Having clawed her way back after years of setbacks in her career and personal life, U.S. Open runner up Victoria Azarenka said on Saturday that she wouldn’t let her three-set loss to Naomi Osaka in the final keep her down for long.
“I’m not necessarily disappointed. It’s just painful. It’s painful to lose. That is what it is,” the twice Australian Open champion said. “Am I going to think about it too long? Not at all. I’m not going to sit here and be miserable.”
The former world No. 1 has plenty to be happy about: After securing her first WTA title in four years at the Western & Southern Open last month, Saturday marked her first Grand Slam final appearance in seven years.
Azarenka, a U.S. Open runner-up in 2012 and 2013 as well, returned from maternity leave in 2017 only to have a bruising custody battle with her former partner that kept her from competing in that year’s Flushing Meadows campaign.
The unseeded Belarusian was not expected to be a top contender this year, but defied the odds nonetheless.
“I’m a human being that has doubts, that has fears, that has different kinds of emotion which are so normal,” she said. “It’s just the difference that those emotions are not going to stop me from doing what I’m going to do.”
Azarenka has scarce time to soothe the sting of defeat, hopping on a plane to Rome on Sunday, where she will face the seven-time Grand Slam title holder in the Italian Open, where she was granted a wild card entry.
“I’m looking forward to play on clay. It’s going to be a quick turnaround, but it’s going to be fun,” she said.