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Radwanska accuses Azarenka of gamesmanship

In an interview after her Dubai quarterfinal win, Agnieszka Radwanska made it public that she "lost a lot of respect" for world No.1 Victoria Azarenka, because the Belarusian allegedly exaggerated her ankle injury pain during her semifinal victory in Doha. Radwanska spoke her mind when asked about the cold handshake in her Doha loss to Azarenka, in which Azarenka sprained her ankle in the second set and eventually won, despite limping and looking on the verge of retirement.

I think after this match (in Doha) [I] just lost a lot of respect. If you do this in the match, if anyone didn’t see the match, I think it’s just a quick look on YouTube and you’ll know what was going on. I was angry because I don’t think this is the great image for the women’s tennis, what was going on there.

Here's the YouTube video. The handshake is in the last minute of the clip.

(via Beyond the Baseline)

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17 thoughts on “Radwanska accuses Azarenka of gamesmanship

  1. Tulp

    Late as ever, I just read this post, and have to say: Well done, Agnieszka, for calling a spade a spade – even when one, as recently as yesterday, naively believed the "spade" was one's friend. For, spades have no friends. (Cf. my comments on the post "No 1 Azarenka, etc.", dated February 17. [I must add that I haven't answered the second "common sense" reply to my comments there out of sheer despair.]). Be as it may – well done, Marija, too, for recognizing that there's more to (any form of) "entertainment" than "only entertainment"!

  2. maisee

    she needs to focus on her game more than how she keeps critiquing what others do! she is a bitter loser that is all!

  3. Marija Post author

    Tulp, there are also opposing views, though. I received an email from a reader who attended the match in Doha and told me that she lost respect for Radwanska. She said that Radwanska was ridiculing Azarenka's injury and made fun of her lumping by imitating it. She said that TV cameras didn't share that, because everyone's eyes were on Azarenka.

  4. Tulp

    Marija, there will *always* be opposing views! On the other hand, we could, for instance, doubt the motives of anyone reporting on something nobody saw (because "TV cameras didn't share it"), could we not? Be as it may, for the time being, I'll stick to my own (extended) experience of the two actors in the drama, which tells me that I have yet to see Radwanska behave in an unsporting manner – something I can hardly say about Azarenka. And even if Radwanska did act as discribed – could it not be a reaction of someone who, being close enough to notice what's real and what's fake, felt betrayed by a "friend"?

  5. Marija Post author

    Tulp, the person that sent me the email doesn't have any bad motives, I'm sure. It was her impression and she wanted to share that with me via email.

  6. Marine

    Hmm, this is not the first negative thing I have heard about this Azarenka. It seems that the new WTA top player is not the nicest person to be around.

  7. Tulp

    Marija, I appreciate your judgement and have no reasons to doubt it – it was only a (clearly put, I hope, and not quite implausible) speculation on my part, anyway. But I still stand by the rest of my comment (as kind of confirmed, I just see, by Marine). Cheerio.

  8. Marija Post author

    Aaaand Azarenka's response has arrived:

    I still see her as a friend, but what could I do? I wouldn't have pulled out if I wasn't hurting. I don't believe in making comments about opponents. There are so many people on this planet that there are bound to be conflicting opinions and there's nothing more that can be said.

  9. Maggie

    Well, Azarenka seem to allways have some kind of health problem when she's playing Radwanska. Having said that, whatever what Radwanska is saying is true or not, her loss is only her fault. She's often inconsistent, she's not moving so well (she's skinny and not so tall in comparison to others players, and while it means she's not so physically strong, it should also be her advantage: she should be quicker, try to get to all ball, and sometimes she just stops, doesn't eve try to get the ball). And if Azarenka was hurt (whatever just a little and was faking or for real), Radwanska should have used it at her advantage, made Azarenka running from side to side!
    But well, I still like Radwanska (go Isia!:) and hope with her new coach she will get even better.

  10. Marine

    Soo, Azarenka reacted on that? I am quite surprised. Although it sounds like a very PR-crafted comment… I saw many comments from fans who saw the match who said that Azarenka was only pretending she was injured.
    On the other hand Radwanska should have done what was necessary to close it out. I mean, players need to cope with distractions sometimes.

  11. Vicky

    After watching the match then the highlights, I must say Vika is moving well for someone who just incurred an ankle injury during the match. She's controlling the rallies quite easily even though she's injured.

    I've watched the WTA Championships Round Robin match of Wozniaki last 2010 and she wasn't able to run as well as she wanted to because of a similar injury like this. It was very painful to watch because she was giving her all but came up short. There was even a moment were she experienced a heavy set of cramps and just fell down whilst crying due to the pain.

    There are 2 sides of the story but if you watch the match between Vika and Radwanska, Radwanska makes perfect sense.

  12. Tulp

    Marija said "There will be more comments". Well, here's one more. A. Radwanska's on- and off-court attitude was, as far as I know, never (and even here isn't) questioned. Not so in Azarenka's case – and I wonder why. Mind you, I am no big fan of Radwanska – whenever she's up against someone with a better, more attractive game and a fair attitude, I root for the other one. Otherwise, as in this case, I'm all hers. And it applies to all other comparable match-ups. To illustrate this with a quote, one does not have to go to philosophers, ethicists or whatever – Ana Ivanovic said in a recent interview: "It's one thing to achieve big things in your career and it's another to be the kind of person that you are, because in the end that's what you are left with," she stated. "Fame and success and titles stay with you, but they wear out eventually. In the end all that you are left with is your character." It is (or could/should be) as simple as that.

  13. Yvonne Windloch

    Aga Radwanska always makes sense.On and off the court.
    That is the way she is. End of story.

  14. Marija

    Radwanska also said: "It's not like we're not going to talk anymore, but it's good to play fair play, off the court and on the court."

    And Azarenka's comment was: "She's the same girl she was for me before. It's emotions. I'm the same girl I was before. I don't care about whatever. [Things can get heated in competition], but I don't take it personally."

    She also said: "I still see her as a friend, but what could I do? I wouldn't have pulled out if I wasn't hurting. I don't believe in making comments about opponents. There are so many people on this planet that there are bound to be conflicting opinions and there's nothing more that can be said."

  15. Marine

    I think that Radwanska would not have complained so vocally if there wasn't a reason. I think there is always a little gamesmanship going on during matches bu Azarenka probably took it one step too far this time.

  16. Jim

    So, one year on, and at least one other major accusation against Azarenka of messing around and gamesmanship, how do we all feel now?

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