‘Greatest morning of my life’: Sabalenka celebrates Slam breakthrough

New Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka did not get a lot sleep Saturday night time after a rambunctious come-from-behind victory, however you would not have identified it early on the morning after.

“I nonetheless really feel like I am on one other planet making an attempt to grasp what simply occurred,” Sabalenka replied to a query from AFP whereas revelling in a photograph shoot at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

Resplendent in a glamorous pink gown and carrying excessive heels as an alternative of her traditional tennis pumps, Sabalenka took to a ship and glided round a lake with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup clutched firmly in hand.

The highly effective Belarusian, who will develop into world quantity two on Monday, confirmed a brand new facet to her character, posing effortlessly in entrance of the cameras.

She even managed just a few excessive kicks, regardless of being understandably stiff after being taken to 3 gruelling units lower than 12 hours earlier by Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.

“How are you continue to managing to try this?” she was requested.

“I don’t know,” a barely wincing however ebullient Sabalenka laughed, earlier than cracking open a bottle of champagne and spraying it in celebration, Method One-style.

“I wish to pose. Particularly whenever you’re a champion,” she chuckled, when requested whether or not she was having fun with the trimmings that include being a significant winner.

“I believe it is one of the best morning of my life. It is so lovely.”

Serenely being photographed by the world’s media at certainly one of Melbourne’s most picturesque areas was a scene Sabalenka may have scarcely imagined 12 months earlier.

Her serve was in items, leaving her in tears as her confidence was shredded below assaults of debilitating nerves.

Now Sabalenka is having fun with the sensation of turning into a Grand Slam champion on the age of 24 — and at last conquering her internal demons.

– ‘It is simply too loopy’ –

By no means was that new psychological metal higher illustrated than below the glare of the Rod Laver Enviornment lights on Saturday night time, the place Sabalenka dropped her first set of 2023 however clawed her means again to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

She wanted 4 match factors to serve out and clear the ultimate hurdle, a double fault costing certainly one of them as the strain turned virtually insufferable.

However this new model of Sabalenka retains calm and carries on the place the outdated one would have wilted.

“I am all the time fascinated about the match about some factors and particularly the final recreation,” mentioned Sabalenka about what was her maiden Grand Slam remaining.

“But it surely’s simply too loopy, there’s so many ideas in my head and I am simply making an attempt to loosen up for a second.”

The Saturday night time victory get together will need to have been one — there have been just a few crew members lacking on Sunday morning.

“It was a humorous night time, everybody was simply too completely satisfied, so a few of us did not make it at the moment, it was an excessive amount of final night time,” Sabalenka laughed.

So what now for the Belarusian, who might be a marked girl and regarded very otherwise when she subsequent hits the circuit as a reigning Grand Slam champion?

“Yeah, it is going to be totally different,” she admitted, and mentioned she would want a while off earlier than returning to the WTA circuit within the Center East subsequent month.

“I believe I’ll play solely Dubai (starting February 19), as a result of I would like a while to relaxation, simply to settle down from all the pieces that has occurred and begin over once more.”


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