World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka is the top seed for the WTA Finals but it is a very challenging journey ahead of her in Guadalajara, Mexico. The high altitude is something which is giving headache to everyone. The event earlier was going to happen in Shenzen, China but then it was moved to Mexico and things became even more challenging.
The venue is located 5,100 feet (1,550 metres) above sea level. The ball also is bouncing more than normal. The players are hence having a tough time adjusting to the pace of the ball.
Sabalenka won titles in Abu Dhabi and Madrid this season felt that it is very difficult to adapt to these conditions just after her first practice session.
“Well, first day I arrived here, I mean, I wasn’t surprised but I was shocked that I could not control anything,” Sabalenka said at the pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday. “I was playing around the strings a little bit, found the perfect tension. I think with every day I feel better and better.”
The Belarusian tennis star feels that an extra day at the practice session will help her gain momentum in these conditions.
“I have another day because I start to play Thursday so I feel much better right now with the altitude and with the conditions here,” she said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to show my best on the first match.”
Some of the top female tennis stars have decided against participating in this event and so it has opened doors for others. World No 1 Ashleigh Barty’s withdrawal from the event meant that Sabalenka was the highest ranked player in the field. The 23-year-old has had a decent season and she would like to cap it off with a win at the WTA Finals. She has reached the semifinals of the US Open and Wimbledon and is in great form.
Sabalenka however is not much affected by her favourites tag as she feels that she needs to play at a certain level to win the event. It will be interesting to note her progress in the season-ending WTA finals event.