Biomechanics trainer helped improve my 'disaster' serve, says Sabalenka

Australian Open
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 23, 2023 Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka celebrates winning her fourth round match against Switzerland's Belinda Bencic REUTERS/Loren Elliott

MELBOURNE, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Aryna Sabalenka credited her biomechanics trainer in helping her improve her powerful but erratic serve after she moved into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the first time on Monday.

The Belarusian started the season on a high note after winning the Adelaide title and she has yet to drop a set in 2023, sealing a quarter-final spot in Melbourne after overpowering Belinda Bencic to underline her title credentials.

Sabalenka was often her own worst enemy on serve, especially after leading the Tour for most double faults over the last three years, but has found some consistency this year.

"I worked so hard. Even when my serve was a disaster, I worked a lot on my serve. I kept trying, kept believing, kept changing. Then I worked on my biomechanics," Sabalenka told reporters.

"I thought it was (my) mentality, but it wasn't. We changed a lot of things on how we work on my serve. We tried so many different things.

"In the end of the season when I started working with the biomechanic guy, he helped me a lot."

Sabalenka said she had initially been stubborn about changing her serve before being open to taking advice on board, saying workouts with the trainer helped her expend less energy on serve while also making it smoother.

"We watched a lot of videos. He was just showing what's not really right about my serve," she added.

"I'm super happy that this thing with my serve happened to me. Before I wouldn't be really open for that. I would be like, 'You know what, my serve is fine, I don't want to change anything'.

"Actually, even when my serve was working, it wasn't really right... In that moment, I was open for whatever. I was just like, 'Please, someone help me to fix this...' I learnt a lot of new stuff about my serve."

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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