World No. 4 Maria Sakkari admits that she has realized that she is simply not enjoying being one of the best players in the world. After ending runner-up in Miami, Sakkari rose to a career-high ranking of No. 3 in the world. Five months have passed since Sakkari’s strong Miami run and she has won just 11 matches since.
Over the last five months, Sakkari has had several early exits and disappointing results. After suffering a surprise loss to Shelby Rogers in her San Jose opener last week, Sakkari sat down with his coach Tom Hill for an honest and open conversation.
“I just sat down with [Coach] Tom [Hill] for a lot of hours and just realized that I’m not enjoying being one of the best players in the world, which was something very tough to admit and very tough to handle,” Sakkari said, per the WTA website.
“But it’s the truth. It’s the reality. I think that the pressure and everything was something I had to deal with.”
Sakkari on what went wrong after Miami
“After the match against Paula [Badosa in the Indian Wells semifinals] it was very emotional because I knew that I was going to be a Top 3 player after winning that match,” Sakkari added.
“[In Greece] I was always the person and the player that, because my mom was very famous back home, they always used to say ‘She’s never going to make it, even if she changes everything. She will never make it.’
And then suddenly, out of nowhere, I become one of the best players in the world. So for me, it was very tough to handle it. I struggled. Sometimes when you are on the tour and you play week after week, you don’t stop and you don’t realize what you have really achieved.
It takes time for some people and I believe that it took time for me. But I feel like I’m on the right track to being myself again. And I believe you’re going to see a different Maria than in the last three months.”
This week, Sakkari plays in Toronto. Sakkari is the third-seeded player and she has a first round bye at the tournament. After a first round bye, Sakkari plays the winner of the match between Sloane Stephens and Sofia Kenin.