Sabalenka Revives Habit Of Signing Trainer's Head Before Matches At Roland Garros

Sabalenka Revives Habit Of Signing Trainer's Head Before Matches At Roland Garros

by Nurein Ahmed

Aryna Sabalenka has brought back a strange routine that she introduced when she won the Australian Open.

The Belarusian kicked off her 2024 Roland Garros campaign with a routine win over Russian teenager Erika Andreeva, dropping just three games in under 70 minutes on Tuesday.

The World No. 2 was at her free-flowing best, hammering 27 winners in the match and clocking an average forehand speed of 125 km/h. Andreeva could not stop Sabalenka from bulldozing her way into a second-round match against Moyuka Uchijima.

But that was far from the main talking point because Sabalenka revealed after her thumping win that she was rekindling her good luck ritual that served her so well in Melbourne.

The second seed would usually autograph her fitness trainer Jason Stacy's bald head, even though he is totally against the unusual practice. Sabalenka did so for all seven matches at this year's Australian Open and won the tournament.

She is hoping it brings back a slice of good fortune because she desperately needs one after losing in each of her last two tour-level finals on clay. Additionally, Sabalenka lost in the French Open semifinals last year while having a match point.

"We just keep the traditions going, you know. Like I did sign his head today. Let's see if it's working or not. Hopefully, that's the key, you know, but we're going to keep tradition."

Sabalenka during her post-match press conference

Stacy, who hails from Australia, has previously explained that the habit was borne out of serendipity in Melbourne because the 26-year-old WTA star signed his head as a joke.

"It's just been the thing for the tournament. Our first day here, some kid wanted a ball signed. She said: ‘Ah, no problem.’ So she signed my head as a joke. Then every day it's like a routine to sign my head."

Sabalenka's fitness coach, in an interview earlier this year


You may also like