The defending champion Sofia Kenin lost at the 2021 Australian Open second round against Kaia Kanepi, with the final score of 3-6 2-6. The world number 4 lost her service three times in the game, losing in just over an hour and then abandoning the Australian throne, a year after her consecration.
A defeat that followed her disappointing start to the season. In the post match press conference, Kenin, in tears, admitted that the pressure to play as defending champion played a major role in today's defeat to Kanepi. She said: "I felt that I was not there, my head was not there.
I don't want to take away any credit from her, she played well on the important points. I have had opportunities but I have not been able to exploit them and I also know the reason, which is why the nerves have got the better of me.
I felt like everyone was asking me: Would you like to win again? Do you see yourself out there winning again? Obviously yes. But the way I played today, no. I knew I couldn't really handle the pressure. It went well in Paris.
I was under pressure there too, but not like here. I think the trip to Australia was something I always had in my eyes, something I was aiming for. I knew I would feel the pressure, the emotions, the nervousness, all together.
Australian swing definitely got the better of me. What to do now? I have no idea. I know there is a 250 starting on Saturday, then another 500 after the Australian Open. I don't really know what I'm going to do, I have to try to figure it out.
Is absurd. I trained for two weeks, I was lucky enough to be able to do it. I felt good in training, but I just couldn't replicate those feelings in the match. Obviously I'm not used to that, so I just have to figure out how to play at the level I can play at.
Because today I just wasn't there."
• Australian Open announces major change without addressing the main issue• Carlos Alcaraz reportedly makes interesting plan for 2024 Australian Open • China Open: Aryna Sabalenka blitzes through Sofia Kenin in opener• Australian Open boss issues statement on Rafael Nadal, Ashleigh Barty wins in 2022• Australian Open boss recounts getting 'death threats' over Novak Djokovic visa saga• Australian Open boss addresses if Novak Djokovic could get stadium named after him