Azarenka asked to take off her PSG jersey during warm-up

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Victoria Azarenka HANNAH MCKAY / REUTERS

The player wore a PSG jersey during the warm-up and had to take it off.

Victoria Azarenka, who describes herself as an ‘odious football mother’, was ordered to take off her Paris Saint-Germain shirt at the Australian Open on Thursday before leaving the Grand Slam by losing in the semi-final against Elena Rybakina.

The 33-year-old Belarusian, a two-time champion, wore a shirt displaying her support for PSG as a gesture for her six-year-old son Leo, who is also a big fan of the Parisian club.

After an exchange of words with the chair umpire at the Rod Laver Arena, Azarenka took off the PSG jersey before warming up in his usual attire against Rybakina. “They told me to take it off twice because I had another shirt,” the 22nd seed told reporters after losing 7-6(4) 6-3 to the Kazakh.

“I think that’s the problem with the sponsors. I think the logos are too big…I know I’m not allowed to play with that. I knew that stuff. But I can always enter the field with what I want. I do it for my own reasons.

“My son wore the white shirt today for his training, and I tried to wear a white shirt for my match but I couldn’t. So it’s good.” It was the lesser of two disappointments for the Belarusian on Thursday as Azarenka’s bid for a third title at Melbourne Park ended with some regret over her missed chances against 22nd seed Rybakina.

The 2012 and 2013 champion gave up a break in the first set and only converted three of the game’s eight break points.

Trailing 0-40 on Rybakina’s serve at 5-5 in the first set, Azarenka couldn’t make the Kazakhstani pay and never had another chance after that as her error count increased and that his opponent’s confidence was increasing.

“I’m proud of myself, for fighting and trying, but I didn’t make it. In terms of tennis, I felt like I wasn’t up to it, especially in the important moments when I was creating chances,” said Azarenka. “It’s not a very pleasant feeling to digest at the moment.

“But give me a few hours and I can probably get a better perspective on this month in Australia. I look forward throughout the year to see what I can do.”

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