Azarenka hopes French Open organisers put players ahead of money

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With fans set to be in attendance at the French Open, Victoria Azarenka urged officials to protect players.

Victoria Azarenka hopes French Open organisers will put players first “rather than making money”.

The rescheduled grand slam is set to start on September 27 amid the coronavirus pandemic, with fans to be in attendance.

Although it will be a limited number of spectators, it comes as COVID-19 cases surge again in France.

After losing the US Open final to Naomi Osaka on Saturday, Azarenka urged officials to protect players.

“I’m kind of excited for that, to play on clay. I haven’t had the best relationship with clay seasons for years. Last year I kind of had a lot of fun. So I’m looking forward to just slide a little more,” she told a news conference.

“It will be very interesting for me to see how French Open is going to handle the situation with the bubble life, with the COVID now.

“I hope they will do a good job of protecting the players first rather than making money. So we’ll see.”

Azarenka fell short of a third grand slam title and first since 2013, losing 1-6 6-3 6-3 to Osaka in what was her fifth major final.

While accepting the defeat hurt, the Belarusian said she would move on quickly.

“I’m not disappointed. I’m not necessarily disappointed. It’s just painful. It’s painful to lose. That is what it is. It was close. I was close. But it didn’t go my way,” Azarenka said.

“Am I going to think about it too long? Not at all. I said it. I win or I lose, I’m not going to change. I’m not going to sit here and be miserable. This was an experience that was just an experience that didn’t go my way.

“I had a great two weeks. I enjoyed myself. I did everything I could today. Could I have played better? I think I could. But I left everything I could on the court today. She won the match. All the credit to Naomi. She’s a champion.

“As I said, I thought third time is a charm, but I got to try again. That’s what I’m going to do.”

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