Sakkari banking on Greek support in Melbourne

15 January 2020, by Reem Abulleil

Maria Sakkari may be leaving Adelaide sooner than she would have liked but the Greek world No.23 has plenty to look forward to as she eyes a successful run at next week’s Australian Open.

Ready to reunite with her adoring Greek fans that come out in scores to support her each year in Melbourne, Sakkari is coming off what she describes as her best ever pre-season training block and is keen to hit new milestones this season.

“I saw they built something on Court 3 for the shade [at the Australian Open], so when they posted that I just wrote: ‘Ready for the Greek crowd?’ I really cannot wait to get to Melbourne to experience again that atmosphere,” Sakkari told, referring to some epic matches she, and her compatriot Stefanos Tsitsipas, had on that court last year at Melbourne Park.

The 24-year-old Sakkari, who fell 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 to her good friend Donna Vekic in the Adelaide second round on Wednesday, has made the third round at each of the four Grand Slams at least once. She feels she is due a second-week appearance at the majors soon, but isn’t burdening herself by setting huge goals.

“I know and I feel that I’m going to have a good year, because I built my way here,” she says.

“I have expectations for myself but I don’t go into tournaments thinking, ‘oh, I have to win, or I have to make the second week of a Slam’. I know it’s going to come, but I cannot tell you a number now, like I want to be top 10. Of course I want to be top 10, but I’m sure it’s going to come, maybe this year or next year.”

Sakkari, who lifted her maiden WTA title last year in Rabat, has enjoyed a steady rise up the rankings over the past few years, and feels refreshed after several weeks of training in Dubai with her team.

“I feel really good I think. I think it’s my best off-season so far. Had three weeks off from everything and then just started with two weeks of fitness and then added tennis. We worked really hard all of us, we’ve changed some things and it looks like it’s worked out really well,” said the Greek.

“I believe that every player has different timing and a different way of climbing. I haven’t really dropped these years, so I had a gradual improvement on my ranking and I think that I worked hard, I’ve changed things in my mentality and my way of thinking, so I think it’s going to go really well but you never know, tennis is kind of a crazy sport,” she adds with a laugh.