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Victoria Azarenka abruptly storms off the court at the Miami Open

Fans were shocked on Sunday when former world No. 1 tennis player Victoria Azarenka blew her Miami Open third-round match in half without explanation.

Azarenka took on 16-year-old Czech Linda Fruhvirtova and stormed off the court in the second set as the teenager led 6-2, 3-0.

The Belarusian number 16 shook hands with Fruhvirtova and the referee and simply left the pitch as the ump called after her: “Vika, we have to wait.”

Azarenka released a statement that vaguely explained her reasoning.

“I shouldn’t have gone out on the pitch today. The past few weeks have been extremely stressful in my personal life,” the statement said.

“The last game challenged me so much but I wanted to play in front of a great crowd as they helped me get through my first game. I wanted to go out there and try, but it was a mistake. I hope to take a break and come back.

“I’m sorry for the fans what happened because you guys were great cheering me on. That was the only reason I decided to go on the pitch. I always look forward to the challenge and the competitive pressure, but today was too much. I must and will learn from this.

“I would like to congratulate my opponent and wish her the best of luck in this tournament and as she begins her professional career.”

Azarenka’s exit forced the referee to decide the game in Fruhvirtova’s favour. Despite being confused about the situation, Fruhvirtova only praised the 32-year-old.

“I don’t know what happened in the end,” Fruhvirtova said, per AFP. “She was struggling with some injuries. I don’t know, but it was an honor to share the yard with her.

Linda Fruhvirtova and Daniela Hantuchova
Linda Fruhvirtova and Daniela Hantuchova fist bump after defeating Azarenka
Getty Images

“You never want to end the game like this, but it happens. We shook hands and then she walked away.”

Azarenka’s actions caused her to be despised by fans and former players. Daniela Hantuchova, the former fifth-ranked player in the world, blew up Azarenka and asked the WTA to investigate what happened.

“The most disrespectful part is how she left the seat without really giving a reason[for leaving],” Hantuchova said. “I think the WTA really needs to look at this.

“That to me is really bizarre and really disrespectful to the crowd, the referee and most importantly Linda (Fruhvirtova). I think Vika (Azarenka) just knows that if she keeps going like this, she’ll be off the field before long anyway. But the way she did it, it’s not nice behavior.”

The First Serve Tennis account tweeted similar sentiments to Hantuchova, writing, “This is really disappointing from Azarenka. Leaves the court out of nowhere, no explanation. She was outplayed by Fruhvirtova and the young Czech deserved more respect and the right to win this match on her own terms.”

https://nypost.com/2022/03/28/victoria-azarenka-abruptly-storms-off-court-at-miami-open/ Victoria Azarenka abruptly storms off the court at the Miami Open

JOE HERNANDEZ

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