The status of a new WTA number one and a Grand Slam champion brought all the attention to Victoria Azarenka and people started digging more info about the Belarusian, particularly asking me about her boyfriend whom she mentioned in her Australian Open trophy speech:
I would like to thank my team—you guys have been supporting me for so long and believing in me, and it made me realise that I can believe in myself and I can finally raise this trophy. I want to thank my parents, who are watching for sure now, my friends, my boyfriend and my grandmother, the person who inspires me the most in my life.
So who is Victoria Azarenka's boyfriend?
His name Sergei Bubka (see his closeup photo here). He is a 24-year-old Ukrainian pro tennis player residing in Monte Carlo, just like his girlfriend. Currently his ATP ranking is No.157, the highest was No.145, and he is yet to win an ATP title in either singles or doubles.
Sergei's nickname is "Bubka Junior" because his father shares the same name and is a well-known pole vaulter who won 6 consecutive IAAF World Championships, an Olympics gold and broke the world record for men's pole vaulting 35 times. Sergei's mother, Liliya, is a former rhythmic gymnast.
According to his ATP Tour profile, Sergei's idols growing up were Michael Jordan, Andrei Medvedev and Marat Safin. His hobbies include watching movies, football, golf and snowboarding. If Sergei didn't pursue a tennis career, he would have "studied business and then worked in that area, or team sports".
DeShawn Besabella, thanks for the trophy speech transcript! Forty Deuce, thank you for the photo!