Aryna Sabalenka: Tennis star blames Grand Slam disappointment on nerves

Tennis star Aryna Sabalenka has blamed her semi-final disappointment at Wimbledon and the US Open on nerves and "stupid errors"

Tennis star Aryna Sabalenka has blamed her semi-final disappointment at Wimbledon and the US Open on nerves and "stupid errors".

In a breakthrough year for the Belarusian, Sabalenka reached two Grand Slam semi-finals.

She lost both, however, falling to Karolína Plíšková over three sets at Wimbledon, before doing the same against Leylah Fernandez at the US Open.

Sabalenka revealed her biggest regret from her excellent season was the level of nerves she experienced during both matches.

"I would go back to my semi-final matches at the US Open and Wimbledon," she said. "I would have tried to do everything differently – maybe I would have been less nervous.

"The game was very nervous, and I would have returned to these matches to worry less."

The world number two revealed she had been working with a psychologist for a "long time", but that this still could not prepare a player for the pressures of competing in a Grand Slam semi-final.

Aryna Sabalenka reached two Grand Slam semi-finals this year

"I have been working with a psychologist for a very long time. In fact, if you look at me four years ago and now, I have improved my psychological condition," Sabalenka said.

"It seems to me that no psychologist will prepare me for these situations [in Grand Slams]. You need to go through it yourself, feel it, get nervous, understand this situation for yourself.

"I’m more than sure that the next semi-final at the Slam I won’t be so nervous. I will act more confidently, I won’t make the stupid errors that I made in important moments in the last semi-final.

"It’s a matter of experience, you need to go through it. I don’t think a psychologist will be able to prepare for this.”

Aryna Sabalenka won the Madrid Open this year

The 23-year-old Sabalenka has just progressed into the quarter-finals of the Kremlin Cup after a 7-6, 4-6, 6-1 victory over Ajla Tomljanović. She has returned to the court after skipping Indian Wells due to a positive COVID-19 test.

After reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in February, Sabalenka won the Madrid Open in May, defeating world number one Ashleigh Barty.

After successful runs at Wimbledon and the US Open, Sabalenka will be hoping to progress even further at her next Grand Slam, but her place at the Australian Open is at risk.

It has been confirmed that players not vaccinated against COVID-19 will be unable to compete at the tournament in Melbourne, and Sabalenka has previously revealed she "doesn’t trust" vaccines.

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