Victoria Azarenka says players aren’t “villains” and backs Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open in 2023.

Victoria Azarenka, who recently advanced to the Australian Open semifinals, expressed sympathy for Novak Djokovic and urged with fans to stop treating athletes like “villains.”

The 33-year-old Azarenka from Belarus is playing in her first Melbourne semi-final since controversy surrounded the legality of her medical time-out against Sloane Stephens in 2013.

Serb Djokovic has come under fire for allegedly exaggerating the severity of a hamstring injury he sustained during the Australian Open.

We are typical human beings who experience a wide variety of things, she remarked.

There is occasionally, I don’t know, a tremendous need for a villain and a hero story to be told.

However, we are neither villains nor heroes.

Pegula loses to Azarenka, setting up a Rybakina semi-final.
Nine-time men’s champion Novak Djokovic claimed earlier this week that he was a “easy target to be the villain.” On Wednesday at 08:30 GMT, Djokovic will play fifth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev in the men’s singles quarterfinals.

According to reports, Djokovic was upset that the legality of his bathroom break during a second-round victory over Enzo Couacaud of France was called into question.

The fourth seed has had heavy strapping on his left thigh the entire event, including when he took a medical break against Couacaud and again during his victory against Grigor Dimitrov in the third round.

Additionally, it was reported that Djokovic informed Serbian media that only his injuries “were doubted” after his victory over Australian Alex de Minaur in the fourth round.

He said, “I leave the wondering to those folks; let them doubt.

“Only my wounds are in doubt. When other players are hurt, they are the victims; but, when it’s me, I’m lying.

In response to questions regarding Djokovic’s health, American Taylor Fritz, the ninth-ranked player in the world, stated that most athletes are constantly “a bit banged-up.”

While he continued, “I don’t believe people fabricate injuries, I do believe that occasionally players exaggerate the severity of an injury to relieve stress and improve performance.

Azarenka has said that it has taken her ten years to get over the accusations that she faced after defeating Stephens in the 2013 semifinal. This was due to the lengthy medical break she took during a vital period of the match.

The Belarusian took a 10-minute break after failing to serve out the victory, then came back to break in the following game to guarantee her place in the championship match.

Azarenka, who is now 33, then defeated Li Na of China to win back-to-back championships at Melbourne Park.

The way I was handled after that point was among the worst experiences I’ve had in my professional career, she claimed.

“How until 10:30 p.m. I had to defend myself since no one wanted to believe me.

I actually agree with Novak’s recent statement.

In 2013, after defeating Sloane Stephens in the Australian Open semifinals, Victoria Azarenka received treatment during a medical break.
In 2013, after defeating Sloane Stephens in the Australian Open semifinals, Victoria Azarenka received treatment during a medical break.
Azarenka claims that ten years later, she has “finally gotten over” how she thought she was handled.

“I’ve been accused of cheating, acting, and trying to deceive people, among other things. If someone genuinely knows me, it’s everything that is so wrong with my personality, she added.

“At times, I’ve heard people say things like, “She has this horrible thing or this bad thing.” You eventually think, “Really? Am I?’ These reservations begin to surface.

I simply don’t care anymore. I’m at peace with who I am and am growing more and more confident in that. These remarks and conclusions are made. I’m aware of them. I don’t, though.

After defeating third seed Jessica Pegula in straight sets on Tuesday, Azerenka advances to the semifinals where she will face Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina.

Who is Djokovic’s opponent at the Australian Open?
What will will place on Wednesday?
In the women’s draw, the outcome of the second semi-final will be determined on Wednesday when fifth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka plays Donna Vekic at 00:00 GMT.

The 30-year-old Pole Linette will play in her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal, and Czech Republic’s Pliskova, who is seeded 30th, is attempting to advance to her first semi-final at Melbourne Park since 2019.

The only top 10 seed still in the draw, Belarusian Sabalenka and Croatian Vekic, will square off in their first Australian Open quarterfinal.

Ben Shelton and Tommy Paul, two unseeded Americans, will face off in the other men’s quarterfinal.

After his men’s doubles quarterfinal match with Wesley Koolhof, British player Neal Skupski will compete against Indians Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna in the mixed doubles semifinals of the doubles competition. The top seeds face Australian wildcards Jason Kubler and Rinky Hijikata.

Alfie Hewett, the top seed, faces fellow Briton Gordon Reid at 0:00 in the men’s wheelchair singles quarterfinals before the pair teams up against Joachim Gerard and Takuya Miki in the wheelchair doubles last eight.

On Wednesday, wheelchair doubles competitions also feature British athletes Lucy Shuker, Ben Bartram, and Andy Lapthorne.

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