Victoria Azarenka gives tearful press conference after Australian Open first-round exit

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A tearful Victoria Azarenka admits she is “struggling” to reclaim her confidence on the court after suffering a first-round exit at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

The former world No. 1 and two-time champion in Melbourne had to stop towards the end of her press conference as she got emotional while discussing her current troubles.

“I’ve been through a lot of things in my life and 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,” said Azarenka, while fighting back tears, after her 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2 loss to Laura Siegemund.

Ranked 53 in the world, Azarenka hasn’t been able to recapture her previous top-10 form since returning from maternity leave in June 2017. Off-court problems that included a custody dispute with the father of her child have interrupted her scheduling over the past year and a half.

She started 2019 with two opening round losses in Auckland, and now Melbourne, and confessed it’s been difficult trying to translate her level from practice to matches.

“Right now is just a harder struggle for me. I can continue to repeat this word, that I’m ‘struggling’ right now. I think it’s pretty obvious. It’s okay. I don’t think, sitting here today, that 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 continue to struggle, and to get out of that, that’s what I’ve got to do, then that’s what I’m going to.”

Azarenka acknowledges that she is low on confidence at the moment and says it’s tricky finding it in matches.

“If there’s a store where you can buy it, I’ll go purchase it,” she says when asked how she can get back her confidence.

“It’s just playing matches, playing tournaments. I’m going to try to play as much as I can, try to build something. My ambitions are high, I know what I’m capable of, to start to execute, take it step by step, it’s going to be a process. I think being so idealistic and knowing what I’m capable of, I put myself really high and I have to be realistic, I have to work hard, I have to keep playing, I have to continue to try to find a way. We’ll see. It’s the beginning of the season, it’s a sh**** beginning of the season for me, but it’s not the end of the year.”

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