Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  By By Tully Corcoran  |  Last updated 9/27/13

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 23: Victoria Azarenka of Belaru plays a forehand in her third round match against Tathiana Garbin of Italy during day six of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Victoria Azarenka considers Serena Williams to be the best female tennis player of all time. That's not an extraordinarily controversial opinion, but there is a second part. Azarenka believes she's closing the gap. "Serena is playing the best tennis of her life and so am I," Azarenka told AFP . "It's been really noticeable the gap from last year we have in the matches has minimized. I've beaten her twice this year. No one else has done that. It's just exciting to be in the era of somebody and competing with somebody who is considered the best ever and being their toughest opponent." Azarenka is No. 2 in the world, so you can't call her crazy. She and Williams have split four matches this year. It's just unusual (and welcome) to hear somebody be so frank about their opinion of another athlete's ability. "Serena is the best ever to me," Azarenka said. "I cannot judge somebody who I never played before, but for me overall the game of tennis has elevated and the evolution of the game raised up so much that it's hard to compare. It's like comparing Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather. How can you compare two eras? They're both the greatest in the world, but who was the better boxer?"
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