Maria Sakkari was subjected to ridicule from some tennis fans after her defeat to Jessica Pegula in the semifinals of the Qatar Open. Former player Mark Petchey defended Sakkari against her detractors on social media.

Maria Sakkari battled past Qinwen Zheng, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Carolie Garcia before falling to Jessica Pegula in the semifinal tie. The mockery of Sakkari’s loss stemmed from her having won a solitary singles title despite reaching the semifinals and finals berth at multiple tournaments over the past two years.

One fan showed their support for Sakkari and said that her consistency at making deep runs at tournaments should be appreciated rather than ridiculed.

“People here are joking way too much about Maria Sakkari. She’s fighting every damn weeks, always reaching QFs, SFs, Fs. Regularity is also something we should credit. I really hope something big is coming for her, because she’s deserves it,” the fan wrote.

Mark Petchey supported the fan’s view and replied that people who were belittling Sakkari’s tennis skills were embarrassing themselves. He acknowledged the Greek’s transformative journey from being a junior tennis player to where she is currently. He also called out the fans who were spreading vitriol from the safety of their screens to pick up a racket and see how good their skills are before commenting.

“@mariasakkari is doing everything to be the best she can. From where she has come from as a junior to now is unbelievable. Fucking embarrassing what people who know nothing about her say. The keyboard warriors should get in the ring and see how good they fucking are at this sport,” Petchey replied on Twitter.

World No. 34 Ajla Tomljanovic also expressed her support for Sakkari as she endorsed the fan’s tweet.

Maria Sakkari appreciated the support as she liked the fan’s tweet.

Maria Sakkari will compete at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships next

Maria Sakkari will take part in the first WTA Masters 1000 of the year at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The main draw entrants will begin their campaign on February 19.

The former World No. 3 reached the semifinals of the tournament in 2022, where she lost the match to eventual champion Iga Swiatek. She will be hoping to better her performance from the previous year and bag her first title of the season.

Alongside Sakkari, the tournament will feature defending champion Swiatek and Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka among others.