A Women’s Doubles Champion Says She’s Going Solo
Aryana Sabalenka and her partner Eilis Mertens won the Australian Open women’s doubles final 6–2, 6–3 over Barbora Krajikkova and Katerina Sinakova on Friday afternoon at Rod Laena Arena.
The win would propel Sabalenka into the No. 1 ranking in doubles for the first time, while Mertens would fall behind at No. 2.
But after the title, the second Grand Slam win they won together, Sabalenka said she would no longer play doubles and instead “focused on singles”, in which she finished seventh.
“I just want to manage my energy,” said Sabalenka. “When you go out for doubles, you’re still in competition, you have everything. Sometimes it’s not really working well with me.”
Sabalenka is the only WTA or ATP player currently ranked in the top 10 in both singles and doubles. She has been one of the most consistent players at WTA Tour events, where she has won nine singles titles. She came away with 13 straight wins on tour at the end of last season and the start of this one.
But in the events of the Grand Slam, Sabalenka has fallen far short of his expectations. She has reached the fourth round in singles twice in only 13 main draws, including at the Australian Open, where she lost 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to Serena Williams.
“It was a great match against Serena – I am not really happy with the end of the first and third sets. I think I could have done it better – but I think it was a great experience, ”Sabalenka said on Friday. “It was a big lesson.
“I think I’m getting better on the Grand Slam side of the results,” she said. “I just want to keep it. I just want to try something else to make sure that I improve my solo. “
Mertens, who finished 16th in singles, did not object to Sabalenka breaking his dominant team.
“It’s his decision, I really respect that,” Mertens said. “Doubles take some energy away, it’s true. On the other hand, for me, I just like to play matches.
“I mean, she can definitely try and we’ll see,” Mertens said. “If she still likes to play doubles, I’m here.”
Sabalenka said not prioritizing the pair was the key to his success in discipline.
“From my side, I would say that I was pretty relaxed on doubles,” said Sabalenka. “I was doing whatever I wanted to do. I did not care about victory or defeat. “
“He didn’t care about me,” Mertens intervened with a laugh.
Sabalenka said that although she was more relaxed, living in a different competitive environment was still doing.
“I know it’s double, it’s not so hard, you’re not growing that much,” she said. “It still takes a lot of energy. I want to save it for singles. I want to try something different this year and see what happens at the Grand Slam. “