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Aryna Sabalenka: The Statuesque Tennis Star From Belarus

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Aryna Sabalenka is one of the best female tennis players today. She is currently ranked second in the WTA rankings and won the 2023 Australian Open. Aside from being a great singles player, Aryna Sabalenka was a fantastic doubles player as well. In 2021, Aryna Sabalenka was the top ranked doubles player in the WTA rankings. However, she has moved her focus towards singles competition of late. Over the years of her career, the young and talented tennis player Aryna Sabalenka managed to win a Grand Slam as the first ever Belarus player but did not stop there and continued her way to the top. Let’s find out more about her.

Aryna Sabalenka: All You Need To Know

Aryna Sabalenka: Childhood and youth

The life of Aryna Sergeevna Sabalenka began on May 5, 1998 in the capital of Belarus – Minsk. She was born into a family of a former hockey player, so it is not surprising that the father decided to introduce his daughter to sports. Aryna Sabalenka ended up choosing tennis.

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Even as a child, Aryna differed from her peers in physical strength, endurance and the will to win. In the first lesson, when coach Elena Vergeenko gave the task to the wards to throw the ball over their heads, Aryna Sabalenka threw it for more than twice the distance of everyone else.

In training, the girl quickly became one of the leaders, but it was not easy to work with her. Aryna barely managed to control her emotions, which is why conflicts with the coach began to arise. As a result, Elena Mikhailovna realized that by continuing cooperation, they would not achieve results and advised Sabalenka’s parents to find a male mentor. It soon became clear that this was the best solution.

Aryna Sabalenka: A Tennis Life

Aryna Sabalenka did not manage to reach heights at the youth level, so she soon began to prepare for the transition to the senior level. In 2016, Khalil Ibragimov became the coach of the star, under whose leadership she garnered several victories in international tournaments and rapidly climbed the steps of the world ranking of tennis players.

But Sabalenka managed to attract the attention of sports experts only in 2017. In October, for the first time in her career, she reached the final of the WTA tournament held in Tianjin. The Belarus tennis player lost to the famous Russian Maria Sharapova. Fortunately, this loss did not prevent her from entering the top 100 of the women’s ranking (becoming the first Belarus player to do so)

The next year turned out to be fruitful for the Belarus star. At the beginning of the summer, she began working with Russian coach Dmitry Tursunov, which had a positive effect on her results. Already in August, the 1st WTA title appeared in Aryna’s piggy bank. She won it at a tournament in New Haven, USA where she defeated Spaniard Carla Suarez-Navarro.

The success inspired the athlete to new achievements, and in September she pleased her fans with another title. Having beaten the Estonian Annette Kontaveit, Sabalenka won the 2nd WTA title. The tournament was held in Wuhan, China (yes, the COVID city).

2019 was remembered by tennis fans not only for the great victories of the star but also for her conflicts with the coach. Since Dmitry and Aryna are both emotional, it was often difficult for them to restrain themselves during setbacks, which is why they exchanged hurtful words and mutual reproaches. After the tournament in the United States, even the termination of the relationship was announced, but later they managed to agree.

The tense atmosphere in the team did not prevent Sabalenka from becoming the owner of several more trophies. She won the Shenzhen Open and then defended her WTA title in Wuhan. In autumn, the Belarusian celebrated her triumph at the WTA Elite Trophy.

At the end of February 2020, Aryna became the winner of the Premier 5 tournament in Doha, where she defeated Petra Kvitova in the final. After that, she added two Ostrava Open titles to the piggy bank – in singles and doubles. The star’s partner was Elise Mertens, whom she later defeated in the final of the WTA tournament in Linz.

In the same year, the athlete stopped working with Tursunov and became the ward of Dieter Kindleman, a former sparring partner of Maria Sharapova. With him, the star managed to get into the top 10 of the world ranking of tennis players.

Aryna Sabalenka started 2021 in style with a victory at the WTA tournament in Abu Dhabi, for which the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko congratulated her. After that, Aryna again teamed up with Mertens to win the Australian Open in the doubles category.

Subsequent victories allowed the Belarusian to rise to 4th place in the world ranking, which was the best result in her career. Fans did not hide the delight that they expressed on the athlete’s page on social networks.

At the beginning of the summer, Sabalenka took part in the matches of the 3rd round of Roland Garros, where she lost to Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. She also lost to Madison Keys, whom she met at the WTA tournament in Berlin. The star had a chance to redeem herself in Eastbourne, where she defeated Bernarda Per in the 1st round. But in the quarter finals, Aryna was eliminated by Camila Giorgi.

But later Aryna showed herself at the start of Wimbledon. In the 1st round, she defeated the Romanian Monica Niculescu, which made it possible to continue the fight for victory. At the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the Belarusian athlete lost in the second round to Croatian Donna Vekic and dropped out of medal contention.

In season 2021/2022 Sabalenka finished in 5th place in the world ranking. At the Australian Open, she could only reach the fourth round. With the best result, Aryna was noted at the WTA Final Tournament but lost to France’s Caroline Garcia.

However, Aryna Sabalenka’s biggest success came in 2023 when she won the Australian Open. The fifth seeded Sabalenka defeated 2022 Wimbledon Champion Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the Final. 

Aside from being Aryna Sabalenka’s first grand slam win, the title also completed a redemption arc for her at the Australian Open. During her first round match against home favourite Ashleigh Barty in Australian Open 2018, Aryna Sabalenka became public enemy number one for the crowd because of her loud grunts and screams. 

Even though Rybakina lost in the final, her performance in the tournament helped her enter the WTA top 10 for the first time. Buoyed by her win in the Australian Open, Aryna Sabalenka put on a string of good performances and climbed up to second place in the WTA ranking. Aryna Sabalenka is expected to be one of the top seeds at the 2023 French Open as well.

Who is Aryna Sabalenka dating?

Aryna does not hide information about her personal life. In the past, she was in a relationship with the Belarusian hockey player Matvey Bozhko, but soon she and the guy broke up. After that, the tennis player was credited with an affair with her coach Dmitry Tursunov, with whom she exchanged emotional posts on social networks during the conflict.

The star quickly denied the rumors and in 2019 unexpectedly announced that she was engaged. The wedding never took place, and the name of the chosen one remained a secret. But later, Sabalenka began to be mentioned in the headlines of scandalous articles in connection with the divorce of hockey player Konstantin Koltsov and his wife Yulia.

In the spring of 2020, the ex-wife of Koltsov published a post in which she hinted at the betrayal by Konstantin. As an illustration for the entry, she chose a romantic photo with a man, but for some reason marked Aryna on it. Then speculation began to spread on the Web that Sabalenka was the woman with whom Konstantin Koltsov had an affair.

Koltsov hastened to defend the tennis player and said that she had nothing to do with his decision to divorce his ex wife. For some time, the Belarusian appeared in public alone, and in early 2021 she again made fans speculate about her personal life when she published a photo with a bare stomach. Subscribers decided that this is how she hints at pregnancy.

Rumors about this managed to be forgotten, like the scandal with Koltsov, but in the summer of that year, Aryna unexpectedly announced that she was not alone again. In the Instagram account (the social network is banned in the Russian Federation, it belongs to the Meta corporation, which is recognized as extremist in the Russian Federation), Sabalenka appeared in several romantic pictures with Konstantin, which left no doubt about their romance. Fans could only guess whether it began before the hockey player’s divorce or after.

In early June, Koltsov dedicated a touching post to his beloved, where he described her as a gentle and vulnerable person. He stressed that Aryna is impossible not to love. Now, the tennis player and hockey player do not hide their relationship.

How has Aryna Sabalenka performed in 2023?

Sabalenka took the information about the non-admission of Russians and Belarusians to Wimbledon calmly, although in an interview she nevertheless spoke about her frustration due to the mixing of politics and sports.

In early January 2023, in Adelaide, the fifth ranked player in the world reached the final of the tournament and won the 11th title in her career in a match with Linda Noskova. By the way, this achievement was long-awaited – the last time she was awarded a trophy in Madrid was in the spring of 2021.

The next tournament in Aryna’s career was the 2023 Australian Open, where she did not lose a single match in the first week. For herself, she determined one of the main conditions for behavior on the court – calmness, even being “a little boring.” After the victory over Belinda Bencic, the Belarusian went to the quarterfinals. Having outplayed Croatian Donna Vekic in two sets in the next game, she went to the semi finals, where she also defeated Magda Linett. In the final, she was to meet with Kazakhstani Wimbledon Champion Elena Rybakina.

On January 28, Sabalenka defeated Rybakina and became the Grand Slam champion for the first time. The trophy was presented to Aryna Sabalenka by Billie Jean King.

Aryna Sabalenka: Career Accolades

  • 2018 – Connecticut Open Champion
  • 2018 – Winner of the Wuhan Open Championship
  • 2019 – Winner of the US Open paired with Elise Mertens
  • 2019 – Shenzhen Open Champion
  • 2019 – Wuhan Open Champion
  • 2019 – Winner of the WTA Edita Trophy final tournament
  • 2020 – Winner of the Qatar Open
  • 2020 – Winner of the Ostrava Open Championship
  • 2020 – Winner of the Generali Ladies Linz tournament
  • 2021 – Abu Dhabi Open Champion
  • 2021 – Winner of the Mutua Madrid Open
  • 2021 – Winner of the German Open, paired with Victoria Azarenka
  • 2021 – Australian Open winner with Elise Mertens
  • 2023 – Winner of WTA 500 Adelaide International 2 
  • 2023 – Australian Open winner

Aryna Sabalenka: Player Profile

Aryna Sabalenka is huge, especially for a female tennis player. Not only is she almost six feet tall, but she also weighs 80 kgs. While tall European female players aren’t that rare, it’s the incredible weight of 80 kgs that helps Aryna Sabalenka generate fearsome power. To stay in shape, she has to watch her diet. According to the athlete, the most difficult thing about her diet is giving up sweets. Aryna Sabalenka’s powerful play style is compared to Serena and Venus Williams. That’s really high praise for any athlete but eventually, Aryna Sabalenka wants to be unlike any other tennis player ever.

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