"Only one I wouldn’t say is Iga Swiatek’s best one, Roland Garros" - Pam Shriver tips Aryna Sabalenka to be a strong contender at three Majors in 2024
Pam Shriver has predicted that Aryna Sabalenka will win her second Grand Slam title in 2024, anticipating her success at any Major except Roland Garros, which is Iga Swiatek's stronghold.
Sabalenka put together a remarkable 2023 season, finishing the year as the World No. 2. She secured three titles, including her maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
Additionally, the Belarusian reached the US Open final and the semifinals of the French Open and Wimbledon Championships, recording a tour-leading 23 match wins at Major tournaments this year. Furthermore, she attained the World No. 1 ranking for the first time in her career, holding the top spot for eight weeks.
Given her outstanding season, Pam Shriver foresaw continued success for Aryna Sabalenka in the upcoming year. She particularly commended the Belarusian's endurance, strength, and the effectiveness of her coaching team.
"She seems to be built for the endurance part of this … she’s strong and she trains well. Her team has been through a lot with her and I feel there’s a lot of stability there," she told the WTA.
The American also expressed confidence in Sabalenka's ability to be a strong contender at three of the four Grand Slam tournaments next season, with Swiatek's dominance making the French Open an exception.
"I think she has a pretty good chance at three of the four majors -- the only one I wouldn’t say is Iga’s best one, Roland Garros. But I think she can win Wimbledon and the two hard courts. I’d say it’s a very good chance she wins at least one," she added.
Swiatek has won three of the last four French Open titles on offer and boasts a 28-2 record in the competition.
"Aryna Sabalenka beating Iga Swiatek in the Madrid final was another big milestone" - Pam Shriver
Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek locked horns in three tour-level encounters this season, with the Pole emerging victorious on two occasions. Sabalenka, meanwhile, defeated Swiatek 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the Madrid Open final.
Pam Shriver lavished praise on the progress displayed by the Belarusian this season, singling out her victory over Swiatek at the WTA event in Madrid as a "big milestone" in her career.
"Sabalenka came such a long way this year. She was solid as a rock in the big tournaments. I like the way she carried herself, based on the resiliency she’s shown the last couple of years and the confidence she gained from winning in Australia. For me, beating Iga in the Madrid final -- in three sets -- was another big milestone," she said.
Shriver also asserted that the World No. 2 possessed all the essential attributes required for a top-ranked player.
"She seems to check off all the boxes as far as the leave-no-stone-unturned category, which is a really important category when you’re talking about the top two, three in the world," she added.
Aryna Sabalenka will kick off her 2024 season at the Brisbane International, ahead of her title defense at the Australian Open. The WTA 500 event will be held from December 31 to January 7.