Victoria Azarenka proof that it's good to talk
Victoria Azarenka will play her first grand slam semi-final against Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon tomorrow knowing that, had it not been for a frank discussion with her family in March, she may never have showcased her talents on court again.
Azarenka has looked in sublime form throughout her time at SW19 this summer, justifying her tag as fourth seed by dropping just one set on her way to making the last four.
Just three months ago, however, the world number five seemed destined to join the long line of promising eastern Europeans who failed to make the grade.
The 21-year-old from Belarus first shot to prominence in 2005 when she clinched the juniors titles at the Australian Open and US Open, but struggled to live up to her billing in full majors.
Her ability to win at the business end of the most prestigious tournaments was brought into question when she lost four grand slam quarter-finals in the space of two years.
Her frustration finally came to the fore in March when, after crashing out in the first round of an event in Doha, Qatar, she considered quitting.
Only a chat with her mother and grandmother stopped her from throwing in the towel.
"After Doha I didn't really want to play tennis. I just wanted to go home and rest," Azarenka said.
"My mum asked me, 'What are you going to do?' I said, 'I'm going to study'. She laughed out loud.
"She knew I was just in a bad place. She knows that I like to study, but she also knew I'd just get bored, because tennis is what I really love.
"I just had to really take a step back and realise that is true."
Her grandmother, who once had to work three jobs to make ends meet, delivered the most stinging rebuke to Azarenka's quit threat.
"She said I had to just shut up and stop complaining because I had a pretty damn good life," Azarenka said.