How a run to greatness began for Victoria Azarenka
Azarenka began the 2012 season at 26-0 which vaulted her to the No. 1 ranking as she racked up 6 total titles in the year in addition to the Wimbledon semifinals and a US Open final. For the next few years, she carried this confidence and momentum as she became one of the unquestioned best players of her generation.
Her game was about brute force and overpowering the opposition. With her unrivaled fighting spirit, she was able to lift her game to heights nobody would have predicted. Unfortunately, her peak came during peak-Serena years as well.
Azarenka lost both the 2011 and 2012 US Open Finals to Williams as well as their 2012 Wimbledon semifinal clash. Her lone Semifinal appearance at Roland Garros in 2013 saw her fall to Sharapova.
How many Grand Slams could she have racked up during this period without the GOAT and an icon being around? A fun “What if?”, scenario. This is where the fun stopped though, as 2014 was an injury-plagued season for Azarenka as she missed nearly half the year.
Her ranking plummeted, and she was never able to fully recapture the form she showed during the previous 3 years. While she was still a solid player, she fell more in the Top 20 range, and no longer was she a Top 3 stalwart.
Players like Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, Coco Gauff, Naomi Osaka and now Iga Swiatek all rose to prominence at various stages in the last decade. While Azarenka has not fallen far in the rankings, she was no longer the dominant entity we had come to know.
However, she still has an indomitable fighting spirit. That is something that injury can never dampen. This was evidenced by her run to the 2020 US Open Final, the 3rd of her career. She bested 38-year-old Serena in the Semifinal before falling to Osaka in a 3-set battle in the final.