Maria Sakkari gets brutally honest on 'toughest season of my life' in 2023

The 2023 season was pretty rough and challenging at times for Sakkari.

by Dzevad Mesic
Maria Sakkari gets brutally honest on 'toughest season of my life' in 2023
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

World No 9 Maria Sakkari declared the 2023 season as "the toughest of my career" and admitted that she "does not know" how she managed to finish the year ranked inside the top-10. Sakkari, 28, concluded her WTA Finals campaign with a 0-3 record after Jessica Pegula handed her a 6-3 6-2 loss on Thursday.

Following three losses in Cancun, Sakkari finished her season with a 38-25 record. This year was pretty challenging and rough at times for Sakkari, who had just two wins on the Grand Slam level. After suffering a shock US Open first-round loss and breaking down in tears afterward, Sakkari won her first WTA 1000 title in Guadalajara.

The Guadalajara win was the brightest moment of Sakkari's 2023 season and her lone title this year. Sakkari then made the WTA Finals as an alternate following Karolina Muchova's withdrawal.

Sakkari reflects on her year, vows to work hard in the offseason

“I really believe this was the toughest season of my career.

I don’t want to be hard on myself. I’m actually very proud of myself that I managed to finish in the top 10 for the third time in a row. I really don’t know how I did it. I’m being deadly honest. After the US Open, I was probably around No 20 in the race.

It’s just proof to myself that I can make things happen. But going to the offseason. First of all, I need a very good break. But I also need to push hard in the preseason because there are players out there who’ve taken it to another level.

For me to get back to the top 3, I need to take it one step further. The good thing is that everyone on my team is on board. We’re gonna make changes. We’re gonna make steps and try. I’m not saying it’s gonna happen for sure.

But try to get to the top level of the game again. As I said previously, coming into the finals, I wasn’t well prepared. I don’t feel physically fit or as fit as I should be. When I don’t move well and I’m not intense or energized, I cannot play my best tennis.

But I’m very proud of the season I had… The finish of the season. Winning a tournament was huge. I’ll look forward, in a few weeks, for the next season," Sakkari said, via The Tennis Letter.

It remains to be seen if former world No 3 Sakkari can have a much better season in 2024.

Maria Sakkari