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Collins reaches her goal - as she prepares for tennis exit
© afp.com/ELSA

Collins reaches her goal - as she prepares for tennis exit

Published by , Sunday 03/31/24 01:22

When American Danielle Collins decided this year was to be her final one on the WTA Tour, she set herself a simple goal but one which has eluded so many -- to win one of the big prizes in the sport.

On Saturday, the 30-year-old from St. Petersburg, Florida, got her hands on that top trophy, winning her first WTA 1000 series title, with a straight sets win over world number four Elena Rybakina.

It was an emotional victory for Collins, in front of a home state crowd at her last appearance in Miami as she finally got the high-level success that had eluded her.

"I have always wanted to win every tournament that I have signed up for, but because it was my last year, I was like, I really want to try to win a Masters 1000 this year. That's really important to me. That's something that I talked a lot about with everybody close to me," she said.

"I really wanted to make a push to be able to bring out my best tennis. I'm so glad that I have been able to figure out some of the physical things I have needed to do to kind of peak at the right time and to feel like I'm ready to go.

"I certainly did that this tournament, but it has been a goal, yeah. So I got to tick it off the list," she added with a grin.

Collins, who will rise from 53rd to 22nd in the world on Monday, is leaving at what now appears to be her peak in a move that is in keeping with a career which began differently to most on the women's tour.

While the vast majority of talented young players opt for the path of home-school and entering the pro ranks in their teenage years, Collins decided to complete her studies, earning a masters degree in sports management, and play college tennis for the University of Florida and the University of Virginia.

She won two national collegiate titles but did not turn pro until she was 22 and perhaps not surprisingly, her success has come later in her career with titles in 2021 in Palermo and San Jose and a run to the final at the 2022 Australian Open.

But the decision to make 2024 her final season certainly appears to have brought a shift in approach which has worked to great effect.

"I really think part of the reason why I played so well and did a good job today was because I had that mentality of - I'm going to enjoy every minute of this," Collins said.

- Going, going going -

"This is my last year, this is my last season, and these are some of my final events. I want to remember these moments."

"I'm just trying to get better at taking it in. Today I woke up and when we were in the car, I said 'Oh, this is going to be the first time I play a finals in my home state and have a lot of crowd support. We changed the playlist, got really pumped up.

"It was just so much fun. This day has been, like, the best," added Collins.

The knowledge that there won't be many more moments left to savor also means Collins, who has had her dog Quincy with her in Miami this week and has been playing golf in her downtime, is determined to enjoy the win with those close to her.

"I've been going, going, going for the past few months playing back-to-back tournaments. Now I get to celebrate with friends.

"We're going to have a great weekend. We've got a pickleball tournament coming up tomorrow. I'm competitive, so we are always doing competitive activities," she laughed.

"And I've got a night out on the town. Haven't done that in a while. Hopefully I can stay up for it - and wear a non-tennis outfit."

Source: AFP

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Lol flapucanu at it again
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Woeful performance today. She does seem to be developing a tendancy to look disinterested at times. Playing teams for country she was like a different person. Playing a top player she seems to lift h
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Caroline, for the win ✌️
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