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Aryna Sabalenka shares her thoughts on why Eastern European tennis players dominate



Aryna Sabalenka has gone through a difficult time after the apparent suicide of her former boyfriend, Konstantin Koltsov, just before the beginning of the Miami Open last month. This also impacted her professional life, as she lost her most recent match against Anhelina Kalinina. The Australian Open champion has lost three of her last six matches after winning in Melbourne.

Sabalenka will hope to get her season back on track as she prepares to play her first match on clay in Stuttgart. She looked in good spirits in her press conference. Sabalenka said: “I enjoy playing on clay and preparation starts straight after the Miami Open as I finished the tournament I have a couple of days off and I start preparing for the clay. I think Stuttgart is a good place to start the clay season.”

The former world No.1 has made the finals of the last three Porsche Tennis Grand Prix editions and will hope to go all the way this time. She faces her best friend Paula Badosa in her opening round match.

Aryna Sabalenka was asked to explain the dominance of Eastern European players on the WTA tour. She responded: “I think we all been raised in tough conditions and we’re really tough people and we’re fighters. I would say this stuff about myself. It wasn’t easy for me, and I was always fighting for my dream. I think that we are kind of, like, tough.”

Sabalenka’s response highlights the resilience and determination Eastern European players bring to the WTA Tour. 50 percent of the WTA top 10 and 55 percent of the top 20 players are from Eastern Europe.

Eastern European players have a long and successful tennis tradition with players like Martina Navratilova, Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Aga Radwanska, Simona Halep, and Elina Svitolina, to name a few. While the Czech Republic is located in Central Europe, it has historical and cultural ties to Eastern Europe as it was part of the Soviet sphere of influence in the 20th century.

In her book, Unstoppable, Maria Sharapova talks about how tennis was viewed as a solution for the entire family’s future which is why her father was so passionate about Sharapova’s career and did all he could for Sharapova to make it to the United States when she was young.

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