After collapsing on this same court five years ago, Aryna Sabalenka redeemed herself in the Australian Open. The Belarusian star took on reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the Finals of the Grand Slam tournament. It was a gritty battle, but Sabalenka emerged victorious, winning in three sets to claim her first Grand Slam title.
After the win, Aryna Sabalenka’s team, including her coach, was visibly emotional. After the celebration was over, the Belarusian talked about an intense moment she had with her coach, per Gaspar Ribeiro Lança. During a bad stretch, Sabalenka’s coach Anton Dubrov told her that he wanted to quit, feeling like he’s failed her. Sabalenka refused, and her loyalty paid off today.
Sabalenka on 9WWOS after seeing her coach in tears: "There was a moment last year when he said 'I think I'm done, I can't give you anything else.' & I was like 'No, it's not you, we just have to work through these tough moments & we'll come back stronger." pic.twitter.com/GKykltXOWz
— Gaspar Ribeiro Lança (@gasparlanca) January 28, 2023
Sabalenka got her first taste of Grand Slam action in 2018, when she lost in the first round of the Australian Open. Since then, the Belarusian has improved significantly, turning into one of the best players in the world today. All that was missing from her trophy case was a Grand Slam win.
The Australian Open women’s singles finals featured a heavyweight matchup between two of the best players today. Like Sabalenka, Rybakina has been on a warpath all tournament long. Months removed from her Wimbledon win, the Kazakh star was hunting for another Slam to add to her collection. Unfortunately, she came up just short this time around.
The other side of the Australian Open finals features another intriguing matchup with history on the line. Novak Djokovic looks to tie Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam record when he takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas in the men’s singles finals.