Aryna Sabalenka cooking up winning strategies to defend her titles in 2024

A tough competitive time for players along with trying to stay healthy and cope with political uprisings. But Aryna Sabalenka had to take much in stride to earn WTA titles in 2023.

by GALE MOORMAN
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Aryna Sabalenka cooking up winning strategies to defend her titles in 2024
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Starting her season with the Adelaide International, Aryna Sabalenka entered the tournament to get her game warmed up and ready not only for the Australian Open, but for the entire season tour. She played aggressively and went on a streak of defeating 3 tough opponents, clocking 23 blasting aces and straight set victories throughout the participation at Adelaide.

The test was facing Linda Noskova, and 18 year old that had downed Daria Kasatkina and others on the road to this final. But the Belarusian wouldn't let up on her gritty play and defeated Noskova in straight sets to capture her first title in two years.

"I want to congratulate [Noskova] on an amazing week. I think you're going to have a great future," Sabalenka gave kudos to her young opponent. The future was becoming brilliant also for Aryna as she continued on to the Australian Open, the first grand slam or 'Happy Slam' as it's often called.

Coming face-to-face with stronger more dynamic players, Sabalenka put her aggressive play and dynamic tactics to work on all 5 competitors including Belinda Bencic and Donna Vekic to win in straights from all of them. Sabalenka's defensive play captured the Australian Open from Elena Rybakina giving her back-to-back WTA titles and her first grand slam crown.

The idea of winning her first major after 10 WTA titles was unbelievable and Sabalenka's emotions poured out at a press conference afterwards. "I'm just super happy...It seems like the best day of my life right now," she gave a wide grin and held a small glass stem of champagne given to her by the organizers.

It was two years without a title and then she pumped up one at Adelaide, the Australian Open and then the Madrid Open. "I need the tough losses to understand myself a little bit better," she proclaimed. Aryna was glad she dug deep to play every ball and win and she kept saying "I was telling myself...Nobody tells you it's going to be easy.

You have to work for it till the last point." Sabalenka went on to went the Madrid Open from a strong dynamic competitor, Iga Swiatek. Aryna had to bring it down to three sets but finally won. They met 9 times but this is the third time she's ever defeated the invincible Pole.

"I'm proud of my mentality right now...It means a lot to beat Iga on clay court...I've proved to myself that I can be a great fighter on the clay...I can win big titles on the clay, that's really important to me..." So Aryna Sabalenka is focused and indeed wants to defend her title first at Adelaide, the Australian Open and then in Madrid.

She's built up confidence in 2023 that she can win on various surfaces. The only thing now is sharpening her craft and stay aggressive. She knows the surface conditions well but her only compromise is the difficult competitors who will face her in the new 2024 season to come.

Aryna Sabalenka
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