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Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka does not expect the new season to be easier despite her breakthrough performances at the Grand Slams in 2023, but the world number two said her fearless approach can help her handle any challenges.
Sabalenka claimed her maiden Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park earlier this year and finished runner-up to Coco Gauff at the U.S. Open to briefly top the rankings. She also reached the semi finals of the French Open and Wimbledon.
“I did an amazing job. It wasn’t easy to do. It’s not going to be easy this season,” Sabalenka told reporters on Saturday in Brisbane as she prepares for the Australian Open beginning on Jan 14.
“Just having this thought in the back of your mind, actually having a title to defend, makes it actually not easy.
“I’m trying not to put myself under pressure. I’m trying to prepare myself as good as I can. It’s not easy, especially with the Grand Slams. It can get super emotional. One thing can change everything.
“But I think I did a great job in the pre-season and I’m ready to do it.”
Sabalenka will be among the favourites to win the Australian Open and she expects her brave attitude to play a key role again.
“I accepted the fact that I can lose, that everyone can go there and beat me if I’m not bringing my best tennis. Accepting this fact gives you more belief,” Sabalenka said.
“You’re more calm on the court in those crucial moments. I think that’s why I’m not putting myself under pressure. Worst case, what happens? I’m going to lose a Grand Slam, lose some points, drop a little bit in the rankings?
“There are so many tournaments ahead. I’m going to try to do my best to be in another Grand Slam or other tournaments. That’s why I like my mindset, you can beat me. But I’m going to prepare every match and have huge chances to win.”