No change for Azarenka since Australian Open win

Updated: 12 February 2012 20:06 IST

Victoria Azarenka says nothing much has changed for her since she achieved the twin feats of becoming the first player from Belarus to win a Grand Slam tournament and take the world number one ranking.

No change for Azarenka since Australian Open win

Doha:

Victoria Azarenka says nothing much has changed for her since she achieved the twin feats of becoming the first player from Belarus to win a Grand Slam tournament and take the world number one ranking.

Azarenka has had a dream run since the beginning of the year during which she won the Australian Open and dethroned Caroline Wozniacki as the world's top ranked player.

But she reckons that apart from the extra attention she is receiving everywhere she pretty much remains the same person.

"My life has not changed suddenly after winning the Australian Open," Azarenka told journalists at the draw for Qatar Open beginning Monday.

"Surely, I am getting much more attention since becoming the world number one ranking and the Australian Open, but essentially I am the same person, the same player," Azarenka added.

Azarenka knows that by winning the Australian Open to go with her top ranked status she has avoided the dreaded question that players like Wozniacki, Dinara Safina and Jelena Jankovic had to face often at press conferences when they were ranked number one without having a Grand Slam title to account for.

But at the same time she is aware that more would be expected of her.

"Obviously my goal is to win as many tournaments I can this year, hopefully another Grand Slam," she said.

"Surely there is pressure because people would now have more expectations from me, but I consider that as a challenge."

With all three wild cards and five of the eight qualifiers in her half of the draw, the toughest challenge she may face is from Italian Francesca Schiavone in the quarter-finals and a possible meeting with Agnieszka Radwanska in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Wozniacki, the second seed in Qatar, is hoping to wrest back her world number one ranking, having now slipped to fourth.

"It's a strong field in Doha, but I am always happy to be back here," said the 21-year-old Dane, who has been handed a tougher draw with defending champion Vera Zvonareva of Russia, Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli and 2011 US Open winner Samantha Stosur of Australia in her half.

"2011 was a great year for me as I finished as the world number one. Right now my aim is to enjoy playing my game and hopefully finish the season as the number one again.

Stosur said she was keen to finish 2012 higher than sixth, a feat she has managed for the last two seasons.

"Hopefully I can finish at least in the top three when the season ends," said the Australian.

Topics : Victoria Azarenka Belarus Caroline Wozniacki Maria Sharapova Tennis
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