January 29, 2013 2:36 PM EST
Victoria Azarenka: Could She Be the Next Maria Sharapova? [PHOTOS]
Victoria Azarenka has a lot to celebrate. After winning the Australian Open tournament against her Chinese opponent Li Na, Azarenka said that she will take her victory as a chance to improve as a player and as a person.
Azarenka went home with the crown even though journalists criticized her sportsmanship after winning over crowd favorite, Li Na. The two were put against each other on a 2 hours and 40 minutes game at the Rod Laver Arena last Saturday.
Although Azarenka's opponent was already a darling of the crowd, Victoria managed to grow in the audience's affection as she fought hard even with a rolled ankle and sore head. Azarenka said that she felt vindicated after retaining her number 1 spot in world rankings and in the championship.
"It was definitely a new experience for me that I think I handled quite well. I can only learn from it and move forward to try to improve as a player and a person," Victoria said of her victory at the Australian Open.
When reminded by reporters that she has now joined the likes of Serena and Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova, Azarenka said she feels honored to join the club of active women tennis players who have two or more titles.
"It's a very honored club to be in. To be in the same list with all those champions, it's a privilege. And right now it's kind of hard to believe that, because I think of myself as a nine-year-old girl playing against the wall. Picturing these big moments - and right now I'm living those moments - it's like a dream," Azarenak said in her interview.
With Azarenka's victories as well as her comparable resemblance to tennis superstar Maria Sharapova, many are saying that she's a definite candidate to either match or replace the Russian professional tennis player. Still, it's a long way for Azeranka to beat Sharpova's 27 WTA single titles as well as four Grand Slam single titles.