Up Front with Victoria Azarenka

Up Front with Victoria Azarenka

Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka has told William Hill’s podcast, Up Front with Simon Jordan, that Emma Raducanu was a victim of fake people latching onto her following her US Open victory. 

Featuring on William Hill’s Up Front with Simon Jordan, a podcast hosted by the former Crystal Palace owner who speaks to sports stars and celebrities and challenges their opinions whilst scrutinising their careers, Azarenka discussed the immediate fallout that the 2021 US Open women’s champion received: "When Emma [Raducanu] won the US Open, what I noticed at that time was that everybody latched onto her as if she was their friend, and I was thinking that they probably didn’t even know her a month ago. In a way, it didn’t feel very real."

"It’s sad to hear her say that sometimes she wishes she had never won the US Open, but I think this is a very momentary feeling because if you said to her ‘Okay, we’ll take it away and you can carry on’, I’m not sure she would agree to that."

"I think the advice I would have given her is that you should not forget the people who drove you to that moment and who helped you get there. From my experience, I would say she needs to have a very small circle and a very solid one."


Raducanu didn’t realise her fame 

Adding to the discussion about Raducanu, the Olympic gold medallist explained the moment she became aware of the British star before she burst onto the worldwide scene. 

"I met Emma on WhatsApp," said Azarenka. "Her agent at the time reached out to mine and said that there was a young girl who wanted to talk to me and ask me for some advice. We talked for about an hour, and she was telling me that she was having some injury troubles and that she was looking forward to joining the tour. Then at Wimbledon in 2021, I heard the name Emma Raducanu, and I looked back in my emails and it was her!"

"When Emma won the US Open, the feeling was one of ecstasy and people being so happy for her. Now that she is down, people are jumping on her and those negative waves are hard to handle. When you’re in the moment, you don’t realise what’s going on around you, and I don’t think she realised how big she became and how huge the moment was. Everybody wanted to be a part of it."


Controlling coach made me depressed 

Moving on to some of her career troubles, the Belarusian athlete delved into the years with her previous coach and the ‘controlling’ environment she was part of. 

Azarenka said: "I had a coach at one time that wasn’t the greatest person when it came to my best interests. He kind of isolated me to be able to control me and manipulate me, in a way."

"I realised when I had a long injury that this coach didn’t have my best interests at heart. I was playing well, but I kept having these injuries. I had to go play somewhere when I didn’t want to, no one asked me if I wanted to play, it was more I had to play. Some coaches get a bonus if you play a tournament, so you have to play in places when you just want to take a break."

"I then had this longer injury and realised that I was feeling depressed,” she continued. “I was feeling really down, I didn’t want to do anything, I was sad, and I started to work with a psychologist. I then realised that all the stuff I was doing wasn’t coming from me, it was coming from someone else."

"The interesting thing is when you are dealing with narcissistic and controlling people, when they feel like they no longer have control over you, they leave, and that is what happened. I remember the moment he asked me to do something, and I said ‘No’, so he disappeared a month and a half later. I was sad at first, but then I was thankful."


You can watch the full epsidoe here: https://youtu.be/440JqsrwsHQ

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13 Jul 2023

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