I believe in my game, I believe in me: Anastasia Pavlychenkova after French Open loss

Calling herself a “fighter”, the Russian reckons that next time if she reaches the final, she will handle it better.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova; Credit: [email protected]

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had a fantastic couple of weeks that culminated in her defeat in the French Open final. It took Pavlyuchenkova an Open Era record 52 attempts before finally making her first major final on Saturday, but she lost it 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 to Barbora Krejcikova. Asked in her press conference whether she truly believed this might have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win her first major, Pavlyuchenkova replied, “Of course I believe in myself a little bit more maybe, yes.”

“But I always knew, I think, [that] I could do it. I’ll keep on going. Hopefully, next time if I have a chance to be in the final I’ll handle it better and I’ll be more fresh and I’ll play better. That’s the goal right now,” Pavlyuchenkova added. “I believe in my game, I believe in me. I know I’m a fighter. What else do you need basically?”

She further spoke of her friends in her player’s box who flew all the way from Russia for the final. “Maybe because they thought this would be my only final; that’s why they decided to come. They probably said ‘now or never’,” the 29-year-old joked. “I want to believe that the best is yet to come, so I think that’s how I should approach the whole situation.

“Watching my friends at the start [of the trophy ceremony], of course I was close to crying. It’s always sad to lose. But then when I looked at my friends, I think there is much more important stuff in life than sometimes even this trophy. I feel loved. I think that’s the best thing you can have is friends and a life outside tennis, as well, which actually even meant more than the trophy today.”

On Saturday, Pavlyuchenkova came back well after losing the opening set 6-1 in 32 minutes. She then increased her aggression from the baseline and on her serve to win the second set 6-2. However, it is to be noted that she has been managing an injury since her round-of-16 match against No.3 seed Aryna Sabalenka. “The Sabalenka match, I was actually in really bad shape physically,” Pavlyuchenkova informed. “I don’t know how I even won that match because I also had a medical treatment there, I had to wrap my leg.

“I’ve struggled with my knees for a while, with my left knee. That caused a lot of pain in my knee after because I compensate a lot in my body. Actually in the third set during the Sabalenka match, I said to myself, ‘If I win this match, I’m going to cry.’ It’s such a shame, I’m playing so good, but my body says this to me: I don’t want to continue.”

Pavlyuchenkova did well to come back from an early break in the third set. But she was not able to maintain the momentum as Krejcikova won the match in the end. Despite ending the tournament as runner-up, the Russian feels that she left it all out on the court over the fortnight.

“I still have to be grateful for these two amazing weeks,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “I’ve said to my brother that’s the case. A couple weeks ago just before Madrid, we sat at one cafe, we were having coffee. He told me, ‘I got you. I really believe in you.’ I think you can do well this year.

“I said, ‘Yeah, I also believe in me.’ But I feel like I need more time. I’m not fit enough yet. Then Madrid semifinal, and now French Open final, which honestly it’s unexpected to me. I think it’s two positive weeks.”

Sportslumo Desk

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