Victoria Azarenka admits that playing Serena Williams in front of a sold-out Arthur Ashe Stadium can definitely be intimidating for the player on the other side of the net. Throughout her career, Williams has enjoyed tremendous support at Flushing Meadows.
On Monday, Williams defeated Danka Kovinic, in a match that broke the US Open attendance record. Two days later, Williams beat second seed Anett Kontaveit in front of 29,959 spectators. The US Open attendance record was broken again.
After the match, Kontaveit admitted that it wasn’t easy playing while the whole stadium was against him. Azarenka has faced Willliams four times at Flushing Meadows. In the 2020 US Open semifinal, Azarenka captured her first US Open title over Williams.
Azarenka on the level of support for Williams at the US Open.
“I heard that noise. Trust me, yes. It’s not an easy thing to handle, absolutely. For someone who has never been there, it can be quite intimidating,» Azarenka told Eurosport.
“For me, he always pushed me to be better. I understand why they come here. It’s not like they’re against me, they don’t like me. I don’t take it personally. I think Serena is such a magnitude of tennis, and such strength, that there is no doubt that people are going to support her in New York.
I take it as a motivation to show great tennis. I think that speaks for it. That’s why people want to support you after you’re showing great tennis. But this being Serena’s last tournament, no one wants to miss out on those matches.
It is quite special. I’m sure it’s not an easy place to be on the other side of the net. But also special.» For her part, Azarenka has advanced to the third round of the US Open after beating Marta Kostyuk 6-2, 6-3. Azarenka plays Petra Martic in the third round.