Skip to main content

Ambitious Azarenka downplays the pressure of being No. 1

February 17, 2012 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Victoria Azarenka moved into the Qatar Open quarterfinals after a comfortable win over Simona Halep.
Victoria Azarenka moved into the Qatar Open quarterfinals after a comfortable win over Simona Halep.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Belarusian Victoria Azarenka says her world No. 1 ranking is just a number
  • The 22-year-old breezed into the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open Thursday
  • Azarenka hit No. 1 after winning maiden major title at the Australian Open
  • She will now face Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer in Qatar last eight

(CNN) -- Victoria Azarenka's peerless run of form in 2012 has seen her secure a maiden grand slam title and cement her place as the finest women's tennis player on the planet.

But after the Belarusian took her record this year to 14 straight wins on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open, she downplayed the pressure she faces to continue that success at the top of the rankings.

"It's really just a number," the 22-year-old told reporters.

"It's a great feeling to have, but I have so many more goals, and I just want to keep working hard and keep improving. I feel there shouldn't be a limit to how much you can push yourself."

15-love: Top tennis romances

Azarenka's latest victory was a comfortable 6-3 6-1 success over Romanian Simona Halep, just 24 hours after she had disposed of Mona Barthel.

She has barely had time to toast her maiden major victory after beating Russia's Maria Sharapova in last month's Australian Open final -- but she did manage to head to Los Angeles for a few days immersed in the world of Hollywood glamor.

It's a great feeling to have (being No. 1) but I have so many more goals
Victoria Azarenka

"I didn't really get too much time to enjoy the moment. I had to leave (Australia) the next day, and the next day I already had to do a lot of things," Azarenka said.

"It was really fun for me to go and watch the men's final, but it was so hot I couldn't sit any longer!

"I went to LA for a few days. I went to see the Lakers play -- Kobe Bryant is one of my favorite basketball players. That was really, really fun. I also attended the Ellen Show. She's one of my favorite TV anchors. That was really fun too."

Monfils pulls out as Roddick battles through in San Jose

Azarenka is relishing her return to action after being forced to sit out Belarus' Fed Cup tie against the U.S. -- and a potential meeting with the Williams sisters -- earlier this month due to a back problem.

"If I was looking for more holidays, trust me, I wouldn't be here," she said.

"I was excited to go out there and finally play again, because it has been a little while -- it seems like it was just yesterday, but it has been over two weeks. I was really looking forward to playing again and I'm excited about my next one."

Azarenka will face Yanina Wickmayer in the last eight after the Belgian beat Ksenia Pervak of Russia 6-4 6-0.

Elsewhere, Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Varvara Lepchenko of Uzbekistan 7-5 6-1 to set up a quarterfinal clash with American Christina McHale, who beat Israel's Shahar Peer 4-6 6-3 6-4.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 1107 GMT (1907 HKT)
Tennis star Venus Williams reveals how she is beating the autoimmune disease that derailed her career.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
After two decades dedicated to the game, Amelie Mauresmo wants a second life -- one away from tennis.
Rafael Nadal of Spain wipes his face after losing his men's final match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day 14 of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
Almost five years to the day after reducing Roger Federer to tears at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal shed a few in his own loser's speech.
February 2, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
Li Na outperformed Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open, but can she now surpass the Russian as the world's richest female athlete?
Roger Federer may have lost again to Rafael Nadal in the business end of a grand slam, but he can take some heart from yet another record says CNN's Will Edmonds.
January 21, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg, Novak Djokovic and Boris Becker -- today's tennis stars are teaming up with past legends of the game.
January 15, 2014 -- Updated 1859 GMT (0259 HKT)
Can't stand the heat of the first tennis grand slam of 2014? Then you clearly haven't been doing enough Bikram yoga.
After nearly a decade without any real change at the top of men's tennis, CNN's Will Edmonds looks at next generation of future stars.
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
Ana Ivanovic is still seeking to rediscover the form that took her to the top of the rankings -- but she has found a new lease of life.
January 6, 2014 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
As a teen sensation, Bernard Tomic had the tennis world at his feet -- but he's in danger of blowing it, says Australian great Pat Rafter.
ADVERTISEMENT