"I know you played with my mom, I know you were a lot better than her" - Maria Sakkari thanks Gabriela Sabatini in Guadalajara Open victory speech
Maria Sakkari thanked former World No. 3 Gabriela Sabatini in her victory speech at the 2023 Guadalajara Open.
Sakkari defeated Caroline Dolehide 7-5, 6-3 in the final on Saturday, September 23 to win her second WTA title and first WTA 1000 trophy, thus ending a four-year title drought. In her victory speech, the World No. 9 extended her special gratitude to 1990 US Open winner Gabriela Sabatini, who was in attendance during the Guadalajara Open summit clash.
Sakkari's mother Angeliki Kanellopolou and Sabatini were colleagues on the women's tour back in the 1980s.
"Gabi, thank you for being here today. I know you played with my mom, I know you were a lot better than her, but she admires you a lot. She always spoke very highly of you," the Greek said.
Sakkari further revealed that Sabatini's presence among the spectators for the Saturday clash inspired her to win.
"You’re a person that she looked up to and thank you for being here it was a huge inspiration having you on the courtside today," she added.
The champion also lauded Dolehide for her hard work and dedication throughout the Mexico tournament. She said:
"I want to congratulate Caro, I mean I’ve known you for so many years. You’ve put in the work as you said… with your coach, with your team."
"I always knew you had an amazing game, it was about time for it to click and you know it happened this week. You have so many opportunities to come up and this is just the beginning."
"This is my second home" - Maria Sakkari thanks Mexico fans for their support during Guadalajara Open
Maria Sakkari also thanked the spectators inside Akron Tennis Stadium for their constant support.
The 28-year-old began by acknowledging the efforts of the tournament's organizers Gustavo Santoscoy and his son.
"I would like to thank the Gustavos as you call them Gustavo Sr. and Gustavo Jr. I said it last year that you’re two amazing people. All this work that you put behind, for us the women, it’s just unbelievable," she remarked.
Sakkari then expressed her happiness at being a part of the Guadalajara project and affirmed that the city was like a home away from home for her.
"I’m so happy to be a part of this group, this project, just being here and celebrate with you guys. And with all of you guys (to the spectators). I said it so many times, I’m gonna repeat myself. This is my second home, thank you so much," Maria Sakkari said.