Maria Sakkari started the year off well however in recent weeks the Greek player saw her hopes and dream crushed by very poor play.
Sakkari was very upbeat about her chances at Roland Garros and Wimbledon however Roland Garros proved to be a huge disappointment as she lost in round two. Wimbledon was a bit better but she lost in round three which was another blow to Sakkari.
She opted to sit down with her coach and understand what the problem was and the realization was a hard one to swallow:
"I just sat down with [Coach] Tom [Hill] for a lot of hours and just realized that I'm not enjoying being one of the best players in the world, which was something very tough to admit and very tough to handle. But it's the truth. It's the reality. I think that the pressure and everything was something I had to deal with."
Sakkari has had her troubles with pressure in the past and it's nothing new to tennis fans however it was a tough thing to admit to herself. She also reflected on becoming world number three:
"After the match against Paula [Badosa in the Indian Wells semifinals] it was very emotional because I knew that I was going to be a Top 3 player after winning that match. [In Greece] I was always the person and the player that, because my mom was very famous back home, they always used to say 'She's never going to make it, even if she changes everything. She will never make it.' And then suddenly, out of nowhere, I become one of the best players in the world."
"So for me, it was very tough to handle it. I struggled. Sometimes when you are on the tour and you play week after week, you don't stop and you don't realize what you have really achieved. It takes time for some people and I believe that it took time for me. But I feel like I'm on the right track to being myself again. And I believe you're going to see a different Maria than in the last three months."