Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka's first words after the victory

After the victory, in the awards ceremony, the young Belarusian star talks to Barbara Schett

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Australian Open: Aryna Sabalenka's first words after the victory

Aryna Sabalenka beat Elena Rybakina in three sets in the final of the 2023 Australian Open after two hours and twenty-nine minutes. After the victory, in the awards ceremony, the young Belarusian star talked to Barvara Schett.

She said: "I'll need a few days to realize. I'm happy and proud, so many things go through my mind, now I'm not down to earth. I've been in the top 10 for a while but I still didn't have in my hands a Grand Slam trophy. It was more and more complicated, every Grand Slam created great emotions in me.

So yes, joy and relief. What did you say to my team when I hugged them? A few bad words! They were there, encouraging me in the complicated moments. I felt almost responsible for them. They deserved this trophy and that's why the tears fell.

In the first set I was tense, she played very well and tactically I didn't do everything right. In the second set I changed something, I tried to make her play more forehand, to move her, to put more pressure on her serve.

What am I going to do tonight? I don't know, maybe I'll eat a few things I usually can't eat. The trophy? They're going to be fighting my mom and grandma which she can have it first."

The match

The Belarusian tennis player, in a comeback, beats the Wimbledon champion, Elena Rybakina, and in her first Grand Slam final of her career, she hits the prestigious title.

Sabalenka, who had won the previous three head-to-head, maintains her unbeaten run despite losing the first set of the season, and extends her streak to eleven. The 4-6 6-3 6-4 fully reflects the pace of the match. The new world number two starts badly and then manages in an extraordinary way until the victory, thanks also to 19 aces and 48 winners, against 26 unforced errors.

Nothing to do for Rybakina, who evidently also pays for the tiredness accumulated during the tournament, and who between the second and third sets, she clings almost exclusively to her serve. Between the round of 16 and the semifinals, she had beaten three Grand Slam champions: Iga Swiatek, Jelena Ostapenko and Victoria Azarenka.

Australian Open Aryna Sabalenka Barbara Schett
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