The 34-year-old, who drove seven-hours to New York City, from Cleveland, Ohio with three-year-old son Izhaan, following the final, arriving on the wee-hours of Sunday, was severely short of sleep, but was spitting choices.
“I chose to play tennis again,” she underlined, “I was content with my career, happy with what I had achieved, but having chosen to return to the Tour after having a baby, I wanted to do it on my terms. Playing now, with a baby in tow, is scheduling a nightmare. There are mothers who are not travelling with their kids, but I don’t want to do that. That’s my choice. Like last evening, driving, instead of taking the flight. It is the safer option in these times, for the baby and me of course.”
The former world No.1 is ranked 123 this week, following the Cleveland WTA event where she partnered American Christina McHale. Sania has played seven tournaments in a start-stop season which has resulted in 14 matches, four of which came in the last week.
It was the 34-year-old’s 12th WTA final with a first-time partner, she has made 63 finals in all, having won 42 titles.
“I chose to skip the clay court season so that I could use my special ranking at Wimbledon, where I thought I had a better chance,” she said, listing choices. “The reason for playing Cleveland is obvious, I needed matches. I can’t just rock-up and play a Slam. This is the first time in a long, long time that I have played four matches in a week, and my body feels good. It’s also good to be able to experience those feelings again, on a deuce point, when things get tight in a set.”
Sania and American Coco Vandeweghe, who got a wildcard for the US Open, play 12th seeds Nadia Kichenok and Romania’s Raluca Olaru in the first round. The duo have played together once, in 2017 in Birmingham, where they were forced to concede their semifinals because of injury.
“There’s no opportunity for us to play ourselves into the tournament, but that’s how it is, we just have to come out and play the best we can,” said Sania, who will be playing with her sixth different partner for the year at the Open. “These are the hazards of coming back, playing with a new partner every week, but again, it’s a choice I have made. That’s why having a relationship off the court helps, it helped last week with Christina and I’m sure it’ll be the same with Coco. When you’re in a challenging situation, you know what your partner will do.”