Victoria Azarenka lost patience with questions over her season-disrupting foot injury on Monday, telling reporters to stop treating it like a near-death experience.
The former world number one hit out after reaching the US Open quarter-finals with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win against Serb qualifier Aleksandra Krunic.
But after one reporter wanted to know the extent to which she had “suffered” during her five-month lay-off earlier this year, he was admonished for a lack of perspective.
“You’re making it sound like I almost died and there was 10 sharks and I got attacked and I survived. And, you know, I saved a dolphin, as well,” said the 25-year-old Azarenka, who began the year as world number two and slipped to a 16th seed after dealing with foot and knee injuries,
“It’s not that complicated. What I enjoy is to play tennis. To be talking about what happened with my injuries, it’s useless already.
“What happened in the past, you know, I ain’t got no genie in the bottle to wish what could I do in the past.”
Twice a major champion, and twice a runner-up at Flushing Meadows, the Belarussian took four of the last five games to come back and end the surprising, out-of-nowhere run by 145th-ranked Serb.
Krunic, 21, who is studying for an economics degree when she is not playing tennis, stunned third seed and Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova to reach her first major last-16.
And the slender 1.63-metre Krunic almost added Azarenka to her list of victims when she recovered from a double-break down in the first set to take the opener in a wonderful display of uninhibited hitting.
But the bigger, stronger Azarenka eventually prevailed over an opponent attempting to be the first qualifier to make the last-eight in New York in 33 years.
“Obviously, I didn’t have a lot of data on her,” the Azarenka said about her opponent. “I was a little bit surprised that she’s not that tall, and she hits the ball and unleashes her forehand with so much power.
“Aleksandra played amazing, she has a great future in the sport. I tried to be positive and I turned the match around,” said Azarenka.
By making it to the fourth round, she earned a cheque for US$187,300 – nearly matching her career take coming in. Asked if she knew what her US Open prizemoney would be, Krunic replied: “No. I know it’s 30 per cent tax. That makes me very sad.”
Next up for Azarenka is 17th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, who advanced by beating No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.
Agence France-Presse, Associated Press