ROME -- It's not even 3 p.m. on a beautiful Sunday in Rome and Maria Sakkari is happily clocking out for the day. A few hours earlier, the World No.6 booked her spot in the Round of 16 at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia with a 7-6(4), 6-0 win over 2023 runner-up Anhelina Kalinina. 

As she sat down for the WTA Insider Podcast at the end of her post-match media rounds, the Greek star was already looking forward to a quiet afternoon away from the courts. 

"My boyfriend's here," Sakkari said on the WTA Insider Podcast. "I haven't seen him in six weeks, so it's going to be nice to spend some time with him and go for a nice dinner. And then obviously early night because, I'm playing again tomorrow."

Such is life on the Hologic WTA Tour. A few hours of high-stakes, intense competition, followed by -- if you're lucky -- a quick celebration before locking into the next task at hand. One day you could experience the greatest elation of your life. The next day could break your heart. 

That's the cycle of life for a professional tennis player. And the only healthy way to manage it is to just accept it. 

"I think after having two very up and down seasons, I finally realized what I was doing wrong mentally," Sakkari said. "I just feel like now I'm more mature, maybe. I accept that, let's say in Madrid, I was not feeling well. I was tired, I went into the tournament very fatigued because I felt like that one week at home wasn't enough. I know it's not ideal that I lost, but at the same time, just take the positives. You're going to have a few days off, which you probably really need, and then you can just go full-on for Rome and Paris. 

"So it's just little things that you have to make peace with yourself and just accept and move forward, because tennis can be very intense and it can drive you really crazy."

In the episode, Sakkari also reveals the best and worst experiences of her career on the court and dishes on the famous restaurant in Rome that has served as a de facto player lounge for years. She also looks ahead to what her life might look like when her tennis career is done. 

"I have a timeline in my head, but that's nowhere in the near future," she said. "But the thing is that you have to be very prepared, and I think a lot of athletes struggle with, 'What am I going to do after my career?' 

"Luckily, I feel like I'm not going to have that problem. I have a lot of things in my head that I want to create and accomplish once I'm done with tennis. So let's see how it goes."