Aryna Sabalenka refused on Tuesday to blame an Australian Open trophy hangover for a 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-0 loss to Donna Vekic which knocked the second seed out of the WTA Dubai event.

The second-round shock came as the two-time Melbourne Grand Slam titleholder played her first match since lifting the major less than a month ago.

The tournament No. 1 refused to lay blame for the early exit at the Aviation Club.

“I wouldn’t say that this was difficult because of the Australian Open win. I had enough time to rest, to recharge and to start everything over again,” the 25-year-old said.

“Conditions here don’t fit me well at all; it’s really tricky for me to compete here in Dubai.. really tricky court for me,” said the three-time quarter-finalist.

Despite leading the Croat opponent who now stands 6-2 in their career series, Sabalenka said: “The level was so bad today from me. 

“She’s won a lot of matches against me, but they were all close.

:She’s tough to play, a great fighter, a great player. 

The two-time Grand Slam champion joked:  Now I’m gonna go cry.

“I’m just trying to stay positive and try to forget this interesting match. I’ve  already started thinking about the next one and about the preparation and what can we do differently. 

“I’m just, like, trying to forget this match as fast as I can.”

Main photo:- Aryna Sabalenka won the 2024 Australian Open title – by ISF Ltd