Sabalenka enjoyed the best year of her tennis career in 2023, winning her first Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open, the WTA 1000 in Madrid, and the WTA 500 in Adelaide. She also knocked off Iga Swiatek from the top spot for the first time in 15 months.
However, Sabalenka's reign as World No. 1 lasted just eight weeks. Despite leading the year-end race over the Pole in 43 of 44 weeks of the season, Sabalenka faltered in the week that mattered. Swiatek's impeccable form at the China Open and the WTA Finals ensured she would reclaim the No.1 ranking.
But there were positives all around and Navratilova while speaking to WTAtennis.com, highlighted how Sabalenka's composure shone throughout the season after a shaky 2022 campaign was hindered by serving yips.
The 67-year-old opined that Sabalenka's power could sweep any opponent "off the court" but wants her to improve her movement and positioning to feed off those big balls.
"At her best, Sabalenka can play you off the court with her powerful groundstrokes and serve. But I think she can still improve her movement a little bit, get quicker off the mark, find a little more explosion."
"She needs to focus on getting herself in position to hit those big balls - because when she’s set, she’s deadly. So, going forward, I think she can move up to the ball quicker, get a little bit higher on the trajectory so she gets a higher point of contact with the ball."
Sabalenka is currently sandwiched by Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff in the rankings and is the oldest of the trio. Remarkably, Navratilova stated that even at 25 and hot on the heels of her career-best year, Sabalenka hasn't even reached her peak.
"Last year was a big one for Aryna; she really came a really long way in terms of maintaining her composure in difficult moments and the physical aspect, as well. She needs to keep that going. She’s the oldest of these three, but at 25 she’s still fairly young on the total commitment scale. It takes time to really reach your potential - and, believe it or not, she hasn’t reached it yet."