Azarenka’s shrieks put to music

Updated 22 January 2013
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Azarenka’s shrieks put to music

MELBOURNE, Australia: Music fans will soon get to hear the symphonic-like shrieking that Victoria Azarenka brings to her tennis.
The No. 1-ranked player and reigning Australian Open champion is known as one of the more vocal players on the women’s tour, accompanying almost every whack of the ball with a high-pitched “Ooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuwww.”
In a silent stadium, the sound can linger in the air.
Azarenka’s friend, the American rapper Redfoo, who has produced multiple hit singles, has recognized some musical potential in the shriek. He recorded it and has mixed the sound into a new song due to be released soon, she said Monday.
“It’s my grunt. It’s not my vocals,” Azarenka said, clarifying that she was not recorded singing. “I don’t take high-key or low-key there. It’s just natural.”
Center court at Melbourne Park got a 57-minute Azarenka concert on Monday as she beat Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-1 in the fourth round and continued her confident run toward the defense of her title. Going into the quarterfinals, Azarenka has dropped only one set.
Known for his wild hair and even wilder music, Redfoo has been seen cheering from Azarenka’s players’ box and signing autographs during most of her matches. Azarenka was quoted as telling Australian media that Redfoo, the LMFAO frontman whose real name is Stefan Kendal Gordy (he’s the son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy), had to fly off to a gig in Malaysia but plans to come back later in the week.
As an insider to the music world, Azarenka gets to listen to tunes the public hasn’t heard yet — like a remix by Redfoo’s friend GoonRock that she called “Sweet Baby” and says is “really good.”
“Sweet Baby” was piping into Azarenka’s earbuds as she walked onto center court Monday, as she often does soaking in some last-minute musical inspiration before turning to tennis.
“If it’s bad music, it’s going to be a bad match,” she said. “So I really choose it very carefully.”
Music is a “very important” part of her pre-match preparation, Azarenka told a post-match news conference.
It helps “focus, pump you up, get your feet a little bit moving, kind of get excited,” she said. “I kind of get in the zone.
“It just makes me feel good inside. When I feel good inside, I love to go out there and do the best job as I can.”
The 23-year-old Belarussian rose to the top of the rankings after winning last year’s Australian Open and has stayed there for all but a few weeks ever since. She needs to defend her title to hold the top spot from No. 2 Maria Sharapova or No. 3 Serena Williams.
All three top-ranked women remain in contention, meaning the women’s quarterfinals contains all of last year’s Grand Slam winners. Sharapova won the French Open and Williams won at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Next up for Azarenka is Svetlana Kuznetsova, who entered the season’s first major ranked No. 75 but has won titles at the 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open.
Kuznetsova advanced after a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 win over Caroline Wozniacki, a former No. 1-player who will now slip out of the top 10.
The 27-year-old Kuznetsova said she noticed a difference in the temperment of Azarenka, who was prone in the past to hot-headed outbursts on court.
“She’s changed and just become so stable,” said Kuznetsova. “I think she just got calmer. She’s consistent.”
Going into the match feeling like the underdog gives Kuznetsova added confidence, she said.
“She’s No. 1. I have nothing to lose. She has all the pressure,” she said. “I’ve got the game to give her some problems, and I will just do my best and try to enjoy it.”
Azarenka smiled when told her opponent had complimented her composure.
“I’m always going to be an emotional player,” she said, adding that now she’s learning how to pick the right reaction for each point.
“Sometimes you need to be more aggressive ... to pump yourself up,” Azarenka said. “Sometimes you just need to relax and breathe.”


‘Hero’ Malian saves child, 4, in spectacular Paris rescue

Updated 28 May 2018
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‘Hero’ Malian saves child, 4, in spectacular Paris rescue

PARIS: A young Malian man was hailed a hero on Sunday after he sprang into action to save a four-year-old child hanging from a fourth-floor balcony by single-handedly scaling the facade of the building and hauling the youngster to safety.
Without a thought for his own safety, Mamoudou Gassama took just seconds to reach the child in a spectacular rescue captured on film and viewed millions of times on social networks.
The incident took place at around 8:00 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Saturday in northern Paris.
Film of the rescue shows Gassama, 22, pulling himself up from balcony to balcony with his bare hands as a man on the fourth floor tries to hold on to the child by leaning across from a neighboring balcony.


On reaching the fourth floor Gassama puts one leg over the balcony before reaching out with his right arm and grabbing the child.
Firefighters arrived at the scene to find the child had already been rescued.
“Luckily, there was someone who was physically fit and who had the courage to go and get the child,” a fire service spokesman told AFP.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo praised the young migrant on Twitter for his “act of bravery” as well as phoning him personally to “thank him warmly.”
“He explained to me that he had arrived from Mali a few months ago dreaming of building his life here.
“I told him that his heroic act is an example to all citizens and that the city of Paris will obviously be very keen to support him in his efforts to settle in France,” she added.
The young Malian will next be honored for his brave rescue by French President Emmanuel Macron who has invited him to the Elysee Palace on Monday, his office told AFP.
Tracked down by reporters 24 hours after the heroic rescue, Gassama said he had acted without thinking.
“I saw all these people shouting, and cars sounding their horns. I climbed up like that and, thank God, I saved the child,” he said.
“I felt afraid when I saved the child... (when) we went into the living room, I started to shake, I could hardly stand up, I had to sit down,” he added.
According to initial inquiries by the authorities, the child’s parents were not at home at the time.
The father was later held for questioning by police for having left his child unattended and was due in court later, a judicial source said. The child’s mother was not in Paris at the time.