Mum's not the word for Azarenka

LONDON • Victoria Azarenka, world No. 1 in 2012 and winner at the Australian Open that year and the next, has since had a tough time with injury and motherhood issues that saw her come to Wimbledon ranked 87th.

The Belarusian, who appears to have regained some harmony in her life after a custody battle for her son Leo, overcame Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in her first match on Monday.

She spoke afterwards about a perceived difference in treatment with Serena Williams over being seeded after giving birth. The American, who gave birth to her daughter last September, is seeded 25th this year by the All England Club.

Azarenka was denied a seeding last year after giving birth to her son the previous December.

"It's as simple as (that). I didn't get it last year. She got it this year," said the 28-year-old, who suffered a serious knee injury in 2014. "I think it's an important conversation that has been started. This conversation has led to... numerous occasions where we are discussing the rules and how can we be a leader in sports to have the best maternity policy.

"But my main thing is that it has to be for everyone, and the rules have to be applied for everyone."

  • COURT SIDES

  • STAT OF THE DAY

    6

    Number of match points Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska saved to beat Romanian qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 on Monday.

For Williams, regardless of her seeding and No. 181 ranking, the American considers herself the woman to beat at this championship. The 36-year-old, competing in only her eighth match since giving birth, defeated the Netherlands' Arantxa Rus 7-5, 6-3.

"Not only do I expect to win, I expect to win emphatically," said the 23-time Major singles champion, who will next face Bulgarian qualifier Viktoriya Tomova.

While the victory was far from emphatic, it did give Williams a 15th successive win at Wimbledon after her triumphs at the All England Club in her last two appearances in 2015 and 2016.

The contest also gave her 88 minutes of court time to test out her serving arm. Last month, her French Open ended after she was forced to pull out of her fourth-round showdown with Maria Sharapova because of an injury that impeded her service motion.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

It was a good day for us at the office, that's for sure. It was a great match from her. I watched it from home before coming back for my match.

STAN WAWRINKA, the Swiss three-time major champion whose ranking slumped to No. 225 following knee surgery, after defeating Bulgarian sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov 1-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 on Monday. Hours earlier, his girlfriend Donna Vekic shocked US Open champion Sloane Stephens.

Fellow mum Tatjana Maria, the 30-year-old German, claimed the scalp of fifth seed Elina Svitolina 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-1.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2018, with the headline 'Mum's not the word for Azarenka'. Print Edition | Subscribe