“The End of an Era”: Victoria Azarenka Expresses Grief Over Lionel Messi’s Barcelona Departure

Published 08/13/2021, 9:30 PM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 9, 2021 Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka leaves the court to receive medical attention during her first round match against Jessica Pegula of the U.S. REUTERS/Jaimi Joy


The sporting world was handed a heartbreak, as Lionel Messi bid goodbye to Barcelona, ending his fairytale story with his boyhood club. The Argentine’s remarkable journey is surely the stuff dreams are made of; Regardless, it was time reality played its unfortunate part. Not just fans, but various entities from world sports expressed their grief over Messi’s departure. Amongst many was Belarusian tennis star Victoria Azarenka, who was in awe of Lionel’s humility.

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Victoria Azarenka is a popular face in the WTA circuit. Notably, her decorative career makes her the fan-favorite she is. However, as all eyes turned to her campaign at the Montreal-based, National Bank Open, the former World No. 1 had her attention somewhere else.

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Not long ago, Spanish football giants Barcelona FC, announced the departure of their captain, Lionel Messi, after 21 years together. Devastated by the news, Victoria opened up on her admiration for the Argentine maestro.

“It’s kind of the end of an era there”- Victoria Azarenka

Reflecting upon Messi’s shocking exit from the club, Victoria admitted to being a fan of his flamboyance and on-court character. As the Catalonian fans grieved the ‘G.O.A.T’s departure, the Belarusian both sympathized and empathized with them.

She said, “I think it’s very sad news for Barcelona fans. I could see how exciting his farewell was at the press conference. It’s kind of the end of an era there.”

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 1, 2021 Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka reacts during her second round match against Romania’s Sorana-Mihaela Cirstea REUTERS/Toby Melville

She also explained how the tennis star turned into a football and, in particular, Messi fanatic. She said, “How did my love for him begin? I was just watching him play: the way he handles himself on the court, he’s so talented and so different from the rest of the players. I also love how humble he is.” 

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Amazing Azarenka

Following a short break, the 32-year-old returned to court in emphatic style. Appearing in the WTA Montreal event, she’s looked in fine form and sublime touch right from the first round.

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Notably, her straight-set victory against World No. 40, Sorana Cirstea in the first round of the tournament, drew fans’ attention to her return. Living up to their expectations, she played yet another enthralling encounter, beating Greek international Maria Sakkari in an epic decider set. Now, she faces a familiar face in the third round, but as usual, was all praise for her opponent.

Aug 12, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Victoria Azarenka of Belarus hits reacts after her win against Sakkari of Greece (not pictured) during third round play at Stade IGA. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of her quarter-final battle against fellow Belarusian, Aryna Sabalenka, Victoria said, “Well, we played a lot already. She’s a great player. It’s always a tricky match against her. I don’t know how she feels. I feel like maybe it’s a little pressure. But I like playing against her. It’s always a great battle. Looking forward to this match.”

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Aryna’s heroics at the 2021 Wimbledon Championship has made her one to look out for in Montreal. However, will the youngster manage to topple her experienced compatriot? or will Victoria come out as the successful Belarusian of the two?

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Melroy Fernandes

280 articles

Melroy Joseph Fernandes is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. A Mass Media graduate, Melroy has been a content writer for the past 6 years, curating stories for several brands, starting from his own. At the age of 17, Melroy began his writing Journey with Team BIB, an event management company for everything Art and Entertainment.

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