After winning the 2012 Australian Open, Victoria Azarenka became the No. 1 player in the world, a title which had been associated with Caroline Wozniacki for the past two years. After watching Wozniacki struggle mightily at every Major she played in while holding the top ranking, the tennis world is eager to see how Azarenka responds to the added pressure of being the one player everyone else on tour is looking to beat. We have seen way to many players reach this plateau and then struggle, especially at the Majors. Despite this, there is no reason to believe that Azarenka cannot be the next dominant player in the women's game. With her confidence at an all-time high, Victoria has all the tools of a dominant No. 1. Her serve has drastically improved in the past few months, her groundstrokes are as dangerous as there are on tour, and her movement is tremendous.
In order for the Belarusian to fully live up to her potential, she will need to stay mentally tough. Some of her problems early on in her career dealt with her short temper and tendency to let her emotions flow on court. This aspect of Azarenka's game has seemingly improved lately, and this trend will need to continue for her success to continue. It will be vital for Victoria to stay positive, even if she does start to struggle in Majors. Unlike Wozniacki, Azarenka will be able to sit back and realize that she does know what it takes to be the last woman standing at a Grand Slam. This should help the new World No. 1 maintain a high level of confidence, no matter how rough it gets for her in the next few months.
As for possible challengers, it is hard to ignore Petra Kvitova. She is as good as it gets when she is playing well, and becoming a more consistent could go a long way for the native of the Czech Republic. It is not too far-off to believe that Azarenka and Kvitova will be battling in a couple of Major Finals this year. The two women played in the Final of the 2011 Year-End Championships, with Kvitova prevailing in a very entertaining match. With this chaning of the guard in women's tennis, it wil be interesting to see who will be the next woman to start making noise. Whoever it is better start making headlines soon, as Azarenka is starting to become comfortable with her No. 1 ranking. There is no debating that Victoria has the game, personality, and looks to become the face of women's tennis. It is only a matter of whether anyone can stop her anytime soon. If not, 2012 will be the year of Victoria Azarenka.