WTA World No.35 Daria Gavrilova will go into the 2019 season with the aim of breaking into the Top 20 once again.
The 24-year-old reached a career-high ranking of WTA World No.20 for the first time on August 28, 2017 but has struggled to recapture that form since.
Heartened by an encouraging end to 2018, though, the Australian is optimistic that she is on her way back thanks to a fresh attitude in her game, which was typified by her 6-2, 6-1 victory over Petra Kvitova in Beijing.
“There are a few technical improvements that I was brave to finally use,” she told tennis.com.au.
“I’m improving my serve and just being more aggressive and holding the baseline more, trying to come in. Even though I’m playing big hitters, trying to take my chances more than usual.
“I want to play bigger tournaments and really challenge myself against top players. I want to go with the mentality that I want to be where they are and try and take their rankings and just make my way up by stealing their spot.
“The end of the year was pretty good. I felt like I had a couple of good wins against really good players. That gives me a bit of confidence for next year.”
She has pinpointed the serve as a particular area of weakness to improve and has been working hard on it during the off-season.
“It’s still on its way. It can get better but it’s probably gotten to the best it’s ever been,” she admitted before lifting the lid on her new physical regime.
“I’ve got a new fitness trainer. We’re doing a lot of cycling on the bike. I’ve been going bike riding, we did a few sessions where I absolutely copped it in the rain, but I’ve been really enjoying that.”
Gavrilova will have an early opportunity to bag an improvement in her ranking at the Australian Open in January, having been eliminated in the second round by Elise Mertens in 2018.