Maria Sakkari’s journey in recent weeks has been nothing short of a movie script. Just last month, a dejected Sakkari shared her thoughts on potentially stepping away from tennis after a third consecutive first-round loss at a major. The world saw her at a vulnerable moment, questioning her path in the sport.
Fast forward to the present, and she’s lifted the trophy at the 1000-level Guadalajara Open, marking it as the pinnacle of her career thus far. The Greek star was impeccable throughout the tournament, not dropping a single set.
The emotion was evident when she clinched the final match with a score of 7-5, 6-3 against Caroline Dolehide. Falling to the ground, Sakkari was overwhelmed with joy, emphasizing her gratitude for the sport and the turnaround in her feelings.
I’m just very proud of myself. But over everything, it’s just pure happiness and pure joy.
Fan’s Favorite: Sakkari and the Connection with Mexico
Sakkari’s bond with the Mexican audience was clear. Donning the Mexican national soccer jersey for post-match interviews and again for her victory celebration, she has become a beloved figure in Guadalajara. Fellow athletes and tennis icons like Chris Evert, Gabriela Sabatini, and Coco Gauff applauded her determination and triumph.
You showed everyone your strength and talent this week in Guadalajara.
Highlights from the Guadalajara Open
- Underdogs Rise: Caroline Dolehide, despite the loss in the finals, showcased exceptional skill. The American had never been in a WTA final before and was ranked No. 111 at the start of the tournament. Yet, she overcame these odds, leaving the tournament at a career-best No. 42 ranking.
- Sofia Kenin’s Resurgence: Another American, Sofia Kenin, has been finding her rhythm again. After a challenging period post her 2020 Australian Open victory, Kenin is back in form, reaching the Guadalajara semifinals and currently sitting at No. 31 in the rankings.
Other Noteworthy Moments in Tennis
- Laver Cup Drama: The Laver Cup saw Team World, including Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton, defeating Team Europe with a dominant 13-2 score. However, the 2023 edition brought up questions about the essence of the event. Are players viewing it as a fun exhibition or a serious competition? Gael Monfils and Felix Auger Aliassime had differing opinions, sparking debates among fans.
- Heartwarming Gesture: Mackenzie McDonald’s act of sportsmanship became a talk of the tennis world. After defeating Shang Juncheng, he noticed Shang’s difficulty in moving due to cramps. Without a second thought, McDonald offered Shang a piggyback ride to his bench.
- Muguruza’s New Venture: Two-time major winner Garbine Muguruza surprised fans with her recent activities during her break from tennis. Apart from traveling, the 29-year-old has ventured into the world of Zumba, attending workshops for instructors across Europe.
- Draper’s Singalong: Lastly, a light-hearted moment that went viral was Jack Draper’s carpool karaoke session with tennis legend Andy Murray. After a Davis Cup victory, Draper’s enthusiastic rendition of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” captured fans’ hearts, earning a decent 7.5 rating from Murray himself.
The world of tennis continually offers a mixture of emotions, dramatic comebacks, surprises, and memorable moments. From Sakkari’s incredible turnaround to unexpected gestures of sportsmanship, the sport remains unpredictable and ever-evolving, keeping fans on their toes.