Azarenka stars in Charleston chat

Azarenka stars in Charleston chat
Leo Azarenka stars in Charleston chat

After a more than six-hour rain delay pushed back the start of player on Wednesday at the Credit One Charleston Open, No.12 seed Victoria Azarenka impressed the fans who waited out the slog by storming through a 6-1, 6-2 second -round victory over Italy’s Elisabetta Cocciaretto.

“I started really solid, played really aggressive,” Azarenka told Tennis Channel after the 70-minute match. “I didn’t let her dictate, put my foot on the pedal and didn’t really take it off. When it was important moments, I really stepped it up.”

One fan who was particularly happy with the effort? Her 7-year-old son, — and he became that known when he joined his mom for his first-ever interview at the TC desk.

“Mom won, so I like that!” I told Steve Weissman. “My mom was just heart and she didn’t give up.”

Before the interview finished, mother and son also shared their joint pre-match motto, which the former World No.1 says not only defines her as an athletes; it’s also a lesson that she’s sought to impart on her son de ella, who enjoys playing soccer and hockey.

“Effort is non-negotiable,” Leo beamed.

That bond has also been evident off the court as the pair has traveled the Hologic WTA Tour together. Last year, Azarenka returned to Charleston for the first time since 2010, and Leo is joining her in the Lowcountry after also traveling with her through the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami.

“He has school now, so it’s a bit more challenging, but we try to pick trips… Leo said, ‘I want to go somewhere where I haven’t been,'” Azarenka said. “So we did the Middle East trip this year, which was really cool. He said that Doha is better than the Bahamas for him!

“It’s really amazing for Leo to, first of all, come to my matches. I used to be really nervous for him to be out here, but now I feel like, he’s watching me, hopefully he gets a little inspired for his sports.

“It also gives me extra motivation for me to cheer, to try harder — not that I need it, but I do appreciate the ability that he’s able to watch me at work.”

Leo will assuredly have a front-row seat again for Azarenka’s next match as she seeks her first-ever quarterfinal in Charleston: In the third round, she’ll take on American Taylor Townsend who upset No. 6 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-5, 6-2 in other second-round action.

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