Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
In case you haven’t heard of professional tennis player Vika Azarenka, we’ll catch you up to speed: She’s won two Australian Open singles titles (2012 and 2013) and two mixed doubles Grand Slam titles (2007 US Open with Max Mirnyi and 2008 French Open with Bob Bryan), plus an Olympic bronze medal for singles and gold for mixed doubles (with Mirnyi) at the London Games. Impressive for a 23-year-old, right? Before the BNP Paribas Showdown against Serena Williams at Madison Square Garden (Williams won the exhibition match 6-4, 6-3), we chatted with Azarenka about how fell in love with the sport, what she enjoyed about the 2012 Olympic Games and how she keeps her workouts fun.
When did you first pick up a racket?
I started to play tennis when I was seven years old. I was very close to my mom, and she worked at a tennis center. I couldn’t go anywhere without her, so after school, I would come back and walk around with her. She didn’t get a chance to work, so she had to distract me somehow. She gave me a tennis racket and a ball, so I started hitting it against the wall, and it was fun. One of the coaches saw me and asked if I wanted to join the group with the other kids. I was scared at the beginning, but once I started I was so happy. I really found a love for the game as a kid.
As they say, the rest is history! Aside from winning your medals at the London Games, what was your favorite part about the Olympics?
The whole journey. It was very tennis-oriented because we played far away from the other sports, so I didn’t get a chance to visit anything else. It was an amazing experience. The transformation from Wimbledon to the Olympics was completely different. Playing in singles and mixed doubles was incredible. Read more
Written by Lauren Cardarelli, Freelance Editorial Assistant
The U.S. Open begins on Monday and we were rally—really—excited to chat with the top seed for the women’s tournament, Victoria “Vika” Azarenka. Here’s what we learned about the 23-year-old reigning Australian Open champion, her pre-match rituals and more.
Ritual for Return Aces. Athletes have all kinds of crazy pre-game routines they follow to get the ball rolling for the competition. Although Vika isn’t nearly as superstitious as her rival Serena Williams, she does like to shake her hips and dance during warm-up with an amped playlist. Her go-to beat? “Talk That Talk” by Rihanna.
Beat the Sun. Sun exposure on the court can be rough on both your game and skin. Vika’s gym bag essentials include a hat and a bottle of SPF to keep her glowing complexion protected from any damage.