Sports

Azarenka's healthy and happy

Rejuvenated former world No. 1 
Victoria Azarenka believes she is primed for a solid run at the Australian Open after an injury-wracked two years, with the pain-free star happy and in form.

The Belarusian won the opening Grand Slam of the season at Melbourne Park in 2012 and defended the title the following year before injuries stalled her high-flying career.

She struggled with foot and knee problems in 2014 and played only nine tournaments.

Then a painful thigh strain last year sent her spiralling down the world rankings.

-- PHOTO: AFP

But she is again fighting fit and won the build-up Brisbane International last weekend, dropping just 17 games in four matches, propelling her back into the world top 20 at No. 16.

It sets up her as a legitimate threat at the Australian Open.

"Definitely a lot more comfortable, a lot more calm, a lot more aware. Happy. Very happy," Azarenka said.

"Being an athlete, we always think about physical performance and tactical performance.

"Mental preparation is also very important - feeling happy on the court.

"We have such a long season.

"To have that sense of enjoyment, joy on the court, is important, too."

- AFP.

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