Raducanu sees “a clean slate”; Sakkari faces a hard truth

TORONTO — Emma Raducanu is looking forward to a fresh start in her career ahead of her US Open title defense later this month. This week, the world No. 10 returns to her birthplace of Toronto for her tournament debut at the National Bank Open.

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Raducanu, who freshly advanced to the quarterfinals of the Citi Open last week, was asked to reflect on her US Open win and next season.

“Obviously, to be successful at a young age you have to be very grateful because I’m doing what I love, but I’m also succeeding much earlier than I ever really thought,” Raducanu said. “I’m pretty proud of myself in that regard.

“But it’s been a tough year. I definitely went through and experienced a lot of challenges. To be fair, I’ve learned a lot from all of this. I think it will be nice when the US Open is over and [I can] further from there. start again

“I think it’s going to be nice to take all the lessons from last year and just [have] a clean slate.”

Raducanu, seeded at No. 9 this week, will face 2021 Montreal Champion Camila Giorgi in the first round.

Washington: Raducanu triumphs over Osorio in two tiebreaks

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In search of the real Maria Sakkari

After a 6-3, 6-1 loss to Shelby Rogers in the second round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, world No. 3 Maria Sakkari had to face a difficult truth: She wasn’t enjoying the life of a top tennis player.

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“I just sat down [Coach] Tom [Hill] for many hours and just realized I don’t enjoy being one of the best players in the world, which was very difficult to admit and very difficult to handle,” Sakkari told reporters. “But it is the truth. It’s the reality. I think the pressure and everything was something I had to deal with.”

Sakkari hasn’t been herself since she played in the biggest final of her career this spring in Indian Wells, where she lost to Iga Swiatek in the championship game. Sakkari credits her mother, former player Angeliki Kanellopoulou, with reminding her to enjoy her career. It won’t last forever.

“After the game against Paula [Badosa in the Indian Wells semifinals] It was very emotional because I knew that after winning this match I would be a top 3 player,” said Sakkari. “[In Greece] I’ve always been the person and the player who, because my mother was very famous at home, always said, ‘She’ll never make it, even if she changes everything. She’ll never make it.’ And then suddenly, out of nowhere, I become one of the best players in the world.

“It was very difficult for me to deal with. I fought. Sometimes when you’re touring and playing week after week you don’t stop and don’t realize what you’ve really achieved. It takes time for some people and I think it took time for me.

“But I feel like I’m on the right track to being myself again. And I think you’re going to see a different Maria than you’ve seen in the past three months.”

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