Aryna Sabalenka will have to handle the pressure on her on the eve of her debut at the Australian Open 2024, where she will defend the title she won last year, when she defeated Elena Rybakina in the final and won her first Slam title. Although she tries to hide her emotions and keep the tension away, she will experience the thrill of taking the court in a Major defending her title.
"Australian Open as defending champion? No big difference, to be honest. I still need to work hard. I'm super happy to be back here and can't wait to play my first match. I don't want to think about defending the title. It's special to come back here and it doesn't matter if I'm the reigning champion or a top seed," she said at the press conference on the eve of the tournament. The former WTA number one will close the Day 1 program on Rod Laver Arena by challenging the German qualifier Ella Seidel.
Aryna Sabalenka: "I don't think about it defending the title"
Sabalenka began the season by reaching the final at the WTA 500 tournament in Brisbane, in a final in which she managed only three games against Elena Rybakina.
"I feel really great and I'm ready. Last year I had an incredible season, I improved a lot as a player and as a person. Elena showed incredible tennis in the final in Brisbane. I tried to do my best and I'm grateful to have won at least three games. Before that final, I think I played well. I had a week to work on the mistakes and better prepare for Melbourne," she told. The second season of Netflix's Break Point TV series showed the behind-the-scenes story of her first Grand Slam success.
The phone call with mother Yulia remembering father Sergej, who passed away in 2019, moved all tennis fans. "I think it was a great moment for Netflix. I'm an open person and I don't find it difficult to talk about my life or tell my story. It was important to share my story with people. I hope they feel closer to me. It wasn't easy in this case, I cried every time I talked about my family, but I'm happy that everyone knows my story now," said Aryna.
Sabalenka, considering her Australian Open draw, would not seem to have any major dangers until the quarter-finals, in which she could face, in theory, the Tunisian Ons Jabeur.