Paolini in dreamland after reaching first Grand Slam final

Achieving a Grand Slam final is likely the aspiration of every youngster who picks up a tennis racket, but Jasmine Paolini, who triumphed in her French Open semi-final on Thursday, never dared to envisage such a future. The 28-year-old Italian secured her maiden major final with an effortless 6-3 6-1 victory over Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva. “When I began playing tennis, I was simply having fun. I wasn’t dreaming too much,” Paolini shared with reporters.

I began training as a professional tennis player. My aspirations were to turn professional, but I never envisioned myself as a world number one or a Grand Slam champion. Such lofty dreams never crossed my mind.

“I believe this isn’t entirely positive because dreaming is crucial. However, I started dreaming incrementally, not too ambitiously,” she reflected.

Paolini was taken aback to learn that other players harboured such dreams and goals from an early age.

“It’s astonishing to watch interviews of Nole (Novak Djokovic) as a child, expressing his desire to be world number one and win Wimbledon,” she remarked.

“I saw this and thought it was incredible that children could dream so big. As a child, I didn’t have such dreams,” she admitted.

“It’s remarkable to hear Jannik (Sinner) at 15 declare his ambition to be number one. For me, it’s different. I never imagined reaching a Grand Slam final, yet here I am.”

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