You could be forgiven for thinking reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin was short-changed in 2020.
The 22-year-old broke through for her maiden Grand Slam win in Melbourne last year, defeating Garbine Muguruza in three sets in the final, and looked on the cusp of an incredible breakout season.
But one by one, tournaments were either rescheduled, delayed or binned altogether, robbing her of opportunities to keep that Melbourne momentum going.
But the young American doesn’t feel like there’s any “unfinished business” from a truncated season last year. Instead of dwelling on what could have been, the world No. 4 said she’s feeling fit and is ready to defend her Australian Open crown.
“I don’t think I have unfinished business from , I think last year was meant to be,” she told the media at an event run by sponsor Motorola.
“It was meant to be that amount of tournaments and I was able to have some great success last year. This year is a new year.”
But the new year also brings added expectation for the defending champ, who says she’s been seeking the advice of an eight-time Melbourne victor ahead of this year’s tournament.
“I’ve talked to Novak Djokovic and asked him to help me out [with the pressure of being the defending champion]. Obviously he’s done it so many times and is a great player … getting some advice from him will be great.”
Nearing the end of her mandatory 14-day quarantine in Melbourne, Kenin said she has been lucky enough to be able to train outside for five hours a day, admitting she hasn’t had a day off since arriving in Australia in an attempt to stay fit ahead of the main even starting on Feb. 8.
“I feel like I’m in form. I had a long preseason, a little bit longer preseason than I usually have. I worked on some things, and I definitely feel like I’m in form,” she said.
“I’m luckily able to practice, I’ve had almost two weeks with no day off, so it’s good. I had a tournament in Abu Dhabi so that definitely helped with match play – I feel like it was a good run, quarterfinals. I can’t complain, I feel like I’ve got matches under my belt and I definitely feel like I’m in form.”