Tennis players have the most beguiling match routines borne from their belief that if it worked once, it would work every other time.
Sabalenka is not particularly known for being a superstitious tennis player unless her ferocious grunting counts as part of it. But the powerful Belarusian recently shed light on a habit that had initially left tennis fans on tenterhooks.
Sabalenka's fitness coach, Jason Stacy, has been sporting a weird-looking pattern on top of his bald head, which tennis fans have questioned on social media. Well, Sabalenka has since given out the answer.
It's not a tattoo as some might have thought, but it is the World No. 2 scribbling her coach's dome. Sabalenka was quizzed during her postmatch interview and then during the press conference after ending the surprise run of Amanda Anisimova in the fourth round to reach the quarterfinal.
Sabalenka admitted that she had a penchant for peculiar habits and just suddenly had the urge to pin her autograph on Stacy's head before her first match.
"We just like to do weird sh*t, guys! We just started this. I did it before the first match, and after I won, I told Jason, ‘Well, I guess it’s a routine right now.’ He’s not happy with that, but he understands everything."
After Sabalenka crushed German qualifier Ella Seidel 6-0, 6-1, it developed into a routine, which her coach believes brings her luck, but he's not been "super happy" about it.
"I don't know. Somehow I decided to start drawing my signature on his head (smiling). I did it before the first match. Now it's a routine. Every time he's not super happy that I'm going to do that. He's like, Okay, anything for the win. I'm like, Thank you."
Sabalenka has not dropped a set at the tournament so far and is now three wins away from defending her title. The 25-year-old will play Czech Republic's Barbora Krejcikova, who upset 16-year-old Russian prodigy Mirra Andreeva, in the quarterfinal.