The WTA friendships have always been a hot topic, as the tour is very competitive and players are forced to focus on themselves and their own goals. However, there are a number of really close women’s tennis friendships and one such example is that of Donna Vekic and Maria Sakkari. In a recent interview for Behind the Racquet, Croatian world No.24 Vekic gives us an insight into how she manages to balance her on-court rivalry with Sakkari and their off-court closeness. In short, it’s really tough, but worth it!
It’s very difficult to have your best friend as an opponent, as Vekic explains:
One of my closest friends is Maria Sakkari and it is never easy having to play her, which I have done a few times times recently. It’s terrible. We both want to win the match and we have this friendship.
There are also strategic challenges:
The worst part is she knows every single move I will do. I know what she is thinking at any given moment, just like she does. It makes it so unusual. The whole time I am thinking, ‘I just want this match to be over.’
However, Vekic, who boasts a 4-2 head-to-head record against the Greek world No.20, which also includes a three-set victory in Adelaide earlier this year, says that she is never worried that their friendship will be compromised:
I am not thinking too much about the friendship during the match because I know we will always have it. We always have this thing where the winner pays for dinner.