“Time, patience and a little support”
At the 2019 Australian Open the two time champion crashed out in round one and broke down in her press conference.
I was in Melbourne at the time and I remember the next morning seeing the conference on 7News and it was a realisation that players are human and they struggle too.
“Sitting here today, I failed but I’m struggling. Failing is when you give up and you don’t try again but I’m struggling, if I’m going to going to struggle to get out of that, that’s what I’m going to do.”
“I’ve been through a lot of things in my life, sometimes I wonder why I go through them but I think they’re going to make me stronger. I want to believe that and I’m going to work hard for it.”
“Sometimes I just need a little time and patience and a little support”
In 2016 the Belarusian took a break from the tour as she became a mum to Leo but her return was not easy. A well documented custody battle meant Vika couldn’t come back and do her job with Leo travelling with her and only able to play a couple of events in the USA.
The tears in Melbourne were heartbreaking to watch and she spoke about her struggles and knew she would get there.
The struggle in singles continued in 2019, The two Australian Open champion had to retire in Monterrey final with injury. After then it was tough to find form and turned up to Flushing Meadows after a round one exit in Lexington without almost a win for twelve months.
Vika then went and won Cincinnati and made the final of the US Open winning eleven matches in a row including a major win over her friend Serena Williams.
Vika looked so relaxed in New York and her tennis was flawless throughout, I called it ‘Vintage Vika’ as it brought me back to the 2012 and 2013 level of the Belarusian but I felt it was better.
It has been a masterclass couple of weeks from Vika and I could not be happier for her.
This years US Open has been all about these inspirational woman and Vika is in that field.
The best thing, she’s been able to share this inspirational and incredible run with Leo her son there too.
It wasn’t long ago people were using the word retirement. She didn’t travel to Melbourne this year and that raised questions and before lockdown rarely played.
Vika went to Lexington when tennis return after 155 days and lost in round one to Venus but then travelled to New York for the temporary home of Cincinnati event and then US Open and played some of the best tennis I’ve ever seen from her.
In the pieces I wrote throughout the last few weeks about Vika I was in awe of her brilliance on route to the final and the way she played in that opening set against Osaka was easily one of the best sets of tennis I’ve ever seen, I was left speechless.
It was sad not see Vika win but what a fighter she is, the way she has come back after all she has been through has been impressive and I can’t wait to see what happens next but to see Vika smiling is incredible!