Sofia Kenin yesterday admitted that she needs to keep her emotions in check as she prepares to defend her Australian Open title, after leaving the court in tears when knocked out of a warm-up event.
The world No. 4 is back at the scene of her stunning Grand Slam breakthrough, where she beat Garbine Muguruza in three sets last year to win her first major title.
However, Kenin has endured a difficult return to Melbourne Park with a straight-sets thrashing on Friday by Muguruza in the quarter-finals of the Yarra Valley Classic, as she battles a left groin injury.
The 22-year-old earlier in the week said that she felt “very nervous” and she was in tears following her 6-2, 6-2 loss to the Spaniard.
“Yesterday was maybe not the best way I wanted to handle my emotions,” she said.
“I obviously did not mentally prepare so well,” Kenin said. “Obviously it affected me a little bit. I got to get ready for the Australian Open and have to figure out how to handle my emotions there.”
Kenin said it had been challenging coping with the pressure of defending a Grand Slam title for the first time.
“Just preparing physically and mentally, knowing that I got to be physically there in my game, my movement, everything,” she said. “Mentally, I got to handle my emotions and understand whoever I’m going to play, they’re obviously going to play with no pressure, which is expected.”
Kenin’s title defense starts against wildcard Maddison Inglis of Australia, but she has allowed herself to look deeper into the draw at other potential opponents.
“I obviously look quite far ahead ... I think till four rounds,” she said. “I’m not trying to be mean or anything, but see who I’d rather play or not play.”
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