Maria Sakkari said she was inspired by Coco Gauff as she lifted the biggest title of her career in Guadalajara. The world No 9 looked to some words of positivity shared by Gauff after a tough loss saw her break down in tears just weeks before picking up another trophy. And Sakkari also copied the American in calling out her online haters following her victory.
Sakkari has had a complete turnaround in the last few weeks, topping things off with a WTA 1000 title in Guadalajara. The Greek star sobbed during her post-match press conference when she crashed out in the first round of the US Open and considered taking a break from tennis.
Instead, she stuck it out and managed to pick up her second career title more than four years after winning her first. Sakkari ended her wait for another trophy as she downed Caroline Dolehide 7-5 6-3 in the Guadalajara final a year after suffering a crushing defeat at the same stage of the tournament.
After her semi-final win, the 28-year-old had been discussing her newfound happiness and enjoyment on the tennis court. And it seems her change in mindset could be down to Gauff, the recent US Open champion. “I really liked what Coco said at the US Open,” Sakkari told WTA Insider after her title win.
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“About how other people have bigger problems than we have when we lose a tennis match, and she’s spot on. I kept thinking about that, and that gave me strength.” And that wasn’t the only thing Sakkari had taken from the 19-year-old, as Sakkari revealed that she had seen comments from haters online about her lack of titles during her trophy speech.
It comes after Gauff thanked her doubters during her own victory speech at the US Open, later saying she was aware of ‘Tennis Twitter’ and some of the things said about her. Sakkari echoed her sentiment, adding: “We live in 2023. Social media is a part of our everyday life. You cannot avoid it.
“Coco said she knows the user names. I know them too. I know the person with a YouTube channel who posts all my semi-final losses, all my final losses. I’m aware. The satisfaction now, I cannot describe it. When you prove all these people wrong, it’s fuel. For me, it worked as fuel. I knew it was going to come, I didn’t know when. Thank you to them. They gave me strength.”
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During her on-court speech, the world No 9 also admitted it had been difficult to read joked about her title drought, having won her first in Rabat back in 2019. “We’ve waited more than four years for a second title,” she said while thanking her coach Tom Hill.
“We’ve heard so many bad things that I will never win a title, that I’m a top five player with only winning one title. That was very hard for me to overcome and I’m so happy I did it here this week.”
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