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By Erik Gudris

Victoria Azarenka (January 10, 2013) -- World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka took time before attending the draw ceremony of the 2013 Australian Open to discuss her participation at the upcoming BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Scheduled for March 4th, the event will feature Azarenka along with Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro. The BNP Paribas Showdown is a part of World Tennis Day and "Tennis Night in America" and all will promote youth tennis participation.

Azarenka, who is defending champion in Melbourne, confirmed that she is feeling better after toe pain from a bad manicure caused her to withdraw from the Brisbane International last week. When asked about she will prepare to defend her title but also her number one ranking, Azarenka said, "I don't really want to defend anything. I'm here to win to try and win another title. That's how I look at it and will try to do the best from there."

After her last event in Istanbul at the WTA Year-End Championships, Azarenka participated in a lot of exhibitions and traveled quite extensively as she did the year before. She feels that helped her prepare for 2013.

"It was an interesting approach to be in a different place. But training season can be difficult sometimes when you are always training so it was good for me to change the scenery a bit. But the exhibitions were good to get some matches in-between. On the court I didn't spend that much time but I got everything I needed and I feel great.

Azarenka is looking forward to competing against Williams again in New York after their dramatic U.S. Open final that Williams won in three sets.

"I'm looking forward to having a great match. I hope the crowd enjoys it. I can't wait to be a part of this match because I've visited Madison Square Garden years ago also when it was under construction and was absolutely amazed. As a kid you watch you know all those events there, the concerts and the games and you dream about it so for me to actually be there will be a big honor."

Tennis Night in America  is an annual celebration of tennis that includes youth registration events at facilities around the country throughout March and is highlighted by the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden. In the 2013, the International Tennis Federation is taking this youth participation initiative to a global audience through World Tennis Day.

For more information about the event, visit

(Photo Credit: AFP/Patrick Kovarik)


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