01 Jan 1970
Introduced to tennis at age 7 by mother Alla, at 15 moved from hometown Minsk to train in Scottsdale, Arizona. In 2005 she won the girls’ singles titles at Australian Open and US Open and became the first Belarusian to be named ITF Junior World Champion. That same year, she made her WTA main draw debut in Kolkata and reached her first tour‐level semifinal at Guangzhou.
In 2007, her first top 30 season, she finished runner-up twice in Estoril (l. to Arn 26 61 76(3) in the final missing two match points) and Tashkent (l. to Parmentier in final) and became mixed doubles champion, at 2007 US Open (w/Mirnyi). In 2008 she won the same title at Roland Garros (w/B.Bryan) and finished as a runner-up at Australian Open in doubles (w/Peer).
2009 was her first Top 10 season as she finished No.7. She won her first three WTA titles in Brisbane (d. Bartoli in final), Memphis (d. Wozniacki in final) and Miami (d. S.Williams in final, clinching her first win over a reigning world No.1) where she claimed her first Tier I or Premier Mandatory event title. Azarenka also became the sixth teenage female singles champion in the history of this tournament, behind Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Venus Williams, and Gabriela Sabatini. After that, she made her Top 10 debut. During the season, she also reached the semifinals at Indian Wells (l. to Zvonareva) and Rome (l. to Kuznetsova), and her first two Grand Slam quarterfinals at Roland Garros (l. to Safina) and Wimbledon (l. to S.Williams).
She posted five consecutive Top 10 finishes between 2009 and 2013, qualifying for the WTA Finals on each occasion, reaching the final in Istanbul in 2011 (l. Kvitova). That year, she reached the first of her two straight Wimbledon semifinals.
In 2012, she won her maiden Grand Slam title at Australian Open (d. Sharapova). After that success, she ascended to World No.1 and held the top spot for a total of 51 weeks. She began 2012 with 26‐match win streak, the best start since Hingis went 37‐0 in 1997. She won two medals for Belarus at 2012 London Olympics: bronze in singles and mixed doubles gold (w/Mirnyi), and reached the US Open final (l. to S.Williams). She went on to win tour‐leading 69 matches in 2012, season highlighted by six titles, finishing as WTA’s year‐end No.1.
In 2013, she defended the title at Australian Open (d. Li) but she was heavily criticized after her semifinal win against Sloane Stephens where she took a controversial 10-minute medical timeout citing over-exaggerating injuries blaming breathing difficulties and stress. A losing finalist at Us Open )l. to S.Williams) she completed her third straight Top 3 season.
Limited to a total of 23 events over 2014‐15 seasons due to variety of injuries
Posted 26‐3 record for first six months of 2016 with losses coming at the Australian Open (QF, l. Kerber), Rome (2r, l. Begu) and Roland Garros (ret. vs. Knapp w/right knee injury). After winning the title in Brisbane, she lifted up the trophy at Indian Wells where she became the first player to defeat Serena Williams in four finals (2009 Miami, 2013 Doha, 2013 Cincinnati and 2016 Indian Wells). Then she became only the third woman after Graf in 1994 and 1996, and Clijsters in 2005) to achieve the ‘Sunshine Double’ winning back-to-back titles in Indian Wells and Miami. That was her 20th and latest WTA title. She ended 2016 ranked No.13, despite missing second half of season after going on maternity leave (announced pregnancy mid‐July). She gave birth to her son Leo in December 2016 and made her return to tennis in June 2017 in Mallorca, reaching the second-round (d. Ozaki, l. Konjuh). She followed this up with a round 16 showing at Wimbledon (l. Halep) bur she did not play any tournaments after Wimbledon due to personal reasons.
ARTICLE ABOUT VICTORIA AZARENKA