Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova hopes to keep the expectations on her comeback and herself low after going down in the quarter-finals of the US Open on Wednesday to 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams. Prionkova came into the US Open unranked (but with a protected ranking that helped her gain direct entry into the US Open main draw) having not played any tournament since Wimbledon 2017 and after one of the most surprising runs in recent Grand Slam history, she will be ranked No.
155 in the world next week.
Tsvetana Pironkova wants to keep expectations low after US Open run ends
The Bulgarian started the match strong winning the first set, but Williams managed to come back in the second set, helped by her powerful serve and went on to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Speaking to the press in New York, Pironkova says, "Yeah, definitely the first set I think I was in control of the match. I was doing all kinds of shots, and everything went in my way. But, you know, I was expecting it's not going to last forever (smiling).
I was expecting that she's going to try different things and she's going to put more power in her shots, and that's what she did. Her serve, obviously it's incredible weapon in tennis terms. There were a lot less unforced errors in the second set, and in the third set it was, like, no errors at all."
While she may have come into this tournament completely under the radar, the expectations will surely be higher in her next few events. But the 32 year old Pironkova hopes to continue playing without much too much pressure on herself.
"Expectations," yeah, that is a special word that I don't really like. So I guess there will be more expectations after this tournament, for sure, but whether I put them on myself or not, I think I will not. I will try not to, because I know for sure that's what help me here is just go in the court and try to enjoy it as much and to play my best tennis carefree.
Going to try to keep it that way, I hope." One of the key messages that Tsvetana Prionkova has reiterated all week has been the importance of self-belief in her comeback, which is a message she wanted to send to all her fans as well.
"Well, I guess the message would be to always believe in yourself, because that's actually the most important thing, I guess. When you go into a match, everyone is prepared physically, but then I guess the match is decided from the mental part.
You have to be really prepared in that. Self-belief, a lot of work, a lot of dedication, of course, and I guess that's a good combination."