Victoria Azarenka addresses power outage outburst, fires warning to Elena Rybakina

Azarenka overcame a 45-minute power outage delay to beat Yulia Putintseva and set up Miami semis against Rybakina.

by Dzevad Mesic
Victoria Azarenka addresses power outage outburst, fires warning to Elena Rybakina
© Getty Images Sport - Al Bello

Victoria Azarenka regretted her Miami Open outburst over a power outage as the 34-year-old Belarusian admitted that she should have done better. 

On Tuesday, two-time Grand Slam champion Azarenka took on 68th-ranked Yulia Putintseva in the Miami quarterfinal. 

Early in the first set with Putintseva leading 2-1 and serving while 30-0 up in the game, chair umpire Marija Cicak stopped play over a pretty bizarre reason. 

After Cicak gathered with the players to explain that the scoring system nor the microphone was working, former world No. 1 Azarenka didn't look impressed at all and proceeded to ask why they played two points in the game. 

"This is pathetic, absolutely pathetic," Azarenka was heard saying.

After checking with the people in charge, Cicak learned that there was "a power failure" upstairs. The match was stopped for 45 minutes before the play continued and Azarenka completed a 7-6 (4) 1-6 6-3 win in two hours and 55 minutes of play. 

Azarenka: My reaction was not the best 

When the first set continued, Azarenka got the break back in the sixth game but dropped her serve again in the ninth game. But again, Azarenka managed to get the break back again after saving three set points in the 10th game and ultimately force a tie-break, in which she converted her fourth set point to steal the opening set from Putintseva. 

Azarenka then easily lost the second set but bounced back in the third set by breaking Putintseva twice to seal a win and reach the semifinal. 

"Well, my reaction was not the best. I thought it was -- obviously in that moment where you're playing a match, you're like, okay, you need to stop, how long you need to stop for? I have no idea. It's not an easy definitely thing to handle," Azarenka said.

"The power went out. Apparently there was Hawk-Eye working but nothing else was working.

"Yeah, it was a first one that happened to me, so it seems to -- hopefully it doesn't happen again through the tournament. As I said, it's quite challenging to kind of, do you wait, do you warm up, do you sit on the court? No one knows what's happening. I think that was probably the most confusing part."

Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka© Getty Images Sport - Al Bello

Azarenka's warning to Elena Rybakina, young players

After beating 29-year-old Putintseva, Azarenka is now set to battle against 24-year-old Rybakina for a place in the Miami final. So far, Rybakina has already beaten a couple of young players in Miami as her run to the semifinal includes wins over 22-year-old Peyton Stearns, 21-year-old Zheng Qinwen, and 27-year-old Katie Boulter. 

Although 34-year-old Azarenka - now ranked at No. 32 in the world - is not anymore considered one of the top players in the game, she is still aiming for titles and determined prove to the younger generation that she is still here.

“There’s a lot of new players that are on the tour and you have to figure out how they play. The young girls are fearless," Azarenka said on Tennis Channel after beating Putintseva.

“One thing about my career is I always try to evolve myself. On court, off court, fitness wide… The feeling that I still have potential and I can improve this or that.

“That, for me, is a big motivator. I’ve had a great career, but the feeling that I still have potential is exciting. Once I feel like there is no way up, that will be the end of me and you won’t see me again.

“I want to play the top girls, I want to be in the late stages of tournaments. To play the average third round, fourth round, that’s not exciting to me.”

Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka© Getty Images Sport - Al Bello

After making it perfectly clear that she is still hungry for success, Azarenka - who will be turning 35 in July - also revealed that she has been drawing inspiration from Novak Djokovic. Djokovic, 36, enjoyed an astonishing 2023 season as he made all four Grand Slam finals - won three Slams to become the first man with 24 Majors - and also became the first player in tennis history with 400 weeks at the top spot. 

“I try to get inspiration from Novak. He looks like he’s still 19 years old," Azarenka said.

“I don’t feel like 34. I don’t feel like I’ve played 20 years on tour. Sometimes when you wake up in the morning, the body lets you know.”

Victoria Azarenka and Novak Djokovic
Victoria Azarenka and Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Graham Denholm

Meanwhile, Azarenka is set for her third meeting versus Rybakina. Going into the match, Rybakina owns a perfect 3-0 head-to-head against Azarenka as the Kazakh has yet to lose a set against the Belarusian.

Victoria Azarenka Elena Rybakina Yulia Putintseva