Victoria Azarenka admits that scoring her first win in four years over world No. 1 Serena Williams, when she beat her in the final of Doha last month, held great significance.
“It was important to go over the hurdle and for self confidence that I did it in 2009, and I could do it again,” Azarenka told reporters at Indian Wells. “I’m looking forward to playing her again.”
Williams is not playing Indian Wells. She has not done so since 2001 as a protest against what she claims were racially charged insults thrown at her, as well as her sister, Venus, and her father, Richard, during her final-round win over Kim Clijsters.
Azarenka, who held the top spot for just over 13 months before Williams took it from her, said that ranking does matter to some degree.
“It would sound a little silly if you said you don’t really care about because being No. 1 is a big statement, but I always take ranking as bonus of your achievements,” she said. “If I keep achieving my personal goals that might happen [again].”
The No. 2-ranked Belarussian added that regardless of how well she plays, she is very critical of her performances, which she says is part of her secret of success.
“I’m always hard at myself even if I win,” she said. “I’m such a perfectionist and want to do well and that brings desire and fire in me. That’s so natural. I can’t try to slow myself."