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Victoria Azarenka ready to make final step

Victoria Azarenka smiles during her news conference
by Benjamin Snyder
Saturday 22 June 2013

Two-time semi-finalist at The Championships, Victoria Azarenka appears to look forward to the challenge posed by having to defend her impressive play at the All England Club in the past. The Belarusian, who began the year by claiming the Australian Open championship against Li Na, spoke to reporters on Saturday ahead of the start to her Wimbledon campaign.

She addressed her previous Wimbledon runs and how to break through to the final this year. “I think it's just a challenge, you know, really.  It's to make that extra step,” said Azarenka, who also made a run at Roland Garros this year with a breakthrough semi-final performance.  “I lost twice to, you know, a champion after that.  They were pretty close matches,” she continued.

Azarenka also discussed her preparation for The Championships in light of the two weeks between the French Open and Wimbledon. “It's been going pretty good. I've been here since last Saturday,” she said. “You never know until you play a first match, so that's what I'm looking forward to do.”

Her first opponent? Maria Joao Koehler of Portugal, whose current ranking is No. 109.

The Belarusian, who has 16 career WTA singles titles, spoke about the adjustment needed from playing on the red clay of Paris to the grass at the All England Club. “Well, the movement you completely change. You don't slide anymore,” she said. “You have shorter points, so you also have to tactically adjust a little bit more and really accept the way that the grass is, to adjust and play and be aggressive.”

While Azarenka eventually ended her previous Wimbledon campaigns with losses in the final four to Petra Kvitova and Serena Williams, respectively, she seems realistic about her success and aptitude for playing on grass as well as about her prospects for making the semi-finals for a third time. “It's just important to take your opportunities,” she said. “First of all, it's important to get there.”

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