Will Victoria Azarenka have a good 2019?
Victoria Azarenka’s 2018 comeback was slightly overshadowed by Serena Williams. Nevertheless, amidst custody battles, and other problems, Azarenka showed some glimpses of her old self, but she’s not even close to where she should be given her stature in the game.
Let’s not forget that Azarenka is a two-time Grand Slam winner and a former number 1. However, it seems like she’s been gone forever. And in many respects, she has. She’s been absent since the summer of 2016, when she announced her pregnancy. Her son Leo was born in December of 2016, and 2017 saw her mostly her fighting to get custody of her son. There were lots of expectations as she entered a full-time schedule in 2018. However, the only decent result was her run at the Miami Open, where she beat four seeds on her way to the semifinals, before losing the final to Sloane Stephens in three sets.
Other than that, she made little noise throughout the year. In many regards, she kept running into Sloane Stephens, and losing to her throughout 2018. She lost at her at Indian Wells, Miami Open, and the US Open. So, what could 2019 have in store for Azarenka? First up for her is the Australian Open, which she has won twice. Unfortunately, she was not able to attend last year’s Australian Open due to the custody battle over her son.
I like Azarenka’s chances to go deep at the Australian Open. The court suits her game, she always tends to do very well in the first half of the year, and she’s looking healthier and in better shape than ever. Also, while Azarenka’s been diligently preparing, many of the ladies have had a prolonged off season. The Australian Open’s conditions are perfect for those that focus on fitness preparation in the offseason.
After the Australian Open, she’ll head into the Spring U.S. hard court swing, where she’ll play Indian Wells and Miami – two tournaments she’s won a combined five titles. I’m liking Azarenka’s changes in the first three months of the year. I predict she gets her ranking up, and enters the U.S. Open as a top ten seed.