Victoria Azarenka: 'This year was very tough but I will return stronger'

After splitting with boys father, Victoria was forced to miss the rest of 2017 after Wimbledon due to a custody battle that she won in January this year, having to withdraw from the Australian Open despite receiving a wild card but returning to action at Indian Wells.

The Belarusian competed in only two events over the course of almost two years and she struggled to find form in the season behind us, winning 17 out of 29 matches and achieving one prominent result following a semi-final run in Miami in just the second tournament after joining Tour again.

I dont remember that much about last time, Azarenka told Stuff. Im sure the site has changed and evolved, its been 12 years but doesnt seem like that long, said Azarenka. I remember the city a bit, but Im excited about coming back to New Zealand.

One of my dear friends has a house not too far from Auckland, so Ill get a chance to visit that too. This year has been incredibly tough for me to be able to perform at my best without preparation and the level I want to play at, but without any preseason training, or serious training.

For me, my standard is always really high and thats why Ive taken my time to prepare the best I can for next year. So this year its been whatever, I try to look at the positive things that happened, but tennis-wise, its hard to assess anything thats happened.

I have a lot of memories of Marina Erakovic. We played doubles together in juniors and won the Australian Open and I played her in the quarterfinals in singles. So I remember her really well and shes been a great player and done a lot of work on the tour, being a part of the players council as well.

A lot of players appreciated her dedication to the tour, including myself. I remember her family, her dad traveled with her and shes a really nice girl, a real hard worker and I wish her all the best in what she decides to do after tennis.

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