Aryna Sabalenka shares her secret love for clay-courts

The Belarusian will start the clay-swing from the Stuttgart Open

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Aryna Sabalenka shares her secret love for clay-courts
© Adam Pretty / Staff Getty Images Sport

"I'm super happy to be here again. Obviously the courts are faster here and the same goes for the WTA 1000 in Madrid due to the altitude, compared to Rome and Paris. In Rome the playing conditions are very slow, as well as in Paris. That's the main difference."

Aryna Sabalenka will be one of the most awaited star at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, event will be able to count on the presence of tennis players like Iga Swiatek, Elena Rybakina, Coco Gauff, Qinwen Zheng, Marketa Vondrousova and Ons Jabeur. 

In 2023, Aryna Sabalenka's clay-court season found its epilogue with a bitter defeat against Karolina Muchova. One step away from the Roland Garros final, the Belarusian player - ahead 5-2 in the decisive set - pulled the plug, wasted a match point and lost five consecutive games.

Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka© Adam Pretty / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

That match taught Sabalenka more than one lesson, determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past and push herself beyond her limits. Aryna will play the first tournament of 2024 on clay in Stuttgart, where she will meet her close friend Paula Badosa, in the 2nd round.

"I like playing on clay. Preparation for the clay court season starts immediately after the Miami Open. I took a couple of days off and started training on clay. I think Stuttgart is a great place to start season on this surface," said Sabalenka at the media day of the German tournament.

Aryna Sabalenka is raid for the Stuttgart Open

"I like to play a lot of tournaments before the Grand Slam, so I think it's a good idea to start. I think Stuttgart is a good place to start the clay season. You're slowly getting into this mood on clay, I would say, sliding , playing long rallies.

I really like playing on clay. Preparation begins immediately after the Miami Open. After finishing the tournament, I have a couple of days off and start preparing for clay as soon as possible," she explained.

Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka© Adam Pretty / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

"You have to get into the right state of mind, slide and be ready to play long rallies. I like to play many tournaments before a Slam. It's important for a player to be aware that she can play well on all surfaces.

Last year I I almost reached the final at Roland Garros and that defeat in the semi-final still hurts. But I always say: It's not a defeat but a lesson.I think that experience is important and I hope to do better this year. If I were to find myself in the same situation, there is no way I would do the same," explained Sabalenka.

Aryna Sabalenka Stuttgart Open
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