Aryna Sabalenka doesn’t feel she is one of the Roland Garros favourites – ‘We’ll see if I just got lucky’

Aryna Sabalenka pleased

Aryna Sabalenka’s 2023 form both on hard and clay courts suggests she will be one of the favourites at Roland Garros, but the world No 2 is refusing to get carried away.

The world No 2 is 29-4 this season and she won her third title of the campaign on Saturday as she defeated Iga Swiatek in a brilliant Madrid Open final. Her other titles came at the Adelaide International and the Australian Open while she also finished runner-up at Indian Wells Open and Stuttgart Open.

Her defeat against Swiatek in the final of Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Germany was her only loss on the red dirt so far this campaign as she is 9-1 on the surface in 2023. Last year she was 9–5, in 2021 she was 13–3 and in 2020 she had a 6–3 record.

Up next is the Italian Open and she reached the semi-final last year before players head to Paris for the second Grand Slam of the year at Roland Garros.

Given her current form, Sabalenka will be one of the players to beat but when asked by WTA Insider if she was one of the favourites for the French Open, she replied: “I don’t feel that way, but I really want to be one of those players.

“I will continue working hard and trying to give my best tennis in Rome and Roland Garros. When this Tour is over we’ll see how things have been for me on clay, if I’m really good on this surface or if I just got lucky these weeks.”

Sabalenka’s turnaround in fortune following a torrid 2022 campaign that saw her fail to win any tournaments and struggle with her serve and confidence has been remarkable.

Although still in disbelief about her progress, the 25-year-old is delighted that her hard work is finally paying off.

“If someone would say I would be a Grand Slam champion and I would be No 2 in the world and that I would be winning titles on clay, I would have thought, ‘I don’t know, it’s a lot of work to do and I’m not sure that I’m capable of this’,” she said.

“I wasn’t actually thinking about that. I think that was the key. I was just working super hard, I kept improving my game, finding things that I could do better, analyse my game a lot. So it was a lot of hard work since my very first match at Fed Cup. Looking back I’m super proud of myself and my team and what we’ve done these last years.”

READ MORE: ‘WTA has a Big Three’ – Women’s tennis on the up as Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina dazzle