Aryna Sabalenka can overcome Maria Sharapova's Slam titles

The 26-year-old tennis player still has time and talent to match the 5 Majors won by the former Russian legend

by Lorenzo Ciotti
SHARE
Aryna Sabalenka can overcome Maria Sharapova's Slam titles
© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport

After winning her first Slam at the Australian Open last season, the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka saw the two semi-finals played at the Roland Garros and Wimbledon and the final played at the US Open in 2023, go away under the pressure she felt.

This year in Melbourne, Aryna defended her title and managed the moments of tension she had to face very well until the final victory against the young Chinese Qinwen Zheng.

And it was in moments of difficulty that Sabalenka fought back and achieved her second consecutive Slam at the Australian Open, without losing a single set along the way.

Sabalenka
Sabalenka© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

Now, let's do some calculations. Aryna has already won two Slams and is 26 years old. Can the Belarusian match the 5 Majors won by legend Maria Sharapova? Yes: Sabalenka still has all the time in the world to win 3 more Slams. And today, perhaps only Coco Gauff and Iga Swiatek are on her level.

Iga already has 4 Majors and at 24 years old she can definitely catch up and surpass Sharapova. Coco is almost 20 years old and has already won a Major.

Aryna can easily aspire to surpass the number of Slams won by Sharapova. In the last ten years, only two tennis players have won more than 5 Slams: Serena Williams and her sister Venus.

Aryna's new mentality

"I'm super happy that I managed to win my second Slam. I really hope I can build my tennis, improve and continue to win," said Sabalenka, while she took part in the usual photo shoot in Melbourne with the Australian Open cup.

"I'm a more open person now. I'm happy to have built some important friendships on the Tour, like the one with Paula Badosa. Before, I was closed off and afraid to open up. I can't ignore the fact that I'm really proud to have taken this step. I have this control over myself, but it wasn't easy.

It's difficult to improve in this respect when you are such an emotional person and you get emotional all the time. You have to work hard to really have control on the court," Sabalenka told the official WTA website.

"I love my team, because even after a victory like this they immediately think about how we can improve. There is time to enjoy the titles won, but it's a question of balance," she added.

Aryna Sabalenka in and off the court!

The Belarusian tennis player, after the victory in Melbourne, spoke at a press conference sharing her feelings and emotions.

"I always thought I didn't want to be the player who wins and then disappears. I just wanted to prove that I can consistently be there and that I can win another one. There was a time when I thought I wouldn't be able to win a Slam, especially during the time when I was double faulting and couldn't fix my serve.

There have been many ups and downs. I thought I had to keep doing what I was doing and fight for my dream. I always believed that my father was watching me and he was very proud of me. So I couldn't stop for my family.

I think I already demonstrated last year that I can play on any surface. I think the two semi-finals were very exciting. I played against incredible players and they played at an incredible level, but I felt super emotional and let that semi-final go away.

But I think if I continue to work like I'm doing now, and if we continue to build what we're building now, I will definitely be able to do the same on clay and grass. So I will continue to work hard and hopefully this year I will achieve the same goal on clay or grass," she explained.

Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

Aryna joked about her double personality i and off the court with the media present in the press room.

"It's good that I'm two different people on and off the pitch, because if I were the same person I am on the pitch off the pitch, I think I wouldn't have my team around me, and I think I'd be alone! It took me a long time to become what I am now on the pitch, to have control of myself and to understand myself better. Yes, it has been a long journey and a long way to go," said Sabalenka.

A victory dedicated to her father, who passed away in 2019 at just 44 years old. "Obviously he's my biggest motivation. He's been everything to me. But right now I have my mother and sister who are here with me and I feel like I have to think about them. But I feel that he is always with me. I'm very grateful for everything he's done for me and I think if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be here,” told Aryna.

Aryna Sabalenka Maria Sharapova
SHARE