x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Olympics: Early jitters for Victoria Azarenka

World No 1 and Belarusian gets more nervous playing for country.

Victoria Azarenka was busy before the start, painting her nails to match the red and green colours of Belarus's flag.
Victoria Azarenka was busy before the start, painting her nails to match the red and green colours of Belarus's flag.

Victoria Azarenka confessed she puts herself under more pressure to do well when representing her country than she does playing for herself.

The world No 1 had to work harder than expected in her first round match in the women's singles competition at Wimbledon as she won 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

The Australian Open champion was broken twice to lose the second set after she had dominated the first set.

The 22-year-old Belarusian bounced back quickly and ran through the final set in rapid fashion, and said: "There were too many mistakes, but I'm glad I could turn things around and finish as strong as I started.

"I get more nervous when I play for my country than when I play for myself. Hopefully, the next round will be much easier."

Azarenka said she has been getting into the Olympic spirit by painting her nails red and green, to match the colours of her country's flag.

"Everybody's a little bit more patriotic this week and I'm really proud to represent my country and do the best I can with the look."

Elsewhere yesterday, both Serena Williams and Venus Williams recorded victories against Urszula Radwankska and Sara Errani respectively.

In the men's draw, Andy Roddick set up a clash with Serbia's world No 2 Novak Djokovic as the three-time Wimbledon runner-up defeated Martin Klizan 7-5, 6-4.

Roddick will meet the 2011 Wimbledon winner Djokovic for a place in the last 16 following the American's gritty victory over Slovakia's Klizan in a match held over from Sunday due to rain.

The 29 year old is relishing playing on the grass courts for a second time in a month following the Wimbledon grand slam tournament and said: "For me it's just an honour to be asked to play at the Olympics.

"I was happy when London got chosen, it's a place that I know well and I know how to play here.

"It's always a big deal to play in the Olympics. It doesn't happen often for us so it's definitely something we pay a little more attention to."