MADRID, Spain - Wim Fissette credits Victoria Azarenka's hard work both on and off the court for her ability to rediscover her game over the last month.
Speaking at WTA Coaches Media Day ahead of the Mutua Madrid Open, Fissette told reporters Azarenka's work ethic during her comeback has never been in question.
"The practices have been the same," Fissette said. "She's the best worker I've worked with in my ten years now on the tour. She's always super committed, super focused, and she's fist-pumping on the practice. That's what you want as a coach, it's fantastic.
"But yeah, in January and February she was looking for the right form of her shots. Her timing was off. I think she wanted it too much, so it brought tension in her body and that tension didn't help with that timing and this is difficult."
Fissette said the key for Azarenka was a change in perspective. To let go of tennis as her identity and take a more objective approach to her career.
"At one point she said she decided to see tennis more as her job instead of her life," Fissette said. "It helped her with the mindset, because before it was just about tennis. It's everything, and so if tennis doesn't go well, nothing goes well.
"She's a super happy mother of a beautiful son. That's the most important. Of course she wants to be the best tennis player in the world, but the most important is still the son, of course."
Fissette still remembers the emotional fallout of Azarenka's first-round loss at the Australian Open this year. Azarenka called her tearful post-match press conference and the days after as the defining moment of her season.
"She was probably at the lowest point in her career at that moment," Fissette said.
"I have a lot of respect for her for the steps she has made because she took it in her own hands. She did a lot of mental work from the week after Australia and she's still doing it, putting in the work on a daily basis and it really helps her."
Azarenka finally found her footing this spring, buoyed by an unforgettable performance against Serena Williams in Indian Wells, her first final since her comeback in Monterrey, and a win over No.5 Karolina Pliskova en route to the quarterfinals of Stuttgart.
"I see now the Old Vika I love to see on the court. She's showing confidence on the court, she's entertaining the fans, that's how I like to see her.
"In Stuttgart, I saw the old Old Vika back. And I'm super happy about it. I look forward to what's next."
Now back in the Top 50, Azarenka plays Daria Kasatkina in the first round of Madrid on Saturday.