NEW YORK—Aryna Sabalenka binned her racquet after bottling it at the 2023 US Open.

The No. 2 seed let out some understandable frustration after failing to consolidate a one-set lead on Coco Gauff in her second major final of the season. Looking to cap the year with an unbeaten record at hard-court majors, the reigning Australian Open champion showed immense poise in the aftermath of her 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 defeat to Gauff, congratulating the American teen in an emotional trophy ceremony.

It was only when Sabalenka returned to the locker room that her racquet bore the brunt of her disappointment, later finding a more permanent home in the trash.


Once she arrived for her post-match press conference, however, Sabalenka was in a much better mood after remembering she would become the 29th WTA world No. 1 on Monday despite the defeat.

“That's why probably, that's why I'm not super depressed right now. I'm definitely going to be,” she said, adding with a laugh, “I'm definitely going for a drink tonight.”

Sabalenka later sent a message on social media thanking at least some fans for their support through her otherwise successful run in Flushing Meadows, one that not only assured her the No. 1 ranking but also yielded her first US Open final.


“Tennis is a tough sport,” wrote Sabalenka. “Sometimes vou just have to learn to become better! Happy to have great people around me, Thank you my team for being there with me! New York is definitely one of my favorite places and you guys are amazing even though did not support me much today!”

From photos on her Instagram story of a large team dinner, one can surmise Sabalenka indeed got that drink, and with a fall swing—including the WTA Finals in Cancun—yet to play, the rest of her racquets are likely safe for now.