Maria Sakkari ready to sacrifice Grand Slam glory to bring ‘home’ Olympics Gold medal alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas

The Greek is dreaming of glory at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Maria Sakkari ready to sacrifice Grand Slam glory to bring ‘home’ Olympics Gold medal alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas

Maria Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas

World no.9 Maria Sakkari has struggled at the Grand Slam stage this year. In her latest appearance in a Grand Slam event, the US Open 2023, she lost to Rebeka Masarova in the first round in straight sets. Since her highest Grand Slam finish at the US Open in 2021, Sakkari has reached the fourth round only once, at the Australian Open in 2022. In her last seven Grand Slam appearances, the Greek pro failed to go past the third round. The 8th seed has a dismal record this year with three first-round exits. 

Currently playing in the WTA 1000 Guadalajara Open, Sakkari was asked to choose between Grand Slam success and Olympic Gold. “I come from Greece, the Olympics started in Greece, so a gold medal would mean a lot to me, it would be something extraordinary, like I was bringing something home. It would be wonderful to do it in singles, but also in mixed doubles with Stefanos (Tsitsipas). Either way, it would be amazing, she replied.

She has been ranked as high as world No. 3 by the WTA, which she first achieved on 21 March 2022, making her the highest-ranked Greek player in history alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas. The pair played together for Greece earlier this year, in the United Cup. They defeated Croatia’s Petra Martic and Borna Gojo 7-6(6), 6-4 in a decisive fifth rubber.

Sakkari arrives at the Guadalajara Open on the back of a 1st Round exit at the US Open and a quarter-final exit in San Diego, where she lost in a third-set tiebreak to Emma Navarro. After receiving a bye in the first round, the 2nd seed defeated Storm Hunter in straight sets, advancing to the round of 16. On Wednesday, Maria Sakkari faces world no.56 Camila Giorgi in the Round of 16.

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Maria Sakkari recovers from the setback of early exit at the US Open

Tennis fans on social media were not kind to Sakkari after her disappointing exit in the first round of the US Open. One of the fans shared a post captioned, “Maria Sakkari should do the same as Kontaveit. Understand she is finished and retire for good.” Speaking to the press in the post-match press conference, the world no.9 was overcome by emotions and contemplated taking a break from tennis.

sakkari maria
Maria Sakkari (WTA)

Sakkari returned to the tour earlier than expected though. Explaining her reasons, she said at the San Diego Open, “I didn’t know it was being recorded(press conference at the US Open). I didn’t know it was going to get as big as it got, especially back home. The amount of messages, love, & support from people back home & from a lot of my colleagues was very nice. I’m very thankful that I have people on the tour that support me like that. That was the main reason why I decided I want to keep going. They gave me a lot of strength. That was one of the nicest things I’ve felt in my career.”

The Greek pro enjoyed good support at the Guadalajara Open, where she reached the finals last year. Sakkari was thankful for the crowd support during her second-round victory. “I couldn’t ask for a better place to overcome my fears, my doubts, my tough emotions. I feel like this is my home tournament..maybe I can get citizenship & become Greek & Mexican,” she said after the win.

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