Champ Azarenka clears the air

Victoria Azarenka had made her peace even before she stepped on to Rod Laver Arena to defend her Australian Open crown.

Azarenka contacted American teenager Sloane Stephens only hours before beating Li Na 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final for a frank discussion on the top seed’s controversial injury time-out in their semi-final.

“I actually talked to Sloane yesterday and for me it’s important that we have no problems with each other,” Azarenka said.

“She wished me good luck and we’re going to go practise together in Doha [next month].

“I can’t change time, but it was very important for me that me and Sloane are in a good position. I feel it was a little bit unfair in a way. But I’m giving [critics] the benefit of the doubt because it didn’t look right.

“I felt a little bit bad that no one gave me the benefit of the doubt, which is not very pleasant. But what can you do? I try to give the benefit of doubt and try to find the whole story. I never judge people, I just try to step into their shoes.”

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