Azarenka bowled over by Broncos win

Victoria Azarenka (AFP)
Victoria Azarenka (AFP)

Melbourne - Victoria Azarenka revealed herself as a huge NFL fan on Monday, saying she was nervous and emotional about the Denver Broncos' showdown with New England Patriots.

The former world number one said she loved how strategic the sport could be and was a diehard Broncos fan, especially Peyton Manning.

The age-defying Manning defeated Tom Brady in the NFL's epic quarterback rivalry to send the Broncos into Super Bowl 50 on Sunday with a defence-dominated 20-18 victory over the reigning champion Patriots.

It set up a championship showdown against the Carolina Panthers.

Azarenka she found it hard to watch the game as she prepared for a fourth-round clash against Barbora Strycova at the Australian Open, which she won.

"I was emotional the whole morning about it. I turned on the TV while I was having breakfast and I just couldn't look over there because - you know, I'm a huge sports fan, so when I'm a fan of somebody, I'm a die-hard.

"I'll get nervous. I get emotional."

She asked immediately after her win over Strycova whether the Broncos had gone through - and was ecstatic when she heard the answer.

"I'm a fan of Peyton Manning, so when he started playing there I just have so much respect for him," she said.

"You know, spending quite a bit of time in the States, it's such a big sport in the States. You can't miss it. Like you go to the bar and it's always showing, baseball or football.

"I like to get into it. I think once I started to understand American football more, it showed so much how strategic the game is and that has fascinated me."

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