Email
Print
Email
Print

Video: Stephens hits Azarenka with a ball, and Azarenka quickly hits her back

Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font
Sloane Stephens hit Victoria Azarenka with a backhand, and Azarenka quickly reciprocates. (AEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Sloane Stephens tried to apologize after hitting Victoria Azarenka with a backhand, but Azarenka wasn’t having any of it. (AEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

MELBOURNE, Australia — Which was better: Richard Sherman going off on Michael Crabtree on live TV or Sloane Stephens smacking a ball right at Victoria Azarenka in their fourth-round match at the Australian Open? Things got a little bit physical between Azarenka and Stephens, with the pair exchanging shots at the body early in the match. Azarenka won the match 6-3, 6-2, but it was Stephens who landed the first (and only) body blow.

When Azarenka served at 4-2 in the first set, Stephens was forced to run down a short drop shot as Azarenka came to the net. Stephens went cross court with a scooping backhand and nailed Azarenka right in the pelvic area, causing the men in the press room let out loud cries of pain while watching the replay. Yes, Stephens got her there.

“I thought she was going to move and she didn’t,” Stephens said after the match. “I don’t know what was happening, but didn’t think that would ever happen.”

Stephens quickly apologized and looked genuinely embarrassed. Azarenka probably didn’t see the apology. She was too busy wincing and marching off for the next point. “I’m just focused on the next point,” Azarenka said after the match. “Maybe she had an open court, but she chose that shot. I have no problem with that. I’m just focused on the next one.”

Thanks to the quick work by the folks at @AustralianOpen, you can see Stephens land her shot below.

Two points later it was Azarenka’s turn to send a message. Again drawing Stephens to the net, Azarenka fired a backhand volley directed right at Stephens’ head. She ducked out of the way, Azarenka didn’t offer an apology for the shot, and Stephens gave Azarenka a racket clap (a sarcastic one, perhaps) and a broad smile.

Who says women’s tennis is boring?

  • Published On Jan 19, 2014
  • 8 comments
    Don8
    Don8

    Lest we forget, it was Vika who pulled the gamesmanship bathroom break on Sloane last year.

    Asicran_i
    Asicran_i

    Look closer, Azarenka didn't hit her, maybe that's why she didn't apologize.

    Honey1
    Honey1

    An eye for an eye-smart move by Azarenka,showing she won't be intimidated by Stephens .I guess Stephens was too busy celebrating Serena's loss to concentrate on this match.LOL Still no titles for her and with all these points gone-her ranking will plummet.Nice to see her getting what she deserves.

    StingStungMe
    StingStungMe

    @Asicran_iTennis players usually throw up a hand even if they almost hit an opponent. No Vika didn't hit her. Within the article, they acknowledge that Sloane ducked.


    The title of the article is misleading. Guess they need more views.

    Jonjoe1959
    Jonjoe1959

    Honey1.- "An Eye For An Eye"? LOL. Both incidents were accidents. Much a-due about nothing.

    TiredOfCliches
    TiredOfCliches

    @Honey1axe to grind?  Guessing you're a Serena fan and bought into all the BS about Stephen's and Serena's 'bad blood' (which both players have denied endlessly).  Media hype and distortion...try not to be such a lemming.  

    No reason to hate on Stephens...she's 19 and pretty good.  She'll get better, too.  As for "getting what she deserves", that's ridiculous.  Like I said, clearly you don't like her, but no need to distort the facts to justify it.