VICTORIA Azarenka’s busted body and broken heart have healed and she is ready for the fight to reclaim her ranking as the world No.1.
Coupled with the frustration of injury was the pain of her bust-up with popstar Stefan Gordy, better known as Redfoo.
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The two time Australian Open champion drew inspiration from her friendship with Hawaiian big wave surfer Laird Hamilton and his wife, champion volleyball player Gabrielle Reece and the American thanksgiving holiday in November spent with the family in Hawaii has returned the smile to her face and hunger for success to her belly.
“To be around such an amazing human being is so inspiring, he is like nobody I have met before,’’ she said.
“And his wife Gabriel is one of my best friends, she is like a big sister, mum and mentor.
“I know it is a weird combination but I don’t look at it that way, you don’t look at them as he’s a surfer, she is a tennis player, or a musician.”
In a sliding doors moment yesterday she provided the inspiration for 12-year-old Gold Coaster Olivia Gadecki.
The meeting was arranged after a breakthrough season for Gadecki in which she competed at the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament in Paris in June. The event brought together 16 girls aged 10-12 from around the world in a knockout competition and then the Sánchez-Casal Kids Cup in Barcelona which she won.
“I know what it is like, I didn’t have an opportunity when I was 12 but when I was 14 I met my idol Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi and I cried when I saw them, I was so overwhelmed,’’ Azarenka said.
“I love to inspire young girls to play tennis.”