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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday February 2 2024

Aryna Sabalenka’s success has been forged by a never-say-die mentality and the constant willingness to rise from the ashes of her own shortcomings.

Tennis Express

That’s the beauty of the Belarusian’s steady rise on the Grand Slam stage, says former World No.1 Andy Roddick. Roddick, Betway’s global ambassador for tennis, keeps a keen eye on the sport and has become one of the game’s leading commentators since he called it quits on his career more than a decade ago.

He’s been watching Sabalenka’s rise and has been particularly impressed by the 25-year-old’s ability to overcome the serving issues that plagued her a few seasons ago.

“You love to see progression and hard work being rewarded,” Roddick said. “The most impressive thing is that 15 months ago she was dealing with the serving yips and there were questions about her mentality and faith in her own game.

“The physical attributes have been there from the word go, so credit to her for working through those issues, because this was comprehensive.”

Sabalenka became the first woman to successfully defend an Australian Open women’s singles title in 11 years last week, when she completed her run to a second major title without dropping a single set.

The once suspect serve was bulletproof throughout the Aussie fortnight, and didn’t hit a single double-fault in her victory over Zheng Qinwen in the final.

The World No.2 leads the WTA in percentage of service games won thus far in 2024, capturing a remarkable 86.9 percent of her service games.

A remarkable statistic, given that she only won 67.7 percent of her service games in a Turbulent 2022 season that saw her plagued by the yips that Roddick alluded to.

Last year, Sabalenka improved drastically, winning 80.8 percent of her service games, and won her maiden major title.

She’s been rock solid at the last six majors as well, reaching a level of consistency that Roddick finds noteworthy.

“She’s now made the semis or better in the last six majors, and I don’t know that any of us dummies would have looked at her two years ago and said that she was going to be the most consistent player on Earth,” he said. “She has every right to think that she’s the best player in the world right now.”