Roland-Garros final: Sofia Kenin’s appetite

After Melbourne, Sofia Kenin is playing her second Grand Slam final of the year, in Paris.

Do not be fooled by its apparent hypersensitivity. If Sofia Kenin has easy tears, on the court, the young American is the tough type. And since the beginning of the fortnight of Roland-Garros, the world number 6, who plays Saturday October 10 in the Parisian Grand Slam final against the Polish Iga Swiatek (3 p.m., on the Philippe-Chatrier court), does not not let count.

The tennis court is usually a tragedy, where each actor tries to keep one mask – or to show another, like a Novak Djokovic, past ace in the art of feigning his state. -; also Sofia Kenin (21) clashes. Like a living emoji, the young American does not hide her game, and her round face often says a lot about her state of mind. “Before a match, I’m quite emotional, I cry sometimes, confides the native of Moscow, nicknamed “Sonya” by her relatives. I’m nervous, because I want to be successful. “

But where some would be paralyzed by these waves of emotions, the future world number 3 has made it a force. Once the wave has passed, it becomes flat again, equal to itself, and focused on the next point. “During the match, I try to put my emotions aside, I don’t have time to devote to them. I have to play point after point relates the young player, winner at the start of the year of the Australian Open. Afterwards, if I win, I’m happy, if I lose, I cry. “ A few tears also came to interfere with her victory in the round of 16, against the French Fiona Ferro, to whom the Central audience was acquired. So much so that the American has gone ” [se] refocus ” in the small corner after the loss of the first set. But as always, Sofia Kenin has turned the page, digested the emotion to better forget it. And won the match.

Read also Tennis: American Sofia Kenin wins Australian Open, her first Grand Slam title

The “mosquito” does not let go

Not bad for someone who confessed, after the meeting “Really hated clay in the past”. All her junior years, the one who was the great hope of American women’s tennis from a very young age did not support the crushed brick on which Roland-Garros contests. “It wasn’t the surface I expressed myself best on. I felt like I lacked power, I couldn’t control the points… it was a fight to get out of it. “

Until last year, when a victory full of cold blood against Serena Williams in the third round, Porte d’Auteuil, made him realize that the ocher does not suit him too badly. “After that, I knew what to expect. It’s a lot of slips, very physical, and I managed to adapt my game, Sofia Kenin slipped after the quarter-finals. I’m more and more comfortable, and that makes me happy, because now it’s a surface that I appreciate. “

Professional for three years, the American likes nothing better than “Think about the game to be produced” to disrupt his opponent. “You are not the only one who wants to win on the court and your opponent is looking for your weak point”, she recalls. Facing the Czech Petra Kvitova, in the semifinals, her ability to ignore a missed shot to return and trigger a rounded backhand with two hands caused the double Wimbledon winner to lose her footing.

“On the circuit, the players know that I will never give up, assured Kenin before his final at the Australian Open. If you want to beat me, you have to finish me off. Whatever the score, I will always be there, fighting and doing my best to turn the tide. I’ve already done it. “” She’s always there, teasing you all the time, corroborated in January in the New York Times one of its first coaches, Rick Macci, who nicknamed the little American “the mosquito”. She has had this mental strength in her since she was little. “

Use your experience in the final

Opposed in the final to the Polish sensation, Iga Swiatek, nineteen and 54e World player before the tournament, the American relies on her recent experience to turn fate in her favor. “I will help myself [de mon expérience] as an advantage. I’m bound to be a little nervous going into the final, but I know what it is, and I’ve done it before. I know what emotions you feel when you play your first Grand Slam final. I hope she is going to be a little nervous. I know what to expect ”, Kenin smiles. If all goes well for her, there will be laughter, there will be tears, and a lot of posturing on the court.

The kid with big, amazed eyes to whom Kim Clijsters gives a behind-the-scenes tour of the Miami tournament in 2005, has grown up. But Sofia Kenin hasn’t changed that much. Since her victory at the Australian Open, she has hung a little koala in her bag, which accompanies her everywhere on the circuit. In case of coronation on Saturday, the player promised that she would also pin a memory of Paris there. We put on an Eiffel Tower keychain: what better way to remember “Sonya in Paris”.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Chris Evert: “Women’s tennis is more interesting today than in my time”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here