at Indian Wells, where Azarenka improved to 32-8 lifetime at Indian Wells with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Jessica Pegula, that appears to be the case.

“I think it took a while for me to understand maybe I need to implement some new changes in my game because I've been pretty successful with my game over the years,” Azarenka said after her 6-3, 6-4 round of 16 win over compatriot Aliaksandra Sasnovich. “I'm trying to be a little bit more aggressive. The game is faster. There's not that many rallies. Trying to use that into my advantage as well.”


Azarenka admits that it is a tricky dilemma she faces. She’s been successful across her career, and even last year enjoyed a rebirth on the big stage where she reached a Grand Slam final at the US Open, marking her first appearance that deep in a Slam in seven years. So there isn’t exactly an impetus for drastic change, but the Belarusian, wanting to squeez more out of her game, decided she wanted to excel in the "ten percent" of matches that she struggled in, hence the altered approach.

“I want to change those kind of 10 percent where I need a little bit extra,” she said. “I think it takes a certain understanding. I think when you are successful and you've been to the highest of the top, sometimes the ego is a bit hard to over-talk. I think for me I feel like it's just a natural process of awareness that comes together.”

Azarenka will face Jelena Ostapenko on Friday for a spot in the final at Indian Wells since 2016.


The 2012 and 2016 BNP Paribas Open champoion says that she aims to shorten points incrementally, and she believes it will help her from a physical perspective as well. It’s yet another inspiring iteration of a player who has constantly evolved during her career, both from a personality perspective and as a player.

“I think the court coverage and taking maybe less shots to win the point, that's something that is important for me to improve,” she said. “I think on the baseline, counterattacking, having high intensity, that's something that worked really well for me. It doesn't necessarily work all the time. It's more demanding. I'm looking for things that I can implement that will make it a bit easier for me.

“I'm also not in the beginning of my career to grind every match. It's not necessarily tougher physically, but from one match to another it adds up. I'm looking how I can be more efficient as a player.”

 

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