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With No. 1 ranking as consolation, Aryna Sabalenka says she’s “not super depressed” after US Open defeat
"I'm definitely going for a drink tonight!" she added, as she struggled to process her emotions after a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 defeat to Coco Gauff in the women's final.
Published Sep 10, 2023
After leaving all her tears on Arthur Ashe Stadium, US Open runner up Aryna Sabalenka was left looking for the positives after her 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 defeat to Coco Gauff in the women’s final.
She didn’t have to look too far, though: Regardless of the result, Sabalenka will be the Hologic WTA Tour’s new world No.1 on Monday. The Belarusian guaranteed herself the rankings milestone after Iga Swiatek’s fourth-round defeat ended her 75-week stay atop the women’s rankings.
“That's probably why I'm not super depressed right now… I'm definitely going to be,” she admitted in her post-match press conference, before adding with a grin: “I'm definitely going for a drink tonight! Yes, we are athletes, but sometimes we are drinking, but not much.
“But becoming a World No. 1, it's a huge improvement, and achievement, actually. I'm really proud of myself that all those years I have been working so hard helped me to become World No. 1.”
As she sips on a consolation cocktail—may we recommend an Ace Paloma from one of Sabalenka’s own sponsors, Maestro Dobel Tequila?—Sabalenka will already be looking ahead to the end of a long 2023 season.
The reigning Australian Open champion has weathered the ups and downs after her first Grand Slam triumph in Melbourne, having also won a WTA 1000 in Madrid and a 500-level title in Adelaide. She spent much of the season nipping at Swiatek’s heels, and spent 32 weeks as world No. 2 before finally making her long-awaited breakthrough.
But with the Grand Slam season over, Sabalenka now has a new target: consolidating her grip on the top of the rankings and finishing the year as WTA world No. 1.
“For me it's more about [ending] the year as World No. 1, not just like become World No. 1 and then next week you're second,” she said.
“It's good that I can say I have been world No. 1, but I really would like to finish the year as world No. 1. That's why I'm still positive, and I'm still motivated.”
An emphatic showing at the WTA Finals Cancun would certainly go a long way toward making that happen—and maybe then we’ll see Sabalenka sipping on celebratory margaritas instead.
The Belarusian is next scheduled to compete at the WTA 1000 China Open in Beijing, which starts on September 30.