Aryna Sabalenka - waiting for the big highlight
Aryna Sabalenka can already look back on a strong season. The 23-year-old was also denied the big highlight in 2021.
by Nikolaus Fink
last edit: Oct 19, 2021, 08:42 pm
Naomi Osaka, Barbora Krejcikova, Ashleigh Barty and Emma Raducanu. These four players shared the Grand Slam titles among themselves in the current season. If Osaka and Barty had already written to the highest tournament level before, the triumphs of Krejcikova and Raducanu were like great sensations. A Grand Slam victory for Aryna Sabalenka would have come as less of a surprise, but the Belarusian has to wait at least until the Australian Open for her first major title.
Sabalenka was not even allowed to reach the finals this year, both in Wimbledon and at the US Open she failed in the semifinals. "I was very nervous. If I were to return to these games, I would be less worried," said the 23-year-old on the sidelines of the WTA 500 event in Moscow, looking back on her defeats to Karolina Pliskova and Leylah Fernandez. In both London and New York, Sabalenka had to admit defeat in the third set.
But bad luck alone did not make the world number two responsible for missing the long-awaited coup: "It's a question of experience. You have to go through it. I don't think a psychologist is able to prepare me for it." Nevertheless, she has been working with a mental coach for a "very long time", says Sabalenka.
The Belarusian could also need this in Moscow. Because after her corona infection, because of which Sabalenka had also missed the WTA 1000 tournament in Indian Wells, she says she is not yet at 100 percent. Regardless of the further course of the season, the 23-year-old can already look back on her best season so far. But she doesn't want to be satisfied with that: "I have to keep working on myself, be more consistent. I think I'm moving in the right direction."