Maria Sakkari reveals how tearful US Open exit became an inspiration
Maria Sakkari says that the love and support she received from fans and even colleagues after her US Open exit helped inspire her to get back to her best.
Sakkari cut a dejected figure after her exit, and images of her tearful exit were displayed around the world.
Now, Sakkari is the first player this season to win a WTA 1000 event in 2023 without dropping a set.
It seemed that she was set to take some time away from the game, but Sakkari didn’t stay away from the WTA Tour long.
She was right back in action the week after the Grand Slam, and now she has bagged her first WTA 1000 title and ended a four-and-a-half-year wait for any sort of title on tour.
Sakkari credited the outpouring of love and support with keeping her going through the hard times.
“Because of that picture that went out to the press, a lot of players and people really felt for me,” Sakkari told the WTA.
“I cannot describe in words the amount of love and support I got. I believe that there are good people out there, and when they see someone who works hard, of course, they want things to go well for other nice people.
“I’m grateful that so many players, my colleagues, players that I play against every single tournament, they just have my back. That was the main reason I kept going.”
Sakkari said that the turnaround in fortunes was a lesson to her and an inspiration to keep going even when things seem hopeless.
“I’m just very proud of myself,” Sakkari said.
“Being like that at the US Open, wanting to take a break, and then finding the joy again during the week. It’s a big title, my biggest title, it means so much.
“But over everything, it’s just pure happiness and pure joy.”
The win strengthens Sakkari’s position on the WTA Rankings and the Tour finals race but she isn’t thinking about all that just yet.
“It’s amazing, I’m speechless,” Sakkari said, after her win. “It’s been four-and-a-half years since I won my first title, and I just finally won my second one. All these thoughts that I’ve been having all this time were very tough to overcome, and I’m just very proud of myself that I did it this week.
“I feel like I haven’t really realized what I did this week, and it’s going to take a little bit of time. But at the same time, I just want to really enjoy the moment today and tomorrow, and just keep working hard, because I’m sure that more are going to come in the future.”
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