Victoria Azarenka is the latest player to shut down her season early. The Belarussian who’s personal life and custody battle for her son Leo which was so in the public eye during her time off the court.
In March she was able to play a full calendar, she could have played before then but her son was not allowed to travel with her but he now can. The season started for her at Indian Wells but ended in the second round against Sloane Stephens which was the story just over a week later in Miami however she made it to the semi-finals there before losing to the American and no-one would have said that would be the only time this year she’d win at-least three matches in a row…
Her win/loss for the year ended at 17/12 and has pulled out of WTA Linz for personal reasons and this season has left us with more questions than answers.
She will probably finish around 50 in the world so will not be seeded in Melbourne and I’m sure that would have been the target when she returned to the tour on a full time basis.
When I look at who she has lost to this year; Sloane x3, Konta, Garica, Osaka, Pliskova x2 just to name a few it isn’t a major surprise but she hasn’t really pushed them and with just four top 20 ranked wins (3 of which were in Miami in March) there is something lacking.
Her serving stats aren’t awful, she could do with the % of points won on first and second improving slightly and being a bit more aggressive whilst serving but the return is something that needs looking at winning just 38% of first serve returns. Defending has been a bit of an issue for her this year in the sense of what to do turn the momentum of the set around.
The odd injury here and there hasn’t helped but I feel like we still don’t know where her game is at and which direction it is going in to make her a contender which is the goal and this is something to figure out between now and Melbourne.
Next year will be potentially the first year for a while where she will play a full calendar and the search is now on for a new coach to after an Instagram post from Ebrahimzadeh announcing a split.
Maybe in 2019 these questions will get answers?