Exclusive: Chris Evert tells The Tennis Space that a change in mental attitude has been key to Victoria Azarenka’s transformation. “She’s found a way of controlling her fiery temper, and now has all the ingredients – I’ve been very impressed.”
Evert on how Azarenka has kept her emotions under control:
“It’s hard to believe that this is the same Azarenka who was making so many errors last summer. The biggest change I have seen in her is mentally. She’s got a fiery temper, but she has found a way of controlling that. She is also much more consistent. She’s an aggressive player, but she’s not making the same mistakes that she was last summer.”
Evert on what Azarenka can achieve this season:
“She has all the ingredients now. She has improved mentally, she has improved physically – she is not getting the injuries she used to – and her game is all there. If she can keep this up, staying calm, being aggressive and keeping the errors to a minimum, she’s going to have a great year. It’s too early, though, to think that she’s going to dominate for a while and stay at number one for a long time. I’m not going to make any predictions. It’s possible that the Williams sisters could really come back and Petra Kvitova has the game to hurt Azarenka.”
Evert on the state of the women’s game:
“Is it a good thing that the number one is also a grand slam champion, unlike when Caroline Wozniacki was number one? I think people nit-pick too much. People say, ‘It’s best for women’s tennis to have a dominant world number one’, then, ‘it’s best for women’s tennis to have a rivalry between two players’, then, ‘it’s best for women’s tennis to have six players capable of winning slams, for the sport to be unpredictable’. In truth, who really knows? The ratings have always been consistently high. Right now, there are some interesting personalities at the top of the women’s game, and they are playing some great tennis.”
Chris Evert, who won 18 grand slam singles titles, is a commentator for ESPN.