Former world’s No1 and a happy young mother, Victoria Azarenka is now training hard in her native Minsk to prepare for a tennis comeback. In a recent big interview with NY Times the player spoke about childhood years, her mother’s disease, parenting and sports expectations.
“The stakes are rather higher now: Grand Slam titles, millions of dollars, national pride and, in November, a surprising first Fed Cup final for Belarus against the United States here”, NY Times wrote.
“Azarenka is quietly yet fiercely determined to rise again. She will return with a new coach, the former journeyman pro Michael Joyce, and a new traveling companion in her son, Leo, who was born in December”.
1. Serena William’s baby interest
Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams may be rivals on court, but they are good friends in life. When Williams visited Azarenka’s home in Manhattan Beach in California in early February, she showed a lot of interest in the baby, Vika has revealed.
“Serena was asking me a lot of questions about babies when she came by my house, and I didn’t really make anything of that. I knew it was going to be in her life at some point. I didn’t know it was happening now,” Azarenka told NY Times.
“With the Grand Slams,” she went on, “it’s me who has to catch up to her, and she has to catch up to me with the baby”.
2. Vika’s mother recently beat 4 stage breast cancer
During a tournament in Brisbane in January 2016, Victoria learned about her mother’s grave disease from the brother who phoned her from Belarus.
Azarenka said their mother denied it when she called her. “Because she’s a very strong woman, and she never shows when she’s in a tough moment. My aunt was crying; everyone was crying, my mom couldn’t hide it anymore.“
The diagnosis was Stage 4 breast cancer, Azarenka revealed.
She learned she was pregnant when she arrived in London after that defeat. She called her mother, who was about to have surgery. “I was crying, and I didn’t know how to tell her. And I was panicking because I knew of all my mom was going through, and she said, ‘That’s great news!'”
Not so long ago Victoria’s mother was declared cancer-free, the athlete said.
3. Victoria met her boyfriend and baby father in Hawaii
Billy McKeague, 27, and Vika met in Hawaii, where she was visiting friends, the tennis player said.
McKeague was working as a golf pro at upscale resorts on the North Shore.
“You don’t know how someone is going to react at a young age being a dad, but he loves Leo so much and is very affectionate,” Azarenka said.
“He understands what I want to do right now, and he’s also willing to sacrifice his time away from his family as well for the next five, six years for me to be done with this chapter of my life of playing.”
He travels to Belarus together with Victoria, trains with her and explores Belarusian culture and cuisine.
Victoria plans to remain in Belarus until early July. She will most likely return to competition in late July for the tournament in Stanford, California.