Simon Reed

Golden girl can carry off Golden Slam

Simon Reed

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Victoria Azarenka is starting to fulfil early promise

The odds of Victoria Azarenka winning all four majors after her success at the Australian Open were around 33/1. It is a definite possibility.

As it stands at the moment, I could see her winning Wimbledon and the US Open. The question mark would come on the clay of Roland Garros at the French Open, but winning any major depends on the form of the player rather than the surface.

From what we've seen, she is the kind of woman who doesn't lose focus. There is a chance she could win the lot this season.

I think Petra Kvitova at her best could stop her. Kvitova at her best beats Azarenka at her best, but I'm not convinced she has the staying power to win seven matches in a row.

I know it happened at Wimbledon last year when she was fantastic - then it didn't happen at all for part of the season - then she returned to form at the WTA Championships. If I was a betting man, I would be wary of putting money on Kvitova.

I think she is more reliable than she was, but her 'B game' isn't as good as Azarenka's 'A game'.

I think you can more or less guarantee Azarenka is going to be pretty near her 'A game' wherever and whenever she wants it.

That is how I see it. You don't know if Serena Williams is back to her best, but she would be in there as well as a real challenger at her peak levels.

I think we've also seen that Maria Sharapova doesn't really have the weapons now. The serve is still fragile. She would win another Grand Slam if things weren't going so well for Azarenka and Kvitova. And if Serena Williams wasn't there.

For me, Sharapova is just off the pace at the very top and I see these Grand Slams being contested by three women. There is every chance of Azarenka being in every final this year. She could win every final this year.

If she wins Wimbledon, why doesn't she win the Olympics? It would be the same court, same surface and she has already intimated that the Olympics is her main focus this year. A Golden Slam is certainly on the cards.

Such a feat is unique in tennis. It shows you the way things are shifting in the women's game. I'm not saying it will happen, but there is a chance it could happen.

The only person who could stop her at Wimbledon and the US Open is Petra and Serena. Serena was the last person to dominate the game, but Azarenka has the equipment to enjoy similar moments.

There is no doubt that Serena has been the dominant factor over the past decade and more. She has won 13 Slams, and there could have been six or seven more without the injuries.

In many ways, the comparison between Novak Djokovic and Azarenka is a natural one. Djokovic went 41 matches unbeaten last season. Azarenka is on a run of 17 wins this season. They seem to share a similar focus.

In the past you have had Djokovic suffering mysterious injuries. The jury is still out on whether or not he will go back to being that type of person. I don't think the same can be said for Azarenka.

I think Azarenka is a fiercely driven person. It is incredible to think she was thinking of retirement a year or so ago.

Back then, she was suffering intense frustration because here was someone who was destined to be a star. She was the world's number one junior. It just took her longer than she expected for that switch to be flicked on, but there is real belief in her game.

After winning in Australia, she has gone onwards and upwards - she could go on a run that rivals Djokovic last year.

It will require a supreme effort from someone to stop her.

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