Sabalenka credits her shift in attitude towards clay for her great results on the surface so far this year (she is 10-1 on clay heading into Rome) and says it was all about accepting the fact that she’ll have to endure longer rallies on the red dirt, compared to hard courts or grass, and that she has to be physically ready for it.
“Just something changes in my mind for the clay court for this year. I'm not really scared of this surface anymore,” Sabalenka told reporters in Madrid.
“I don't know what's going to happen in Rome or in Paris. I'll make sure that I'll be there 100 per cent on. I'll fight for every point. This is what I can promise you. But I cannot say what's going to happen.”
Sabalenka has been one of the most consistent players since the tour restarted from its five-month hiatus last year. Madrid was her third final of the year and her fourth title since October, and she has now cracked the top-five for the first time.
“That's unbelievable. That's crazy. I'm really happy with this improvement. There is still a lot of things to improve. Of course I'm really happy, but I'm also not really focusing on the ranking. I'm more focusing on my game,” she said.
“No.4, this is not No.1. There is still lot of things to work on and to improve.”