Aryna Sabalenka's career-best season yielded a long-awaited first major title, but that isn't the only highlight.
The rejuvenated Sabalenka will fondly be remembered as the player who managed to unseat Iga Swiatek from the top spot for the first time in 75 weeks and become the new World No. 1.
Although her reign was short-lived, the Belarusian scaled some big hurdles during the season to emerge as one of the tour's elite players. Here are five reasons why Sabalenka will be delighted with her achievements this year.
Best Start To A Season Since 2015
Talk about setting the early pace, then no player stood a chance against Aryna Sabalenka Down Under. The Belarusian powerhouse was untouchable in Australia, winning the WTA 500 in Adelaide and her first Grand Slam singles title in Melbourne.
She opened the new season with a 13-0 record, the best by a WTA player since Serena Williams' mind-boggling 27-match winning streak to start the 2015 season, between January and early May.
Won Most Matches At Grand Slam Events
Sabalenka was the definition of a big-stage player in 2023. She played in the semifinal or better at all four Grand Slams - the only woman this season who achieved this distinction. She won the Australian Open and was a runner-up at the US Open.
Sabalenka was a semifinalist at both the French Open and Wimbledon. She complied a 23-3 record at the majors. Since 2000, only three women have won more Grand Slam matches in a calendar year. These are Jennifer Capriati (2001), Justine Henin (2003 & 2006), and Serena Williams (2015 & 2016).
Became 29th WTA No. 1 In History
Aryna Sabalenka reached the summit of women's tennis following the 2023 US Open, becoming the 29th WTA player to become World No. 1. She is also just the eighth player to reach this spot in both singles and doubles during their career. Her reign lasted eight weeks before Iga Swiatek regained the throne for a second stint.
Defeated Reigning World No. 1 In A Clay-Court Final
Sabalenka's victory over Swiatek in the Madrid final had a significant meaning to it. Aside from being Sabalenka's third title of the season, it was the first time in two years that a World No. 1 had lost a clay court final. Two years ago, the Belarusian was the one who authored that milestone, when she defeated Ashleigh Barty in the Spanish capital.
Won A Personal-Best 55 Matches
Sabalenka's best-ever season before 2023, was actually in 2021. She won two titles and finished the season with 45 match wins. The 25-year-old has eclipsed both figures, winning three trophies (none smaller than a 500-level) and tallying 55 match wins. Her 79.7% winning ratio is the best she has put together since she turned pro.