Victoria Azarenka is a professional tennis player from Belarus. She is known for her powerful baseline game as well as the extremely loud grunting noises she makes when hitting the ball!
Powerful Groundstrokes And High Intensity!
Victoria was born in 1989 in Minsk. She started playing Tennis at the age of 7 and became one of the world’s best junior tennis players.
In 2005 she won the Junior Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and US Open and finished that year as the number one ranked junior in the world!
As a professional so far she has won 7 WTA Tour titles and is currently at her career high ranking position of number 4 in the world.
Career highlights so far have been winning two titles at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami in 2009 and 2011.
She has not had great success in the Grand Slams though. Her best results so far are quarterfinal appearances at the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon.
Let’s break down her game in the context of the four areas of Tennis!
Victoria has great powerful groundstrokes. From the baseline she can beat anybody in the world on a good day!
Azarenka hitting some of her great groundstrokes in practice
Watch how slowly she is warming up!
Victoria Azarenka hits a solid forehand achieving most of the key body positions necessary!
Her racket moves from high to low to high again and she gets good depth by extending well out towards the target.
One thing to note about her forehand though is that she takes a rather big swing with the racket up very high in the beginning. This I believe is the reason why there have been times where her forehand was a bit shaky. The big swing does not leave her too much time when fast balls come to her forehand which can result in contacting the ball late.
Overall a solid but not great forehand!
To learn more about the key body positions for great tennis strokes visit the Tennis Video Instruction page on this website!
Like so many female professional players, Azarenka has a great two-handed backhand.
The backhand is certainly her best shot
from a technical standpoint!
Her preparation is very good with a quick unit turn to get the racket and body in position for the forward swing. She then swings on an inside-out path to contact and gets great extension through contact. This of course results in some really penetrating shots.
Overall a great backhand!
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Azarenka does not hit a very good slice backhand. She rarely uses it and when she does she really chops down on the ball which makes the ball sit up. With her two-handed topspin shot being her best shot it is understandable that she does not use it that much of course.
Since she is not one of the best movers on the tour though, developing a good defensive slice should be one of her main goals in my opinion though!
Victoria is not a great net player. She uses a two-handed backhand volley which severely limits her reach around the net. She does hit good swing volleys to finish off points though.
Azarenka has a rather weak serve for a top player!
She does not have a very fluid service motion. Great servers gradually increase their swing speed throughout the motion.
Azarenka starts off really fast with her arm, then slows down to almost a complete stop and finally accelerates again. She looses a lot of power that way!
The Azarenka Serve: Not A Good Service Rhythm!
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Azarenka knows her strengths and weaknesses well. She knows that she is not a great mover and therefore tries to get on offense early on in the rally.
She plays her best Tennis when she is dictating the point from the baseline making her opponents run a lot!
Additionally she does a good job at taking time away from her opponents by taking balls early or hitting swing volleys. Overall her tactics are solid and match her abilities well!
Even though Azarenka is known to be a hard worker, movement is not really one of her strengths!
She usually gets in big trouble if she is not in charge of the point. Her first step is not quick enough and overall her defensive skills are not nearly as good as those of players like Caroline Wozniacki or Kim Clijsters for example.
She does usually fight for every ball though and she also takes plenty of small adjustment steps when necessary. Therefore I believe the problem is not a lack of effort or training, it is more a result of the fact that she simply does not have a very quick first step!
Check out this clip of her during a training day
Victoria Azarenka is known to be extremely ambitious and serious about her Tennis!
It shows in practice where she has really high intensity and doesn’t joke around much. She seems to have a bit of a killer instinct and this seriousness is certainly something that has helped her get to where she is. At the same time though it is also her weakness.
This kind of serious attitude often goes together with very high expectations and can quickly lead to self-destructing frustration when you do not meet your expectations!
This is probably the reason why Victoria Azarenka is not exactly known for being a mentally strong player even though she is a fighter on the court. In the past she has lost her head in quite a few matches and is known to display somewhat of a bad temper when things aren’t going her way. She will get upset at fans or the umpire and let things like that distract her from playing her best Tennis.
Recently she mentioned in interviews that she has improved in this area and is enjoying Tennis more. One of the keys to playing your best Tennis is to not care too much about winning and losing and simply focus on the task at hand, which is always the next point.
Hopefully she can continue to improve in this area. That should help her a lot towards greater success in the majors!
Here is my ranking for Victoria Azarenka:
Victoria still has a lot of room for improvement in her tennis game.
First and foremost she needs to
become a mentally stronger player!
She gets distracted by unimportant things like arguments with umpires and/or fans and she most likely is too focused on winning rather than simply trying her best and having some fun out there.
Azarenka also needs to improve her serve!
She doesn’t get many free points with her first serve and her second serve is often too weak against the top players. This serve problem is of course a result of technique that needs to be improved. The number one goal should be to develop a service motion that is more fluid!
Last but not least Azarenka should continue to work on improving her explosiveness around the court.
There is a limit to what you can achieve here but she certainly needs to try everything possible to maximize this area of her game as well!