Seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander claimed Aryna Sabalenka has “no weaknesses” in her game after she won her opening match at the 2023 French Open.
The former world No 1 believes the Belarusian has improved in several areas, but highlighted her greater belief as perhaps the most important change.
Sabalenka defeated Marta Kostyuk 6-3, 6-2 in the first round at Roland Garros on the opening match on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Sunday.
The Australian Open champion is seen as being one of three strong favourites for the women’s title, alongside defending champion Iga Swiatek and Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina.
Speaking on Eurosport’s coverage, Wilander lauded the developments the world No 2 has made in all aspects of her game.
“Well, I think it’s belief only. I always thought that Sabalenka, she had all the shots. She has the power. She seems like she’s moving better on every surface, but it starts for me with the serve,” said the Swede.
“We’ve talked about the serve, she talked about her serve a few years ago. And she could not get the second serve in play. And she worked through it. And now she worked through winning a Slam. And now she’s working through knowing how to play on clay.
“So what’s the next step? I’m not really sure. But I think it’s gonna be improvement, by improvement, by improvement. And physically she’s so strong, she’s moving much better. She has no weaknesses in her game if she believes in herself, which right now, she has probably the most confidence of all the players.”
The three-time French Open champion compared the conditions on the opening day in Paris to the Madrid Open, where Sabalenka won the title in May.
“Well today here on Sunday after her first round, we are in Madrid. Because it’s hot, the balls are flying through the air, the courts are playing very dry and very fast. And when you look at the weather forecast, it’s supposed to be like this for the next few days.
“So this is good for Sabalenka for sure. But that’s what makes Roland Garros so difficult to win, because one day you’re gonna have the perfect French – or should we say British – weather. And then it becomes rainy and slow and now you have to work for every point.
“That’s when confidence is really important and I think Sabalenka is able to do that. Even though Rome wasn’t great, I think it’d be no problem here.”
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