"Serena Williams is the greatest female athlete, it's great to have her & Venus still on the tour" - Maria Sakkari 

Maria Sakkari is in action at the 2022 Canadian Open
Maria Sakkari is in action at the 2022 Canadian Open

Maria Sakkari recently lent her thoughts on the return of both Venus Williams and Serena Williams to the WTA tour after a long hiatus. The sisters are competing this week at the 2022 Canadian Open in Toronto.

While Venus faced a 6-2, 6-3 first-round exit at the hands of Jil Teichmann, Serena fended off Nuria Parrizas-Dias 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the second round. Both women made just their second main draw appearance of the season on Monday.

Speaking at her pre-tournament press conference, Sakkari expressed her admiration for the Williams sisters' longevity in the sport. She pointed out how their presence on tour amplifies women's tennis before hailing Serena as the greatest female athlete.

"I remember watching Serena and Venus with my grandmother and it's great to still have them on tour,' Sakkari said. "It's very good for women's tennis. I think they inspire every single female tennis player and athlete out there. Serena is, in my opinion, the greatest female athlete, so it's great to have her around and just playing the same tournaments."
Another year, another Serena win 🙌🇺🇸 @serenawilliams comes through a tough test in Toronto to advance to Round 2!#NBO22

Sakkari went on to speak about her preparations for the upcoming US Open. The Greek, who has made four of her five career WTA finals on hardcourts, explained that she feels comfortable on the surface and was looking forward to notching her maiden win in Toronto on Tuesday.

"I'm very comfortable when I'm playing on a hard court, especially here during the US Open swing," Sakkari said. "I've been doing well all these years, especially last year at the US Open. It's just a probably my favorite time of the day of the year. Canada has a huge Greek community so I'm excited to start here."

"I realized I don't enjoy being one of the best players in the world" - Maria Sakkari

Maria Sakkari in action at the 2022 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic
Maria Sakkari in action at the 2022 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic

In the same presser, Maria Sakkari revealed that a string of underwhelming results in the recent past have dampened her joy of competing. The World No. 4 said that she often finds herself weighed down by the pressure of maintaining her place at the top of the sport.

She is, however, taking a lesson or two from her mother Angeliki Kanellopoulou's career and learning to enjoy playing as much as she can.

"I was not enjoying myself the last few months. I was not really myself and after San Jose it just sat down with Tom for a lot of hours and realized I'm not enjoying being one of the best players in the world which was something very tough to admit," she said.
"But it's the truth, and I think the pressure was something I had to deal with. As my mom always used to say 'just try to enjoy as much as you can' this journey because obviously from her career she knows that it doesn't last long," she added.

Third seed Sakkari will take on home favorite Sloane Stephens in her opening round match on Tuesday.

Rafael Nadal and wife Maria Francisca Perello spotted with infant son. click here for pictures.

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Edited by Anirudh
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