Sabalenka wins ITF Tennis Championship for the first time

Aryna Sabalenka has been named women’s ITF World Champion for the first time following a stunningly consistent season which saw her reach at least the semi-finals of all four Grand Slams.

“2023 has been an incredible season for me and I’m very happy to be named ITF World Champion,” said Sabalenka. “From winning my first Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open to reaching world No. 1 for the first time, it has been an amazing year.

“I’m very grateful to my family, my team and my fans for their support in 2023 and I can’t wait to get back out on court for the new season in January.”

As she says, Sabalenka’s year included a maiden Grand Slam triumph at the Australian Open as she jubilantly recovered from a set down to beat Elena Rybakina in a pulsating final.

By that stage she had already topped the podium at the WTA event in Adelaide and reaching the latter stages of tournaments became a feature of 2023 for the 25-year-old.

Indeed, it is not inconceivable for Sabalenka to have finished the year with a calendar Grand Slam to her name, such was the quality of her game and the opportunities she created for herself.

As well as her Australian Open triumph, she also advanced to the US Open final, where she lost to Coco Gauff of the United States, and the semi-finals at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

On all three occasions she had opportunities to win the matches she lost, particularly in the US Open final where she led Gauff by a set only to succumb as the Atlanta-born teenager prevailed in front of her home crowd.

During her Grand Slam semi-final showdowns also, Sabalenka led against Czechia’s Karolina Muchova at Roland Garros and at Wimbledon against Ons Jabeur of Tunisia before slipping to painful defeats.

Nevertheless, such deep runs on the Grand Slam stage reflect the consistency which Sabalenka showed throughout 2023 and she was rewarded by assuming top spot in the WTA rankings for the first time in September.

She emerged from the 2023 season with a highly impressive 55-14 win-loss record and three titles – winning at March’s Madrid Open to add to her Australian Open and Adelaide crowns. As well as the US Open, she also reached the final at Indian Wells and Stuttgart.

In short, a tremendously consistent season that has brought numerous highs and career firsts – including becoming an ITF World Champion. Congratulations, Aryna.

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