Azarenka to celebrate Australian Open final with Party Rock Crew; Li Na dreams of Paris

Jocelyn Gecker, The Associated Press
Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia - After all the drama, the emotion and the tears, Victoria Azarenka planned to celebrate with the Party Rock Crew.

After winning one of the more unusual Australian Open finals, Azarenka stepped into a studio for a televsion interview where she was joined by her rap star friend, Redfoo.

The LMFAO frontman known for his wild hair and wilder music has been a colorful addition to this year's Australian Open, where he was a regular fixture in Azarenka's front-row seats. During her final, his leopard-print jacket was visible from the upper decks.

"It's a dream come true," Redfoo told Australia's Channel 7, referring to Azarenka's win. "I came out here to support her, and I'm just so happy."

The interviewer seemed more interested in getting the pair to talk about their relationship, which made the 23-year-old Azarenka turn bright red.

In one attempt to change the subject, Redfoo said that he and Azarenka share a love for music.

"She's actually very into music, she has a piano now on the road. In the off-season she might be my pianist," Redfoo said, again causing the world's No. 1-ranked player to blush.

The interaction was a light moment after a heavy match.

Azarenka beat China's Li Na 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, overcoming a hostile crowd to win her second back-to-back Australian Open title.

The drama-packed final included two medical timeouts for Li who twisted her ankle, hit her head on the hard court and later said she blacked out for a couple seconds. The final also had to pause when fireworks boomed overhead as part of Australia's national day celebrations.

When Li sent the last point long, Azarenka dropped her racket and began to sob. During the trophy ceremony she thanked her coach and the Party Rock Crew, as Redfoo's group is known.

By the end of the ceremony Azarenka was all smiles, and the interviewer asked how she planned to celebrate.

"We party," Azarenka said.

Redfoo added: "We bring out the bottles" — a subtle plug for his upcoming new single called "Keep Calm and Bring Out the Bottles."

Asked what they plan to drink, Azarenka said: "Everything."

Later at her post-match news conference, Redfoo stood among the photographers and reporters and watched as Azarenka fielded questions, including one about him.

"No," she said, the song she was listening to through headphones as she entered the stadium was not a Redfoo song. It was "a really, really cool dance" song called 'Poppin off in Atlanta'."


FRENCH OPEN, HERE SHE COMES: Li Na might have lost the Australian Open, but she'll always have Paris.

In a remarkably upbeat mood despite her loss, Li noted that several runners-up in Melbourne have gone on to win the French Open later in the year.

Last year, Maria Sharapova also lost to Azarenka and went on to win at Roland Garros, Li said.

The very same thing happened to her, too.

In 2011, Li made an historic run to the Australian Open final but failed to deliver China its first Grand Slam trophy — until a few months later at the French Open.

In 2008, Ana Ivanovic lost the Australian final before winning the French Open.

"I don't know," Li said. "I hope I can do the same this year, as well."


FLASHBACK TO CHINA: With all the Chinese chants and red flags waving, Li Na joked that it felt like China.

Chinese fans poured into Rod Laver Arena for the match and cheered Li on with shouts of "Jai You Li Na" — or Let's Go Li Na!

Li said she felt lifted by the support.

"I (could) hear a lot of Chinese fans," she said.

So could the chair umpire, who had to ask for silence as some exuberant fans cheered in the middle of points.

"Also, I (could) see them with the China national flag everywhere," she said with a big smile. "I was like, 'Oh! It looks like the China Open.'"

It was a change from 2011, when Li admitted she struggled to deal with how some fans cheered during her final.

Li's success at the Australian Open in the past couple years has been credited as a main reason for an increase in Chinese fans at the season's first major, and for the growth of the sport in China.