(Ladies, gentlemen and those living in the muddy middle I give you Fierce Tennis' own Bárbara Galiza...take it away, girl.)
How do I begin to explain Victoria Azarenka? She’s flawless. She’s never punched me in the face, but she has been accused of calling other opponents ‘fucking bitches’. And she does WTA commercials in Belarus. Okay, maybe that’s enough to describe her, sure.
If you follow tennis (if not, what are you doing here...oh, you’re here for the hot boys...huh...just skip this post then) you know Azarenka has the lovely personality of a time bomb. If you need that extra spice in your life and you think a drug habit is too expensive to maintain, being a Victoria Azarenka fan is a good option. It’s fun, really. Being a fan of her means you’ll be equally surprised if she loses first round to a qualifier or takes the title without losing a set. It’s a gamble without the risk of losing your car.
Azarenka is going to Roland Garros as one of the top favorites. I mean, at least that’s what I’ve heard the serious journalists on Twitter say. Killer backhand!!! Regular groundstrokes!!! Moves into attack effortlessly!!!! Adorable dimple!!!! Wait, no, the last one was me. Sorry.
Last year during the clay season, Azarenka nurtured a leg injury and had, well, less than average results. In Paris, she fell first round to Gisela Dulko in straights. She only accumulated 211 points during that span (she has a total of 5425 points currently). As a blind, delusional fan, I totally think she can be a threat on the Parisian clay - she has the tennis. If I'm being honest, though, it’s not that special head of hers that worries me. It’s her luck. For me, Azarenka lacks the luck. Badly.
She’s had a few absurdly stupid things happen in crucial moments of her career. In 2009’s Australian Open, she was up a set on Serena Williams when she had to retire. The cause? Ate something bad and nearly fainted. Last year, at the U.S. Open, she retired again – after actually fainting. In the warm-up, she fell while running on the treadmill and hit her head. Sense a pattern? Bad luck and likes fainting.
She’s in great form right now and can actually beat anyone when she’s “on”. In 2009’s Roland Garros, when Dinara was playing the tennis of her life – before that mess of a final – Azarenka showed what she could do on clay. She didn’t win, but she played one of those flawless sets (one unforced error only) where she pounded and pounded the ball – and it still landed inside the court.
Azarenka has said herself she's matured. She tries not to take herself too seriously on court. I still think she can improve on it. You need to be a perfectionist in every sport, but a line needs to be drawn where you don’t go insane after every mistake. If she can truly get past errors, keep her head in the right place and not get injured then she can do this.
The field in Paris is dismantled: The Williams sisters are out, Kim Clijsters is injured and last year’s finalists - champ Francesca Schiavone and Sam Stosur - aren’t playing well. But there are still a lot of worthy opponents and players that should be considered favorites before Azarenka. Do you want to ask Maria Sharapova how much she wants to complete a Career Slam or how much longer Caroline Wozniacki wishes to be a Slam-less number one? This isn't just any tournament - it’s a major. There are 128 players in the draw and Azarenka is just one of them. All other 127 want just as much to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen trophy.
Last week, she injured her wrist in the Rome quarterfinals (it doesn’t seem to be very serious) and has less than a week to get healthy and give it her all at Roland Garros. She can do damage on clay and owns the tennis to conquer a Grand Slam. Is it going to be in the next two weeks? Well, I don’t have a fucking crystal ball, do I? But if I had to bet, I’d go with the Russian giant. Sports never go my way.
Bárbara Galiza writes the blog Fierce Tennis.
[Photo(s): Getty Images]