Donna Vekic constantly thinks “I just want this match to be over” when facing close friend Maria Sakkari


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!

Vekic and Sakkari practice together at the 2020 BNP Paribas Open

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.’

Vekic and Sakkari practice together at the 2020 BNP Paribas Open

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.


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