Aryna Sabalenka has improved certain areas of her game to become a serious contender ahead of the 2023 Roland Garros, according to John McEnroe.
2023 has been a breakthrough year for Sabalenka, which began in January when she won her first-ever Grand Slam at the Australian Open. The Belarusian player has since risen to world number two in the WTA rankings after winning at the Madrid Open and notching a 29-5 win ratio this season.
Now with a Grand Slam and further WTA titles behind her, Sabalenka will focus on sealing a second major win at Roland Garros this year. When speaking to Eurosport, seven-time Grand Slam winner McEnroe said Sabalenka's more aggressive serving has been a big part of her improvement, which could help at the French Open.
"That was a huge problem for her. And it shows you mentally how tough she is that she's been able to sort of overcome that. As far as the actual technique, I don't think there's very much that's different. I think that at times, she maybe plays a little safer, rightfully when the nerves get in the way, and just gets the serve in. And then other times, she's trying to sort of hit bigger on the second serve, the complete opposite, to try to just sort of go for it.
The serving was a clear area that required improvement from 2022 after Sabalenka hit the most WTA double faults throughout the season with 440. While McEnore believes serving is a key area of t tennis, he also feels that Sabalenka is now a much more complete player technically and psychologically, which has boosted her confidence.
"And so it seems like she's found that sort of happy medium of where to be, but it still feels like it can be an issue. And I think that the serve is the most important shot in tennis. So no matter who you are, I think people look at how well you're serving.
“So maybe more focus, more practice, more preparation mentally, has helped her sort of get over the hump. Obviously when she's won a major now she's going to be a totally different player. Just because I think she's feels so much more confident.”