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Maria Sakkari, the foodie: Greek star hopes to earn her burgers in Indian Wells
After two victories, the self-described cheeseburger enthusiast has yet to treat herself in the California desert.
Published Mar 12, 2023
WATCH: In the second round of the BNP Paribas Open, Maria Sakkari won the last eight games to beat American Shelby Rogers for the first time.
It's a well-known fact that Maria Sakkari is one of the fittest players in tennis, with a workout regime that would make even a Greek god sweat. A lesser-known fact about the WTA star that might not align with that reality? She loves fast food.
Over the last two years at Indian Wells, Sakkari has let slip that popular American fare, including cheeseburgers from the famous California chain In-N-Out, and meals from the fast casual restaurant The Cheesecake Factory, are a bit of a vice.
En route to finishing runner-up last year, for example, Sakkari was in fact spotted at an In-N-Out, chowing down on their famous 'double-double'—which consists of two beef patties, two slices of American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and sauce—while takeout from The Cheesecake Factory played a starring role in one of her favorite memories from that run.
"After the match against Badosa, I think we were the last match here," Sakkari recalled after beating American Shelby Rogers for the first time in four meetings in the second round.
"There wasn't nobody [sic] out in the restaurant area. By the time, you know, I did press and everything, my coach went to get Cheesecake Factory, and he brought it back here. So it was myself, my coach, my hitting partner that time, my agent, and my sister. There was loud music playing and there was just the five of us just enjoying our food."
But so far in 2023, Sakkari has yet to treat herself—and after coming from a set and a break down to beat Rogers, we now know why.
"My physio doesn't let me eat In-N-Out during the tournament," she told reporters, grinning. "And I regret—I asked him to come here, because now I cannot have my In-N-Out. No, I'm kidding. It's great to have him here."
A newly-minted fan favorite in Indian Wells as a result of her runner-up finish in 2022, which was chronicled in an episode of Netflix's 'Break Point' series, Sakkari says she hopes to "spend as much time as [she] can" in Palm Springs this year.
"I just feel like I have a special connection with everyone here in the tournament and the crowd, and just I feel like it's a tournament where I just want to have and create a lot of memories until the end of my career," she said. "It has something very special. There are just a few tournaments in the year where they make you feel like that.
"Obviously there is a little bit of pressure because I did well last year, but I just want to spend as much time as I can here, because it's the best place."
But will that include a trip to In-N-Out? That remains to be seen. But if two comeback wins—she also trailed No. 27 seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine by a set before rallying to win in the third round on Sunday—aren't enough to earn herself another double-double, maybe winning a first-ever WTA 1000 title will be.
We'd certainly think so.