Aryna Sabalenka's coach Tursunov speaks about her recent success

by: Kamakshi Tandon | September 03, 2018

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NEW YORK—Aryna Sabalenka's recent surge has been built on better shot selection, according to her coach, Dmitry Tursunov.

Sabalenka is 14-2 since Montreal, reaching the semifinals of Cincinnati, taking the title at New Haven and, now, the fourth round of the US Open. She also reached her first Premier final on grass at Eastbourne, having just recently started working with Tursunov, a recently retired ATP player.

"There are some things that I've helped with, but I think she's a better judge of what she would attribute her current success to," Tursunov told TENNIS.com. "The major thing is she stopped trying [to] hit a winner with every shot.'' 

The Belarusian, 20, helped get her team to the Fed Cup final in 2017, and followed up with a good start to this season, reaching a small WTA International final. Tursunov first saw Sabalenka play during a doubles match against Elena Vesnina, who he was then coaching. Though he liked her power and eager competitiveness, there were also a lot of questionable shots.

"Sometimes she was behind the baseline and using a bazooka, then [in other positions] a BB gun," he said.

When the pair began working together, Tursunov found Sabalenka—unlike some players, he said—was more interested in potential improvements than positive comments, and agreed to work on volleys and other aspects of her game. 

"Obviously, she has certain ideas about the way her game should look and the way she should play. And a lot of that was kind of analyze what her perception is and if that perspective was wrong, the way I could help change it," he said. "It's that she was very receptive, that she was willing to try things that many other players would not try due to their convictions about the way the game should be played."

She has defeated five Top 10 players in recent weeks, and is into the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Sabalenka is No. 20 in the rankings.


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