Watching Aryna Sabalenka hit a tennis ball is a wonderful thing. She hits with such pace and placement that it likely makes one want to go out on the court and see if they can replicate what they just watched Sabalenka do. Here’s a helpful hint though: Most of us cannot do that even if we stood on the court for days on end. Talent is just talent.
Sabalenka does need to work on her touch a bit, though. This is one of the things that separates her game from top-ranked Iga Swiatek. Sabalenka even overtook Swiatek atop the rankings for just a bit, but when the WTA Finals came around and Swiatek critically wanted to win, she did because the variety in her game, along with the power she has, allowed her to sweep away the competition.
Still, no one on the WTA tour hit more winners than Sabalenka did in 2023. She hit 1,922 winners this year which was just a bit better than number two Jelena Ostapenko at 1,832 and number three Caroline Garcia at 1,829. Now if Sabalenka can just learn tough, she could be a 10-time Grand Slam winner.
Sabalenka hits winners, Rybakina participates and ATP Awards
Speaking of Grand Slam winners, Elena Rybakina recently signed up for her second warm-up tournament ahead of the Australian Open. More tournaments potentially mean more points and while Rybakina was once ranked in the top three she has lost ground to Coco Gauff. If Rybakina can start off the year well before the Australian Open that could help her in the rankings later in the year.
Rybakina will now play in the Brisbane Open and Adelaide International before the Australia Open. Let’s hope by next October and November she is not too tired to play.
In a bit of final news for Sunday, the 2023 ATP Awards nominees were announced last week. Fans can actually vote at ATP.com for some awards, such as favorite singles player and favorite doubles team. The nominees for some of the awards are as follows:
Comeback Player of the Year: Dominik Koepfer, Gael Monfils, Jan-Lennard Struff, and Alexander Zverev
Newcomer of the Year: Flavio Cobolli, Arthur Fils, Alex Michelsen, Dominic Stricker, and Luca Van Assche
Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award: Carlos Alcaraz, Grigor Dimitrov, Hubert Hurkacz, and Jannik Sinner