Victoria Azarenka’s coach, Sam Sumyk, tells a small group of reporters including the Melbourne Age that the media was too critical of his player, who repeated as Australian Open champion. Azarenka was criticized by some for taking a medical timeout late in the second set of her 6-1, 6-4 semifinal victory over Sloane Stephens.
“You’re sharks, guys. It’s tough,” he said. “When you’re after something, your story, when there is no story, you’re pretty good, so it’s tough. Everybody has to handle it the best way possible. I understand you have to do your job, but sometimes you can maybe do it a little bit more ... I don’t have the right word, I don’t want to be mean. She’s 23 years old, guys, come on ... I think the journalists should take some lessons out of this -- not necessarily the athletes. Let’s try to be fair here, let’s try to say everybody should take a good lesson out of it.’’
Azarenka herself said she did not expect to get a warm reception from fans when she walked on court due to the incident.
“I was expecting way worse, to be honest actually,” she said. “What can you do? You just have to go out there and try to play tennis in the end of the day. That’s what it was all about. It’s a tennis match, tennis battle, final of the Australian Open. I was there to play that.”