Aryna Sabalenka had a very big dream, one she shared with her father and one she ultimately managed to fulfil, at least partially.
Sabalenka was known as a pretty good player for much of her career but things never quite clicked the way she hoped they would before this year. The Belarusian struggled to find the needed consistency to become a Grand Slam champion but she finally got it done earlier this year at the Australian Open.
Sabalenka came out with some spectacular motivation in January beating very good players en route to the final. In the final, he faced a player that was a Grand Slam champion already, yet all the pressure was on Sabalenka. She put a lot of pressure on herself to finally get it done and despite being the underdog overcame all of that to win the event.
It was a major relief for the Belarusian who dreamt about the moment her entire life. She would later describe it as the best one of her life but it was also a bittersweet one. Her father wasn't there to witness it as she lost him four years ago. It's something that left a lasting impact on the Belarusian who talked about it in a Break Point episode which was filmed back in 2022.
I lost my father four years ago. We had one dream: that before 25 I will win a couple of Grand Slams. And when he passed away, I started thinking too much about it. Now I’m 24 and there is zero in my pocket. I feel like I just put so much pressure on myself.
Sabalenka won Grand Slams in doubles before last year but they weren't the ones she dreamed of. She wanted a singles trophy and when she finally got it done; it felt like a huge release of tension and emotions. She continued playing well in the coming months and wants to add more to her tally in memory of her father.