‘I lost my identity, I could not feel my tennis’ – Maria Sakkari overcomes struggles to reach US Open last 8
Maria Sakkari has revealed she has been struggling with her tennis and ended up in tears during practice sessions after reaching US Open quarter-finals.
Sakkari halted Bianca Andreescu’s 10 match winning streak at Flushing Meadows in a marathon match. The pair shared two thrilling tie-breaks, before the Greek battled back from 0-2 in the deciding set to win 6-3.
“It was an incredible match. I didn’t have control of the match until the middle of the second set. I felt like she was better than me, but then somehow I digged in and found a way to just turn things around,” Sakkari said.
“I was more brave after a certain point of the match, then got my energy level a little bit higher.”
Reaching the last eight of US Open has been far from easy for the 26-year-old, who revealed she ‘lost her identity’ after a defeat to Angelique Kerber at Western & Southern Open last month, but recovered with help from her team and psychologist.
“After my loss with Angie, I just practiced for two weeks. I had some very tough practices where I was crying because I could not feel my shots, I could not feel my tennis. But thankfully I had Tom and Yannis, my hitting partner, that supported me a lot,” she said.
“I lost my identity. That’s how I called it. I lost myself, part of myself. With my psychologist, as well, I found a way to come back and feel again what I felt out there today.”
Sakkari praised her team for helping her ‘be brave’ in big moments of matches, something she felt went missing after her semi-final run at Roland Garros earlier in 2021.
“By telling myself to be more brave, it’s not like, Maria, now be brave, and you’re brave. It’s just a process in practice and everything that has helped me to be more brave,” she added.
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