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Victoria Azarenka says she’s closing gap on ‘best ever’ Serena Williams

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Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams

Victoria Azarenka (left) couldn’t unseat Serena Williams at the U.S. Open. (Suzy Allman/SI)

No. 2 Victoria Azarenka believes she’s closing the gap on 17-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.

“Serena is playing the best tennis of her life and so am I,” Azarenka told AFP. “It’s been really noticeable the gap from last year we have in the matches has minimized. I’ve beaten her twice this year. No one else has done that. It’s just exciting to be in the era of somebody and competing with somebody who is considered the best ever and being their toughest opponent.”

Celebrating Serena’s 32nd birthday

Azarenka and the top-ranked Williams have split four meetings this year, giving Serena a 13-3 advantage overall and 8-0 in Grand Slam matches. The 24-year-old Belarusian beat Williams in hard-court finals in Qatar and Cincinnati, while Serena won finals on clay in Rome and on a hard court at the U.S. Open, where the 32-year-old American prevailed in a tense three-set final over her rival for the second year in a row. Azarenka served for the 2012 U.S. Open title before Williams rallied, and last month Azarenka came back from two breaks down at 1-4 in the second set to force a third.

“Serena is the best ever to me,” Azarenka said. “I cannot judge somebody who I never played before, but for me overall the game of tennis has elevated and the evolution of the game raised up so much that it’s hard to compare. It’s like comparing Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather. How can you compare two eras? They’re both the greatest in the world, but who was the better boxer?”

  • Published On Sep 27, 2013
  • 8 comments
    jayteejr
    jayteejr

    @Raine: What a crock of crap... Serena has winning records over everyone in the top 10 including an astronomical W-L over the top 3... It's idiotic to say Serena, who is 32, needs to work on her fitness/movement considering she has won 9 tourneys(including 2 GS) over the top 3 players... And to put Sabine in the same sentence is even more laughable... Get a friggin clue!!!!!!

    Raine
    Raine

    I believe that Vika does not have any rivals besides Serena and Maria.   So calling Serena  the best  "at the moment" is correct.  Vika  and Sabine is nearly the only one who can rival Serena although Sloane is making a slow march towards her.  Vika will overtake Serena if Serena  doesn't get more fit.  And I am not downing her body shape.  I could only wish I looked half as good.  But she needs to get better in placing shots, making every shot count, not relying on power only and in fitness.  These younger, more fit players are going to have her running all over the place.  Look at Roger.  He still got the moves, but more players are emulating him.  Using his own plays (more quickly) against him.  The same with Serena.  Everyone, well, except Aggie (smiling) has the power and the fitness..  Soon they will have the plays.  The ONLY downfall I see stopping Serena is mostly  fitness.  Don't get me wrong, she is BEAUTIFULLY BUILT,  but she needs to be able to move better and losing 20, 25 lbs will not sap her power, but free her up to move more.

    JohnNeubauer
    JohnNeubauer

    Here's how Victoria closes the gap: time passes. Serena is AMAZING but time catches up with everyone and the clock is ticking. However, if Victoria catches up and beats Serena in a slam next year, I really attribute that to Father Time more than anything Victoria has done to turn the tables. Serena is the best ever. Victoria is a good challenger without the goods to be one of the very best ever.

    dre
    dre

    This discussion is not even up for debate.  Azarenka is close the gap on non major tournaments.  When she close the gap on Majors and win against Serena then we can talk.

    OraReed
    OraReed

    Azarenka is full of herself. When she wins a match in two sets (especially a slam)  against Serena, she will then have bragging rights.

    brodney199
    brodney199

    @JohnNeubauer Age is just a number!! Serena is the George Foreman, Floyyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins etc of women's sports, she's athletically gifted and will only get better with age provided she doesn't load up on her schedule. Sports is about sublime fitness, motivation, belief, hunger & most important mental toughness ...Serena's got them all ;))))

    spystud
    spystud

    So if Vika beats her in Melbourne, a place she's had a fair amount of success, it's because Serena is 4 months older? This isn't about Vika's career legacy, she simply said she feels she's closed the gap between the two of them this year. Nothing more, nothing less.

    spystud
    spystud

    Let me see if I have this straight... Vika says Serena is playing the best tennis of her life & calls her the best ever, but Vika is "full of herself"? Got it. Saying the gap has closed is not inaccurate or inflammatory, at no point has she even hinted at saying she's better.