Victoria Azarenka hails 'dream' Australian Open triumph
Victoria Azarenka believes there is no limit to what she can achieve in tennis after hailing her Australian Open triumph as a "dream come true".
The 22-year-old to secure her maiden Grand Slam title and the world number one spot.
"I feel there is no limit," she said. "I really have to keep this mentality.
"It's a dream come true. I have been dreaming and working so hard to win a Grand Slam, and being number one is a pretty good bonus for that."
Azarenka's triumph, in her first major final, saw her replace Caroline Wozniacki at the top of the rankings.
After overturning an early break of serve, the Belarusian never looked back, completely outplaying Sharapova to win in 88 minutes.
The last five Grand Slam events have now been won by different players.
Kim Clijsters emerged victorious at Melbourne Park 12 months ago, Li Na lifted the French Open, world number two Petra Kvitova won Wimbledon and Sam Stosur shocked Serena Williams at the US Open.
"I think it's a great thing for women's tennis," said Azarenka. "We have good rivalry.
"With Petra we had amazing matches, Maria is playing really well now, Serena is back and Kim is still there.
"With Li Na and Sam Stosur winning Grand Slams, it's great competition and we can really look forward for the women's game. It's at a great level."
Sharapova was contesting her third Grand Slam final and, despite the defeat, looks to have finally put her shoulder problems behind her.
Asked if she felt her best tennis was still to come, the 24-year-old replied: "I believe it is, absolutely.
"I believe there's still a lot of work that I can do to improve. That's why I'm still playing.
"I think if an athlete wakes up, no matter what sport they're in, and thinks they can't be better or they're not going to have good days ahead of them, it's pretty tough to put in the work.
"I didn't know what to expect from myself coming into this event. I didn't play for so many months and I had a pretty tough injury.
"It's pretty unusual to come into the first tournament of the year having it be a Grand Slam. I'm certainly happy with the level I produced.
"Everything is still a work in progress. "Whether I won today or not, it's still a moving train."
The Russian, one of six women who came into the Australian Open in contention for the top ranking, agrees with Azarenka that the women's game is in good shape.
"There's a lot to look forward to," Sharapova added. "We also have the Olympics this year.
"Personally, that's something I've been look looking forward to for a long time, and it's a big goal of mine."