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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Saturday, October 28, 2023

Winning ugly will be key to building sustained  success in blustery Cancun, says Maria Sakkari.

The eighth-seeded Sakkari, who opens the WTA Finals tomorrow against top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka, says windy conditions can wreak such havoc with the ball the player who is calm amid the chaos will have the best shot in Cancun.

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I think that the players that accept that the wind is going to make us look and play ugly, because that's the reality," Sakkari told the media in Cancun. "You cannot play good tennis when it's that windy out there. Whoever accepts it the most is going to have a better result and a better time on the court. Unfortunately weather is something that we cannot control yet. It's going to be tough, for sure.

"Personally, I have to accept that I might not serve the same way or hit the same way my strokes. I just believe that acceptance is going to be a huge thing that I'm going to have with me the entire week."

Sakkari slipped into the eighth and final spot of the WTA Finals after Karolina Muchova was forced to withdraw nursing injury.

The ninth-ranked Greek established a strong connection with Mexican fans during her run to the Guadalajara championship last month. Sakkari is aiming to tap that crowd energy and try to play stress-free tennis in Cancun.

"I just feel like, yes, the crowd loves me here, and I love them, too. I've said it many times: there's a special connection," Sakkari said. "This week is like a celebration for me. I'm grateful to be here, to be competing again in the Finals because three times in a row is I think a great achievement.

"I'm just going to go out there and enjoy. It will be amazing to win the whole thing, that's my ultimate goal, of course, but I don't want to think of win or lose. I just want to feel like, you know what, I was given that great opportunity, and I just make the most out of it."

Photo credit: Wilson