- Aryna Sabalenka is headed to her first-ever Grand Slam final at the 2023 Australian Open.
- The Belarusian heavy hitter learned Thursday that her forehand speed is on par with some men’s players.
- She responded by kissing her biceps, then said she felt as though she “hit really slow balls today.”
Aryna Sabalenka is headed to her first-ever Grand Slam final.
The 24-year-old Belarusian won a hard-fought 7-6(1), 6-2 semifinal matchup against Poland’s Magda Linette to reach this year’s Australian Open championship match. And in keeping with her fierce nickname — The Tiger — Sabalenka has fought her way past each of her six opponents with the ferocity of an apex predator.
During her on-court interview following Thursday’s match, the hard-hitting world No. 5 learned that the speed of her forehand shot is comparable to those of the top men’s players. The righty’s blasts average 140 kilometers per hour — or 87 miles per hour — putting her on par with Matteo Berrettini, who boasts one of the quickest forehands in the men’s game, per Australian outlet Nine.
—#AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2023
Sabalenka smiled upon receiving the exciting news from broadcaster Casey Dellacqua. Then, she proceeded to jokingly kiss each bicep.
But when Dellacqua inquired whether her forehand shot feels “as good as it looks” coming off the racket, the 6-foot superstar was quick to deflect the compliment.
“Well, to be honest, not really,” Sabalenka said with a laugh. “I actually think that I hit really slow balls today.”
“But I don’t know, thank you!” she added. “I mean, I’ve got good genetics, I guess.”
Check out the full clip below:
—Tennis Majors (@Tennis_Majors) January 26, 2023