Donna Vekic's sporting rebirth materialized with power and passion at the Australian Open 2023, the Slam in which she participates for the eleventh time in her career despite being born in 1996. The Croatian player will have the opportunity to play her second quarter-final in a Major thanks to the incredible level expressed in the first eight days of competition.
The debut in Melbourne proved to be complicated, but looking at the past Vekic decided not to give up a single point and she defeated Oksana Selekhneteva in the super tie-break with a surgical 10-7. Her prestigious success came in the second round, when she knocked out 18th seed Liudmila Samsonova 6-3, 6-0.
In the round of 16, however, she experienced several ups and downs and had to resort to the third set with Linda Fruhvirtova. Her next rival bears the name and surname of Aryna Sabalenka, one of her absolute favorites.
Vekic: "I felt ready to leave tennis for good"
In February 2021, Vekic was forced to stop for several months due to ongoing knee problems; problems that needed to be resolved through a surgery.
She explained in the press conferece: "After the Australian Open, in 2021, I had to have knee surgery. I struggled all year, because I was still in pain. Also in 2022 I stopped for a couple of months for the same problem. It was a battle.
I hope I finally found a solution, how to handle my body. I am aware that I will have ups and downs for the rest of my career. But I have a great team that takes care of me and my knee. I'm really happy to be able to compete at this level again.
Tennis was still my priority, but my approach and mentality had changed. I felt ready to leave tennis for good. I told myself twice. After repeating it, however, I won the Courmayeur tournament and played very well in San Diego.
I had a lot of doubts because I was not in shape and I was so far from my best condition. I didn't trust my knee and my abilities. After the last US Open I had given myself time until the next Wimbledon to listen to myself and see if it was still worth trying to play to try to reach the level of the past.
Then my physical condition improved. I feel older than my 26 years when I get out of bed and find it hard to take my first steps. But then when I manage to express myself on the tennis court I return to experience indescribable sensations" .