Restless Sonia Kenin could not be happier after flying halfway across the world amid the COVID crisis in order to get her 2021 season off to a running start this week in Abu Dhabi.
The Florida-based winner of the Australian Open is using the debut edition at the Gulf venue to sharpen her game after a relatively long off-season.
Jetting off as in previous years is no easy task in pandemic conditions, but the Russian-born American is pleased to be out of Florida and out on the road.
“We’ll see how it goes, I’m excited to be here,” the WTA No. 4 and top seed at the 500 series event in the Emirate said Tuesday.
“Anything to get out of the house and get some matches in.”
Kenin said that since playing her last 2020 match on October 10 at Roland Garros – where she lost the final 4 and 1 to Iga Swiatek – she only had five days without tennis, all of which came during a Caribbean beach holiday.
“Fitness was a No. 1 priority for me, I played a lot of physical points last season, I want to get my game strong and improve… we’ll see how it will go.”
The 22-year-old added: “I feel like I’m a Top 10 top player and I’ve proven it. Of course there’s more pressure from the outside now and I’m particularly hqrd on myself at the Slams.
“2020 was good tennis-wise for me, I want to keep the momentum going. At the Roland Garros final, I’d been there, done that I(after winning Melbourne).
“I’m happy with how I handled pressure and left everything on the court.
“Abu Dhabi will be a good warmup. Australia will be interesting with the (14-day) quarantine.”