Collins eyes late-career revival in Miami final

In Sports
March 31, 2024


Danielle Collins is saving the best for last. Having announced in January that she will retire from the sport at the end of this season, the 30-year-old American has reached her first WTA 1000 Series final and will meet Elena Rybakina on Saturday for the Miami Open title.

Outside of a run to the final of the 2022 Australian Open, which she lost to Ash Barty, this is Collins’s best performance in an elite level event and the Floridian, ranked 53rd in the world, is loving every minute of it.

“The memories made this week on and off the court, I’m just over the moon.”

The question inevitably arises as to whether Collins, having indicated her departure from the tour, is now benefitting from a more relaxed approach to the game with the pressure off.

Collins isn’t convinced that such a psychological element has been a factor because, she says, the life of a professional tennis player doesn’t leave much opportunity for reflection. “I just don’t really have the time to kind of sit and ponder and get too deep into the thoughts, because honestly, the day-to-day with us as athletes is a lot. I feel like the fans don’t get to see that as much,” she said.

Rybakina, fourth in the world, will start as the clear favorite, having shrugged off the illness that kept her out of Indian Wells.

The 24-year-old, who represents Kazakhstan, has spent more than 11 hours on court with four of her five matches going the distance.

On Thursday, she defeated Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 0-6, 7-6 (7/2) and seems to have gained stamina through the tournament.

“I was not expecting honestly to be in the final because I was not prepared that well for this tournament,” said the 2022 Wimbledon champion.

“These long matches helped me to get back in shape. Now I’m not in shape just because I’m tired from all these long matches, but overall, it has been a really successful tournament no matter how I do in the final.”

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