Miami Open finalist copying Carlos Alcaraz’s combined sport strategy to gain new edge | Tennis | Sport

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Ahead of her retirement at the end of the year, Danielle Collins is through to her first WTA 1000 final at the Miami Open. While many believe that her retirement announcement has allowed her to play with more freedom, the world No. 53 has explained that it’s actually down to her decision to turn to another sport – something that Carlos Alcaraz did before winning the Indian Wells title.

Collins is one match win away from picking up the biggest title of her career. At the start of this year, the American announced it would be her last on the professional tennis tour before retiring. And she is putting together an impressive farewell season after reaching her fourth final and first since 2022.

The 30-year-old has been fielding retirement questions ever since she shared her decision in January. Thanks to her good run in Miami, Collins is now being asked whether her impending retirement has played any part in her improved level and relaxed mindset. But the former world No. 7 believes it’s down to something entirely different – golf.

Collins said she had always taken an interest in things outside of tennis, something that helped her both on and off the court. “I went to college, and I have always had other things that I have been interested in and hobbies that I like to do. I just haven’t really always carved out the time to do them,” she explained.

With golf becoming her latest hobby, the 2022 Australian Open runner-up said that trying to learn a new sport only made her tennis even more enjoyable. Collins continued: “I feel like the last few months I have taken more time to focus on those things, because they bring me so much enjoyment.

“It also makes the tennis more fun, because I’m so bad at golf that when I come out and play tennis, compared to my golf game, I’m a lot better at tennis. So it makes me feel a lot better too. So that could be helping my confidence and making me, you know, more relaxed. I don’t know.”

It’s a strategy that ATP world No. 2 Alcaraz is using, as the Spaniard recently explained that he was able to “find himself” on the tennis court again by playing lots of golf in between his matches. “With my people, doing what I like and what calms me down off the court,” he said after lifting the Indian Wells title.

“In Indian Wells I was able to do that, golf is something that calms me down and in Indian Wells I played almost every day, that helped me a lot. Feeling alive again on the court helps me a lot. It was a turning point for me, right now we are calm, good, wanting to improve, get on the court, add hours on it. That, for me, has been the most important thing.”

Alcaraz’s golf hobby proved to be very beneficial when he ended his eight-month title drought in Indian Wells. The 20-year-old was the reigning champion in California and successfully managed to retain his crown. And Collins will be hoping that turning to another sport will have the same effect on her in Miami as she faces Elena Rybakina for the crown.

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