Azarenka on her wholesome ‘soccer mom’ life and new outlook on tennis
MELBOURNE, Australia — If you find yourself standing on the sidelines at a under-8 children’s soccer game next the loud supportive screaming from a devoted soccer mom, you may just be standing next to two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka.
The former World No.1 has embraced her role as a supportive sports mom as her seven-year-old son Leo has turned to soccer as his sport of choice.
“He wants to play at Paris Saint-Germain. That’s his dream,” Azarenka told reporters after her 6-4, 7-6(3) win over Sofia Kenin in the first round of the Australian Open.
“I’m a soccer mom now and I love that,” Azarenka said. “I love supporting. I’m obnoxious, like absolutely the most obnoxious. I yell, but I’m very positive. I’m actually very proud because it’s a completely different emotion for me to support my son. I have no shame screaming for him, like zero.
“I actually even asked him, ‘Leo, do you like when mommy supports you?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, I love it, Mom.’
“Am I not too loud? He goes, ‘Well, sometimes, but it’s okay. I like it.’
“So it’s a wholesome moment for me, for sure.”
To support Leo’s dream, Azarenka has been wearing a PSG shirt to her matches and in the interview room this season. “He saw me wearing the shirt, he will wear the shirt so we’re matching,” Azarenka said.
“I have been supporting them since 2012, since Beckham was signed to the club. I have been a fan for a long time and been to many, many games.”
Turning back to the task at hand, Azarenka is feeling fit and ready to build match-to-match at Melbourne Park. She is working to transition her goal-setting approach away from being results-oriented.
“It’s something very new for me,” Azarenka said. “I’m towards the end of my career, and I cannot say being focused on the result hasn’t worked for me [in the past]. But it also played big tricks on me with mentally after you haven’t achieved your expectation, what you wanted. It’s kind of a hard hole to recover from.
“That is something that I’m actually learning myself. So I would say I think of myself taking baby steps and really working on intention and what I want to do.”
Azarenka was asked whether she wished she had been less results-oriented earlier in her career. After all, what if that relentless hunger to win is precisely what fueled her incredible career?
“I feel like it’s the balance of your strength can be your greatest weakness, and once you go to the extreme levels of different ends, it becomes problematic. So it’s about really trying to understand at which end you are. Are you at too much or you’re not enough, and try to play with that.
“But I think it takes a lot of awareness. Do I wish I was younger and knew all this stuff? I probably wouldn’t have learned that. But at the same time, I feel like if somebody can learn from my experience who are younger, I’m very happy if that’s the case.”
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