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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Has Aryna Sabalenka’s bucket list just been completed?

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The 5th ranked WTA player knew and felt that it was the time to capture her first Grand Slam title. Aryna Sabalenka had gone through changing and improving her serve over and over. She mentally was succeeding in not dwelling on her weaknesses and moving on to pass her faults on the court.

“I’m my own psychologist,” she had emphasized when the topic came up. Sabalenka was down with calling on people to help her and was ready to help herself. That seems to be exactly when changes took place in her game. She was fearless and thrashed Elena Rybakina in a 3 set suspense-filled championship match on Rod Laver arena.

“She learned in the big moments how to keep her composure,” Chris Fowler, commentator for ESPN had mentioned about Sabalenka’s change of attitude on the court. She used to collapse mentally when her game started to fizzle and it often contributed to a loss she would regret.

But things have changed. Sabalenka had many items on her bucket list to fill but getting a major title and at the beginning of the season was utmost on her mind. Aryna acknowledged that her game was spilling over with issues that were blocking her from victories.

The Belarusian dealt with constant self-doubt and low confidence that cused her to have mental situations stopping her from doing her best on the competitive court. Before getting into the Australian Open, she had a confidence builder by playing the Adelaide International 1, not losing a set and capturing the title within the same tournament.

She did well in the WTA Finals, defeating some heavy hitting players as Ons Jabeur, Maria Sakkari, Jessica Pegula and even the no. 1 player Iga Swiatek. But yet, she’d lose to Caroline Garcia in straight sets, a fact that Aryna just couldn’t shake out of her head.

But she made the conscious decision to not get her nerves rattled any more, throw her unforced errors over her shoulder and concentrate on the following points. This was the turning point on Sabalenka’s gaining not only results but victories.

The opponent was also going through her changes after winning the opening set. “Rybakina fought to the end,” Commentator Chris Fowler had said. But her fight proved not to be pecise enough on playing Sabalenka. It was after her first victory set that her game had broken down while the Belarusian’s became fiery.

“After she lost that first set, she bounced right back and played the best 2 sets of her life,” commentator and former player, Mary Jo Fernandez commented on Sabalenka’s comeback sets. But the 5th ranked WTA player wasn’t giving up.

She was on a mission that after winning the second set, had gotten renewed energy and perseverance on getting to her goal. “Nobody tells you it’s going to be easy,” Sabalenka gave a broad smile and got real during the press conference after winning the title.

She admitted that the tougher the matches the better she learned. “I really needed those tough matches to understand myself,” she got serious and philosophical.” Aryna Sabalenka felt completely relieved after Rybakina hit the last returning ball way past the baseline giving the 5th ranking Sabalenka the match and Championship title.

“I fought so hard to be in this one,” the Belarusian stated. But she’s found a whole new game and person after winning her first career Slam title. She was beaming and sipping on wine at ther press conference and began to get gitty.

It’s obvious that Sabalenka will be a top contender and a tough one at her next tournament. Comfortable, relieved and relaxed she proclaimed this to be the best day of her life and also freely said that “It was something about me. I learned that I don’t have to rush things and have to play my game and believe in myself.”

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