Aryna Sabalenka answers why Eastern European produces so many successful players

Sabalenka was asked in Stuttgart why it is that some of the best WTA players come from Eastern Europe.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Aryna Sabalenka answers why Eastern European produces so many successful players
© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Aryna Sabalenka, 25, was asked a very interesting question during her pre-tournament press conference in Stuttgart as the Belarusian tennis star thinks being "raised in tough conditions" and learning to fight and grind from early days is a big reason why Eastern European tennis players have so much success. 

Sabalenka, who was born in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk, is a two-time Grand Slam champion and one of numerous players from Eastern Europe who has managed to become a Slam champion and reach the top-10. Most notably, former 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova came from Eastern Europe, as well as Maria Sharapova. 

Currently, around half of the WTA players ranked inside the top-50 come from Eastern European countries. When it comes to the current top-10 group, three players were born in Eastern Europe - Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina and Marketa Vondrousova.

"I think we all been raised in tough conditions and we're really tough people and we're fighters. I don't know, that's the only explanation I see," Sabalenka said.

"I mean, I would say this stuff about myself. It wasn't easy for me, and I was always fighting for my dream. I think that we are kind of, like, tough. I don't know. Whatever (laughter)."

Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka © Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney
 

Sabalenka determined to finally get her hands on the Stuttgart title

This week, world No. 2 Sabalenka is kicking off her clay season in Stuttgart and making her fourth consecutive appearance at the tournament. In each of her first three Stuttgart campaigns, the 25-year-old Belarusian made the final but a bit stunningly she has yet to win a title at the tournament. 

After losing to Ashleigh Barty in the 2021 Stuttgart final, Sabalenka was beaten by Iga Swiatek in each of the last two Stuttgart finals.

"This year I really want to win this one. I keep coming back. I love this tournament, always enjoy my time here, always enjoy playing here. I'm just super happy to be back here," Sabalenka said.

Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek
Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek © Getty Images Sport - Adam Pretty
 

In Stuttgart, second-seeded Sabalenka has a first-round bye and she will start from the round-of-16 by playing against Paula Badosa or Diana Shnaider.

Aryna Sabalenka
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