Former world number one Belarussian Victoria Azarenka says she isn't comfortable playing on the clay court in Paris. Out of the 16 titles she has won as a profesional only one of those came on the clay court. She is hoping to finally adjust her game to fit more to the slower surfaced Paris clay just like her rival Maria Sharapova who managed to win Roland Garros last year.
There are many examples of former great players who played better on faster surfaces rather than the slow clay court surface. For example Pete Sampras only managed to get into the semi-finals once at the French Open but on other surfaces he managed to win 14 Grand Slam titles. Another example is American Andy Roddick who ended his career without winning a trophy on clay. Even Serena Williams has to go back all the way to 2002 to recall her only clay court tournament victory at Roland Garros.
"Because the movement changes a lot, the game changes a lot," Azarenka said.
"You don't have a steady ground, you have to slide and that can throw you off balance, while on hard court or grass you don't have that same ground,"
"I feel that every year I improve, there is still a lot of room for me to improve but I'm getting really excited by this challenge," she said, before detailing the changes a player needs to make to play on clay.
Azarenka understands that in order to compete with the best on clay she needs to change her game as opposed to faster surfaces where her opponents change their game in order to compete with her.
"You don't just have to work on your movement speed wise, you also need to make the small adjustments, the footwork, the little steps."
"These adjustments, details are very important. You have to understand that and work on it."
Azarenka will face France's Alize Cornet for a place in the last 16 at the French Open.