Tennis: Azarenka 'hungry' for more victories

Believing there's "no limit" to what she can achieve, newly crowned world No1 Victoria Azarenka is eyeing one of the rarest feats in women's tennis after running off with the Australian Open trophy.

Boasting an all-court game and newfound maturity and confidence, Azarenka hopes to join modern greats Serena Williams, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters as the only women in more than a decade to land back-to-back Grand Slam titles.

Azarenka knows the women's game has never been more competitive, with Li Na, Petra Kvitova and Australia's Samantha Stosur also becoming first-time major winners in the past year.

But the 22-year-old Belarusian will strive to buck the trend at the French Open in June.

Four of Azarenka's 10 career titles have come on clay and last year she reached the quarter-finals in Paris for the second time, and then the semis at Wimbledon on grass, after finally unlocking the key to fulfilling her immense talent.

"I played really good on clay and on grass last year. I had great results and I had great results on hardcourt," Azarenka said yesterday, still basking in the glory of her 6-3, 6-0 Open final demolition of Maria Sharapova.

"I like to adapt. So I think it's about preparation and adaptation.

"Of course, I don't want to stop here. I have a bigger motivation right now to go out there and to collect those big, big trophies. That self-belief is even bigger right now that I've done it and I can go out and do it again.

"I'm really, really hungry for victories ... I feel like there is no limit, really."

Azarenka, who made her WTA Tour debut at just 13, has been marked for greatness for years, but struggled mentally to deal with all the expectations.

She even briefly considered walking away from the sport - at just 21 - after failing to reach the semifinals of the 2010 season-ending championships in Doha.

Instead, after a pep talk from her grandmother in Minsk, Azarenka resolved to transform herself physically, which helped her to conquer her mental demons, much like men's world No1 Novak Djokovic.

"The best thing for me that I found was never lie to yourself," Azarenka said.

"You can fool anybody, say whatever you want, you can find excuses, but you're never going to lie to yourself. At the end of the day, you know what you feel.

"Last year was a lot for me of exploring my body, exploring my routines, my diet, my training. It was a really, really big learning experience because, before that, I achieved great things already, but it was just coming; I didn't really realise how I was doing it.

"Now I'm realising how I am doing it so I can repeat and rely and adjust."

Belarus' first Grand Slam singles champion vowed to continue improving every aspect of her game.

"I'm such a perfectionist and me and my team are really picky that, even after the perfect match, we're going to find something that we would like to improve.

"That's important - to stay humble, have your feet on the ground and work hard because now I can get better. Everything can get better. Definitely I would like to still improve my fitness because I feel much stronger, but I can get much better and I really believe that."AAP

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