Victoria Azarenka ‘to take a break’ after retiring mid-match in Miami as she admits ‘it was a mistake’ to play

Victoria Azarenka talks to the media

Victoria Azarenka admits she “shouldn’t have gone on the court” on Sunday after she retired midway through her match against Linda Fruhvirtova at the Miami Open.

Just under a fortnight after she posted an emotional message following her exit from the Indian Wells Masters, the former world No 1 returned to action in Florida.

Azarenka, who is playing under a neutral flag due to Belarus’ involvement in Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, won a three-setter against Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round to set up a clash against 16-year-old Fruhvirtova.

The wildcard from the Czech Republic dominated as she was leading 6-2, 3-0 when the two-time Grand Slam winner retired.

After her defeat to Elina Rybakina in Indian Wells, the Belarusian posted about the war and said “I am devastated by the actions that have taken place over the last several days – against – and in Ukraine.”

She also deleted her Instagram account.

Following her Florida exit, she revealed that she was not in a good space and should not have played.

“I shouldn’t have gone on the court today,” the 12th seed wrote.

“The last few weeks have been extremely stressful in my personal life. Last match took so much out of me, but I wanted to play in front of a great audience as they helped me pull through my first match.

“I wanted to go out there and try but it was a mistake. I hope to take a break and be able to come back.”

She added: “I’m sorry to the fans for what happened as you were great to cheer for me. It was the only reason I decided to step on the court. I always look forward to the challenge and pressure of competition but today, it was too much.

“I have to and will learn from this. I would like to congratulate my opponent and wish her best of luck in this tournament and beginning of her professional career.”