Ever dissatisfied world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka began her build-up to the Australian Open with an imposing 6-3 6-3 victory over big-serving Sabine Lisicki in the Brisbane International second round on Wednesday.
The defending Australian Open champion made light work of the German to set up a quarter-final clash against qualifier Ksenia Pervak.
“I’m such a picky person that I probably never will be satisfied,” Azarenka told reporters.
“That’s a good thing because I have a lot more matches to play and I can always improve. But it was pretty good. I felt like the things that I’ve been working on are there. I’m getting into the competitive groove and I’m happy where I’m at right now.”
Azarenka faces a challenge to her top ranking from world No. 2 Maria Sharapova and No. 3 Serena Williams when the Australian Open begins at Melbourne Park on January 14.
“I felt like the things that I’ve been working on are there. I’m getting into the competitive groove and I’m happy where I’m at right
“I actually don’t really look at defending anything – I’m just looking to win,” she said.
“I’m going to have the same mindset for as long as I’m playing. That’s what I’m looking forward to – improving my game as I always do and match those big challenges, the big players.
“At the beginning of the year, you’re obviously hungry to play. The atmosphere here in Australia brings out the best in me. The motivation is always extraordinary. I really like it here.”
Williams will follow Azarenka on to Pat Rafter Arena on Thursday when she plays fellow countrywoman Sloane Stephens.
The powerful and athletic 19-year-old is regarded as the successor to Serena and Venus Williams as the face of American tennis.
“She’s so sweet,” Stephens said of Serena Williams.
“I love her. Obviously she’s been a really great influence on my tennis career. I’m excited to play her and get on the court with her tomorrow. I think it’ll be fun.”
Men’s top seeds Andy Murray and Milos Raonic start their campaigns on Thursday against Australia’s John Millman and Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov respectively.
The men’s world No.1, Novak Djokovic, suffered a shock loss to Australian Bernard Tomic at the Hopman Cup team event, two weeks before the defence of his Australian Open title.
Two days after Djokovic sustained a minor injury when a crowd barricade fell into his shin while he was signing autographs, Djokovic was defeated 6-4 6-4 as Australia took a 1-0 lead in the tie against Serbia.
Tomic had a poor 2012 in which he fell to outside the top 50 in the world rankings but the 20-year has vowed to return to the top 10 this year.
He has recorded back-to-back victories at the Hopman Cup against Germany’s Tommy Haas and Djokovic.
“I’m thankful to get the opportunity to play against Novak,” Tomic said.
“I was very nervous before the match. I’ve worked hard on my serve and technique in the off-season and I think that’s why I won. And I’ve been working on my head a lot, trying to not get distracted.”