Azarenka awarded Order of Motherland in Belarus

Updated: 2012-02-02 13:19


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Azarenka awarded Order of Motherland in Belarus

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus poses with her Australian Open tennis tournament women's singles trophy and the trophy for being WTA world number one next to the Yarra river in Melbourne, Jan 29, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

MINSK - Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko congratulated Victoria Azarenka for winning the Australian Open women's title on Saturday and awarded her the Order of the Motherland.

"Vika - you are the pride of the whole nation!" Lukashenko said in a statement, released by the government press service.

"The Motherland is captivated by your great achievement, which is already written in the history of the Belarussian and world sports.

"The whole country, holding its breath, was following your battles on the (Melbourne Park) courts and was rooting for you. In these cold January days you have lighted up Belarussian hearts with your will to win, skill and grace," he added. "Once again, I would like to congratulate you on your victory."

The US-based Azarenka became the first Belarusian to win a grand slam singles title when she crushed Russia's Maria Sharapova 6-3 6-0 in the Australian Open final on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Minsk native also became the first player from her country to top the world rankings.

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