“It’s tough now because you can’t get away with anything” Maria Sakkari is gritting her teeth through pandemic
Like most of her fellow professionals, Maria Sakkari is gritting her teeth through the problems thrown up by the coronavirus pandemic in the hope that a return to normality will not be far away.
“If you told me that we just have to stay tough this year but 2022 is going to be a normal year, I would take that any time,” the world No 22 said before flying to Melbourne in preparation for next month’s Australian Open. “We just have to be patient. It’s not a nice situation, but it’s the best we can have right now.”
Although Sakkari played only five tournaments following last year’s resumption, the 25-year-old Greek took advantage of her opportunities to maintain her progress. She beat Cori Gauff and Serena Williams at the Western & Southern Open in New York, reached the fourth round of the US Open, the third round of the French Open and the semi-finals in Ostrava. She also got off to a bright start in 2021 by reaching the semi-finals in Abu Dhabi before losing to the eventual champion, Aryna Sabalenka.
“To be honest, we are grateful to be playing, so I can’t complain”
While the constant switch from one “bubble” to another the regular Covid testing and the travel restrictions have been challenging for everyone, Sakkari is not complaining.
“The bubble was fine in the beginning,” she said. “It was pretty easy. But it’s tough now because you can’t get away with anything. When you’re not in a bubble you can go for a walk or you can go for dinner. But to be honest, we are grateful to be playing, so I can’t complain about the bubble. That’s the last thing.
She added: “I’m really looking forward to being free after the two weeks of quarantine in Australia. It’s going to be really nice.”
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