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Rediff.com  » Sports » Serena Williams is 'best ever' but Azarenka steadily 'closing the gap'

Serena Williams is 'best ever' but Azarenka steadily 'closing the gap'

Last updated on: September 24, 2013 11:32 IST

Image: Victoria Azarenka
Photographs: Adam Hunger/Reuters Rediff Sports Desk

The powerful Serena Williams may be the 'best player' but World No 2 Victoria Azarenka insists that she is steadily closing the gap.

The Belarusian player has said that she too is playing the best tennis like the World No 1 Serena Williams.

Serena Williams is 'best ever' but Azarenka steadily 'closing the gap'

Image: Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images and Adam Hunger/Reuters Rediff Sports Desk

According to Sport24, Azarenka suffered another bruising loss to the mighty American in the US Open final earlier this month in a repeat of the 2012 championship match in New York.

Azarenka walked off court with her head held high after a gallant loss to Serena Williams in the US Open final on Sunday, and while satisfied she had given her all there was no doubt the defeat stung.

Serena Williams is 'best ever' but Azarenka steadily 'closing the gap'

Image: Victoria Azarenka
Photographs: Kena Betancur/Reuters Rediff Sports Desk

"I'm not going to lie. It hurts bad," she conceded after a 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-1 at Flushing Meadows.

"It's okay. I did everything I could. I gave my heart. I fought as hard as I could.

"I lost to a great champion and I'm still going to have my head up."

Serena Williams is 'best ever' but Azarenka steadily 'closing the gap'

Image: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus returns a backhand
Photographs: Elsa/Getty Images Rediff Sports Desk

However, the Belarusian quickly climbed off the canvas, saying she was over it in 24 hours, according to the report.

Serena Williams is 'best ever' but Azarenka steadily 'closing the gap'

Image: Victoria Azarenka celebrates
Photographs: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images Rediff Sports Desk

The 24-year-old Azarenka said that it was hard to compare her game with Serena and that it was like comparing Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather because they were both the greatest in two different eras.

Serena Williams is 'best ever' but Azarenka steadily 'closing the gap'

Image: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus
Photographs: Kena Betancur/Reuters Rediff Sports Desk

Azarenka paid tribute to Williams after the American won the 17th major singles title of her career.

"Well, there's one word," Azarenka said of Williams.

"She's a champion, and she knows how to repeat that. She knows what it takes to get there. I know that feeling, too. And when two people meet who want that feeling so bad, it's a clash. That's what happens out there with those battles.

"And in the important moments, it is who is braver. Who is more consistent. Who takes more risk. You can never play safe."