Sloane on relationship with Azarenka: “Nonexistent”

by: Matt Cronin January 17, 2014

AP Photo

Although they share the same agent and both train in the Los Angeles area, Sloane Stephens describes her relationship with Victoria Azarenka as “nonexistent.”

“I have literally never seen her in L.A.,” said Stephens, who could face Azarenka in the fourth round of the Australian Open, which would be a rematch of their controversial semifinal in Melbourne last year. After Azarenka’s 6-1 6-4 win, the Belarussian was criticized by some for taking an extended medical timeout while leading 5-4 in the second set. Stephens claims she barely remembers what happened in the match.

“She had more experience,” Stephens said. “She's won a Grand Slam; she's been in that position a lot of times. It's definitely a learning experience for me. Definitely now, if I was in the same position, which I am obviously not in the semis -- I know what I have to do. I have to play my game and focus on myself and focus on what I do best.

"And last year has nothing to do with this year. It's a totally different year. A lot of things have happened. So I'm just looking forward to getting back on the court. I definitely [feel mentally stronger], I have worked on a lot of things and I've gotten better and I've improved. I feel a lot better on the court.”

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