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Azarenka amazed at turnaround

Even though world number one Victoria Azarenka is this week on the brink of one of her finest achievements, she admits that she looks back with amazement at the day when she nearly gave it all away.

The 23-year-old from Belarus needs only two wins at the WTA Championships which start today to become the year-end world number one for the first time, yet she vividly remembers that not long ago her despair had decided her to quit.

“You have a moment when it just clicks and you get a better vision of where you are heading,” Azarenka said of the February day in 2010 when it required her mother and grandmother to persuade her to continue.

“It clicked when I got a real understanding of what I wanted to do and to achieve it and work around it. I’m really glad that happened to me, as it helped me to mature. It opened doors and helped me. It happened pretty much on one day.

“I shall have to look it up and check the date, so that if I come to write a book I shall know exactly which day it was that changed me,” she laughed.

Since then Azarenka has not only managed to control her off-court mood swings, her tempestuous on-court temperament, and her variably aggressive game, but has gone some way to changing herself as a person too.

“You gain a few perspectives, and change your vision of things,” she said. “It helps you improve, not only as a player but as a personality.

“I am as intense as I ever was, but maybe I manage it better. And now I have a great team, which helps me in everything. It took time to have a comfortable bubble around me.”

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