Nadia Petrova has bounced back from losing in the first round of the Australian Open. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Former No. 3 Nadia Petrova tells Sport Express Russia (translated at Tennis.com) that Serena Williams is a "true leader on tour" and that despite her reign as the No. 1 player for more than a year, Victoria Azarenka wasn't able to earn the same level of respect in the locker room.
“Serena is such an important figure for our sport,” Petrova said. “There really aren’t that many really outstanding personalities in women's tennis. For example, Agnieszka Radwanska is playing well, but still is not the best. Vika Azarenka, admittedly, not all see her as the leader of our tour. [Petra] Kvitova, [Sam] Stosur, [Angelique] Kerber -- great players. But Serena is only comparable to Maria Sharapova.”
Petrova, ranked No. 12 and rising, made the Dubai quarterfinals last week, where she lost to Sara Errani.