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Dmitry Tursunov on Aryna Sabalenka’s sophomore season: ‘It’s growing pains’

Asked why he thinks Sabalenka has struggled to post the results that were so frequent in the latter half of the 2018 season, which saw the then-19-year-old morph into the most dangerous name in any draw, Tursunov it was time to set the results aside. 

“I think the focus needs to be a little bit more on trying to improve,” Tursunov said. “She steamrolled and had a lot of momentum, so the results were a lot easier to come by when there is no pressure, no expectation, when everything is refreshing, new, and not too many people know you. 

“It’s kind of like when you were in the bar and someone throws the first punch. That’s gonna get you off of your feet. And so if you just keep throwing the punches you’re gonna keep the person off balance. But then when both people are ready to fight that’s when it’s about skill.”

“I think it might have been someone who was working with Elise Mertens a couple of years ago and said that she went too fast and he would have loved for her to stay a little bit lower. I think it’s quite the same issue, where the ranking is a little bit higher where it sets too many expectations and it takes away from the attention to detail. So now we’re just so focused on trying to get the same points, how many points are coming off, how many points are getting on, when am I going to win this tournament or that tournament. 

“It’s pretty easy to fall into that trap. Every single person falls into that trap. 

“Since it’s an experience thing, she has to go through that, she has to figure out OK what’s important and what does she need to focus on. She needs to just start enjoying the learning process and the learning process sometimes gets you out of your comfort zone.

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