"Mental toughness has been a huge part. I've worked on that over the years and it's just paying off," Sofia Kenin had said smilingly as she talked with the media at her first major title win in her career at the Australian Open this year.
She'd defeated Garbine Muguruza 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 digging deep after losing the opening set. It was after the Melbourne championships that she went on to win the newly founded Lyon Open against Anna-Lena Friedsam also in three toughly fought sets.
Kenin was the first player to win two titles in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic hit, but that was a few months ago. It's a wonder if Kenin will have the same consistency after nearly five months of not competing at any tournaments when the next event in July should take place.
The media was inquiring on how she became so self-confident enough at 21-years-old to win the Australian Open, but she was sure of enlightening them on her skills saying "..All the confidence has come with all the matches I've had with the successes...in 2019."
Kenin had stacked up a resume last year when she won her first doubles title at Auckland with Eugenie Bouchard. It was her first singles title she'd captured at the Hobart International then along came titles at the Mallorca Open and at the Guangzhou International.
She had proven her consistency was intact when this season she captured two more titles: one at Australia and then in March, the Lyon Open. She'd also had her share of experience playing U.S. Fed Cup with Kathy Rinaldi at the helm as captain in February with Serena Williams and Coco Gauff completing the team.
Kenin has learned in a short time winning strategies against players in the top 10 and beyond and says that "I've played on big stadiums. I feel like that's helped me to get where I am now..." As the coronavirus pandemic continues but on a milder sphere, players are looking more forward to getting on the competitive court, going deep into events and gaining in experience and ranking.
But unfortunately it's been a while and everyone will be coming in on the same level now when and if the tour resumes in July as last mentioned. The US Open is scheduled for August and the French Open a week after that.
Will Sofia Kenin be ready to play both of them and have success going deep into the tournaments? Players can't ascertain that they will do well with so much time lapsing because of the virus. It is scary to think that their many talents which won them titles might take a while to re-surface again.
The Fed Cup player's defeat of Muguruza was work and a battle but it happened because she'd commented "I had to play some best tennis, I did and after that I was on fire..." Players are wondering if they will ever be on fire again despite the practice they are trying to continue doing.
Rafael Nadal had solemnly said that "I'm trying each day to do the aerobic training to keep preparing. There are days when sometimes you don't want to do anything... Sofia Kenin is looking to go deep in this year's U.S.Open being that last year she'd only make it to the third round against Madison Keys falling to a straight set loss.
She came far in rankings and ow is the 4th ranked WTA player in the world. She isn't struggling financially as many players are, but playing is the main objective of which no player is doing at the present. The virus pandemic has cut into the tennis season leaving unpredictable situations that hardly anyone can control.
Kenin as with other players will continue to practice and hope for the best not only for their games to come back in a winning spectrum but for the coronavirus outbreak to get under control worldwide and for all sports to start up again.