The congratulatory messages are streaming into Aryna Sabalenka’s inbox after she collected her second Australian Open title.
A year after she lifted her maiden Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park, Sabalenka produced a clinical fortnight as she collected her second Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup with a straight-set win over Zheng Qinwen in the final.
The 25-year-old was in imperious form throughout the two weeks in Melbourne as she won the tournament without dropping a set. In fact, she dropped only 31 games en route to the title.
In an interview with Eurosport, Sabalenka admitted that she was surprised by her high level, but she hopes to improve further.
“I would say I surprised myself, these two weeks,” she said. “I’ve been under pressure and I tried to ignore them and tried to focus on myself, just trying so hard to not think about everything that is going on.
“I was working so hard, and yes I was surprised at the level I was playing, hopefully I can keep it up, keep working hard and keep improving myself, so every time I play, I bring this level or even better.”
Unsurprisingly the who’s who of tennis were on hand to congratulate Sabalenka after she became the first player since Victoria Azarenka in 2013 to successfully defend her crown in Australia.
World No 1 Iga Swiatek has been Sabalenka’s fiercest rival over the past year and she wrote on X: “Congrats @SabalenkaA on 2nd title in Australia, impressive!”
Sabalenka’s replay was a short and sweet: “Thank you Iga”
Many believe Sabalenka could become the dominant player on the WTA Tour with seven-time Grand Slam winner Mats Wilander stating after her win that she could win seven or eight majors.
The legendary Rod Laver also predicts that she will be “hard to stop”.
“Once you’ve tasted major success it’s hard to stop. Congratulations on a second AO title Aryna Sabalenka, no holding you back. Rocket,” the 11-time Grand Slam winner wrote.
Former world No 1 and 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Chris Evert wrote: “Congratulations @SabalenkaA and your team on winning your second @AustralianOpen showing improved discipline, fitness and shotmaking! (Oh,and consistency!) and #Qinwen ,you are just starting an incredible journey . A win-win!
2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic was impressed by Sabalenka’s supremacy.
“Pure dominance by @SabalenkaA – Congratulations on defending your title in #Melbourne Strong performance throughout the tournament physically and mentally!Also well done #Zheng on reaching the final #AusOpen #AO2024”