When she won her first major women’s doubles title on Sunday at the U.S. Open, Gabriela Dabrowski didn’t celebrate.
While his partner Erin Routliffe could no longer hold still, caught between screams and tears, Dabrowski barely raised his arms. She calmly picked up the racket thrown by her teammate and placed it on their bench, just before meeting Routliffe for a hug.
“From the outside it looked like it was just another win, but inside I was excited! I was also a little shocked and relieved that the tournament was finally over,” she says on the line, back in Tampa Bay, Florida.
As I remember, during her two triumphs in mixed doubles at Roland-Garros in 2017 and in Australia in 2018, she remained just as imperturbable. In his opinion, this lack of exuberance can be explained by the concentration necessary to ultimately have to prevail. “If I had thought about the fact that it was a major tournament final, I certainly wouldn’t have been able to keep my calm and concentration the way I did. »
As if her state of mind hadn’t had time to adjust to the fact that she had become the first Canadian to win a major in women’s doubles between the last point and the moment to celebrate.
A great accomplishment
Three days before his interview with The Press, Dabrowski and Routliffe, 16are seeded, took the measure of Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva in two sets in the final. However, Dabrowski didn’t have much time to take advantage of it. The calendar continues to turn and she was already preparing for the Masters 1000 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“I feel like I can’t fully realize it, because I still have work to do. I only had a few days to rest. »
But beyond the title and her two weeks of competition, the Ottawa native was completely drained by the charge of emotion accompanying a title of this magnitude. So she had to take a little break, despite herself. “I was exhausted. It’s a roller coaster of emotions. »
The key, in his opinion, to being able to win great honors, was to lie to oneself. To divert your mind to avoid thinking about the present moment. To project yourself into another context. As paradoxical as it may seem. “I think we have to forget that it’s a Grand Slam final, because it can become a source of distraction,” says the 31-year-old. (…) I tried to make myself believe that it was a first round match and that we had been moved to the Arthur Ashe court and that we finished our match under the roof. »
Dabrowski and Routliffe were playing their fourth tournament together. After Montreal, Cleveland and Cincinnati, the two players finally arrived in tune.
Dabrowski praised his partner throughout the interview. “We stuck together throughout the tournament, no matter what happened. In the first round, we had a bad start, but we finished strong. We won because of our chemistry and our compatibility,” she said.
Routliffe, moreover, has been a Canadian player representing the New Zealand flag since 2017. Never mind, sharing this honor with a compatriot added to the value of this triumph.
Triumph allowing him to reintegrate the top 10 world doubles. Dabrowski is now in ninth place. Even if this coronation in New York represents the pinnacle of her career so far, the Canadian does not believe she is necessarily playing the best tennis of her career.
She still maintains that she played well throughout the season. “I don’t remember really having such bad performances,” she adds.
This title brings some relief to the stormy season for Canadian players. No representative of the maple leaf survived until the second round at Flushing Meadows.
“I think Canada has incredible players who can do much better than me in the long term,” says Dabrowski.
According to the veteran, detractors of young Canadian players underestimate how demanding and grueling the athletes’ lifestyle is, perhaps explaining this sudden drop in performance.
“The professional circuit is extremely difficult. People don’t understand. Thirty-five weeks a year on the road, in different hotels, in different environments, taking last minute flights, defending your points in every tournament. »
This is why she “will never judge” the performance of her compatriots. In the meantime, she’s shining and for once the double is in the news, she won’t complain.