Victoria Azarenka says she "can resonate with Novak Djokovic" as she admits it took her 10 years to get over the cheating claims that were made against her following her 2013 Australian Open semifinal win over Sloane Stephens.
After missing out on five match points against Stephens, Azarenka took a medical timeout and left the court for nine minutes just as Stephens was preparing to serve. When Azarenka returned, she closed out the match but afterward was accused of "gamesmanship" and "cheating." At this year's Australian Open, Djokovic has been dealing with a hamstring injury.
But after Djokovic's 6-2 6-1 6-2 win over de Minaur, some have been questioning the legitimacy of Djokovic's injury.
Azarenka expresses support for Djokovic
“It was one of the worst things I have 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.
I can resonate with what Novak [Djokovic] said the other day, there is sometimes - I don't know - an incredible desire for a villain and a hero story that has to be written but we are not villains or heroes, we are regular human beings who go through so many things, and assumptions and judgements and all those comments are just s---.
Nobody is there to see the full story and it didn’t matter how many times I said my story, it did not cut through. it took me 10 f------ years to get over it and I am finally over that," Azarenka said, per Eurosport. Meanwhile, Azarenka has been through to her first Australian Open semifinal since 2013.
On Monday, Azarenka defeated third-seeded Jessica Pegula 6-4 6-1. In the Australian Open semifinal, Azarenka will be taking on Elena Rybakina. Azarenka will be playing Rybakina for the first time when they meet at Melbourne Park.