Belarusian tennis star Aryna Sabalenka has been picked as the best WTA player from the 2023 season by former World No.9 Andrea Petkovic, who believes the 25-year old was very close to winning all four Grand Slams this season.
Sabalenka kicked off her 2023 campaign with her maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, defeating Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the final. Subsequently, Sabalenka would fall in the semifinals at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon, before losing to Coco Gauff in the US Open final.
Petkovic claims Sabalenka was a better player than Swiatek during the 2023 season
Although Iga Swiatek won the French Open, the World No.1 produced subpar results in the remaining Majors. Swiatek was eliminated before the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and US Open, in addition to losing in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Petkovic believes Sabalenka produced better results in the context of Grand Slams, and thus had a better season than her Polish counterpart.
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"The reason why Aryna Sabalenka is the player of the year that she has a small edge over Iga Swiatek, she could’ve won all four slams [in 2023]," said Petkovic on an episode of The Rennae Stubbs Podcast. "She won the Australian Open and she was 5-2 in the third set against Karolina Muchova [French Open]. Until then, she was No. 1 in leading wins on tour, she had won by far the most matches until then and it did kind of break her.
"Then again, semifinals at Wimbledon, she should have won that match against Ons Jabeur too. She was up a set and had break points, multiple break points, the momentum was completely on her side, lost that match. The same thing happened at the final of the US Open when she was up a set and the momentum was completely on her side to beat Coco."