Nana knows best for hard-working Azarenka


Victoria Azarenka Tuesday said a traditional Belarusian work ethic taught by her grandmother had helped put her among tennis’s elite, despite her millionaire’s lifestyle in plush Monte Carlo.
The world number three, who advanced to her second grand slam semi-final with victory over Agnieszka Radwanska, said homely values from the former Soviet state had kept her grounded during her dizzying rise. Azarenka lives next door to top seed Caroline Wozniacki in Monte Carlo, home to the rich and famous, and she sees men’s world number one Novak Djokovic when he is out walking his dog. But the Minsk-born 22-year-old said she had taken inspiration from her grandmother, a former kindergarten teacher who worked into her 70s. “My grandmother is an incredible person. She worked all her life until she was 71, I think,” Azarenka said. “We had to make her sign a paper that she’s going to give up her job. We actually had to do that, because she would get up at 5:00 in the morning and still go to work.” She added: “It’s just amazing to see how much people work, and we are here playing tennis and sometimes complaining about little things. It’s a little bit silly. It’s really interesting to see a different kind of life.”
Azarenka said she had had “many” dinner parties with Wozniacki in Monte Carlo and she has also spent time in the United States. But she still regarded Belarus as home, and was inspired by its industrious ways.
“Belarusian people have a mentality of really hard-working people. You can see outside the capitals, big cities, how neat and clean the areas are. So I think that speaks a lot,” she said.