World No.6 Maria Sakkari has revealed that Rafael Nadal inspired her mid-match change of tactics in the United Cup. On Wednesday, Greece played Croatia in the Perth City Finals in the United Cup. At one point during her match against Croatian Petra Martic, Sakkari decided to «do a Nadal» and start coming back from a very deep position.
That worked extremely well for Sakkari, who defeated Martic 6-3 6-3. «I had to adjust. I had to change my position back because the ball was bouncing so high. I said ‘I’m going to do a Rafa, go and stand, you know on the Perth sign and just know, stay deep and make as many returns as I can.’
It worked for me today,» Sakkari said.
«I said ‘I’m going to do a Rafa'»@mariasakkari on how @Rafael Nadal inspired his mid-match change of tactics#UnitedCup pic.twitter.com/OICO4JXCzG — United Cup (@UnitedCupTennis) January 4, 2023
Sakkari made it big for Greece
After winning her singles match, Sakkari returned to the court for the fifth and deciding mixed doubles match.
Sakkari and Tsitsipas stood out for Greece in the mixed doubles match as they defeated Martic and Borna Gojo 7-6(6) 6-4 to push their nation into the United Cup semi-final. In Perth, Sakkari and Tsitsipas went 3-0 in their mixed doubles matches.
“I think our first mixed double was on this court. Our games are clicking. We know each other very well and we have great chemistry on the court, and I think that’s the key. Of course, the more we develop as players, that also adds up and makes us play much better in mixed doubles,» Sakkari explained.
Also, Sakkari did not hide his happiness that Greece reached the semi-final in the inaugural United Cup. “I am so happy and proud of this team, I just can’t put it into words. Coming here, it’s the first tournament of the year, you don’t know what kind of shape you’re in, but I think we saw that we’re in very good shape,» Sakkari said.